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.
Hotel Zetta
Photograph: Courtesy Booking.com Hotel Zetta
By Mac Goodspeed |
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While there are plenty of great hotels in San Francisco—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.

 RECOMMENDED: The best art galleries in San Francisco.

Boutique hotels in San Francisco

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Hotel Drisco front entrance
Photograph: Flickr/rocor
Hotels, Boutique hotels

Hotel Drisco

icon-location-pin Pacific Heights

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, including delicious meatballs that could definitely spoil dinner, but are completely worth the punt.

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Hotel Zetta
Photograph: Courtesy Booking.com
Hotels

Hotel Zetta

icon-location-pin Yerba Buena

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, Salvage and Rescue, in the playful-yet-stylish lobby.

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3
Hotel Vitale
Photograph: Courtesy Joie de Vivre Hotels
Hotels, Spa hotels

Hotel Vitale

icon-location-pin SoMa

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 a “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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4
Inn at the Presidio
Hotels, Boutique hotels

Inn at the Presidio

icon-location-pin Presidio

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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5
Phoenix Hotel
Photograph: Courtesy Phoenix Hotel
Hotels

Phoenix Hotel

icon-location-pin Tenderloin

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. 

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6
Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Photograph: Courtesy of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Hotels

Sir Francis Drake Hotel

icon-location-pin Union Square

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.

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7
St. Regis San Francisco
Photograph: Courtesy St. Regis San Francisco
Hotels

St Regis Hotel

icon-location-pin Yerba Buena

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. 

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8
Booking.com
Hotels

Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco

icon-location-pin Lower Nob Hill

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. 

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9
CLIFT Hotel
Photograph: Courtesy CLIFT Hotel
Hotels

Clift Hotel

icon-location-pin Nob Hill

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. 

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