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About San Francisco
Cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, gay rights, foggy vintage beauty, lovely liberal attitudes, fabulous food, the freshest new technologies and a multitude of micro climates make San Francisco a bucket list destination. There ain’t no other city like San Francisco. And the best places to stay in San Francisco provide just as many highlights.
Our Guru’s list of the best places to stay includes friendly guesthouses, elegant Art Deco era hotels, converted army lodges and great value city slick hotels.
While San Francisco is vast in terms of what it has to offer, it’s quite compact in size and very varied from district to district - so definitely consider that when you’re looking though our recommendations.
Some of San Francisco’s districts are great places just to stroll around. Chinatown is fascinating, Ocean Beach is a lot of fun, Haight Ashbury is the historic hippie district, North Beach has the cafes, Mission is the Latino district, Pacific Heights has the shopping and Fisherman’s Wharf is where you’ll find the street entertainers and a number of museums. The Golden Gate Bridge also deserves a strolling over. And you might also want to explore Golden Gate Park, which is where you’ll find the Botanical Gardens, the Academy of Sciences and the Japanese Tea Garden.
A trip out onto the bay to Alcatraz is also an extremely popular San Francisco visitor’s experience. As is a visit to Coit Tower with its 360 degree views and 1930s murals, a stroll round Union Square, a visit to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and a ride on the cable car.
What not to miss:
- Cross the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the modern wonders of the world.
- Join in the hustle and bustle at the waterfront on Fisherman's Wharf.
- Stroll through the picturesque Golden Gate Park.
- Visit the fascinating Alcatraz Island.
- Stop at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
As this town has so much to offer it is pretty popular. So to be sure of staying in one of the best places to stay in San Francisco be sure to book ahead early.
For a city break
- The Taj Campton Place in Union Square is an elegant hotel known for its hyper-attentive service and Michelin starred restaurant.
- The Galleria Park is a chic city hotel between Union Square and the Financial District. The original design of the building is Art Deco, but the rooms are contemporary and there’s a colourful, hip and happening vibe.
- The Hotel Vitale, on the waterfront, is a sleek, modern, 200 room hotel with stylish decor and impressive views of the bay. There’s also a beautiful rooftop terrace and an indoor/ outdoor spa. But best of all you’re right by the trolleycar linking the city centre with Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and Treasure Island. This is also one of the best places to stay in San Francisco for foodies.
- Casa Madrona is a stunning Victorian mansion overlooking the marina. Rooms are light, modern and boast private balconies.
- Hotel Drisco sits at the top of Pacific Avenue and enjoys sweeping views of San Francisco. Walk to Presidio National Park within minutes whilst never being too far from shopping trips and gourmet food downtown.
For something different
- The Inn at the Presidio Is a red brick hotel in the Presidio National Park, right by the Golden Gate Bridge. Formally officer’s quarters, this is the only accommodation in the park and its sleek, stylish rooms offer wonderful views.
- Also once U.S. Army Officer’s accommodation, the Cavallo Point Lodge is now a 142 room hotel with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. On the opposite side of the bridge to The Inn at the Presidio, this lodge has great spa facilities and an excellent restaurant which also offers cooking classes.
For super value
- The Scarlet Huntington is a 1920s apartment building on the top of Nob Hill turned boutique hotel. The decor is Asian fused with old-world chic. There are 135 rooms, a spa, steam rooms and a casual restaurant - all in a fabulous location.
- The Hotel Zetta is another great value offering in a great spot - this time right by Union Square. The design is modern, but there are some nice reclaimed-vintage touches and a lively games room, restaurant and bar. There are 116 rooms which start from around £130 per night.
- The Parsonage B&B in Hayes Valley is a five room B&B with Georgian era heirloom decor and two communal parlours close to the cafes, museums, Opera House and restaurants of Hayes Valley.
- The Hotel Boheme in North Beach is a colourful, cosy 15 room hotel with a 1950s boho vibe. Stay here and you’ll be close to Chinatown, Little Italy and Lombard Street.
- Clift is a historical landmark hotel renovated to modern luxury with art and furniture being a big feature. Rooms are large with great views of the San Francisco skyline.
- Palace Hotel is a lavish hotel with classically designed architecture. An elitist, rich and stylish look. Gorgeous and smart guest-rooms feature 11-foot high ceilings, marble bathrooms and opulent bedding.
For an apartment or holiday home
- If you're travelling with family or a group of friends it may be a better option to book a villa or apartment. For a wide range of properties for all tastes and budgets we recommend you visit our online partner Booking.com.
- Fly to either San Francisco International, Oakland International or Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International (1 hour south of San Francisco).
- San Francisco has a mild climate, with cool, wet winters and dry summers. In most months, you can expect the high temperature to be between 15-25°C. Travel between May - August for the warmest months.
- If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in San Francisco
The Inn at the Presidio 22 rooms from $261San Francisco
Red-brick hotel and former officer's quarters, the only accommodation in the beautiful Presidio National Park close to the Golden Gate Bridge. The sleek, spacious rooms are stylishly furnished, the top floors have spectacular views. The Park offers many nature trails and other outdoor activities.Back to Nature - The Presidio has many beautiful nature trails that you can explore by walking, jogging, or cycling, and there are wildlife toursCity Style - Former officers' quarters, the only accommodation in the national park, right by the Golden Gate Bridge.Local exploring - Close to the Golden Gate Bridge, Baker Beach, Crissy Field, Alcatraz, Treasure Island and other sights.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, I Escape
The Scarlet Huntington 135 rooms from $190San Francisco (California)
On top of Nob Hill this 1920s apartment block turned boutique hotel is where Asian fusion meets old-world chic. Rooms are spacious and unique. Casual restaurant offers American cuisine. With the award wining Nob Hill Spa, indoor pool and steam rooms it is relax mode. City views and fab location.Fishing - From Nob Hill go down to Fisherman's Wharf to catch a look at the daily catch.Sights nearby - Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic part of the city and worth a glimpse.Views - Great views from hotelFull of characterRecommended by - Tablet
Hotel Drisco 48 rooms from $297San Francisco (Pacific Heights)
If you love classical architecture then this elegant Edwardian hotel is the place for you. Sitting at the top of Pacific Avenue, you can enjoy sweeping views of San Francisco and walk to Presidio National Park within minutes whilst never being too far from shopping trips and gourmet food downtown.Local exploring - A great base for exploring San Francisco and the surrounding area.Sights nearby - Good location for accessing all of San Francisco major attractions.Great walks - Five minute walk from Presidio National Park
Hotel Boheme 15 rooms from $228San Francisco (North Beach)
Unique hotel nestled in the heart of the lively and bohemian North Beach neighbourhood. The rooms are colourful, characterful and cosy, designed to evoke 1950s Beat era boho-chic, with names like Allen Ginsberg as previous guests. The surrounding area is bustling with cafes, shops and restaurants.City Style - In the heart of the bohemian North Beach community, bordering Chinatown and downtown, decorated in 50s style and colours.Local exploring - Close to Chinatown, Little Italy and Lombard Street with its connections on San Francisco's famous cable cars.Full of characterLively area - In the thick of the action.Recommended by - I Escape
Casa Madrona 63 rooms from $250San Francisco (California)
Stunning Victorian mansion overlooking the marina. Rooms are light, modern and with private balconies. Poggio Trattoria dishes up daily changing Italian dishes with locally sourced produce and homegrown vegetables. Relax with a seaweed wrap at the spa or head into San Francisco for city lights.Local markets - On the bay and marina there are a lot of local markets.Sights nearby - Short ferry ride to Market Street.Sailing - Sausalito Yacht Club.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Tablet
The Parsonage B&B 5 rooms from $182San Francisco
Quaint B&B with authentic Victorian features in the lively Hayes Valley area. The comfortable rooms are furnished with antiques and family heirlooms, and the library and two parlours are perfectly manicured with Georgian-era furniture. Close to the Civic Centre and the bustle of Hayes Valley cafes.Local exploring - 15 minutes from the Civic Centre, with performances at the Symphony Hall and Opera House, and art museums.City Style - Hayes Valley is a charming neighbourhood bustling with lively cafes, galleries and restaurants.Four poster beds - The Alma Spreckles room has a lovely 4-poster bed.Full of characterRecommended by - I Escape
Clift 372 rooms from $240San Francisco (California)
Historical landmark hotel renovated to modern luxury with art and furniture being a big feature. Rooms are large, with great views of the San Francisco skyline. Asia de Cuba offers fine dining and the popular Redwood Room bar is lively. Location to Union Square and city delights is on point.Surfing - Ocean Beach is where to catch the waves whether surfing or kite surfing.Sights nearby - Golden Gate Park and with views of the famous Gold Gate Bridge.Lively - Hip and happening.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Tablet
Hotel Zetta 116 rooms from $169San Francisco (Union Square)
Trendy and central hotel near the Union Square shopping district. The modern rooms embrace repurposed vintage decor with reclaimed wood and salvaged antiques, and boast delicate mosaic-tiled baths. The communal areas are hip, colourful and lively, with a games room, restaurant and lounge bar.Total relaxation - With a games room and services at the neighbouring spa also offering in-room services, it is perfect for some urban relaxation.City Style - A lively hotel in the trendy Union Square shopping district and well-connected to the main sights- an urban retreat.Local exploring - A central hotel 10 minutes' walk from Union Square and the Moscone Centre, and surrounded by arts museums.Spa - No on-site spa, but the hotel has an arrangement for guests at the nieghbouring Burke Williams spa.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Galleria Park 177 rooms from $195San Francisco (Financial District)
Chic hotel in the very centre of San Francisco, between the Union Square and Financial Districts. The contemporary, designer furnishings in the rooms complement the Art Deco and Art Nouveau heritage of the building also on display, creating a vibrant and colourful self-proclaimed pied-à-terre.Local exploring - Ideally located between the Union Square shopping district and the Financial district and well-connected to the best city sightsCity Style - Stylish and chic hotel ideally located and newly renovated, perfect for casual or business visitors.Lively - Hip and happening.Lively area - In the thick of the action.Recommended by - Tablet
Taj Campton Place 111 rooms from $261San Francisco (Union Square)
Sleek hotel with ideal location on Union Square. The elegant rooms have contemporary and stylish furnishings, and the service is renowned for being hyper-attentive. The Michelin star-rated restaurant serving high-quality Mediterranean fare in the grand dining room is very impressive.City Style - In a historic building that has been modernized and with a Michelin Star-rated restaurant, explore San Francisco in style.Local exploring - Minutes from Union Square and less than 2 miles from Fisherman's Wharf and Bay Bridge, it is ideally located.Foodies - The Michelin star-rated restaurant draws queues of foodies from all over the city.Spa - In-room spa treatments are available.Recommended by - Tablet
Palace hotel 552 rooms from $425San Francisco
A lavish hotel with classically designed architecture. An elitist, rich and stylish look. Gorgeous and smart guest-rooms feature 11-foot high ceilings, marble bathrooms, opulent bedding. Glass domed indoor pool, various dining options and bars. Ideal for spending your city break in true 5* luxury.Local exploring - 1 block from the Financial District, 3 blocks from Union Sq, & 4 blocks from Moscone Center5* Luxury - Original architecture, luxurious bedding, expansive headboards, marble bathrooms & many opulent amenitiesSights nearby - Yerba Buena Gardens, Martin Luther King memorial, Chinatown...Swimming Pool - Large and lavish indoor heated swimming pool
Washington Square Inn 15 rooms from $250San Francisco (California)
Little Italy in North Beach is home to a delightful boutique overlooking Washington Square Park. Natural light floods into the cosy rooms and the mornings kick off with a delicious home baked breakfast in the dining room. Sit at the local sidewalk cafes, soak up some sun and relax!Sights nearby - Saints Peter and Paul Church is surrounded by boutiques, shops and cafes for an ideal afternoon.Local markets - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday is the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.Full of character
Hotel Vitale 200 rooms from $202San Francisco (Embarcadero (North Waterfront))
Contemporary hotel located in the hip Embarcadero neighbourhood with spectacular views of the waterfront. The sleek, modern rooms are spacious and stylishly furnished, many have impressive bay views. Indulge in the luxurious indoor and outdoor spa. Sip and admire from the beautiful rooftop terrace.City Style - Overlooking San Francisco's stunning waterfront and well-connected to the city centre, it offers everything a guest could want.Local exploring - The historic trolleycar stops outside, linking the city centre. Alcatraz, Treasure Island and Golden Gate Bridge are close tooFoodies - The Embarcadero area is a great choice for travellers interested in food, especially due to the Ferry Building Marketplace.Spa - 3 treatment rooms and penthouse-level private outdoor soaking tubs in a bamboo-walled garden.Recommended by - I Escape, Tablet