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Hotel Zetta
Photograph: Courtesy Booking.comHotel Zetta

The best boutique hotels in San Francisco

Aesthetic just as important as your shut-eye? Stay at one of these well-designed boutique hotels in San Francisco

Written by
Mac Goodspeed
&
Danielle Goldstein
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While there are plenty of amazing hotels in San Francisco—from the best hotels for romance 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.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in San Francisco

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Boutique hotels in San Francisco

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Pacific Heights
  • price 3 of 4

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 a chauffeur service within the city limits. 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.

  • Hotels
  • Spa hotels
  • SoMa
  • price 3 of 4

Magnificent views of the San Francisco Bay dominate this chic boutique hotel on the water’s edge on The Embarcadero. With an aesthetic that is part mid-century modern, part urban cool, the blues and greys of Hotel Vitale’s luxurious rooms bring indoors the fog-drenched city outside. Rooms facing an interior courtyard are the least expensive but a night in a bay-view room is money well spent. For a real treat book the Circular Suite, where walls of windows offer you a full panorama. On the roof, the Spa Vitale offers facials, massages and aromatherapy soaking tubs. Downstairs, join the Financial District’s 20-somethings for a post-work cocktail at the Americano restaurant and bar.

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  • Hotels
  • Yerba Buena
  • price 3 of 4

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 games 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 sleek and spacious rooms.

Inn at the Presidio
  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Presidio
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • Hotels
  • Tenderloin
  • price 2 of 4

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, Pearl Jam and The Killers. Nearby Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and Great American Music Hall make this the perfect base for anyone looking to catch a show in San Francisco. 

  • Hotels
  • Union Square
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • Hotels
  • Yerba Buena
  • price 3 of 4

For the height of opulence, look no further than the St Regis. Not only is there a luxurious design palette (glass, wood and marble), but all 22 floors are manned by personal butlers. There's also a cmoplimentary car service (first come first served for drop-offs within two miles of the hotel), 24-hour fitness centre and an infinity pool. Art lovers will be especially fond of the close proximity of the Museum of Modern Art (just next door) and the hotel's in-house collection of pieces by local artists.

  • Hotels
  • Lower Nob Hill
  • price 3 of 4

Rock 'n' roll by name, rock 'n' roll by nature: the Zeppelin pays homage to the city's bohemian past. For starters, their motto is 'Calling all rule breakers'. Plus, each of the suites has its own vintage turntable and vinyl selection. There's also a bar and restaurant onsite, but with a prime location so close to Union Square, the Theatre District and Embarcardero, you won't be wanting for things to do.

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  • Hotels
  • Nob Hill
  • price 3 of 4

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 digesting and people watching (we recommend the massive blue one).

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