While there are plenty of amazing hotels in San Francisco—from the best luxury sleeps to budget-friendly stays—true aesthetes will want a chic boutiquer that's as beautiful as it is comfortable. Whether you’re trying to tap into the rocker spirit of old or the gorgeous vineyards of nearby Napa Valley, we’ve got you covered with our pick of the most thoughtful designs in the city’s hotel scene.
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Boutique hotels in San Francisco
This posh Pacific Heights boutique hotel is decorated throughout with modern stately home glamor and is eminently inviting. Situated at the top of a hill, Hotel Drisco's imposing Edwardian structure offers uninterrupted city views, plus luxury amenities like nightly wine receptions and weekday chauffeur service. In fact, the complimentary evening wine reception is not to be missed. There are local California wines, artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, fresh fruit and hot hors d’oeuvres.
SoMa’s Hotel Zetta juxtaposes its historic neo-classical exterior with the unexpected shapes and colors of an ultra-modern interior. Completely gutted in 2013, the 116-room hotel features explosive artwork and a variety of sculptural elements made from repurposed materials like chandeliers made of discarded eye glasses in the hotel’s entryway. Large functional rooms cater to the Silicon Valley crowd with high-quality electronics and plush beds with 500-thread-count sheets. Burn off some steam at the pool table, giant Plinko board or full-service bar S&R (Salvage and Rescue) in the playful-yet-stylish lobby.
What’s your dream Bay-cation without a gorgeous waterfront view? Jawdropping views of the San Francisco Bay await at the decadent Hotel Vitale, where you can post on the wood-paneled rooftop or penthouse-level spa to catch a gorgeous sunset. The rooms' blue-gray color palette, plus lavender-scented and leaf-patterned hallways will have you at ease all the way to dinner at in-house Americano Restaurant—or take advantage of the hotel's easy access to the Embarcadero to grab a bite at the Ferry Building and enjoy on dock of the bay.
A National Historic Landmark, the Inn at the Presidio is nestled within its namesake park at the north end of the city—close enough to the action, but with comfortable distance between SF’s bustle. Its many amenities include a stunning golf course, countless scenic walking and hiking trails, and a cozy outside fire pit with Golden Gate views. The 22-room hotel also boasts a charm distinct from its competitors: the red brick facade and white columned porch offer cozy spot to people watch as the evening winds down.
If Don Draper were to move west, he’d look no further than the Phoenix. This funky pastel paradise in the Tenderloin evokes a 1950s beach motel, complete with tropical courtyard, swanky rooms and, of course, a pool at the center of the action. The hotel is a rocker’s dream—and has hosted the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. Nearby Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and Great American Music Hall make this the pergect home base for anyone looking to catch a show in San Francisco.
The Sir Francis Drake doesn’t double down too hard on its theme, although the doormen out front in red Beefeater outfits are fun. Instead it offers a surprisingly cozy stay among gold-leaf ceilings, chandeliers and regal red and blue Victorian posh furniture. The architectural style blends classic San Francisco with marble horse-head lamps courtesy of Jonathan Adler. The Drake’s offbeat elegance, from its stunning steep entryway staircase to the licorice-looking red statue of the man himself behind the bar, is cultivated with fun precision.
Look no further for the epitome of modernity: 22 floors patrolled by personal butlers ensure an indulgent stay at the St. Regis amongst sleek Asian furniture, oak-and-glass bathrooms, and a legendary 9,000-square-foot spa. San Fran's MOMA may be just a few steps away, but the hotel boats its own $3,000,000 art collection that's worth checking out.
Bringing a psychedelic sensibility to modern design, Hotel Zeppelin maintains a classy and flirtatious atmosphere in all 196 of its rooms, which are decked out with pop art and vintage record players (check out a player and your favorite vinyl from the front-desk's library for free). Keep busy at the vintage-style game rooms or the red-brick lobby, where avant-garde lighting and retro charcoal sofas make it the perfect spot for a night cap after a full day exploring Union Square.
The hippest boutique around has been welcoming guests to Union Square for about a century. After a facelift from famed French designer Philippe Starck, the hotel was decked out with chandeliers, fireplaces, groovy rugs and minimalist-but-comfy furniture. After stints at the lovely and legendary Redwood Room bar, plop down on one of the architecturally stunning chairs in the lounge for people watching and digesting (we recommend the massive blue one).