People go for the epic food, the sprawling urban national park, the beaches, and the chance to follow the zigzagged Lombard Street. What San Francisco lacks in square miles it makes up for in the sheer variety of things to do. San Francisco hotels reflect the diversity of the Northern California city with accommodation reflecting the glamorous past, the counterculture movement, and tech-savvy San Franciscans. These are the best luxury and boutique hotels in San Francisco for seeing the City by the Bay.
Top San Francisco Hotels Near the City's Coolest Attractions and Neighborhoods
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Hotel Nikko San Francisco
Rates from: $239/night
Two blocks from Union Square, Hotel Nikko San Francisco puts you in the heart of Golden Gate City. Rooms at this popular hotel are styled with Japanese-inspired decor and staying on the higher floors scores you a panoramic city view.
Hotel Nikko is one of the best San Francisco hotels with a pool. The glass-roofed indoor pool and hot tub peep over downtown while the rooftop is lovely for an aperitif. Fill up on Japanese-Californian cooking and check out the onsite cabaret club if you’re at a loss come nightfall. As one of the most pet-friendly hotels, pooches can stretch their legs on the lawned terrace.
1 Hotel San Francisco
Rates from: $448/night
Right off the Embarcadero and three strides from the Ferry Building, 1 Hotel San Francisco is the new kid on the block. This eco-luxe urban refuge is furnished with reclaimed materials from the Bay Area – but rooms are anything but shabby.
Inspired by nature, standard rooms come with rain showers, cotton robes, potted plants, yoga mats, and Nespresso coffee makers. If you’re happy to shell out for something extra, have a look at the terrace suite or splurge on a bay view. Holistic remedies are available at the onsite spa while Terrene casts a spotlight on sustainable Californian fare and Napa Green-certified wines.
Fairmont San Francisco
Rates from: $312/night
Bridging the gap between Chinatown and Union Square, the Fairmont San Francisco has lodged vacationers and A-listers since 1907. This is one of the most luxurious San Francisco hotels for old-school hospitality. Accented in pebble and charcoal hues, guest rooms overlook Nob Hill or the Bay. Signature suites have the benefit of a balcony or picture windows.
Complete with ionic columns and a resident pianist, the lobby restaurant is exactly what you’d expect from a Fairmont. Wrapped around a lagoon where a floating band performs from a boat, the tropical Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is a pleasant surprise. Without giving too much away, you might want to don your waterproofs.
Hotel Drisco Pacific Heights
Rates from: $656/night
Two blocks from the Presidio, Hotel Drisco is one of the most distinctive boutique hotels in San Francisco. This Edwardian mansion perches at the top of the Pacific Heights neighborhood with sweeping cityscapes from the top-tier rooms and suites. Elegant units are dressed in custom down pillows and caressable Sfera throws.
The gourmet continental breakfast is worth waking up for and the evening wine receptions add a unique twist. A fleet of bikes is available to guests, including helmets, locks, and backpacks. For larger distances, reserve a seat in the complimentary chauffeur service – available every morning for a single trip.
Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero
Rates from: $451/night
Claiming the top 11 floors of a 48-story tower near the Ferry Building, the Four Seasons at Embarcadero is one of the best hotels in San Francisco for views. All 155 units come with a skyline panorama but only a handful face the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, or the Coit. Floor 40 doubles up as the Sky Deck hotel bar and as a venue for weddings and special occasions.
The Four Seasons comes with all the usuals of an ultra-luxury hotel brand. Daily housekeeping, in-room dining, childcare services, and a 24-hour gym are part and parcel. The restaurant hones in on Italian cuisine prepared using fresh California ingredients.
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
Rates from: $280/night
Occupying a landmark building in the west end of Union Square, the Westin St. Francis is 10 minutes from SFMOMA and Chinatown. The ornamental marble lobby is about as grand dame as you’ll find in a luxury San Francisco hotel. Rooms are spread across the original building and the tower with high-floor suites gazing out at Twin Peaks and the Coit.
Café Rito and the Clock Bar are homages to the days when Charlie Chaplin graced the property. Wine fans can taste flagship reds and whites from the Chateau Montelena Estate in the onsite tasting room.
Rates from: $242/night
Handy for San Francisco Station and Oracle Park, Hotel VIA is a newcomer to South Beach. Home to one of the city’s best watering holes, Rooftop at VIA skirts over the downtown skyline, the Bay, and South Beach Harbor. If you want an eyeful of the views, you’ll need to book a stay – the bar is exclusively for hotel guests or private hire.
Sporting high-tech tablets and Illy coffee makers, comfortable modern rooms are chicly appointed and free from unnecessary frills. The best views or private terraces come at a justifiable premium. Seconds from the freeway, the hotel is a 20-minute drive to SFO.
Rates from: $321/night
Located in Fisherman’s Wharf, the Argonaut Hotel is one of the best San Francisco hotels for families. Oversized rooms with novelty nautical touches will go down a treat with kids while everyone will appreciate views of Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Dine on pancake breakfasts and fish suppers in the atmospheric Blue Mermaid Restaurant or order to your room. Seafood eateries, chocolate stores, and maritime attractions are steps from the lobby. The concierge can schedule an in-room spa treatment at the dial of a button or set you up with a rental bike.
Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco
Rates from: $170/night
Coined as a “retreat for rebels” Hotel Zeppelin is one of the quirkiest boutique hotels in San Francisco’s Nob Hill enclave. Rock ‘n’ roll rooms come with turntable players and a stack of classic vinyl. Beyond the rooms, there’s a cozy lobby café warmed by an open fireplace while a revamped dinner concept and live music venue are on the cards. Until then, you can hang out in the games den and help yourself to free sangria.
There’s nothing beige about the graffiti-coated boardroom where traveling creatives can mingle. One block from Union Square, three from Chinatown, and five from Market Street, the hotel offers complimentary bikes and scooters.
Staypineapple, An Elegant Hotel, Union Square
Rates from: $200/night
Playful and bursting with zest, Staypineapple, An Elegant Hotel, is one of the coolest pet-friendly San Francisco hotels near Union Square. This blingy-but-not-too-blingy boutique lodging gives guests the “Naked Experience” through velvety sheets and European-style double duvets. No prizes for guessing the color palette used for the room decor or snuggly bathrobes.
Beach cruisers and speedy Wi-Fi is included in the daily amenity fee while a welcome beer on the house and free daily pineapple cookies sweetens the experience. Wake up to a Keurig brew before grabbing a bagel or breakfast burrito from the espresso bar.
Grand Hyatt At SFO
Rates from: $329/night
The Grand Hyatt At SFO is a no-brainer if you’re after a San Francisco airport hotel. This 5-star property is connected to all four terminals by AirTrain with many rooms overlooking the runway. Soundproofed family rooms and free cribs are available while jet-set pups are welcome to stay.
Ticking all the boxes for a transit airport, the Grand Hyatt has an around-the-clock front desk, 24-hour room service, and laundry services. Tire yourself out in the gym or stretch off a long-haul flight in the yoga hub. Perfect if you’re catching the red eye, the hotel also offers day-use rooms.
What hotels are in Union Square San Francisco?
Convenient for public transport, the waterfront, and the Powell/Market cable car turnaround, Union Square is an obvious base in Downtown SF. Some of the best San Francisco hotels near the plaza include Hotel Nikko, the Fairmont, and the Westin St. Francis on Union Square.
Is there a hotel at San Francisco Airport?
With its own stop on the AirTrain, the upscale Grand Hyatt At SFO is the hotel closest to San Francisco Airport. Soundproofed rooms overlooking the runway are available for day use and overnight stays.
What hotel has the best view in San Francisco?
If awesome views are your thing, you’re spoilt for choice in the City by the Bay. The Four Seasons at Embarcadero, the Fairmont, 1 Hotel San Francisco, and Hotel Nikko are the San Francisco hotels with the best views. A bit further out, the exclusive rooftop bar makes Hotel VIA worth a look-in.