San Francisco is a sightseer’s dream. From the grand Victorians to Fisherman’s Wharf and Golden Gate Park, the City by the Bay offers magnificent views, architecture and art at every turn. These are the 11 best boutique hotels in San Francisco.
The rooms at San Francisco Proper Hotel feature a bold mix of patterns | Courtesy of Proper Hotel / Hotels.com
In an attempt to help renovate the Mid-Market neighborhood, Proper Hotel opened its doors in 2017. The posh, 131-room hotel blends sophistication with innovation, offering rooms from modest bunk beds to lavish premier suites. The decor juxtaposes simple blacks, creams, grays and wooden accents with intricate wallpaper designs from stripes to floral prints. Guests can lounge 120 feet above Market Street at the Charmaine’s rooftop bar or treat themselves to contemporary American food at the hotel’s Villon restaurant, helmed by Chef Mikey Adams. Proper Hotel is just steps from a BART station, for those who don’t want to deal with driving (and parking) in the city.
Hotel Zephyr is a wonderful option for those who want to stay by the water, especially for anyone with kids in tow. From its colorful maritime theme and art-filled courtyard to its indoor game room, which includes ping pong and billiards, this hotel is perfect for younger visitors (it even has an on-site food truck). For the older guests, the room views can’t be beat. The Bay is just outside the window and stretches as far as the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. Zephyr’s close proximity to Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, and the beach at Aquatic Park are also plusses.
Hotel Zeppelin is an audiophile’s dream. The hotel prides itself in breaking the mold and celebrating San Francisco’s counterculture tradition. Each of its 196 rooms is draped in pop culture artwork and equipped with a vintage record player (check out a record from the front desk’s free library). Guests can grab a bite at The Rambler or a nightcap at The Mantel Bar after an evening of exploring the adjacent Nob Hill and Union Square neighborhoods.
Hotel G may have opened its doors four short years ago, but the Union Square building has been standing tall since 1909. The newly renovated hotel strives to embody the same spirit the Fielding Hotel encompassed over 100 years ago, with a simple, relaxed design and homey feeling. The rooms are approached with minimalist yet comfortable decor, and the on-site bar Benjamin Cooper is a favorite among locals for its delicately handcrafted cocktails and fresh oysters. But the coolest part about Hotel G is its partnership with Creativity Explored. Like a piece of art hanging in your room? You can take it home with you, and the proceeds benefit the non-profit’s work with developmentally disabled adults.
Perched atop the Pacific Heights hills, Hotel Drisco is a truly luxurious experience for anyone who wants to bask in the city’s beauty without dealing with the bustle. Because of its location, the rooms have some of the best uninterrupted views in San Francisco; however, the best thing about Hotel Drisco may be its amenities. The hotel offers nightly wine receptions featuring local wines, artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, fresh fruit and hors d’oeuvres; gourmet continental breakfast, and loaner bikes for those who’d like to explore the neighboring Presidio park and Golden Gate Bridge.
Hotel Vitale provides relaxing places to rest your head | Courtesy of Hotel Vitale / Booking.com
Situated right next to the Embarcadero, Hotel Vitale is for the travelers who want to stay on the water without dealing with the frenzy that is Fisherman’s Wharf. The luxury hotel pampers guests with a penthouse level spa, complete with rooftop soaking tubs and sunset views, as well as waterfront dining at the on-site Americano. For those who prefer to explore, the hotel is across the street from Pier 14 and a short walk from the expansive Ferry Building.
Hotel Kabuki recently went through a major makeover. The $30 million renovations transformed the Japantown hotel into a tech-savvy, comfort-focused retreat. The atmosphere is East meets West. The bar specializes in Japanese sakes, beers, and whiskies, while the Small Farms breakfast showcases California-style cuisine. The hotel also houses a Japanese garden with a reflection koi pond and fireside seating, and an outdoor meditation station.
The Inn at the Preisidio is the perfect option for those who want a relaxing retreat. The 22-room boutique hotel has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is tucked away in the tranquil park. Guests can enjoy the Inn’s impressive golf course, scenic walking trails, and cozy fire pit with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a San Francisco hotel with a pool, but that’s just one of the many perks Phoenix Hotel has to offer. The swanky motor court-style hotel evokes a 1950s beach vibe and is a go-to for traveling musicians playing the nearby Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and Great American Music Hall, describing itself as “a temporary home to musicians and other artistic vagrants.” The rooms have as much retro character as the property’s exterior, and the on-site Chambers restaurant is a great place to eat and drink regardless of if you’re staying at the Phoenix or not.
The Clift drips with as much swagger as it does luxury. Designed by famed interior decorator Philippe Starck, the Union Square hotel boasts quite the furniture collection, including chairs from Ray and Charles Eames and furniture by Salvador Dalí. The rooms exude modern elegance, and the dining options are reason all in themselves to stay here. The deco-inspired Redwood Room is a destination all in itself, and the Living Room, designed to evoke an old English club, is perfect for a nightcap.
Hotel VIA is the ideal location for anyone traveling to San Francisco for a baseball game. The property is just across the street from AT&T Park; however, this hotel is much more than just convenient South Beach lodging. The contemporary style of Hotel Via is a modernist’s dream, and the rooftop bar boasts spectacular city views from 12 stories above the pavement.