A trip to San Francisco can be a magical experience but picking the right hotel is crucial. Fortunately, Culture Trip has 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.
The Huntington Hotel’s location couldn’t be better for those looking to treat themselves. Perched atop ritzy Nob Hill, the nearly century-old building is smack dab in the middle of one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods. As for the hotel itself, the Huntington prides itself on big rooms – something not a lot of other San Francisco accommodations can boast – a three-story spa and the Big 4 restaurant, which pairs fine dining with live piano performances.
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.
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.
Vibrant, funky and ecofriendly, Hotel Carlton feels more like hanging out at a friend’s house than staying at a hotel. The lobby features a hodgepodge of plush couches and cushy chairs, while bright colors and woven African masks adorn the guest rooms. Downstairs, the hotel hosts a nightly wine social with live music – you’d be forgiven for forgetting that you’re still in the hotel.
Historically, the Tenderloin wasn’t the most desirable San Franciscan neighborhood. However, the area, next to Union Square, is on the up and up thanks to the opening of high-end dining, shopping and accommodation options, including the Tilden Hotel. The decor throughout reflects a creative spin on minimalism and, on the first Tuesday of every month, the hotel champions local creatives with an art reception. Guests can sip coffee at the Tilden Café and enjoy a nightcap at the Douglas Room after a long day of sightseeing.
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-star eatery combines fresh, local ingredients with the spices and techniques of Indian cooking to create flavorful Cal-Indian cuisine.
Axiom Hotel is the right choice for eco-conscious 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.
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.
Hotel Nikko provides Asian hospitality in the heart of Union Square. The hotel boasts gourmet Japanese dining at ANZU, entertainment at the on-site nightclub Feinstein’s and sophisticated libations in the KANPAI Lounge. Additionally, the property offers a 10,000sqft (929sqm) gym equipped with dry saunas and a steam room.
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.
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.
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 eco-friendly 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.
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. Afterwards, crawl into your bed and let the sounds of classic vinyl lull you to sleep.
Additional reporting by Christy Taylor