Setting the Mood: Top 10 Romantic Hotels in San Francisco

By Tom Molanphy, San Francisco Local Expert

There are vacations, and then there are romantic vacations. If you're set on having a romantic vacation, the success will hinge on planning. Don't forget that you're trying to create just the right emotional atmosphere, so every small detail will count.

Luckily, if you choose one of the hotels from our list, you won't be on your own in trying to corral and control the wonderful but unpredictable emotions that come with romance. These hotels are expertly staffed with people who are ten steps ahead of you in trying to plan that unforgettable night. From just the right mood music and lighting at the cocktail bar, to extra lavish bedroom comforts and amenities to put everyone in the right mood, these stellar hotels will do everything they can to set the right mood.

So, if you're set on having a romantic vacation, rekindle your love life with a trip to a romantic hotel in San Francisco. Couples can even benefit from special rates at hotels such as the The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. San Francisco offers some of the most romantic hotels in California, including the Fairmont Heritage Place Ghirardelli Square. Take the time to enjoy each others' company and pamper your loved one with a relaxing stay at a romantic getaway hotel.

10. The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Westin St. Francis has incredible San Francisco history and is one of those luxury hotels that will take care of anyone, no matter how young or old. And with a recent renovation, the classic traditional look of the Westin has been kept but upgraded with the most modern of conveniences. What makes Westin a possibility for families (as well as business travelers) is their long-standing tradition to offer the best downtown rates, so, if you have the time, shop around and then bring your best rate to the Westin for them to try to beat or match. With 676 newly renovated luxury rooms and AAA Four Diamond rating, you won't regret your stay at the Westin St. Francis.

9. Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel

Occupying twelve floors of an upscale residential building, the stylish Four Seasons is one of the most popular San Francisco luxury hotels. The spacious guest rooms are tastefully decorated in soothing tones and feature flat screen TVs, high-speed Internet access, floor-to-ceiling windows and marble bathrooms. Guests also enjoy complimentary access to the adjacent Sports Club LA, which offers state-of-the-art fitness and sports equipment, a pool and a range of spa services. The staff is extremely professional and friendly, eager to accommodate families, business travelers, and couples who are trying to make their San Francisco vacation a memorable and romantic experience.

8. Hotel Nikko San Francisco
Photo courtesy of Hilton Union Square

Located in the heart of the city, close to Union Square, shopping and theatre districts, this hotel is ideal for both business travelers and those couples who want to be in the thick of downtown excitement. Amenities include a health club with enclosed atrium, indoor pool, whirlpool, salon, gift shop, restaurant, bar, and travel desk. Rooms feature minibar, fax machine, stereo, VCR, and CD player. Conveniently located within walking distance of the Moscone Center, Museum of Modern Art, and Financial District. Easy access to BART, MUNI and cable cars two blocks away. Thirty minutes from San Francisco and Oakland International Airports.

7. The Scarlet Huntington Hotel
Photo courtesy of Huntingtom Hotel

The hotel is found on the famous Nob Hill, a glitzy area for those who want their romance to be upscale. This majestic hotel is located near Chinatown and a short distance from Union Square, both famous San Francisco areas with great options for romantic dining. The rooms are each decorated with a flair all their own, allowing for variety from room to room. A lovely amenity is the housecar service to and from business and shopping in the area. There are four separate meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 75 people. Built in 1924 as an apartment building and converted into a hotel in 1957. 135 Rooms.

6. The Gables Inn - Sausalito
Photo courtesy of The Gables Inn Sausalito

Although San Francisco is a great city for romance, sometimes you need a quieter, more quaint spot to set the right mood. You don't have to drive all the way to the wine country for that, though. The gem of San Francisco Bay, Sausalito, is just a short ferry ride or a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. Once you're in Sausalito, you won't want to leave, and The Gables is the place to stay. This historic inn offers fifteen distinctively elegant rooms, many with king beds, fireplaces, spa tubs, and views of San Francisco Bay. The inn is nestled in a quiet setting amongst tall Buckeye trees and is located steps to downtown Sausalito and near the waterfront in the heart of the town.

5. Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco
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There's nothing quite as romantic as a lush history, and the history of the Palace Hotel goes all the way back to the 1906 earthquake. The lower lobby holds some of the surviving remnants of that quake, so those on a tight business or convention schedule can visit a museum without even making a trek outside their own hotel. This belle of a hotel is found in the financial district and across from the New Montgomery BART station. The hotel allows for ease of access to area attractions such as Union Square. It offers a wonderfully comfortable stay in tastefully decorated rooms. Guests will enjoy the many amenities that include concierge service, room service, three restaurants, two lounges, a business center, pool, and health club.

4. Cavallo Point
Photo courtesy of Cavallo Point

If it's Nature that turns you on, then Cavallo Point is the place for you. This unique resort sits on a dramatic oceanfront setting on forty-five natural acres in Golden Gate National Park, just minutes from the town of Sausalito. Very residential in feeling, comfortable, and timeless, the setting provides a sense of community, while offering an historic perspective as well as contemporary design. Guests enjoy the relaxed, casual campus-like setting with easy access to the main public areas, dining, and meeting rooms. Murray Circle features California cuisine with a French accent and an extensive and eclectic wine cellar. Private dining available. The bar, Farley, offers light fare and entertainment.

3. Fairmont San Francisco
Photo courtesy of Fairmont San Francisco

With a recently completed renovation, the inside of this landmark Nob Hill hotel has been restored to the grandeur intended by San Simeon architect Julia Morgan. Boasting large rooms that are unknown in newer hotels, this ultra-deluxe palace offers extra long mattresses, plush terry robes and baths that match the room-size. The Venetian Room, made famous by Tony Bennett, has also had a face-lift but still occupies the heart of many locals and visitors. Despite the historical grandeur and beauty, what really makes this a grand hotel is the unobtrusive efficiency and friendliness of the staff. Where you might expect stuffiness, the staff meets you with patience and a great knowledge of the city.

2. The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Photo courtesy of Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

If you're ready for a grand, sweeping, romantic gesture to that special someone, there's nothing more grand and sweeping than offering your loved one a lavish hotel room on the edge of the mighty Pacific Ocean. Only twenty-three miles south of San Francisco - and a gorgeous, romantic drive down famous Highway One, the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay is reserved for those who truly want their socks knocked off. With guest rooms that feature 300-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and 100% goose down pillows, you'll be in the lap of luxury every night you go to sleep. If that isn't enough to put you in a relaxed mood, try the 16,000-square-foot spa.

1. Inn At The Presidio Historic Hotels Of America
Photo courtesy of Inn at the Presidio

If you hear "hotel in a national recreation area" and think of bug spray instead of romance, then you need to check out the Inn at the Presidio. Not to be confused with the Presidio Inn on Lombard Street, the Inn at the Presidio was constructed in 1903 as a home for unmarried officers living within the Presidio military district. The rooms in this Georgian-Rival building balance contemporary comfort with a healthy respect for the Presidio's rich past. Although it will be hard to tear yourself away from the Inn's beautifully restored front porches with gorgeous views of the Bay, take advantage of your amazing location. Reasonable walks can get you to The Golden Gate Bridge, shopping or dining on Chestnut Street, or right to the Bay at Crissy Fields. And nothing is quite as romantic as the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.