Pac Heights' tony Hotel Drisco gets an update—and a Michelin key.
Pac Heights historic Hotel Drisco was one of the first hotels in the U.S. to be awarded with a Michelin key (Travis Watts).

Pac Heights' tony Hotel Drisco gets an update—and a Michelin key.


Over the years, we’ve seen the extras at hotels—the elaborate buffet breakfasts, the wine receptions, the complimentary in-room snacks—turn from free perks to, well, extras.

But over in Pacific Heights, the Hotel Drisco is bucking the trend. While their competitors shave their amenities down to the bare minimum, the Drisco has been taking the opposite approach, beefing up the benefits to a night’s stay.

The Drisco’s unconventional-for-the-times philosophy has not gone unnoticed. Last month, the over 120-year-old grand dame was among the very first U.S. hotels to be honored with Michelin’s brand new key rating for exceptional hotels and resorts.

Hotel Drisco's updated sitting room.(Travis Watts)

The timing couldn’t be better for the hotel, which has just completed a handful of renovations. On its main floor, the Drisco’s sacrificed an entire guest room to more than double the size of its communal sitting room, a cozy living space anchored by custom furniture and fabrics, and round-the-clock coffee, tea, and citrus-accented spa water.

Meanwhile, over in reception, they’ve expanded the former sliver of a space into a more inviting recessed seating area. The changes are subtle, and that’s by design. They’ve taken enormous care to seamlessly integrate the updates with the property’s historical character.

Even less obvious are the hotel’s ever-expanding sustainability initiatives. The Drisco’s radiant hydronic heating and cooling system is cutting-edge in its energy efficiency while, behind the scenes, the hotel is using green cleaning products and laundering sheets and towels in cold water. They’re partnering with nonprofits like Clean the World and San Francisco Food Runners to donate partially-used Bvlgari bath amenities and leftover food and beverages to those in need, and instead of providing guests with single-use water bottles, each room is stocked with a Brita-filtered pitcher.

Having scaled back some of its offerings during the early Covid years, the Drisco’s legendary complimentary morning and evening feasts are now back with a vengeance. At the gourmet continental breakfast in the downstairs dining room, there’s a virtually endless selection of local handmade granola and organic sheep’s milk yogurt, pastries, smoked salmon, meats, and cheeses. Custom eggs and omelets are made to order.

The Drisco's legendary evening wine reception.(Paul Dyer)

Then, every evening, the area fills once again with a host of riches from 5pm to 7pm, when a rainbow of California wines flow freely and a huge selection of artisanal cheeses, olives, deviled eggs, dips, and hot hors d'oeuvres beg to be eaten. (While you’re there, peep their enormous wine collection in the gated vault at the back of the dining room).

But somehow, these free edible, drinkable amenities are just the start. Neither Hotel Drisco’s weekday morning chauffeur service nor its pillow bar will cost you an additional penny. If the state-of-the-art fitness center doesn’t suit your needs, they’ll hand you a complimentary pass to the JCC’s expansive fitness facility eight blocks away. Even closer are the Lyon Street steps and the trails of the Presidio, which you can hit on foot or with a borrowable bike (which comes with your choice of helmets, locks, and backpacks).

None of this will surprise the Drisco’s loyal followers; with its tony neighborhood location far from the hustle of downtown, the hotel has long been a favorite for parents and grandparents visiting family in the city. The property has even been featured in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die!

But with its new Michelin cred, the elegant hotel is turning fresh heads—and the next generation will be just as delighted with what they find at the Drisco.

// 2901 Pacific Ave. (Pac Heights),

A guest room at the historic Hotel Drisco.(Travis Watts)

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