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Breathtaking Bay Area views, award-winning restaurants and a famously liberal outlook on life--there are many reasons to visit San Francisco. From the tourist-packed sidewalks of Fisherman’s Wharf to the elegant streets of exclusive Nob Hill, this is a city with many different personas.
Best Overall: The Alise - A Staypineapple Hotel
The three-star hotel The Alise is ideally located a few minutes’ walk from famous shopping and dining destination Union Square. Considering their location and quality, the 93 recently renovated guest rooms are exceptionally well-priced. Your experience starts in the open-plan lobby, where eclectic artworks, inviting sofas and opulent accents of gold create an atmosphere of avant-garde sophistication. The warm welcome at reception is indicative of the hotel’s quality service. High-speed WiFi is available throughout and complimentary newspapers are provided each morning.
King and Queen bedrooms include a Keurig coffee maker, an HDTV, and a Bluetooth docking station. The bathrooms are tiled with Carrara marble, while ultra-comfy bed linens promise you a good night’s sleep. Wake up each morning to complimentary cupcakes and coffee or order fresh crêpes at Pineapple Bistro & Bar. Complimentary bikes are provided for exploring the city. In the evening, the restaurant pairs fine Californian beer and wine with locally sourced cheese and charcuterie. Make sure to sample the creative cocktail menu.
Best Budget: San Remo Hotel
From San Remo Hotel, you can walk to the waterfront shops and restaurants of iconic Fisherman’s Wharf in just 10 minutes. Opened in 1906, the hotel exudes turn-of-the-century charm and is the perfect choice for budget-conscious travelers looking to embrace San Francisco’s bohemian spirit. Guestrooms are quiet, quaint and decorated with authentic Victorian furnishings. Ceiling fans keep you cool and a high level of cleanliness is ensured by daily housekeeping.
Free WiFi is available and there are laundry facilities on-site. Otherwise, amenities are basic. You won’t find a TV in your room, and the bathrooms are shared (although waiting in line is rare). However, the sense of having found a home away from home adds to the intrinsic value of this North Beach gem. As an added bonus, the hotel sits directly above Fior d’Italia trattoria, a San Francisco institution that claims to be the oldest Italian restaurant in America.
Best Boutique: Argonaut Hotel
Waterfront Argonaut Hotel is surrounded by two Fisherman’s Wharf icons: Ghirardelli Square and the San Francisco Maritime Museum. It started life in 1907 as a warehouse for a nearby fruit cannery, and retains its original exposed brick walls and Douglas Fir beams. The area’s maritime legacy is reflected in the hotel’s nautical theme. This concept is conveyed through subtle touches, including an astronomer’s clock in the lobby and ocean-inspired fabrics in the guest rooms.
Rooms and suites have exceptional views across San Francisco Bay, as well as an HDTV, a gourmet honor bar and a bathroom complete with luxury toiletries. Indulge in an in-room spa treatment, then head downstairs to the Blue Mermaid Restaurant. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant serves delicious sustainable seafood alongside craft beers, cocktails and local wines. Valet parking is available for a fee, while bike rental is complimentary.
Best for Families: Hotel del Sol
Hotel del Sol is located near family-friendly Fisherman’s Wharf and the parks and beaches of the Marina District. Bright, colorful decor appeals to younger guests’ sense of fun, while the palm-lined saltwater pool is a great place to cool off after a busy sightseeing session. Family rooms have space for four with a Queen bed and two trundle beds; while adjoining rooms offer added privacy for older kids.
All rooms include a TV, an iPod docking station and complimentary WiFi. Best of all, quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. mean that you’re unlikely to be disturbed after you finally get your little ones to sleep. The hotel also offers a movie library, laundry services and affordable parking. Kids enjoy milk and fresh-baked cookies every afternoon, while the complimentary continental breakfast buffet gets your day off to a good start.
Best for Romance: The Scarlet Huntington
Address1075 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108-2251, USA
Situated across the street from Grace Cathedral, The Scarlet Huntington enjoys an exclusive location in swanky Nob Hill. The opulent Asian-inspired decor sets the scene for romance with rich fabrics and striking tones of crimson and carmine. The theme continues in the appropriately named Passion Suite--a fantasy world of dark wood furniture and ruby drapes. There’s a four-poster bed, and an intimate dining area for private meals.
Alternatively, iconic restaurant Big Four offers low lighting and exquisite cuisine from Morocco, Italy, Singapore and California. You can celebrate champagne moments in the adjacent bar. During the day, spend quality time together at the hotel’s Nob Hill Spa. Enjoy skyline views from the infinity pool, indulge in a soothing sauna session or sign up for a massage in one of 10 luxurious treatment rooms.
Best for Luxury: The Battery
Financial District hotel The Battery is a private members’ club with 14 luxury suites open to the public. For the duration of your stay, you’ll have access to exclusive facilities, including a fitness studio, spa and boutique gym. Head to ultra-hip space The Musto Bar for drinks before dinner; or make a reservation at a gourmet restaurant, The Living Room. An expert sommelier helps you to choose from 600 wines.
Individually decorated by designer Ken Fulk, the suites blend exposed brickwork and hardwood floors with beautiful vintage furniture. Enjoy complimentary WiFi, a top-of-the-range sound system and a 60-inch HD TV, as well as a luxurious stone-tiled bathroom. The penthouse suite takes indulgence to new levels, with floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor patio complete with a fire pit and infinity hot tub.
Best for Nightlife: The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel
Located a short walk from the bars and clubs of trendy SoMa, The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel is ideal for fashion-forward partygoers. The lobby is a shrine to art and design, with furniture designed by the likes of Roberto Matta and Salvador Dalí. Atlegendary club the Redwood Room, you can rub shoulders with San Francisco’s elite, sip artisan cocktails and dance to live DJ sets from Thursday through Saturday. Keep an eye out for special events in the Velvet Room, with its mahogany furniture and Murano glass lamps. Alternatively, enjoy a sophisticated nightcap in English-style club, the Living Room. Rooms and suites include generous sleigh beds and an upscale entertainment center, making them well suited for quiet moments after an evening of revelry.
Best for Business: Axiom Hotel San Francisco
From Axiom Hotel San Francisco, you can walk to events at the Moscone Center in under 10 minutes. There’s a sophisticated meeting room on-site with space for up to 48 delegates, while upstairs lounge the Cloud is ideal for informal networking sessions. When you need a break, arcade games, games tables and oversized TV screens help you to relax. The hotel also offers complimentary WiFi and a full service business center. Your guestroom includes a Smart TV and spacious work desk, while The Turn Café serves seasonal sit-down meals and takeaways throughout the day. Clear your head with a fitness center workout, then meet your colleagues for happy hour drinks in the lobby.
Best Hostel: Pacific Tradewinds Hostel
Situated in the heart of colorful Chinatown, Pacific Tradewinds Hostel is San Francisco’s best choice for savvy backpackers. It’s famous for its friendly service, and planned daily activities means it's easy to make friends. Dorms are basic with bunk beds and private lockers, and you can save money by cooking for yourself in the communal kitchen. There’s an Internet access area, as well as a common room complete with a lending library. Make use of the full service laundry, or keep your bags in the free luggage storage. Towels, sock washing and all-day PB&J sandwiches are also included in your room rate. Be warned though: The hostel is located at the top of several flights of stairs, and there is no elevator.