The Best Hotels in San Francisco

San Francisco has accommodation options for every traveler and budget
San Francisco has accommodation options for every traveler and budget | © Felix Choo / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Katrina Nattress
26 November 2020

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 Palace Hotel

Hotel
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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.
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The Huntington Hotel

Hotel
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Huntington Hotel, San Francisco
Courtesy of Huntington Hotel / Expedia.com

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.

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Staypineapple, An Elegant Hotel, Union Square

Boutique Hotel
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Staypineapple San Francisco Hotel, San Francisco
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.

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The St Regis San Francisco

Hotel
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St. Regis San Francisco, Hotel, San Francisco
Courtesy of the St. Regis San Francisco / Expedia.com
No matter where in the world you’re staying, if it’s at a St Regis, you know you’re going to be greeted with luxury and unbeatable hospitality. Here, the guest rooms are simple yet sophisticated in design and feature butler services upon request. The 260-room property lies in the heart of SoMa (South of Market) and, for those who’d like to pique their cultural curiosities, sits adjacent to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of the African Diaspora. It’s also within walking distance of Union Square, if you prefer to spend your free time shopping.
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Hotel Drisco

Hotel
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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.

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Hotel Carlton

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
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Hotel Carlton, San Francisco
Courtesy of Hotel Carlton / Expedia

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.

Hotel Kabuki

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
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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.
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Tilden Hotel

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
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Tilden Hotel, San Francisco
Courtesy of Taj Campton Place / Expedia.com

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.

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Taj Campton Place

Hotel
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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-star eatery combines fresh, local ingredients with the spices and techniques of Indian cooking to create flavorful Cal-Indian cuisine.

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Fairmont San Francisco

Hotel
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Fairmont San Francisco Hotel
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.
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Axiom Hotel San Francisco

Hotel
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Axiom Hotel San Francisco
Courtesy of Axiom Hotel San Francisco / Expedia.com

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.

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Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel

Suite Hotel, Chain Hotel, Hotel
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Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, San Francisco
Courtesy of Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel / Expedia.com
The Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel doesn’t harp too much on its namesake – although the red-suited Beefeater doormen do make a nice touch – instead, the hotel pairs trendiness with its old-world charm. Grand staircases spiral up from the lobby and crystal chandeliers shimmer in the light. However, the 400-plus guest rooms come equipped with modern decor and amenities that make the accommodations as comfy as they are elegant.
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Galleria Park Hotel

Hotel
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Galleria Park Hotel, San Francisco
Courtesy of Galleria Park Hotel / Expedia
Situated between Union Square and the Financial District, the Galleria Park Hotel is a newly renovated property from Joie de Vivre. The hotel group was respectful of the building’s history, uniting its early 20th-century Art Nouveau design elements with a modern flair. The guest rooms are bathed in calming hues and contemporary decor, and the on-site restaurant, Gaspar Brasserie, offers the best Parisian fare in the city.

Hotel Vitale

Boutique Hotel
Map View
Hotel Vitale, San Francisco
Courtesy of Hotel Vitale / Expedia

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.

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Hotel Nikko San Francisco

Hotel
Map View
Hotel Nikko, San Francisco hotel
Courtesy of Hotel Nikko / Expedia

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.

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San Francisco Proper Hotel

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Map View
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.

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Hotel G San Francisco

Boutique Hotel
Map View
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.

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  • Hotel Zetta San Francisco

    Hotel
    Map View
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    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 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.

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    Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco

    Boutique Hotel, Luxury
    Map View
    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. Afterwards, crawl into your bed and let the sounds of classic vinyl lull you to sleep.

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    The Laurel Inn

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel, Apartment
    Map View
    Laurel Inn, San Francisco
    Courtesy of Laurel Inn / Expedia.com
    Those who stay at the Laurel Inn may feel like they’re living in a luxury studio apartment, as some of the rooms feature a kitchenette. This boutique hotel is tucked away in the Pacific Heights neighborhood, providing accommodations for those uninterested in staying in bustling Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf, while still being close to the best San Franciscan sights. Each room has incredible views of either the bay or the city.
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    The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

    Hotel
    Map View
    The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
    Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton / Expedia.com
    The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco sits on the fringe of Union Square and Chinatown, and like the other properties that share its name, this hotel exudes luxury. From the ornate columned exterior to the crystal chandeliers inside, the Ritz-Carlton is the epitome of class. Guests can enjoy Mediterranean-inspired spa amenities at Spa L’Occitane by the Bay and dine on globally inspired Californian cuisine at Parallel 37, before taking a stroll and exploring the bustling neighborhood.
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    Hotel Via, South Beach

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
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    Courtesy of Hotel VIA / Expedia
    While you’re staying at Hotel Via, make sure you take in a Giants baseball game at Oracle Park, directly across from the hotel. Hotel rooms are chic with a minimalist design, outfitted in soothing shades of slate grey, white, and azure. In-room amenities include fluffy robes, smart TVs, Illy coffee and fridges. The stunning indoor and outdoor rooftop at Via, 12 stories up, offers expansive views, fire pits, heat lamps, bars and private cabanas.
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    The Phoenix Hotel, Tenderloin

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    Phoenix Hotel
    Courtesy of Phoenix Hotel / Expedia
    The hotel was born in 1987 from the idea that bands needed a boutique hotel with space to park the tour bus at night. Thus began the Phoenix’s rock’n’roll history. Rooms surround the private courtyard overlooking the outdoor heated pool, the site of many a party. The dimly lit Chambers restaurant is open for dinner and weekend brunch, which can be taken on the patio. The hotel is located in the gritty Tenderloin and is recommended for intrepid travelers.
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    Argonaut Hotel, Fisherman’s Wharf

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    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.
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    Additional reporting by Christy Taylor

    These recommendations were updated on November 26, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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