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When it comes to courting Cupid, few cities contend with San Francisco. With hand-in-hand strolls around the Palace of Fine Arts, chocolate at Ghirardelli, trolley rides, candlelit dinners at some of the most innovative restaurants in the country, and — of course — spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, you'll find wow factors at every turn.
With tech money transforming old-world opulence into new world wonder, there is no shortage of over-the-top hotel options to help discover your inner romantic. We’ve rounded up the best of the best—everything from the stays with the best spa to the most romantic restaurants. Below, a handful of properties where champagne on ice, tandem massages, high-thread-count-sheets, and city-view balconies are the norm.
Best Overall: The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco
Located at the apex of Nob Hill, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco is a stunning property with everything a loved-up couple could want. The hotel takes up residence in a circa-1909 landmark building that sits right in the center of one of San Fran’s most romantic neighborhoods. The 336 rooms and suites are luxurious and comfortably-appointed, with amenities including 400-thread-count Frette sheets, marble bathrooms with double sinks, terry cloth bathrobes, Asprey bath amenities, and nightly turndown. Dining options include globally-inspired farm-to-table California cuisine at Parallel 37 — where an a la carte breakfast is also served — as well as afternoon tea in The Lounge, and wine-tasting flights at the JCB Tasting Lounge. The hotel also boasts the city's largest Club Lounge serving nibbles and drinks, including a caviar cart from 6 to 7 PM on Saturday nights. For couples wanting to unwind together, there’s peaceful Spa L’OCCITANE, which doles out Provencal-inspired treatments, including a 90-minute Couple’s Escape ritual.
Best Budget: The Gables Inn Sausalito
With sky-high rates in the city itself, savvy travelers will hop just across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito for a more affordable stay. The historic Gables Inn Sausalito is a charming property that offers stellar views of the city. Mere steps from downtown Sausalito on the waterfront, the hotel dates back to 1869 and hosts guests in fifteen individually decorated rooms — many with fireplaces and whirlpool bathtubs. The hotel offers guests a Romance Package, with a dozen red roses and a bottle of Domaine Laurier Brut California Sparkling Wine in room upon arrival. Massages are also available, and you'll find complimentary wine and cheese each evening. Although there's no onsite restaurant, a complimentary continental breakfast is available, and the hotel’s prime waterfront location means a bevy of dining options are mere steps away. The San Francisco Ferry is also just a minute’s walk away, so transportation to and from the city is no issue.
Best Location: St. Regis San Francisco
Elegant and modern, the St. Regis Francisco perfectly melds style with sublime service. As befits the city’s tech-forward focus, the St. Regis offers guests a variety of high-tech amenities, and its location means you're within walking distance of SFMOMA, Union Square, Chinatown, and the waterfront Embarcadero. The hotel's 214 rooms and 46 suites feature bedside touch-screens for controlling lights, TVs, and shades, as well as requesting butler service. The Grill restaurant serves modern Cali cuisine, with an à la carte breakfast on offer, while the lobby lounge offers a full afternoon tea. Lovers of drama will appreciate the daily afternoon champagne sabering. There’s also a 9,000-square-foot Remède Spa on-property, complete with steam room, sauna, relaxation lounges, pool, and massage and facials treatments, as well as champagne in the relaxation rooms.
Best Excursions: Four Seasons San Francisco
Located in the Tenderloin, close to both the Financial District and some of the city’s best shopping near Union Square, the five-star Four Seasons San Francisco is a first-rate option for romance-seekers. The hotel features 231 rooms and 46 suites, all kitted out with soothing, natural elements. Rooms are sleek and sexy, done in shades of grey, with marble bathrooms, soaking tubs, L’Occitane bath amenities, and floor-to-ceiling window views. The hotel’s rooftop eatery, MKT Restaurant-Bar, offers sustainable seafood and craft cocktails, all with 180-degree views of the city, and many cocktails featuring local ingredients — including honey from the rooftop beehive. The hotel also customizes itineraries for guests, securing personal shoppers at local stores, or sommelier-led wine tastings in Napa. There’s an Equinox Sports Club in-house, with guests receiving complimentary access, as well as a full-service Buddhist-inspired spa at Equinox, and access to a Tesla house car.
Best for Nightlife: Fairmont San Francisco
A Certificate of Excellence winner, the magnificent Fairmont San Francisco is located in a historic Julia Morgan-designed building at the top of Nob Hill. A true luxury property, the hotel offers 606 rooms and 62 suites, each elegantly and tastefully decorated and featuring views of both the City and Bay, 10 of the suites with balconies. Restaurants include Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar, offering seasonal, California Coastal menus, as well as Afternoon Tea, with à la carte breakfast available. Meanwhile, for couples looking to blow off steam and have fun, there’s the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar, a popular basement Tiki bar with tropical décor, Polynesian theme, and delicious drinks. The hotel also offers a LiveFit gym and wellness spa, which offers treatments including in-room massages. Wifi is available with resort fee, while parking is available for a fee. Fido is welcome; the hotel is pet-friendly.
Best for Foodies: Taj Campton Place
An old-world hotel oozing luxury, the boutique Taj Campton Place features 110-rooms with limestone-tiled bathrooms, Nespresso coffee machines, flat-screen LED TVs, walk-in showers or deep soaking tubs, plush robes, stocked minibars, nightly turndown service, and a pillow menu. While the hotel’s central location means San Francisco nightlife and eateries are all a stone’s throw away, a night devoted to the Taj Campton’s restaurant, The Campton Place Restaurant, is a must. The venue has received Michelin stars for nine consecutive years, with one star being awarded in 2019. The hotel also offers romantic specials such as a Champagne Breakfast in Bed plus American Breakfast for two, with a bottle of Moet Rose Imperial Champagne.
Best History: The Huntington Hotel
Modern amenities and old-world elegance collide at The Huntington Hotel in Nob Hill. Originally built in 1924, the property housing the 136-room Huntington was once the first steel and brick high-rise west of the Mississippi. Today, the hotel is set in one of the city’s most upscale areas directly across from Grace Cathedral, and it offers rooms done up in Singapore Straits Chinese-décor, many with killer views of the city or the bay. Featuring a three-level penthouse spa with ten treatment rooms and an infinity pool, the hotel is also home to famed restaurant The Big 4. Opened in 1976, and named after the four railroad tycoons who helped develop San Francisco, the restaurant’s décor — wood-paneled walls, leather banquettes, and photos of old San Francisco — feel like you've taken a step back in time.
Best Restaurant View: Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco
The historic Intercontinental Mark Hopkins first opened its doors in 1926 and has been charming Bay Area guests ever since. Located in Nob Hill close to Union Square, Chinatown, and the Financial District — with the Golden Gate Bridge a brief drive away — the hotel boasts an abundance of character and elegance. Its rooms and suites offer views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco skyline, or Nob Hill, as well as amenities like Keurig coffee makers and plush robes. For romantic dining à deux, there’s the iconic penthouse lounge Top of the Mark, with a 360-degree panorama and a dance floor; you can also head here for champagne brunch every Sunday. Guests can also enjoy Nob Hill Club, a farm-to-table restaurant with local California wines by the glass and bottle and mouthwatering offerings like a Triple Truffle Burger and housemade desserts. Your furry loves can come, too — the hotel allows pets up to 25 pounds on certain floors, with a $100 fee.
Best B&B: The Mansion on Sutter
A boutique B&B in Lower Pacific Heights, The Mansion on Sutter— located in the historic Payne Mansion — drips with charm. With 14 rooms and suites, the Luxury Mansion Collection member offers a charming, old-world vibe, replete with Victorian-era replica furniture. Rooms are lavishly decorated and uber-romantic: amenities including a complimentary bottle of wine upon check-in, welcome treats from the in-house pastry chef, Frette sheets, L’Occitance bath products, nightly turndown, an in-house florist, and in-room massages are all available. The hotel’s restaurant, The 1881, offers elevated Franco-American cuisine both from a-la-carte and five-course tasting menus, as well as a daily complimentary breakfast.