The Best Hotels to Book in San Francisco

Got your eyes on a beloved architectural landmark or an avant-garde boutique hotel? San Francisco has accommodation options for every traveler and budget
Got your eyes on a beloved architectural landmark or an avant-garde boutique hotel? San Francisco has accommodation options for every traveler and budget | © Felix Choo / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Katrina Nattress
1 December 2021
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A trip to San Francisco can be a magical experience but picking the right hotel is crucial. Fortunately, we have created a list of the best hotels for all budgets – from options that won’t break the bank to the Golden Gate City’s most luxurious accommodations – whichever you choose, you’re sure to have a pleasant stay in the City by the Bay.

InterContinental Mark Hopkins, for a Frisco landmark

Bright room with beige walls, a large wooden-framed bed, a TV, a writing desk, an armchair and sweeping views over the city at InterContinental Mark Hopkins
Courtesy of InterContinental Mark Hopkins / Booking.com
The InterContinental Mark Hopkins is not just one of the best hotels in San Francisco – it’s a beloved architectural landmark in one of the city’s most lavish neighborhoods. The building’s historic charm contrasts with modern amenities; each elegant guest room has views of the surrounding neighborhood, or if you’re lucky, the Golden Gate Bridge. Head up to Top of the Mark on the 19th floor – having a drink here is a quintessential San Francisco experience. Order the signature martini, and enjoy 360-degree views of the San Francisco skyline.

The Palace Hotel, for lavish European-style quarters

Classy room with light grey walls, a leather-headboard bed, a writing desk and two armchairs at Palace Hotel
Courtesy of Palace Hotel / Expedia
The Palace Hotel is a must-visit destination for those only searching for the classiest accommodations. The lobby and dining room are some of the most lavish spaces in the city, complete with multiple Austrian crystal chandeliers, Italian marble columns, and a domed ceiling. The Palace also houses one of San Francisco’s only indoor pools – important for those chilly SF summer days – and its on-site bar, the Pied Piper, is a perfect place for a nightcap.

Staypineapple, An Elegant Hotel, for boutique charm

Two-floor lobby at Staypineapple San Francisco Hotel with columns, grey couches, yellow armchairs and pillows and gold touches
Courtesy of Staypineapple San Francisco / Expedia.com

Following a revamp in 2016, Staypineapple, An Elegant Hotel became one of the newest boutique hotels in the city. However, the building that houses its 93 rooms is a century old, and its exterior looks the part. As soon as you step inside the lobby, you’re bombarded with gold accents and plush furniture. The rooms are welcoming, with vibrant yellow and gray tones, while an embroidered pineapple pillow invites those who stay to “sleep with me.” The Lower Nob Hill location also offers complimentary yellow beach cruisers to its patrons – for those who’d rather pedal up and down the neighborhood’s steep hills.

Hotel Drisco, for fabulous amenities

Classy white suite with large bed, writing desk overlooking the city and a separate living room at Hotel Drisco, San Francisco
Courtesy of Hotel Drisco / Expedia

San Francisco is a beautiful city but can feel a little compact for some. Hotel Drisco is for anyone who wants to bask in its beauty without dealing with the traffic. It’s perched on the hills of Pacific Heights, so the rooms have uninterrupted views of the city. It also offers fantastic amenities, including a nightly wine reception, gourmet continental breakfast, and bikes for those who’d like to explore the nearby attractions.

Hotel Kabuki, for Japonesque cool

Two double beds against a grey wall with pictures and interesting lamps at Hotel Kabuki
Courtesy of Hotel Kabuki - a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel / Expedia
Did you know San Francisco has its own Japantown? Just minutes from Union Square, Hotel Kabuki lies in the middle of this cultural neighborhood and fuses both cultures with an East-meets-West atmosphere. The bar places emphasis on Japanese whiskey, sake, and beer, while the Small Farms Breakfast highlights Californian cuisine. The hotel also houses a reflection koi pond, fireside seating, and an outdoor meditation station.

Taj Campton Place, for two-Michelin-starred dining

Classy beige-toned room with window seat, double bed, writing desk and TV at Taj Campton Place, San Francisco
Courtesy of Taj Campton Place / Expedia.com

Taj Campton Place is in the heart of Union Square, making it easily accessible to the best shopping and restaurants in the city. However, the luxury hotel’s eponymous restaurant, helmed by Srijith Gopinathan, will make dining elsewhere hard to consider. The two-Michelin-starred eatery combines fresh, local ingredients with the spices and techniques of Indian cooking to create flavorful Cal-Indian cuisine.

Fairmont San Francisco, for unadulterated luxury

Outdoor, rooftop breakfast spread at Fairmont San Francisco Hotel with panoramic skyline and bay views
Courtesy of Fairmont San Francisco / Expedia.com
The Fairmont San Francisco is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city. This Nob Hill institution offers 606 guest rooms and suites that boast excellent views of the skyline and bay. The decadent decor in the lobby is balanced by the calming, earthy tones of the guest rooms, and the dining options are outstanding. Even for those who aren’t staying at the Fairmont, having dinner and drinks at the famous Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar are a must-do, as is afternoon tea.

Axiom Hotel San Francisco, for a sustainable stay

Classy room with a double bed, panelled walls and a dark navy carpet at Axiom Hotel San Francisco
Courtesy of Axiom Hotel San Francisco / Expedia.com

Axiom Hotel is the right choice for ecoconscious travelers: LEED-certified, it boasts energy management systems that preserve power in unoccupied rooms, uses energy-efficient lighting, provides an abundance of recycling receptacles, and much more. This minimalistic hotel also offers a library and games room, complete with an arcade.

Hotel Vitale, for a waterfront location

Rattan furniture with green and white striped cushions on the rooftop lounge area overlooking the city at Hotel Vitale
Courtesy of Hotel Vitale / Expedia.com

The first place that may come to mind when thinking of the San Francisco waterfront is Fisherman’s Wharf, but there are many other areas to enjoy without the never-ending tourist traffic. Hotel Vitale lies right next to the Embarcadero – a fantastic waterfront locale without the frenzy. The hotel features a penthouse-level spa, as well as waterfront dining at the on-site Americano Restaurant & Bar. For exploration, both Pier 14 and the expansive Ferry Building are just a short walk away.

San Francisco Proper Hotel, for stylish simplicity

Rooftop lounge area with white and black striped chairs arranged around fire pits at San Francisco Proper Hotel, San Francisco
Courtesy of San Francisco Proper Hotel / Expedia.com

San Francisco Proper Hotel is one of the city’s newer establishments, opening its doors in 2017 in an effort to help renovate the Mid-Market neighborhood. Here, sophistication blends with innovation, complete with decor that juxtaposes simple blacks, creams, grays, and wooden accents with striped and floral wallpapers. The hotel offers a variety of rooms, from modest bunk beds to premier suites. Situated 120ft (36.5m) above Market Street lies Charmaine’s, a rooftop bar, but if you’d prefer to stay on ground level, dine on contemporary American food at Villon, helmed by chef Jason Fox. If you don’t want to deal with driving (and parking) in the city, Proper Hotel is steps away from a BART station.

Hotel G San Francisco, for craft cocktails

Classy white room with a bed with a black headboard, a grey couch, a wooden chair and table at Hotel G San Francisco
Courtesy of Hotel G San Francisco / Expedia.com

While Hotel G opened in 2014, the building has been standing tall in Union Square for over a century. The hotel preserves the same spirit as the Fielding Hotel – the first hotel to open at the site in 1909 – with a simple, relaxed design and home-like feeling. The rooms are geared towards comfort and the on-site bar, Benjamin Cooper, is a favorite for its handcrafted cocktails and fresh oysters. Hotel G also has a magnificent partnership with Creativity Explored. If you see a piece of art in your room that you like, you can buy it, with the proceeds benefiting the non-profit’s work for adults with developmental disabilities.

Hotel Zetta San Francisco, for classy amenities

Modern room with a dark grey accent wall, a leater-headboard bed, a patterned rug, a TV and a writing desk at Hotel Zetta San Francisco
Courtesy of Hotel Zetta San Francisco / Expedia

Though historic hotels abound in San Francisco, Hotel Zetta isn’t one of them. The SoMa property takes pride in its ultra-modern accommodations, complete with ecofriendly amenities and art strewn throughout the building. Its on-site restaurant, The Cavalier, specializes in upscale British cuisine, and The Playroom is a space for adults to unwind with billiards, shuffleboard, and a 30ft (9m) Plinko wall. If you stay here, you may never want to venture out of the hotel.

Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco, for the record collection

View of the exterior of Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco
Courtesy of Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco / Expedia.com

If you like music, Hotel Zeppelin is the place to stay. It’s all about embracing San Francisco’s counterculture tradition and it shows in the decor, each room adorned with pop culture artwork and equipped with a vintage record player. The front desk even has a library of records guests can check out for free. The on-site restaurant, Rambler, offers Californian fare, and The Mantel Bar is a great place to relax after an evening of exploring the surrounding neighborhoods. Afterward, crawl into your bed and let the sounds of classic vinyl lull you to sleep.

Argonaut Hotel, Fisherman’s Wharf, for family-friendly fun

View of the exterior of red-brick Argonaut Hotel and the San Francisco Bay with Alcatraz in the background
Courtesy of Argonaut Hotel / Expedia
Even your pup is welcome at the family-friendly Argonaut Hotel. Guests will delight in the nautical theme and views of the Bay and Alcatraz, while design enthusiasts will appreciate the exposed red-brick and original timbers of what was previously a warehouse. Youngsters will also love the fun extras, such as access to DVDs, a treasure chest of toys, scavenger hunts, games around the fireplace, or the Xbox One on a large TV in the lobby. Finish the day at the family-friendly Blue Mermaid Restaurant.

None of these take your fancy? Discover our guide to where to stay in San Francisco, or check out the best boutique hotels in San Francisco, the top luxury accommodation or check out the best hotels with suites in San Fran, bookable with Culture Trip.

Mara Curechian contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on December 1, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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