While there are plenty of hotels in San Francisco to choose from—from the best luxury hotels to budget-friendly options—true aesthetes will want a boutique hotel in San Francisco 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 choices for the most thoughtful designs in the city’s hotel scene.
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Boutique hotels in San Francisco
Pac Heights' Hotel Drisco effortlessly blends with its sophisticated surroundings while avoiding an ostentatious edge. Its aesthetic leans away from the obsessive design progressiveness of the city, preferring a classic Euro luxury style rife with plump sofas—easy on your eyes and your lower back. Established in 1903, this sleek stalwart of the SF hotel world has been providing travelers with regal temperament (minus the stuffiness) and a short walk to the Presidio for over a century. If you can foot the bill, you can rest easy (with a nice city view, if you get your reservation done right).
When in Silicon Valley, do as the techies do. Hotel Zetta, smack in the heart of SoMa, features a massive Plinko board as well as several game rooms to get your play on. But Zetta has plenty of style too, with a salvage-and-rescue aesthetic that showcases artwork and design features made from recycled materials. Stuff yourself silly at adjacent Cavalier restaurant, then pass out in one of the spacious, sleek rooms.
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 sunet. 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 the red Beefeater outfits are fun—but instead 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. SFMOMA 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 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 night in 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 Asia de Cuba restaurant and revered Redwood Room bar, plop down on the massive blue chair in the lounge for people watching and digesting.