The best pet-friendly hotels in San Francisco
The top hotel at Fisherman's Wharf occupies a behemoth former Del Monte cannery, built in 1908 of giant timbers and red brick salvaged from the 1906 earthquake. It sits smack on the bay and overlooks the tall ships moored at the Hyde Street Pier and the leashed dog-friendly San Francisco National Maritime Park. Geared toward families and ready made for a game of hide-and-seek, the 252-room hotel has an enormous lobby adjoining a Parks Service visitor center, with glorious displays of model yachts, lighthouse lenses and a recreation of the Gold Rush-era San Francisco waterfront. Rooms are fittingly decorated in a nautical theme, with anchor prints, porthole-shaped mirrors, and plush indigo carpets that evoke the deep blue of the sea. Standard rooms face a quiet interior courtyard and get lots of light, but it's worth splurging on a bay-view room for views of either Alcatraz or the Golden Gate Bridge. The hotel also not only welcomes pets, it has no size restrictions. There is a $50 per day fee per animal, but if you book through their site, they'll waive it.
Older European travelers. Briefcase-toting professionals with child-toting spouses in tow. Dog people. Singles looking for fun. Stereotypical shorts-wearing tourists in search of sun. In its prestigious Powell Street perch just above Union Square, the venerable Sir Francis Drake Hotel, built in 1928, has something to offer just about everyone — and at busy times it can seem like everyone has taken up the offer. That's because, like the city itself, it's not afraid to be a little bit cheesy, a little bit racy, proud of its colorful past but also quick to bring the future into the present. This wasn't always the case. When Kimpton Hotels took over management of the 416-room hotel a few years ago, it spent nearly $20 million and two years putting the bloom back on this pseudo-English rose, named for the Elizabethan explorer whose near-discovery of San Francisco is celebrated in vintage murals in the lobby. Dog owners will also be glad to not have to throw down any extra cash for Fido — the Sir Francis Drake doesn't add any extra charges for furry guests, doesn't mandate a size or weight limit, and will loan you a pet bed, dog bowl, food, and mats.
This trailblazing, chic and ever-so-slightly snooty urban hotel chain continues to expand around the country, but it hasn't yet reached the point at which hip and fashionable turns to yesterday's thing. For that, full credit goes to the design, which eschews grand flourishes in favor of a simple and unobtrusive stylishness in both the rooms and the public spaces. Immediately on entering the hotel, you'll find yourself in a buzzing lobby bar, crowded with visitors and after-work locals making the scene. The rooms are modern and loaded up with indulgences: music players, wireless keyboards, goose-down duvets. The Bliss Spa includes manicures with movies, and men's and women's lounges.
And SoMa-oriented guests don't have to leave the pets behind on their stay: both dogs and cats are welcome at the hotel. The hotel concierge can even arrange dog sitters, walkers, and grooming services on guests' behalf.
A woodsy alternative to downtown hotels, Inn at the Presidio is the first lodge in the former military base at the Golden Gate Bridge. The red-brick inn was originally built 1903 to house bachelor officers, and in 2010 was converted to a boutique B&B. Seventeen of the 22 oversized rooms are 530-square-foot one-bedroom suites, but even standard rooms are gigantic, and all look like a catalogue spread from Restoration Hardware, with distressed leather furniture and white-on-white damask sheets. Even better, visitors to the Inn may bring two pups up to 40 pounds each for a relatively small fee. Some ground-floor rooms open straight on to a rocking-chair veranda; if you prefer total privacy, book the third floor, though there's no elevator. Outside is a wonderfully atmospheric firepit, views out onto the Golden Gate Bridge and 24 miles of hiking trails — perfect for adventurous pet owners. The obvious drawback is the proximity to downtown: A taxi costs about $35, but free daytime shuttles get you there in 30 minutes. Trust us - waking up in this glorious national park more than compensates.
If you're happy in this slightly edgy pocket of the Tenderloin, you'll appreciate this Joie de Vivre hotel's proximity to Market Street. Cinephiles will love the cleverly executed homage to 1930s movie houses: walls are covered in black and white images of old cinema marquees and local film schedules are posted on a board. Best of all, there's a mini-theatre, with real vintage cinema seating, in which guests can enjoy nightly viewings (albeit on a TV). All of the comfortably stylish rooms with bijou-like amethyst and gold tones are pet-friendly, with the hotel allowing one animal up to 25 pounds for free with each booking. Plus, every morning, free pastries, coffee and tea in the morning will help you gear up for a day exploring parks and trails.
Each nautical-themed room at the Hotel Zephyr offers fishnet-covered light fixtures and porthole-style windows, not to mention access to a bunch of fun tourist amenities: gym, proximity to Pier 39, free Wi-Fi, and a pet-friendly policy. Those with big dogs will be especially at home here, as the hotel will allow pups up to 80 pounds. There is, as always, a caveat: Zephyr requires a $75 cleaning deposit and only one animal at a time. Nevertheless, for active pet owners, there's plenty to do nearly away from the room with the dog; parks, bike rental shops, and even the Golden Gate Bridge are all nearby for exploring. The hotel is also only about a half mile from Lombard Street and Ghirardelli Square.
Now owned by Joie de Vivre, the Adagio has been in town in one incarnation or another since 1929. Its current version is the best yet: the casual, mellow decor combines deserty muted colours and arty photos, making the 171-room hotel feel comfortable as well as chic and smart without ever giving too businessy a feel. Lather bathroom products, high-definition TVs and on-the-spot room service help guests feel pampered. Having the attractive, Mediterranean-flavoured Cortez as the bar-restaurant and breakfast room is another major boon. But perhaps the best of all is its willingness to house up to two pets (at $75 each). The concierge will even offer canine amenities for dogs away from home, including a dog bowl, bed, and a treat.
This towering historic landmark on Nob Hill features a top-floor restaurant with beautiful views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Cable car stops are just outside the hotel, and the hotel provides modern, elegant rooms with a mini-bar, business center, and babysitting services. It's also open to guests bringing a dog up to 25 pounds for $50 per night. Those interested, however, should be sure to let the hotel know about a companion pet — only a limited number of available rooms are animal-friendly.
As the Radisson Miyako, this efficient Japantown hotel was a favorite of Japanese business travelers. Its new incarnation, unveiled in late 2007, should appeal to both eastern and western sensibilities, with its sophisticated, modern Japanese design and plush American comforts. The hotel is also animal-friendly, with guests allowed to bring one pet of any size (more may be allowed with prior approval), and the rooms include 26-inch flat-panel TVs, iPhone docking stations, and new marble and tile baths (some with Japanese-style soaking tubs). Other oriental touches: Asian tea kettles in the rooms, traditional welcome tea service and Japanese cultural programmes. Overlooking the Peace Pagoda, the Miyako is just steps from dozens of sushi restaurants, shops and a Japanese bathhouse (hotel guests receive a free pass).
Named for Kenneth Rexroth, emcee of the fabled Six Gallery reading series that launched the Beat Generation, the Hotel Rex draws design inspiration from literary salons. Bookshelves and paintings of famous writers line the walls of the lobby bar, which frequently hosts readings and cabarets, and pages from 1950s editions of the San Francisco Social Register paper the elevator walls. The 94 rooms are long on character, styled in moody browns and purples, complemented by dark wood furniture and lampshades stenciled with Impressionistic figures. Guests can bring dogs (one up to 50 pounds for no extra charge) and enjoy extra perks like good linens, quality bath amenities, iPod docks and mini fridges. Beds are a mix of kings and queens (if you care, voice your preference). Some rooms are dark, in part because of window air-conditioners, so request a high floor for more light—or plan to sleep in.