The Best Hotels in San Francisco

San Francisco’s hotel scene is growing at a steady clip, thanks to a slew of recent renovations and some notable openings in the pipeline. The greatest concentration of hotels can be found downtown near busy Union Square, which is close to public transportation.

12 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Hotel Zelos brims with understated luxury. Rooms are kitted out with on-demand movies and music, in-room spa services upon request, and a complimentary honor bar stocked with organic treats. The hotel’s 4th and Market Street location puts it within walking distance of Union Square, AT&T Park and the Moscone Center. For further distances, guests can borrow free bikes. The hotel’s crowning jewel, though, is Dirty Habit, it’s rooftop restaurant and bar. A favorite among locals as well as tourists, Dirty Habit’s film-noir-inspired dining room offers guests a chance to play the part of old Hollywood glamour while nibbling on seasonally inspired dishes like seared king salmon and sipping inventive craft cocktails (try the Bonzai, a mix of whiskey, orgeat, grapefruit, lemon, and matcha green tea).
55 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Take San Francisco’s defining features—its booming tech industry, its creative heart, its killer restaurant scene—and squeeze them into a 100-year-old building in a neighborhood undergoing a sea change. That’s Hotel Zetta. The dynamic property, which re-opened as Hotel Zetta in 2013, couldn’t be more, well, San Francisco.

In the lobby, there’s a chandelier fashioned from recycled sunglass lenses, a front desk made from reclaimed wood, and a two-story Plinko board (an interactive art piece) that descends from the Playroom. About that: The Playroom caters to the work-hard, play-hard set. A shuffle board, a pool table, and video games (both current and retro) spark friendly competition. A classic London telephone booth lets guests order room service or video chat. Modern amenities continue in the rooms. Desks built from kitchen butcher blocks encourage standing while working. A G-Link docking station facilitates wireless streaming from tablets and smartphones to flat-screen Samsung Smart TVs, which come pre-loaded with complimentary Internet service, apps and HD channels.

The art? A blend of analog and digital. Art in the guestrooms include work by Nick Gentry. He made an original work as a compilation of floppy disks. Then, the work was photographed and screenprinted as a giclee on a canvas for the rooms. Downstairs, two new ventures from famed Bay Area restaurateurs Anna Weinberg, James Nicholas and Chef Jennifer Puccio (of Marlowe and Park Tavern) ensure the young and hungry are adequately fueled.
495 Geary Street, San Francisco
In 2001, hotelier Ian Schrager tapped French designer Philippe Starck to reconceptualize The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel’s wildly modern interiors. A complete contrast to the building’s historic facade, the lobby is dark, edgy and filled with a quirky smattering of cool furniture—among them chairs by Ray and Charles Eames, a coffee table by Salvador Dali, and a surreal stool by Renee Marguerite. Upstairs, splashes of lavender brighten more neutral rooms, which feature wheelbarrow-shaped chairs and sleigh beds designed by Starck. Merino wool blankets are primed to battle foggy nights, while MALIN+GOETZ bath products soothe well-traveled skin with natural ingredients and science. Downstairs in the Redwood Room, a see-and-be-seen crowd nurses drinks. The swanky lounge sports sleek backlit shelves, its original redwood paneling, and a bar supposedly crafted from a single redwood tree. Though The Clift sits just up the street from Union Square, it feels far away from the tourists.
222 Sansome St, San Francisco, CA 94104, USA
Service is a signature here, where gorgeous rooms styled with a simple elegance and a natural palette offer a respite from the Financial District’s hustle and bustle. It’s all about the details. Upon arrival, guests are offered a complimentary prosecco or non-alcoholic cider. The beds, layered with down comforters and pillows, are the perfect locations to relax and enjoy the city or bay views. Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries are available to mark romantic occasions, while cake and cable cars filled with cookies make birthdays fun for kids. A complimentary car is on hand for guests traveling within a one-mile radius of the hotel.
950 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
A whole lot of history converges at the Fairmont San Francisco—as do all of the city’s cable car lines, which offer easy transportation to the Financial District, Union Square, and Fisherman’s Wharf. The hotel was built in 1906 but damaged in the Great Earthquake and subsequent fires before it even opened, so celebrated architect Julia Morgan was brought in to repair the building. Once it debuted, the hotel quickly became a city favorite, hosting more than its share of historic events, including the series of meetings in 1945 that resulted in the formation of the United Nations. The hotel’s storied bar, The Venetian Room, also featured big names, from Ella Fitzgerald and Nat ‘King’ Cole to Tony Bennett, who first performed I Left My Heart in San Francisco here in 1961 (Bennett still frequents the hotel).

Today, the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is a draw for tourists and locals seeking a kitschy, iconic San Francisco experience, with live music, Polynesian food, and Mai Tais severed against a backdrop of occasional staged thunderstorms. Other dining options include Laurel Court for all-day coastal California fare and the famous Afternoon Tea, a local tradition since 1907. The opulent design of the hotel extends from its lobby—with marble floors and sumptuous fabrics—to the 606 luxurious rooms, each outfitted with comfortable furnishings and modern technologies. Of the 62 suites, 10 also include balconies with city and bay views.
999 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
Rising up from the top of Nob Hill, the elegant InterContinental Mark Hopkins has a deep history in San Francisco. Mark Hopkins, one of the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad, built his mansion on this site in the 19th century. Most of the original property was destroyed in the fire that followed the 1906 earthquake, but mining engineer George D. Smith snagged the prime location, which, on clear days today affords views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. The hotel opened in 1926 and has entertained movie stars, presidents, musicians, and international dignitaries, among them Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, Dwight Eisenhower, and Nikita Khrushchev. (The Rolling Stones once booked two floors to accommodate their crew.) Multi-million dollar renovations and a 2002 restoration have kept the hotel both current and beautifully preserved. Start your stay with a sunset cocktail at the hotel’s historic sky lounge, the Top of the Mark.
8 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94015
With its waterfront location across from the San Francisco Ferry Building on the edge of downtown, the 1 Hotel is an ideal launchpad to explore San Francisco. Rooms have expansive views of the Bay or the city, and travelers can step out onto the Embarcadero for a morning run, to browse at one of three weekly farmers’ markets at the Ferry Building.

The luxury hotel upholds a commitment to environmentalism, using local and reclaimed materials for the biophilic interior design, sustainability sourced bedding, and providing filtered water taps instead of single use water bottles. Rooms are equipped with soft cotton robes, slippers, and yoga mats to help turn a stay into a relaxing, wellness-minded retreat.

On the first floor, the bar and restaurant, Terrene is a lovely place to swing by for a drink or meal—whether you’re a guest or not. If the weather is nice, don’t miss the chance to enjoy a cocktail on their expansive outdoor patio (complete with space heaters) with great views of the Bay Bridge. If you’re looking for something more substantial, they have an excellent selection of fresh, Mediterranean-inspired dishes, like roasted carrots with a feta dip and refreshing tuna tartare.

Pets are welcome and there’s also a rooftop spa on site, complete with stone tubs and scenic views.
198 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
Built in 1883, the Parsonage is a Victorian time capsule and historic landmark in the Lower Haight. Owners Joan Hull and John Phillips lived and raised their kids in the mansion before converting it to a bed and breakfast in the late ‘90s. The self-described “neurotically hospitable” couple takes a hands-on approach to running the inn. From checking in guests to preparing breakfast, they take care of nearly everything.

Sticking with the historical theme, the five guestrooms are named after such famous female San Franciscans as Lily Coit and Alma Spreckles. All accommodations feature a private bathroom with a marble shower and a handcrafted made-in-San-Francisco mattress. Hull and Phillips carefully curated the European and American antiques that decorate the residence’s rooms, two of which have working fireplaces. Thoughtful touches like fresh flowers and locally sourced breakfast ingredients make the Parsonage feel more like a cozy home than an inn.
1206, 155 Steuart St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
Perched next to San Francisco Bay, Hotel Griffon makes an ideal base for business travelers who work nearby and visitors who want a waterfront location. Free town car service to the Financial District is available every weekday morning, while a fifth-floor boardroom provides a short commute for conference-goers. Leisure travelers can arrange Alcatraz tickets, tours, and sought-after reservations through the concierge.

The eco-friendly hotel is green down to the smallest details, from recycling unused hygiene products as part of the California Green Lodging Association and Clean the World to recycled notepads. All of the rooms were remodeled in 2012 and get turned down every evening with chocolates. Top-floor suites also have a wet bar so guests can raise a glass to their view of the city or bay and toast their time in San Francisco.
550 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
Two blocks from Union Square, Hotel Adagio is a stylish retreat from the frenetic energy of downtown San Francisco. Built in 1927, the Spanish colonial revival building has a stunning cream facade with intricately carved arches that surround the entrance and windows. The interior also retains many of its original features, including rope crown molding and the top floor’s hand-painted ceilings. Conference-goers and event attendees will be impressed with the hotel venues’ city views, elaborate woodwork, and high ceilings.

Hotel Adagio is part of the Marriott’s Autograph Collection, and the recently renovated rooms are appropriately named Audition, Act One, Encore, Applause, and Actor’s Studio. The decor uses a contemporary palette that mixes warm burgundy and chocolate hues with lime green and white. Get ready for a night out as you jam to your own music, thanks to each room’s iHome docking station. Then, head down to the hotel bar, the Mortimer, to start the evening with a craft cocktail.
1075 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
True to its name, the Scarlet Huntington makes use of sumptuous reds throughout the hotel, from its brick facade to its Passion Suite decorated in shades of ruby. Formerly the illustrious Huntington Hotel, the Nob Hill property became the stomping grounds for San Francisco’s artistic and financial elite after opening in 1924. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Desmond Tutu all called the Huntington home at one point. After a change in ownership in 2011 and a $15 million renovation, the hotel reopened as the Scarlet Huntington in 2014.

Now 20th-century Hollywood meets modern chic in this design-centric property. Antique mirrors and hand-carved lounge chairs juxtapose teal faux snakeskin-covered headboards and dramatic silk curtains. The union of history and contemporary luxury extends to the boutique hotel’s Big 4 Restaurant, named for the group of businessmen and philanthropists who built the Central Pacific Railroad and dominated Nob Hill in the late 1800s. Chartreuse leather-upholstered banquettes, nightly live piano music, and dark wood accents give the space an air of old-school glamour.
Battery St, San Francisco, CA, USA
Looking to mingle with San Francisco’s game changers? Book a suite at the Battery. In 2014, entrepreneurs Xochi and Michael Birch opened this private, members-only social club in San Francisco’s Jackson Square neighborhood (also known to history buffs as the Barbary Coast). Nonmembers—and travelers—can gain access to the entirety of the club by staying in one of the Battery’s 14 hotel suites or the penthouse (with its own private roof terrace). Designer Ken Fulk created opulent, stylish spaces throughout the interior—think lacquer paint, Chesterfield sofas, and a rotating collection of art, with a focus on portraiture. The Battery houses several cocktail bars, including one with a secret passageway into a small speakeasy; a restaurant that can accommodate groups; a gym; a coffee counter; and a library (each club member selects a book when admitted). The guest suites are large and modern by San Francisco standards, with amenities including Geneva sound systems and Malin + Goetz bath products, plus locally sourced liquors and snacks for late-night cravings.
335 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
Any hotel in San Francisco that has been operating for more than a century certainly has some stories to tell, and the Westin St. Francis is no exception. From socialites to celebrities to politicians, it seems every bold-faced name has slept (or attended late-night soirees) in its Bliss and Faville–designed towers. Today, guests to this distinctive 1,195-room property still enjoy top-notch service with some thoroughly modern touches: The 1904 landmark building recently underwent a $45 million renovation by Dallas-based interior design firm Forest Perkins, inspired by San Francisco’s moniker as “The Paris of the West.” Guest rooms are painted in Parisian blue, goldenrod yellow, and peony pink, and feature original crystal chandeliers. Downstairs, travelers can marvel at the lobby’s master clock—the first example in the western United States—and study a collection of photographs by Ansel Adams depicting the hotel’s long-lost Patent Leather Bar. Pro tip: Let the hotel’s resident historian bend your ear during a historical tour.
601 Murray Circle, Fort Baker, Sausalito
Spend the night nestled under the Golden Gate Bridge in the most dignified of accommodations: the former living quarters of high-ranking officers in the U.S. Army. Cavallo Point is the result of the luxurious reimagining of a cluster of military lodges located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, just over the bridge in Marin County. Today, the 142-room hotel serves as a retreat for in-the-know travelers and locals looking for an easy, elevated escape from everyday city life. Original brick fireplaces and beamed ceilings mingle with modern finishes and furnishings, such as butter-soft leather sofas and whitewashed Adirondack chairs. The expansive grounds are meant to be explored on foot or bicycle. The Wellness Weekend package includes all meals, prepared with an emphasis on health at Murray Circle restaurant, morning yoga classes, guided hikes, a spa treatment, nightly wine receptions, and plenty of free moments to soak in the serene meditation pool—the very best kind of boot camp.
1100 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
The San Francisco Proper Hotel is the hottest new hotel in town. The reason why? International grande dame of maximalism, designer Kelly Wearstler, revamped a down-and-out tourist hotel deep in the heart of the city, and established the Proper as a magnet for trendsetting visitors and locals. When guests arrive at the 131-room hotel and step inside the flatiron building, they’re treated to Wearstler’s signature pattern-on-pattern aesthetic. In the ground floor lobby, Wearstler sets the mood with salon-style seating areas using richly reupholstered vintage furnishings and Cubism-inspired paintings. Michael Adams, formerly of Central Kitchen, oversees the hotel’s main restaurant, Villon. And while the Proper isn’t the place for those looking for a Zen retreat, it is the place to order a Fifi the Flea cocktail (Tequila Ocho Plata, Ancho Reyes, Ancho Reyes Verde, grapefruit, honey, vanilla, lime, smoked salt) at Charmaine’s, the stylish rooftop bar. Between the fire pits and the bird’s-eye view of Market Street all the way to the bay, it’s no wonder the Proper has become the destination to see and be seen.
600 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
When your hotel offers a third-generation German goldsmith just steps from your room, you can be confident you will enjoy a comfortable stay. From the 400-thread-count Frette linens to the L’Occitane spa and the mini bar stocked with 12-year-old scotch, there’s a reason this hotel is ranked among the world’s best. It’s set among the other behemoths of Nob Hill—the exclusive aerie that San Francisco’s Big Four called home—and housed within a neoclassical manse with beefy columns and ornate stonework befitting its 1909 birth year. But a revamp in 2015 brought the hotel’s 336 guest rooms and suites squarely into the present day. And despite the culinary temptations that await just beyond the top-hatted valets, be sure to enjoy at least one meal at the in-house Parallel 37. (Book the chef’s table and let chef Michael Rotondo handle the rest.).
1625 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
Situated in the center of the USA’s largest Japantown, this Joie de Vivre Hotel unveiled a $32 million renovation in May 2018. While the property’s historic exterior hasn’t been changed—it was once a 1960s Community Center and the former Japanese Consulate—the interiors have been redone by Brooklyn-based MARKZEFF Design with custom leather furniture, shibori accents, and contemporary Japanese art. Each of the 13 new Garden Suites face the Japanese zen garden that includes a koi pond, firepit, and a custom Godzilla mural by San Francisco-based artists Yukako Ezoe and Naoki Onodera of Bahama Kangaroo. At the center of the renovation is the living-room like lobby decorated with mid-century couches and lit with vintage factory pendants. The seasonal cocktail menu at the lobby bar focuses on Japanese whiskey and sake, while the bar menu includes Japanese-inspired bites like shishito peppers and chicken katsu sliders. There are happy hour specials every weekday from 4 to 6 p.m. and every Monday between 5 and 6 p.m. the bar hosts a vinyl hour where you can pick a record to play from the hotel’s collection of classics. For wellness-minded travelers, the new 3,000-square-foot fitness center located one level below the lobby looks out onto an open-air tea garden and features a yoga room and a Peloton bike (guests also have complimentary access to the nearby Kabuki Springs & Spa communal baths).
444 Presidio Ave, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
The 1950s facade of The Laurel Inn reveals that this property—now a Joie de Vivre Hotel—has been part of San Francisco‘s Pacific Heights neighborhood for many decades. But a multimillion dollar renovation in 2017 refreshed the boutique hotel’s 49 guest rooms, while keeping the retro charm intact with midcentury modern furniture and rich velvet and wool textiles. Located within a few blocks of the Presidio and mere steps from the shops and restaurants of Sacramento Street, many of the spacious rooms have been designed with kitchenettes to add to the residential feel of the hotel. Ask for a room with a city view—watching the fog roll in over Pacific Heights and the downtown skyscrapers beyond that each morning from bed is an experience not to be missed.
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