Visiting San Francisco can be done in so many ways, but touring the city in one of the best boutique hotels that SF has to offer is a treat like no other. Why is this list free?
#1 of 16 Best Boutique Hotels in SF
★★★★★ | $$$
Thanks to a 2017 renovation, Hotel Drisco has set itself apart from other boutique hotels in San Francisco with its posh atmosphere, luxurious ambiance, and gorgeously decorated rooms. The hotel staff has a sterling reputation as the best and most experienced in the business, and thanks to the renovation, Hotel Drisco has been named one of TripAdvisor’s top 25 hotels in America.
Perched atop SF’s prized Pacific Heights neighborhood, this 1903 Edwardian boutique makes for a perfect getaway and includes luxurious complimentary services such as a continental breakfast, wine receptions in the evening, and bicycle rentals.
Nestled within the Presidio of San Francisco National Park, the Lodge at the Presidio is an upscale, luxury hotel overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. A sister property of the Inn at the Presidio, the Lodge is a stately red-brick building that offers both old-world elegance and contemporary motifs throughout. Since 2018 guests have been escaping the hustle and bustle of downtown and using the Lodge at the Presidio as a base of operations for all kinds of adventures within the park, or as a launching point for a variety of San Francisco adventures.
All of the rooms at the Lodge feature an amazing view of either the forest, the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the City itself. Many rooms even feature a combination of all four. The rooms all feature Smart TVs, ultra-soft beds, minibars, and coffee makers. The hotel is only 1 mile from the Palace of Fine Arts Theater and 3 miles from the Pier 33 Alcatraz Island ferry terminal. And as far as dining options are concerned, there’s no shortage of amazing restaurants inside the Presidio that offer local and sustainable ingredients.
#3 of 16 Leading Boutique Hotels San Francisco
★★★★★ | $$
Situated in a lively part of downtown San Francisco, Hotel Emblem has become a mecca for young travelers and those looking for a stylish, new age way to stay. Right at the intersection of Union Square and the Theater District, Hotel Emblem has 96 unique guest rooms loaded with modern amenities and designed to spark creativity. From the bar inspired by the Beat Generation and the restaurant loaded with creative cocktails, to the writer’s alcove filled with books and the communal typewriter in the lobby, Hotel Emblem is all about the power of the creative mind.
There’s something special about a hotel that hosts weekly poetry slams and nightly live jazz, but if you’d rather get out and experience the city, you’re in luck because Hotel Emblem is just 2 miles from the great bayside shopping at Pier 39 and just a 7 minute walk to the closest BART station.
#4 of 16 Top-Notch Specialty San Francisco Hotels
★★★★★ | $$$
The Battery is a five-story, high-end private club centrally located in Jackson Square. It is a well-crafted and deliberate throwback to the social clubs of the early 20th century, and its membership includes tech CEO’s, social philanthropists, and talented entrepreneurs. Although the club is considered private, anyone can book a room at the hotel and during your stay, you will be entitled to all the fringe benefits of paying members. The 58,000 square foot club contains a high-end restaurant with a private chef, four bars, a wine cellar, library, meeting rooms, as well as a gym, spa, and outdoor garden. There are 14 unique rooms to choose from including a penthouse suite that boasts views of both the Transamerica Pyramid and the Bay Bridge.
In order to become a full member of the social club, a current member must nominate you, but once you’re in, you’ll enjoy a wide array of events, dinners, and gatherings with other members. While staying here as a non-member may put a dent in your bank account, it may be well worth it just to say you stayed in one of the most private and luxurious social clubs in the entire world.
Inn at the Presidio
#5 of 16 Top Boutique Hotels in SF
★★★★★ | $$$
This historic hotel located within the Presidio of San Francisco National Park has all the elegance and natural beauty you’d expect, and is the perfect place to stay if you are trying to get out of the city’s craziness. Once known as Pershing Hall, the elegant and refined home for senior officers when the Presidio was a U.S. Army Base, the Georgian-Revival architecture and lush grounds will make you feel like you’ve just stepped back in time.
The Inn features 22 large guestrooms, including 17 suites. There’s beautiful event space within the Inn and plenty of options for parties, weddings, and gatherings within the Presidio. The Inn serves as a terrific starting point to discover one of America’s most unique national parks, as well as a place to begin and end your days exploring the many sites and sounds of San Francisco.
#6 of 16 Leading Boutique SF Hotels
★★★★☆ | $$
Hotel Vitale is a gorgeous, waterfront hotel with terrific views of the Bay and the Embarcadero. The Hotel’s philosophy revolves around inclusiveness, efficiency, and wellness, and they have recently been certified a San Francisco Green Business. That philosophy can be felt in every room of the hotel, which is a modern combination of waterfront beauty and downtown luxury. The hotel includes the Americano Restaurant & Bar, known for its beautiful views of the waterfront, and a rooftop spa replete with full-body soaker tubs.
The hotel with is a mere 3 blocks from the Financial District and a 4-minute walk to the Ferry Building, but with such beautiful views and luxury amenities such as lavender-scented hand towels in every room, it may be difficult to leave.
#7 of 16 Top-Notch Boutique Hotels San Francisco
★★★★☆ | $$
The Argonaut Hotel is one of the most unique hotels in one of the most unique locations in the city. Seated right in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf, the hotel lives up to his mythological name and is one of the most iconic spots in the city. Built in 1907, the building is made entirely out of exposed red brick and beams made of Douglas Fir Pine. The hotel feels like a world unto itself, transporting its guests to another time and place from the moment they step inside. The hotel is located right across the street from the Aquatic Park and is a 12-minute walk from Pier 39 and half a mile from Alcatraz.
The guestrooms are naturally all nautical-themed and have features like flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and yoga mats (it is San Francisco). Amenities include a complimentary wine reception and a fantastic seafood restaurant with outdoor seating. If you’re coming to San Francisco and want to stay on the water, you’re not going to get any closer - or do any better - than the Argonaut.
#8 of 16 Best Specialty San Francisco Hotels
★★★★☆ | $$
Just across the street from the home of the San Francisco Giants sits Hotel Via, one of the true gems of the city. Located in the trendy South Beach district, which sits at the intersection of the SOMA and Mission Bay neighborhoods, Hotel Via is just steps away from many of the most desired attractions in the city.
The polished guestrooms all include smart TVs, coffee machines, mini-fridges, and many offer spectacular views of the Bay or Oracle Park. There’s almost 4000 square feet of open air space with stunning views for a wedding or private event, and Bar Via is a trendy watering hole where locals gather. A beautiful rooftop bar also offers guests the rare chance to see both the ocean and Oracle Park in one spectacular panorama. For baseball fans, there’s no getting closer to the game unless you want to be in the bleachers.
#9 of 16 Leading Boutique Hotels in SF
★★★★☆ | $$
Proper Hotel in San Francisco is far more than a witty name, it is a flagship hotel unlike any other; one fully and beautifully realized by master interior designer Kelly Wearstler and featuring best-in-class luxury amenities.
Located in a historic and beautifully restored red-brick building in the Mid-Market district, Proper Hotel lives up to its name with its wide array of designer furnishings like Aesop toiletries, Vifa speaker systems, and Aireloom beds. All 131 guestrooms are unique and original works of art that will inspire as much as they restore. There’s also an upscale restaurant as well as an ultrachic rooftop lounge, fitness room, and meetings spaces. True to its name, the Proper Hotel is just that … proper.
#10 of 16 Top-Notch Boutique SF Hotels
★★★★☆ | $$
Located in the SoMa district, Hotel Zetta stands apart from other boutique hotels in the city thanks to its unique style and wonderfully bespoke accommodations that seem to be tailor-made for young professionals and culture-seeking tourists. With 116 unique accommodations that are as stylish as they are comfortable, guests will be able to enjoy San Francisco art at its finest without ever leaving their hotel.
Each room includes one-of-a-kind tapestries and original pieces of art, not to mention all the streamlined smart tech you’d expect from a modern luxury boutique hotel. Hotel Zetta features a sleek and polished lobby that leads to a 24-hour fitness center along with a bar/restaurant that includes a playroom with a 30-foot-tall Plinko machine.
The hotel is conveniently located just a few minutes from the Powell Street cable-car turnaround and BART rail station, meaning that guests are never far from experiences San Fran’s legendary restaurants, tourist traps, or nightlife.
Galleria Park Hotel
#11 of 16 Best Boutique Hotels San Francisco
★★★★☆ | $$
This stylish and beautifully renovated 3-star hotel in San Francisco’s financial district brings new meaning to the phrase “everything old is new again”. Luxurious and unique, the Galleria Park Hotel is situated inside of a classic 1911 building, and it pays tribute to its turn-of-the-century roots with its flourishes of art deco design and classic motifs.
Guestrooms are fully loaded with all the usual amenities, and the hotel is centrally located to allow for easy access to tons of the city’s landmarks and top destinations. Of course, since its San Francisco there are complimentary wine hours as well as Gaspar Brasserie, a dimly lit and trendy restaurant that was recently named “Best French Bistro” by San Francisco Magazine.
Hotel Zoe is a trendy and upscale boutique hotel located right in the middle of the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf. The hotel caters to the young and young at heart with its bustling location, technologically infused guestrooms, and ipad rental program.
Hotel Zoe prides itself on being a launching pad for adventurers ready to tackle as much of the city as possible, and its simplicity and easy energy will motivate you to stay curious in one of the most interesting cities in the world. Rent a bike and discover the Wharf, or take a quick ride over to Pier 39. If you’re hungry, Hotel Zoe also has an authentic and loved-by-locals trattoria called Pescatore, where expert chefs are serving up Italian staples and fresh, authentic cuisine day and night.
#13 of 16 Top Boutique SF Hotels
★★★★☆ | $$
One of the hidden gems of San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood is Hotel Zeppelin, a celebration of the city’s counterculture period that doesn’t lack anything when it comes to hospitality. Stylish, bold, and unpredictable, Hotel Zeppelin is an ode to the city’s bohemian and avant-garde past.
With strikingly bold guestrooms loaded with custom-created furniture and modern amenities, guests can spin a selection of vinyl records or catch up on work at one of the sophisticated desks. The hotel is just a 2-minute walk to the nearest cable car stop and 2 miles from Pier 39 on the bay. As if that wasn’t enough, Hotel Zeppelin also features a modern, high-concept game room, a fitness center with stunning skyline views, and a chic café with a bar and fireplace.
For the last few years, few boutique hotels have received as much acclaim or industry accolades as The Marker San Francisco. Just blocks from Union Square, this stylish and art-filled hotel dates back to 1910 and fosters sophisticated and luxurious designs throughout.
Brightly lit and retro-styled guestrooms are loaded with gadgets and modern trappings like flat screen TV’s, designer toiletries, and stuffed minibars. Choose to upgrade to a suite and your room will include a separate living area, and in-room spa treatments are always available by request. Guests can also experience Tratto, a family-style Italian eatery serving up a world-class selection of handmade pizza and pasta.
Hotel G San Francisco
#15 of 16 Top-Notch Specialty San Francisco Hotels
★★★★☆ | $$
Hotel G is a stylish and mid-century modern 12-story hotel located just a block from Union Square. Established way back in 1909, Hotel G has been known for its modern, minimalist style that doesn’t sacrifice comfort for elegance. Each contemporary room features a minibar, Nespresso machine, and a massive 42-inch Smart TV.
The Hotel is centrally located and is just steps away from a huge selection of great restaurants and bars, not to mention the Market and Powell Street Metro stations, both of which are just a 6 minute walk from the hotel. And for those looking to take in a bit of culture, the hotel is 10 minutes from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. But before you go out for dinner and drinks, make sure to check out Benjamin Cooper at Hotel G, where world-renowned bartenders and mixologists serve up craft cocktails and where you can enjoy some of the freshest and largest oysters in the city.
#16 of 16 Top Boutique Hotels in SF
★★★★☆ | $$
Since the 1950’s, the Phoenix San Francisco has been home to multitudes of famous rock & roll bands, and their sprit lives on in every detail and creative flourish throughout this stylish boutique hotel. Plugged into the heart of the Tenderloin neighborhood, the Phoenix perfectly epitomizes the spirit of its location, from its musically imbued guest rooms and suites to Chambers, its stylish poolside lounge and restaurant.
Just a 4-minute walk to the historic Great American Music Hall nightclub, Phoenix Hotel is a must-stay for traveling bands and music lovers looking to take in some tunes in one of the most creative cities in the world. Besides a long list of modern and classic amenities, staying at The Phoenix also gets you free weekday passes to a nearby Japanese-style bathhouse… what’s not to love?
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The above list includes Boutique SF Hotels that SFist believes actively provides superior services. In some cases, they are among the most successful teams in San Francisco. In some cases, variable, sponsorship listing fees or commissions effect the ranking position of the teams, but every one has a history of providing great services. To learn more about SFist's classifieds listings read more here.
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