Get us in your inbox

Search
Garden Court at the Palace Hotel
Photograph: Courtesy Palace Hotel

The best hotels in San Francisco

Headed to the City by the Bay? From luxe suites to budget-friendly rooms, these are the best hotels in San Francisco

Written by
Clara Hogan
Advertising

When staying in San Francisco, we can't stress the importance of picking a place to stay that gives you access to the city's sights — but also encompasses the city's character. Whether you're visiting, hosting family, or booking a staycation, there is something suitable (and excellent) in every neighborhood and price range.

Book something downtown near the best attractions or the North Beach neighborhood to be near touristy Fisherman's Wharf, or maybe a neighborhood outside the center that feels less crowded. No matter your decision, you'll get to check off the best things to do in the city from a comfy base at one of the best hotels in San Francisco. 

Cheap hotels in San Francisco

  • Hotels
  • North Beach
  • price 1 of 4

Formerly a home for those working on the docks, this quaint colonial-style structure is now a higgledy-piggledy hotel full of charm. There are 64 rooms of varying size and style – although most of them have chintzy floral wallpaper and bedspreads – with Oriental rugs and Victorian-inspired furniture scattered throughout. While some rooms have sinks, the bathrooms are shared – unless you splash out on the penthouse, a self-contained bungalow on the roof with an en suite and a great view of North Beach. It's also worth noting that there is no elevator and no televisions.

  • Hotels
  • Hostels
  • Fort Mason
  • price 1 of 4

Overlooking one of San Francisco’s most beautiful landscapes is the city’s best hotel bargain – so long as you aren’t squeamish about sharing a bathroom. Whether you’d prefer a private room (without bath) or dorm (options range from four to 24 beds, co-ed or single-sex), you’ll have access to the hostel’s impressive amenities, including a cozy, fireplace-warmed common area, 25-seat movie lounge (with free pool table and jukebox), large kitchen, laundry facilities, and outdoor patio. Breakfast at the on-site Cafe Franco is included.

Advertising
  • Hotels
  • Lower Haight
  • price 1 of 4

Centrally located near Alamo Square, Haight-Ashbury, and the Panhandle, The Metro is one of the city’s best deals for those in need of a private bathroom. The eco-friendly hotel is clean but fairly no-frills – just 24 small, simple rooms with free wifi. You can’t beat the location, a hip-but-friendly neighborhood with excellent restaurants, bars, and several nearby must-see landmarks (like the famed Painted Ladies, a beautiful row of Victorian houses).

Mid-range hotels in San Francisco

Located downtown, steps from SFMOMA, the W is one of the city's trendiest options for a hotel stay. The lobby greets you with an LED map of San Fran above the reception desk, a lively Living Room bar, and fireplaces setting the dimly lit space aglow. The hotel went through a major renovation in 2019, and the guest rooms are all updated, many of which are spacious and include sweeping views of downtown SF. Don't miss the 24-hour gym, featuring a futuristic design with a dome ceiling that lights up in various colors at night, and the onsite farm-to-table restaurant TRACE.

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Tenderloin
  • price 2 of 4

The Axiom offers modern style at a great price. Located mere steps from Market Street, San Francisco’s main downtown thoroughfare, minimalist rooms are outfitted with fiber-optic wifi, smart TVs, and complimentary iPads and iPod docking stations. The hotel’s airy lobby is complete with a marble-topped bar at the Turn Cafe and a cozy library stocked with plush chairs and leather couches. This hip, inviting hotel also has a well-stocked gym and a games area with arcade games and a foosball table.

Advertising

Inspired by the Beat Generation of the mid-20th century, this boutique hotel expresses itself through dark and brooding public spaces, words printed on the walls and floors, a few mid-mod touches, and typewriters. Situated in the heart of Union Square, guests can enjoy great theater, shopping, eating, and drinking. Cap off the night in the hotel's Obscenity Bar & Lounge, where there is regular live jazz and slam poetry.

 

  • Hotels
  • Cow Hollow
  • price 2 of 4

Sparkling with color, this Joie de Vivre property is right at home in San Francisco’s beachy Marina District. One of only a handful of hotels in the city with a pool, Hotel del Sol’s bright and playful rooms are kid- and pet-friendly and feature modern technology, including free high-speed wifi. Paid parking is available on-site.

Advertising
  • Hotels
  • B&Bs
  • Union Square
  • price 2 of 4

A lovely, pet-friendly hotel in a visually unique, towering Edwardian building. Inside is just as charming as the exterior, with the odd floral touch – but not too much. There's an ancient birdcage elevator to get you from floor to floor, free wifi throughout, and complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea with cookies. Union Square and the Theatre District are a few minutes' walk away, and remember to say hi and bye to The Golden Gate's resident cat Pip.

  • Hotels
  • Spa hotels
  • Lower Nob Hill
  • price 3 of 4

There aren't many hotels that'll let you apply a five-finger discount to their in-room amenities, but Staypineapple (formerly The Alise) positively encourages it. Well, they do when it comes to their robes and slippers anyway, which, let's face it, are the items you ultimately want. The hotel's 'Everything Person' (seriously, that's what they're called) will sort you out with Quick Bites & Bevvies, and guests can enjoy free use of the yellow bikes outside. The Pineapple Pup Package includes a daily pet fee discount, a dog bed, water bowl, treats, and poo bag dispenser.

Advertising

One of San Francisco's newest hotels, the Clancy opened in SoMa in late 2020 as part of Marriott's Autograph Collection. The City is infused throughout, from the Muni rack lines on the floor guiding guests around the lobby, as well as a graffiti wall installed by local artist Ian Ross using recycled spray paint cans. The hotel also offers onsite Radiator coffee bar that's popular among locals and tourists alike, as well as Seven Square Taproom, a mid-century modern styled salon in the lobby with indoor seating and a patio with communal fire pits.

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • North Beach
  • price 2 of 4

This 120-plus-year-old hotel is a tribute to late-1950s North Beach when the neighborhood was a hotbed of Beat Culture. Allen Ginsberg even called room 204 of the Boheme home during his final years. Ginsberg may be gone, but he and his fellow Beats live on in the photos, poetry, and sheet music that adorn the hotel’s rooms and hallways. In true North Beach fashion, most rooms are small but smartly styled in vintage color schemes and wrought iron. You can’t beat the location among the neighborhood’s plentiful sidewalk cafes. 

Luxury hotels in San Francisco

  • Hotels
  • Spa hotels
  • Fisherman's Wharf
  • price 3 of 4

This nautical-themed hotel has been a mainstay of San Francisco’s best hotel list for years. Constructed of red brick and Douglas Fir back in 1907, this Fisherman’s Wharf behemoth pays homage to San Francisco’s Barbary Coast days with ship paraphernalia and sea mythology galore. Despite the anchor prints and porthole-shaped mirrors, the Argonaut stays classy with dark fabrics and careful attention to detail (like a yoga mat in every room) that keeps guests coming back year after year. With fantastic views of the San Francisco National Maritime Park, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge, this is a great luxury hotel for the whole family, including the pets.

  • Hotels
  • Chain hotels
  • Nob Hill
  • price 3 of 4

Everything about this classy hotel screams San Francisco, from the Julia Morgan-designed building and gorgeous bay views to the state-of-the-art wellness spa and the iconic tiki bar in the basement. Thanks to a refurb in 2014, each of the Fairmont's rooms is decorated in calming, earthy tones, dark wood, and marble. If you're willing to splash out – and we mean really blow some bucks – the 1920s-themed Penthouse Suite is the stuff of San Francisco legend. Covering the entire eighth floor, it has a two-story library, billiards room, 24/7 butler service, plus a secret door in a bookcase that leads to a rooftop helipad.

Advertising
  • Hotels
  • Sausalito
  • price 3 of 4

Not just the jazz band in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, Sausalito is also a magical place just across the Golden Gate Bridge from SF. Make the journey there, and the Inn Above Tide awaits with private balconies and unparalleled views of the bay. Take in the sunset, complete with frolicking sea lions and soaring gulls, each evening with a selection of complimentary wine and cheese. Make the experience even more special by upgrading to a suite complete with a fireplace, cushy sofas, and free-standing tubs beside floor-to-ceiling windows.

  • Hotels
  • Union Square
  • price 4 of 4

The Michelin-starred restaurant is the biggest draw at this recently renovated luxury hotel in Union Square, just steps away from some of the best shopping and eating in San Francisco. Guests will be pleased to know that room service comes directly from the aforementioned eatery, so you can enjoy their culinary delights from the comfort of silky-soft Frette linens in bed. There are 110 rooms in all, but the least expensive rooms at the hotel are very cramped. If you can afford to upgrade, you won't regret it.

Advertising

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 a comfortable distance awy from SF’s bustle. The Inn's many amenities include a stunning golf course, countless scenic walking and hiking trails, and a cozy 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 are perfect for people-watching as the evening winds down.

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

This posh Pacific Heights boutique hotel is decorated 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.

Advertising
  • Hotels
  • Yerba Buena
  • price 3 of 4

SoMa’s Hotel Zetta juxtaposes its historic neo-classical exterior with unexpected shapes and colors of an ultra-modern interior. The 116-room hotel features explosive artwork and a variety of sculptural elements made from repurposed materials, such as chandeliers made of discarded spectacles in the hotel’s entryway. Large functional rooms cater to the Silicon Valley crowd with high-quality electronics and plush beds with luxury linens. Burn off some steam at the pool table, giant Plinko wall (30 feet!), or full-service bar S&R (Salvage and Rescue) in the playful-yet-stylish lobby.

  • Hotels
  • Yerba Buena
  • price 4 of 4

In the early 20th century, The Palace was the place for wealthy and powerful visitors to see and be seen. American presidents frequented the hotel, and one, Warren G. Harding, never left – he died of a heart attack in his upstairs room in 1923. Today, it’s no longer cutting edge, but The Palace’s tasteful yet simple guest rooms make a nice counterpoint to its lavish lobby and dining room. With Austrian crystal chandeliers (each weighing 750 pounds), Ionic columns of Italian marble, and a domed glass ceiling, the 8,000-square-foot Garden Court remains one of the most magnificent dining rooms in the state.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising