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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.