The best hotels in San Francisco for every budget
2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of San Francisco's Summer of Love. So we thought we'd share some love and make finding a hotel in the Golden Gate city a little easier.
Here are the best hotels in San Fran for all travel budgets, whether you're searching for luxury accommodation near Union Square or a cheap hostel for a short stay.
Budget hotels and hostels in San Francisco
Where: Geary Street Rooms: From £80 per night, per room
If you’re looking for a chic but cheap hotel in San Francisco, you’ll love the Touchstone Hotel, which has single and double rooms with cheery, bright colour schemes. Some of the rooms have balconies, so it’s worth asking if any are available when you check in. There’s a restaurant and a deli (perfect for grabbing food on the go), and it’s located in the heart of the theatre district, just a short walk from Union Square and the ferry to Alcatraz Island. The Touchstone is also one of San Francisco’s best hotels for families on a budget – there are several family rooms and children under 10 stay for free.
Where: Sacramento Street Rooms: From £28 per night, per bed
Exploring San Francisco on a budget? The make your base this fantastic city centre hostel. It’s one of San Francisco’s best places to say, but there are still plenty of extras, such as free laundry services, free towels and some of the biggest luggage lockers we’ve seen in a hostel. San Francisco’s best attractions are all easily accessible, but two of the closest are the brilliant Wells Fargo History Museum and the Pacific Heritage Museum of San Francisco. Budget doesn’t have to mean basic. Upgrade your travels with our 10 best backpacking tips and tricks.
Mid-range and boutique hotels in San Francisco
Where: Westfield San Francisco Centre Rooms: From £128 per night, per room
Check into the Hotel Zetta, one of the finest hotels near Union Square, and you’ll find mini-bars stocked with healthy juices and five “Enlightened” rooms, designed especially for travellers with wellness in mind; amenities in the art-filled rooms include bathrobes made from organic cotton. And if you’re planning on celebrating the anniversary of San Francisco’s summer of love, there’s a meditation cushion, too. But this is definitely a hotel which doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s a playroom with giant Jenga and games consoles, and you’ll be able to stay connected thanks to the bank of Macs in the lobby.
Where: Sutter Street Rooms: From £136 per night, per room
San Francisco’s best bits are all easily accessible from this stylish 131-room hotel, which can be found at the corner of Sutter and Buchanan - where Japantown, the Fillmore and Pacific Heights intersect. But don’t mistake budget for basic, because perks at this San Francisco hotel include in-room Keurig coffee makers and nightly wine hours, when you can sample some of California’s best vinos for free. We also love the Press Reader service, which allows guests to read over 5,000 newspapers and magazines for free. Make sure you check out the beautiful courtyard, which has rocking chairs and lawn games.
Where: Post Street Rooms: From £198 per night, per room
This new hotel (it opened in March) can be found in the posh Nob Hill area – but it’s still just a short walk to Union Square. It’s one of the most stylish hotels in San Francisco, with 196 modern, light-filled rooms, a game-filled den and in-room record players for guests who fancy spinning some tunes. SoMa district, the Fairfield Shopping Centre and China Town are all within walking distance, and the hotel has what’s being touted as one of San Francisco’s best restaurants. Head to the loft-like Rambler for dishes such as fromage blanc gnocchi with celery root and parmesan broth, or a pizza cooked in the wood-fired oven once owned by Wolfgang Puck. Consider yourself a bit of a foodie? Get those tastebuds tingling with our guide to the world’s best restaurants.
Where: Geary Street Rooms: From £151 per night, per room
One of San Francisco’s most stylish hotels, Clift was designed with the help of Philippe Starck and Ian Shrager, and the lobby is filled with statement pieces of furniture, including a coffee table made by Salvador Dali. We’re especially taken by the super-sized fireplace and chimney sculpture by William Sawaya. The 300 rooms are just as spectacular, with Malin + Goetz toiletries and Murano glass lamps. There’s a gym but no spa – although you’ll be able to enjoy a range of treatments in the privacy of your own room. You'll also love the free bikes which you can use to explore the Golden Gate city on your own steam.
Where: Powell Street Rooms: From £191 per night, per room
The 416-room Sir Francis Drake is one of San Francisco’s largest hotels, but it’s also one of the most luxurious. We love the friendly, suited-and-booted doormen who greet every guest, but we’re also fans of the Renaissance-influenced architecture and the speakeasy-style bar. There are complimentary coffee mornings and wine evenings, and all rooms come with yoga mats. It’s also got a great location, just a few metres from some of San Francisco’s biggest department stores (including Macy’s) and the Powell Street cable cars.
Luxury hotels in San Francisco
Where: Cyril Magnin Street Rooms: From £309 per night, per room
Nestled in San Francisco’s up-and-coming Mid-Market district, the Axiom is a hi-tech hotel in a historic building. It’s housed in a building constructed shortly after the infamous earthquake of 1906, although world-renowned New York-based architects Stonehill & Taylor have given the hotel a stylish, contemporary feel. High ceilings provide a sense of space, while the public spaces offer a nod to its past, with retro video games and a library filled with well-thumbed books. Rooms have hardwood floors, Bluetooth-enabled clock radios and WiFi routers in every room ensure super-fast internet connectivity.
Where: Mason Street Rooms: From £362 per night, per room
This is one of San Francisco’s most popular five-star hotels, and you’ll be in good company if you book a room here. Since it opened its doors in 1907, it’s been the crash pad of choice for America’s presidents (luckily, the country’s new one has his own hotel chain, so we’re hoping he’ll steer clear). There are 592 rooms, but if you love a good view, opt for one of the Tower Building rooms, which have beautiful views over the city’s bay. Guests will also find telescopes positioned by the windows. Fancy a tipple? The Laurel Court Restaurant and Bar is the more formal option, but our favourite is the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar, a tropical-themed paradise with tiki huts and a dance floor built from the remains of the S.S. Forester, an historic lumber schooner which once traveled regularly between San Francisco and the South Sea Islands. The Fairmont’s afternoon teas are legendary – San Francisco’s residents have been raving about them since the hotel opened its doors in 1907. For a caffeine fix with class, brush up on the world’s 10 best places to enjoy afternoon tea.
Where: Sansome Street Rooms: From £459 per night, per room
This towering hotel (it’s got the highest outdoor event venue in the city) is one of the most popular places to stay in San Francisco. The 155 rooms are spread over 11 floors, and there’s a spa, brasserie and cocktail bar (the margaritas come highly recommended). Neutral colour schemes in the rooms give the hotel a relaxed, chilled out vibe, while the enormous televisions and iHome alarm clocks will appeal to tech-savvy travellers.
Where: New Montgomery Street Rooms: From £254 per night, per room
When The Palace opened in 1875, it was the largest hotel in the world, with 750 rooms. Most had private bathrooms – somewhat of a novelty at the time. It’s since enjoyed several major makeovers (the most recent one was in 2015), but has always been regarded as one of San Francisco’s best hotels. The enormous lobby is one of the most spectacular areas; a light-filled space dotted with designer furniture and filled with vast expanses of polished marble and oak. The majority of the stylish rooms have a monochrome feel, with huge padded headboards and 11-foot-high ceilings lending an air of luxury.
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*Published February 2017. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.