World-famous for a reason, San Francisco’s resplendent Chinatown was North America’s first and is still the continent’s largest. Stay near this unmissable neighborhood with our pick of hotels within walking distance of all the dim sum, galleries and karaoke bars it has to offer.
Luxury epitomised, the Ritz-Carlton brand is synonymous with opulence. With three drinking and dining spots – one a jewel-toned wine-tasting room – that serve up farm-to-table American cuisine and wines predominantly from the Bay Area, it’s an excellent choice for foodies. The spa is run in conjunction with skincare brand L’Occitane and offers signature treatments like the Tech Tension Relief and the Jet Lag Reviver sure to slip you into holiday mode within minutes.
An intimate hotel designed with contemporary Asian decor, the SW Hotel, located in the bustle of Chinatown, is a quiet place for serious rest and relaxation. A helpful front-desk team assists guests in booking nearby tours to make the best of their stay in the area. Free Wi-Fi and a complimentary tea and coffee service make the hotel a great place for budget travelers. Many of the rooms feature mini-fridges and a seating area for maximum comfort.
Cutting a striking figure atop Nob Hill, the InterContinental Mark Hopkins is a palatial building presiding over the city. Interiors feel regal with enormous chandeliers, deep-chestnut wainscot-paneled walls and sweeping drapery, not to mention a mini museum in the lobby that explores the hotel’s history in the most grandiose of ways. Not just relying on its good looks, the hotel is dedicated to being as eco-friendly as possible, which means a rigorous recycling program, a focus on clean energy and encouraging guests to try to cut their carbon footprint.
Omni is just a block away from the splendor and hubbub of Chinatown in San Francisco’s Financial District. Housed in a former bank, the hotel has retained some of this moneyed sheen with marble check-in desks and enormous draping chandeliers. The gym is open around the clock and filled with high-tech equipment, while those who are after a dip can buy day passes for the nearby Equinox gym at reception. One thing’s for sure: you’ll want to work up an appetite for the hotel’s restaurant, Bob’s Steak & Chop House, where the take on surf and turf is an enormous slice of beef topped with hollandaise sauce and fresh crab meat.
Gastronomical connoisseurs – and bee conservationists – will be happy to know that the regeneration of the city’s bee population is taking place right above their heads on the hotel’s rooftop. Both the honey harvested from the rooftop beehives and the fresh herbs grown in the garden are served in the restaurants and bars downstairs. Choose from tiki-themed Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar (which has tropical vibes and periodic “thunderstorms”) or Laurel Court Restaurant with its So-Cal-inspired menu of dishes like tuna tartare and Mediterranean salad.
The gilded aesthetic at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake is an homage to the Roaring ’20s, the era in which the hotel was built. It has been renovated since, but stepping inside still sends you back into that glitzy decade, thanks to wainscot-paneled walls, twinkling chandeliers and mid-century furnishings. The raucous drinking establishments match the Gatsby mansion for atmosphere, hosting glamorous events like drag brunches and burlesque nights. Cheers!