Handsome decor, culinary delights, and craft drinks are nothing new; but when paired with fluffy hotel beds and room service the next morning, the combination is our kryptonite. What can we say? We're suckers for urbane places to hang and stay.
San Francisco being a popular tourist destination, we've always had our share of charming and luxurious hotels. But recent years have been a boon to the city's boutique hotel scene, with several slick newcomers rolling out the red carpet. From the legendary pool parties of the now-almost-retro Phoenix Hotel to the poshly patterned and art-filled Kelly Wearstler–designed Proper, SF's small hotels have the right amount of bells and whistles, each unique in their own cool way.
If you're in the mood for a stylish cocktail or savory bar bite, or perhaps a romantic overnighter, here are our picks for the chicest boutique stays in SF. Who doesn't love a staycation?
Hotel Drisco: A glam 1904 Edwardian with plush design
Hotel Drisco's 48 guest rooms exude luxury.
(Courtesy of Hotel Drisco)
For classic Pac Heights glamour—and the kind of quiet that you just can't find downtown—a stay at the Hotel Drisco is a must. Located among the city's most spectacular mansions—and just a short walk from Alta Plaza, Fillmore Street, and the Lyon Street Steps—this 48-room hotel is the perfect combination of 1903 Edwardian charm, timeless decor, and luxurious amenities—including a pillow menu, Merino wool throws, large marble bathrooms, and stunning views. Plus, enjoy complimentary breakfast buffet and an evening wine and charcuterie reception daily; chauffeur service is available to SFO. // 2901 Pacific Ave. (Pacific Heights); reservations (starting around $430/night) at hoteldrisco.com
Proper Hotel: Kelly Wearstler design meets posh imbibing in Downtown San Francisco
Kick back and relax in the mismatched wallpaper adorned rooms, boasting views of Downtown SF.
(Courtesy of Proper)
Opened in late 2017, this pretty little number near Civic Center has it all—pin-worthy interiors, a happening restaurant helmed by chef Jason Fox (of the now-defunct but Michelin-starred Commonwealth), and a rooftop bar serving up creative cocktails by the Bon Vivants and urban views. Looking on from the outside, the 1904 flatiron building doesn't seem like much; but behind the bouncer-flanked doors, a whimsical, modern take on old-world charm awaits. Local artwork and floral wallpaper adorn the walls, and vintage-inspired furniture, designed by L.A. interiors darling Kelly Wearstler, is an inviting place to perch whether you're waiting for a drink from the bar at Villon or a late-night Uber home. // 1100 Market St. (Civic Center); reservations (starting around $230/night) at properhotel.com.
Hotel G: Modern minimalist design and a creative art collection
If you have one too many cocktails at Benjamin Cooper, you can tuck into a tufted bed in one of the rooms upstairs.
(Courtesy of Hotel G)
Perhaps best known to locals as the home of the custom cocktail-and-oyster pushing hideout bar that is Benjamin Cooper (which remains closed due to Covid-19), Union Square's Hotel G has modern-minimalist decor by New York–based Hun Aw Studio, the 153-room hotel exudes a crisp, functional vibe, accented by vintage writing desks and Victorian settees that play on the 1908 building's history. But our favorite part, hands-down, is G's partnership with Creativity Explored: Should you fall in love with the artwork hanging in your room, you can take it home; the purchase will benefit the SF nonprofit's work with developmentally disabled adults. // 386 Geary St. (Union Square); reservations (starting at $140/night) at hotelgsanfrancisco.com.
Hotel Zeppelin SF: Rock 'n' roll vibes jam out with psychedelic flair
Hotel Zeppelin's endless dimly lit, brick walled gathering spaces, including the Mantel Bar, exude coolness.
(Courtesy of Hotel Zeppelin)
The Viceroy Hotel Group's Hotel Zeppelin has all the rock and roll vibes you'd expect—just borrow an album from the vinyl library to play on the vintage record player that is surely in your room. All 196 rooms and suites and common spaces have a bit of psychedelic flair: lava lamps, hand-painted murals, a massive peace sign made from license plates, and a retro-groovy gaming lounge. At night, the hotel goes full lounge with craft cocktails served by the massive Gothic fireplace. Note that Rambler, the restaurant serving locally sourced California fare including wood-fired pizzas, is currently closed due to Covid-19. // 545 Post St. (TenderNob); reservations (starting around $160/night) at viceroyhotelsandresorts.com.
Phoenix Hotel: An iconic stay with rock heritage and a party rep rises again
A poolside king room at the Phoenix.
Once a seedy pay-by-the-hour motel that was made civilized by Joie de Vivre's Chip Conley way back in 1987, the Phoenix Hotel is part of SF legend. First opened in 1960 as Caravan Lodge, the quirky Tenderloin oasis has hosted rock and rollers like Neil Young and Buddy Hackett (oh the stories these walls could tell). And just as famous guests have come and gone, so too have generations of SF kids who've loved the Phoenix's gritty glamour and kitschy pool, which once hosted some of the best parties in town. Today the Phoenix has taken on the modern polish of the city, with moody restaurant, Chambers, serving a solid seasonal menu and craft drinks to Millennials who pack in on curvilinear Chesterfield sofas surrounded by shelves of records they wouldn't recognize. Go for a drink on the heated patio and savor the taste of old SF. // 601 Eddy St. (Tenderloin), reservations (starting at $149/night) at phoenixsf.com.
Inn at the Presidio: A cozy Georgian-Revival escape in the city's beloved national park
Simple and stylish, the inn is a lovely escape in the greenest part of town.
(Courtesy of Inn at the Presidio)
New isn't always better, and nowhere is this as apparent as it is at the historic Inn at the Presidio. Tucked away in the lush national park at the foot of the Golden Gate, this might be the most romantic hotel around—snuggle up by the fire on the outdoor patio, then you tell us. Built in 1903 as part of the U.S. Army base, the inn was originally a residence for bachelor officers. The Georgian Revival–style brick building has been redone to house 22 comfy guest rooms, most of which are warmed by fireplaces; the requisite rocking chairs await on the front porch. Just 30 yards away, sits The Funston House, a renovated officer's home boasting four private bedrooms and stylish living and dining rooms. From the top floor of the main building, there are views of the bridge and the Bay, and every stay includes daily breakfast and complimentary wine and cheese in the evenings. // 42 Moraga Ave. (Presidio); reservations (starting around $365/night) at innatthepresidio.com.
Hotel Zetta: Where the well-heeled crowd dines and games
Stop by the swanky lobby for a couple cocktails and game of pool.
(Courtesy of Hotel Zetta)
Since the Viceroy's stylish Zetta opened back in 2013, the SoMa boutique hotel has been drawing Bay Area foodies and social mavens for meals at the Ken Fulk–designed hot spot, The Cavalier. But there's more to the place than bomb Brit-inspired cuisine and the see-and-be-seen sultriness of the restaurant's backroom Marianne's: Zetta is an adult play space with shuffleboard and billiards in the game room as well as a welcoming lobby bar. The century-old building houses 116 rooms designed with eco-friendly elements and found art—the perfect spot to crash after a big night downstairs. // 55 5th St. (SoMa); reservations (starting around $215/night) at viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/zetta.
Hotel Via: It's all about the rooftop bar and giant view
Stop by the Rooftop at Via for cocktails and views of Oracle Park.
(Courtesy of Hotel Via)
Opened in 2017, this swanky South Beach stay has sweeping views of the Bay and city skyline, and is the perfect place to crash after a game at nearby Oracle Park. Each of the rooms, inspired by the surrounding neighborhood, has streamlined design with turquoise accents and custom furnishings. The best part? Sitting atop the 12 story Hotel Via, you'll find a funky indoor/outdoor bar with epic panoramic views exclusively for hotel guests. Grab a couple cocktails on a sunny afternoon, or stop by on Giants game day for an exclusive hot dog and Cracker Jacks. // 138 King St. (SoMa); reservations (starting around $320/night) at hotelviasf.com