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San Francisco Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Campton Place Hotel
340 Stockton Street
San Francisco , California
94108
Tel: 866 332 1670 (toll-free)
Tel: 415 781 5555
reservations@camptonplace.com
www.camptonplace.com

Refined The refined Campton Place, which was purchased in spring of 2007 by the Taj hotel group, has only 110 rooms, which means that service is personal as well as polished. Rooms are decorated in sand and cinnamon hues, with old-fashioned leather-topped writing desks and pear-wood paneling. A stay here is as soothing as a cup of hot chocolate and as serene as a weekend at a country house, thanks to insulated glass windows that block out urban noise. Standard rooms can be a bit cramped, and not all have bathtubs (request one if it matters to you); better to upgrade to the deluxe category, which will give you an extra 100 square feet, enough space to accommodate a fully opened room-service table and two chairs. The in-room dining is courtesy of the attached Campton Place Restaurant, which serves up Cal-Med cuisine that highlights local produce and is executed with French-style precision. The guests, mostly high-flying executives and couples on romantic getaways, tend to keep to themselves.—Updated by John Vlahides

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
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Cavallo Point
601 Murray Circle
Fort Baker
Sausalito , California
94965
Tel: 888 651 2003 (toll-free)
Tel: 415 339 4700
info@cavallopoint.com
www.cavallopoint.com?chebs=concierge_dec08

A national park lodge that trades the elk antlers and log beams for modern art and bamboo ceilings, Cavallo Point is a rare species. The footprint of the property hasn't changed much from its days as an Army post, and half of the rooms are in the former officers' quarters. Built in 1909, these historic accommodations have a homey feel, each with its own quirks of the original Colonial-Revival architecture. The newly built accommodations are the most visible aspect of Cavallo Point's bid for LEED certification: Think solar panels and denim insulation (how refreshing, too, to enter an empty hotel room where every light isn't on). Staff don't yet have service down to a science, but their charm offsets any hiccups you might encounter. Best of all, this spit of land hidden at the Marin-side foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, has the loveliest view of San Francisco—although the earplugs stashed in every room suggest that foghorns could be an issue. Guests can perfect their running stride or their knitting stitch in one of the multi-day learning programs. And chef Joseph Humphrey oversees the delicious dishes at Murray Circle, the clubby Farley Bar, and the Healing Arts Center's healthy Tea Bar.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Fairmont San Francisco
950 Mason Street
San Francisco , California
94108
Tel: 800 441 1414 (toll-free)
Tel: 415 772 5000
sanfrancisco@fairmont.com
www.fairmont.com/sanfrancisco

Perched atop Nob Hill, the venerable Fairmont is the hotel where Tony Bennett first crooned, "I left my heart in San Francisco." The lobby dazzles with gilded opulence: gold-framed mirrors, potted palms, impressive columns, and the building's original marble floors from 1907. Rooms are high-end business-class in style; most feature Asian antique reproductions and rose-marble bathtubs. Those in the original building have high ceilings and a rich sense of place, but not all have views; rooms in the vintage-1961 tower have jaw-dropping vistas yet feel more generic. The Fairmont also has San Francisco's most fabulous presidential suite, built circa 1926, complete with outdoor terrace and a movable bookcase in the library that conceals a secret staircase to the rooftop helipad. Downstairs, the sublimely kitschy Tonga Room offers Asian food and cocktails, and the Laurel Court Restaurant serves California cuisine. The Fairmont is perfect for a romantic weekend, especially if you're looking for a place wreathed in San Francisco history.—Updated by John Vlahides

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
757 Market Street
San Francisco , California
94103
Tel: 800 332 3442 (toll-free)
Tel: 415 633 3000
world.reservations@fourseasons.com
www.fourseasons.com/sanfrancisco

The superluxurious Four Seasons San Francisco is a sanctuary so serene it's hard to believe it's in the heart of downtown. The 277 large rooms have soft beds, marble bathrooms, and deep soaking tubs; the suites have stunning views of the city. Though the understated greige decor successfully straddles the line between contemporary and traditional, with clean lines and zero clutter, it lacks color and splash: If you like fringe and chintz, choose the Ritz-Carlton instead. The Cal-Med restaurant, Seasons, offers a sophisticated spin on surf and turf, and the vast Sports Club/LA, the city's top health club, has a gym, fitness classes, a pool, a full spa, a basketball court, and even Gyrotonic and Budokon studios. The hotel's $2 million Bay Area art collection is so prestigious that it merits a podcast tour, and service can be so obsequious it's almost embarrassing.—Updated by John Vlahides

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Bohème
444 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco , California
94133
Tel: 415 433 9111
Fax: 415 362 6292
www.hotelboheme.com

Smack dab in the heart of North Beach, San Francisco's Little Italy, the Hotel Bohème nods to the neighborhood's Beat era heyday. What the 12-room boutique hotel lacks in amenities, it compensates for with a strong sense of place. A climb up the thickly carpeted, creaky wooden staircase (there's no elevator) reveals an old-fashioned, pensionelike inn. The hallways are lined with gallery-quality black-and-white photographs of North Beach in the '50s and lamps shaded with decoupage sheet music and poetry by Allen Ginsberg (a frequent guest back in the day). Done in burnt orange and sage green, rooms are simple and cozy, with armoires, gingham bedspreads on cast-iron beds, bistro tables, and rattan side chairs with Chinese-motif cushions. Bathrooms are tiny and have no tubs, but they're spotless and sport sunny yellow tile. We're not convinced of the mosquito netting doubling as a crown canopy over the bed, but such touches add to the hotel's funky charm. Outside, the colorful neighborhood is chockablock with sidewalk cafés, indie boutiques, and Italian pastry shops, but the street scene gets loud. The hotel has double-pane windows, but if you're a light sleeper, book a room in the back.—John Vlahides

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Hotel Monaco
501 Geary Street
San Francisco , California
94102
Tel: 800 546 7866 (toll-free)
Tel: 415 292 0100
Fax: 415 292 0111
www.monaco-sf.com

The Hotel Monaco, one of several Kimpton properties in the vicinity of Union Square, manages to achieve a certain swank despite the rooms' slightly dated dot-com–era decor. Still, the look—a riot of mismatched stripes and checks—remains fun, and there are some quirky touches that set the hotel apart: Pets are welcome, a goldfish is delivered on request to keep guests company, and bathrobes are emblazoned with leopard and zebra prints. The on-site spa, intended to evoke a contemporary Roman bath, includes a sauna, steam room, and hot tub, plus a 24-hour gym and various massage treatments. The Grand Café serves French brasserie food in a beautiful turn-of-the-century ballroom. A complimentary wine and cheese reception is held nightly in the sumptuous lobby, which has a frescoed ceiling, a large fireplace, and a sweeping marble staircase.—Updated by John Vlahides

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
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Hotel Palomar
12 Fourth Street
San Francisco , California
94103
Tel: 866 373 4941 (toll-free)
Tel: 415 348 1111
sales@hotelpalomar.com
www.hotelpalomar.com

Snappy art installations add a contemporary touch to the lobby of this soigné downtown hotel, tucked away in a historic 1905 building. The Palomar's comfortable bedrooms have simple, clean lines with some bold bursts of color and crocodile-print carpets. Art is a recurring theme here, from the Escher-like geometric parquet in the lobby to the Magritte Suite, a tribute to the great Surrealist artist that includes a cloud-painted ceiling and a bowl of green apples. The eager-to-please staff sets a genial atmosphere, and the swanky Fifth Floor restaurant serves seasonal California cuisine.—Updated by John Vlahides

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
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Hotel Vitale
8 Mission Street
San Francisco , California
94105
Tel: 888 890 8688 (toll-free)
Tel: 415 278 3700
bookvitale@jvdhospitality.com
www.hotelvitale.com

The flagship property of the Joie de Vivre chain, the Vitale promotes California-style serenity with free daily yoga classes—often held in the penthouse studio—and private soaking tubs in the spa's rooftop garden. The 199 rooms have a Zen aesthetic, with a sprig of lavender outside every door; a palette of soft blues, greens, and beiges; and streamlined modern furnishings. Extras like mud masks in the minibar help inspire a meditative mood. For the best views, it's worth springing for a waterfront room, with sweeping vistas of the Bay Bridge. At happy hour, head downstairs to the lounge at Americano, the hotel's restaurant, which has a thriving singles scene.Updated by John Vlahides

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
InterContinental Mark Hopkins
1 Nob Hill
San Francisco , California
94108
Tel: 800 662 4455 (toll-free)
Tel: 415 392 3434
sanfrancisco@interconti.com
www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/ic/1/en/hd/sfoha

This gothic hulk of a building in neighborhoodtk Nob Hill is named after Mark Hopkins, the Central Pacific Railroad co-founder whose mansion previously stood here. After being acquired in 1973 by the InterContinental chain, the hotel lost some of its character and now attracts a buttoned-up business clientele. But nearly every room has a stunning view and some luxe touches, like Frette linens. Splurge on a Terrace Suite to enjoy the ultimate perch above the city, complete with solarium, and feel like a tycoon. If you plan to spend much of your time in the hotel, consider paying an extra $60 per couple ($40 per individual) for club access, which includes hotel-wide Wi-Fi, five daily food services, and an open bar in the evening. The Nob Hill restaurant serves California cuisine, and the 19th floor houses the Top of the Mark, famous for its nearly 360-degree panorama. Although the bar is typically full of tourists, there's nothing quite like enjoying a martini (they serve 100 varieties) while listening to live jazz and watching the sun set over Babylon by the Bay.—Updated by John Vlahides

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco
222 Sansome Street
San Francisco , California
94104
Tel: 800 622 0404
Tel: 415-276-9888
mosfo-reservations@mohg.com
www.mandarinoriental.com/sanfrancisco/&kw=general&htl=mosfo&eng=concierge&src=cpm

San Francisco's best hotel with a view, this Mandarin Oriental property occupies the top 11 floors of the city's third-tallest building. The apex of the Transamerica Pyramid rises at eye level, and the Golden Gate Bridge looks like a child's toy in the distance. The 158 contemporary rooms are subtly Asian-style, with Chinese-inspired furnishings and a bold palette of gold and cinnamon red. The smallest rooms are a bit tight on space and have only a view of downtown's towers, but the big windows make them feel larger than their 350 square feet. For the best sightlines and more elbow room, request a corner location—these have bridge-to-bridge vistas. For pure indulgence, it's hard to beat the Golden Gate Mandarin King rooms, which have a bathtub perched in the window. Service is the hallmark of the Mandarin Oriental chain, and here it doesn't disappoint. Need a new charger cord for your iPod? Call the concierge, and it will be in your room before you're back from Alcatraz. Downstairs, Silks restaurant serves Pacific Rim cuisine in one of the city's most intimate white-tablecloth dining rooms; the MO Bar serves full afternoon tea.—John Vlahides

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Orchard Garden Hotel
466 Bush Street
San Francisco , California
Tel: 415 399 9807
theorchardgardenhotel.com

From an in-room key card system that controls lighting and temperature (reducing energy consumption by 20 percent) to whimsical drapes and carpets fashioned from recycled materials, this 86-room hotel's eco-friendliness scored a hallowed LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, one of only a handful of U.S. hotels to receive one. Still, Orchard Garden doesn't sacrifice environment in the name of environmentalism: The Egyptian cotton bedspreads are silky soft, the attractive furnishings are constructed of maple harvested from a sustainable forest, and sleek modern fixtures hold compact fluorescent light bulbs. While the service is still working out some kinks, Roots, the on-site eatery, offers a tasty menu of naturally raised meats and sustainably caught seafood. Best of all, this Union Square hotel saves not only the planet but also your wallet.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Palace Hotel
2 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco , California
94105
Tel: 415 512 1111
Fax: 415 543 0671
www.sfpalace.com

The Palace is San Francisco's most storied hotel. The original opened in 1875, then burned in the fire following the 1906 earthquake. In 1909, the hotel reopened in its current incarnation in the Financial District. President Woodrow Wilson gave his League of Nations speech here, and President Warren Harding died upstairs. Today, the lobby glows with the original Austrian-crystal light fixtures. A $7 million stained-glass dome covers the opulent Garden Court, one of Northern California's most spectacular rooms, which is lined with a double row of Italian marble columns and 20 enormous lead-crystal chandeliers. Guest rooms have less of a wow factor, with colonial-style wood furniture, predictable beige color schemes, and chintz bedspreads. But details like high ceilings and heavy crown moldings distinguish them as historic, and beds are sumptuous. The fitness center has a glass-enclosed, heated rooftop swimming pool—a rarity in foggy San Francisco. Off the lobby, don't miss the bar at Maxfield's, which is adorned with an eerie Maxfield Parrish mural depicting the Pied Piper luring children to their demise.—John Vlahides

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Petite Auberge
863 Bush Street
San Francisco , California
94108
Tel: 800 365 3004 (toll-free)
Tel: 415 928 6000
petiteauberge@jdvhopitality.com
www.petiteaubergesf.com

The Petite Auberge feels like a tranquil country inn. The decor is rustic French, with white-painted shutters and a ubiquitous floral motif. Eighteen of the 26 rooms (all nonsmoking) have gas fireplaces, great for those foggy San Francisco summers. Attentive employees do everything they can to make you cozy, from serving afternoon wine and hors d'oeuvres in the parlor to placing a bottomless cookie jar in the lobby. They'll also arrange for a Golden Gate Greeter—a local who takes you on a tour tailored to your interests (ask when booking). If you don't have a friend to show you around town, this is the next best thing.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Phoenix Hotel
601 Eddy Street
San Francisco , California
94109
Tel: 800 248 9466 (toll-free)
Tel: 415 776 1380
phoenixhotel@jdvhospitality.com
www.thephoenixhotel.com

If you're looking for a romantic hideaway, the Phoenix is not for you. If you want to party like a rock star, you've found the place. Popular with visiting celebs, such as Keanu Reeves, the Phoenix is a funky boutique hotel with tropical bungalow decor and an outdoor heated pool (check outnote the mosaic-tiled mural on the bottom). Think retro-cool motor lodge built around a central courtyard, with art installations among the landscaping. Some of the furnishings could definitely use upgrading (namely the foam pillows, too-thin carpeting, and nothing-special bed sheets), but the look is cool in a rattan-and-tiki kind of way. The Bambuddha Lounge downstairs can be noisy and overrun by drunk 20-twentysomethings on a Saturday night, but that won't be a problem if you're partying partying, too. The Tenderloin neighborhood looks shabby but is perfectly safe if you exercise common sense (don't flash your cash). —Updated by John Vlahides

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Red Victorian Bed, Breakfast & Art
1665 Haight Street
San Francisco , California
94117
Tel: 415 864 1978
reservations@redvic.com
www.redvic.com

A shrine to the Summer of Love, the Red Victorian is the place to go if you're sick of chain hotels and want some local color—psychedelic color, in this case. Each room is decorated according to a hippie theme: The exuberant Flower Child Room has a rainbow and sun painted on the ceiling; the Summer of Love Room has a lava lamp, tie-dyed bed canopy, and '60s posters. The Peace Café offers delicious vegetarian food, and customers are encouraged to mingle at family-style breakfasts. The clientele is international and down-to-earth, and the amiable staff radiates peace, love, and the scent of patchouli. Note: Some rooms share a bath; ask when you book.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
600 Stockton Street
San Francisco , California
Tel: 415 296 7465
Fax: 415 291 0288
www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/san_francisco/

Inside an iconic, 100-year-old columned Nob Hill landmark, the Ritz-Carlton is San Francisco's most formal luxury hotel. Polished marble floors, Oriental carpets, and crystal chandeliers greet your arrival, and Victorian-era oil paintings make the lobby feel more like a museum than a hotel. Because of the building's historic status, hotel designers weren't allowed to make major structural alterations when the hotel opened in 1991, so each room is different in size and shape: Plan to spend time with the reservationist to choose the right one for you. The traditional decor marries walnut, mahogany, and rosewood; beds are dressed with Egyptian cotton sheets and tasseled silk throw pillows. But more than anything, it's service that sets the Ritz-Carlton apart—prompt and courteous, personable and never presumptuous, with your every need anticipated. The Dining Room, helmed by celeb chef Ron Siegel, serves dynamic Japanese-influenced French cuisine worthy of a splurge. The Lobby Lounge draws gray-at-the-temples CEOs and society matrons for evening cocktails.—John Vlahides

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Regis San Francisco
125 Third Street (at Minna Street)
San Francisco , California
94103
Tel: 415 284 4000
01511.strsf@stregis.com
www.stregis.com/sf

Staying here can feel a little like you've discovered how to control others with your mind: Your desires are often fulfilled before you knew you had them. Need a shirt ironed before that meeting? The butler is at your service. Broke the strap on your bag? The concierge desk will have it fixed. Touch screens control the lighting, temperature, window drapes, and alarm clocks in the 260 rooms, all of which are outfitted with minimalist modern furnishings, plasma TVs, abstract art, and neutral colors. The slightly sterile aesthetic can make the place seem a little like a futuristic airport lounge, but its location makes it a good bet for business travelers and art lovers (it's close to the Financial District and next door to SFMOMA). Our only regrets: The rooms' giant picture windows don't open, and there's a fire station next door. Request a room not facing Third Street if you're a light sleeper, though you'll sacrifice the gorgeous west-facing view of Twin Peaks. For those seeking a spa experience, the St. Regis does not disappoint. Remède Spa—with whirlpool, steam room and sauna, an infinity pool overlooking the city, and chocolate truffles and Champagne in the waiting lounge—is among the most lavish in town.—Updated by John Vlahides

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
W San Francisco
181 Third Street
San Francisco , California
94103
Tel: 415 777 5300
Fax: 415 817 7823
www.whotels.com/sanfrancisco

The San Francisco outpost of the W hotel chain is popular with conventioneers for its proximity to the nearby Moscone Center; it also attracts skimpily clad twentysomethings who pose in the lobby bar pretending they're in L.A. or Miami. But the hotel is comfortable as well as trendy: All 410 rooms and suites have fluffy goose-down comforters, a carafe of water on the bedside table, and a Munchie Box containing wasabi peas and other goodies. The dramatic three-story octagonal lobby is stocked with specially designed board games and game tables. If you're planning to join the party downstairs, consider bookinga facial and manicure first at the 5,000-square-foot Bliss Spa. The XYZ restaurant offers contemporary American cuisine, and you can get a cocktail or light fare in the adjoining café. Outside, look up to see the giant metal-mesh sculpture of a woman reclining on top of the fourth-floor terrace.—Updated by John Vlahides

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.