It's no secret that San Francisco is packed full of quality hotels. To stand out from the crowd, a hotel needs to have a clear purpose on just how it will serve the needs of its guests. As soon as you walk into the lobby of Hotel Rex, you'll immediately feel that purpose: to create a warm space where travelers and locals can meet.
Hotel Rex's lobby — Photo courtesy of Hotel Rex
Inspired by the intimate 1930s Bohemian-style hotels of Paris, Joie de Vivre Hotels acquired the property in 1997 and thoroughly recreated the hotel. The result? A space where strangers simply feel like people you haven't met yet. Ina Dang, general manager of the Hotel, runs her business with the simple but warm philosophy of having "the heart of an innkeeper."
"We have a social from 5-6 every evening with a free glass of wine for all our guests," Dang explains. "I roam the lobby and enjoy the conversations like everyone else."
Hotel Rex — Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy
The hotel offers every amenity you should expect from a San Francisco hotel, including complimentary Wi-Fi available throughout the hotel, newspaper and 32" flat-screen TV with cable. To further strengthen its ties to the community, Hotel Rex donates to the locally beloved program 826 Valencia, which supports underprivileged students who need that extra support and enthusiasm to improve their writing skills.
Besides making tourists feel like they're part of the community, Hotel Rex offers signature shows and events that draw locals from all over town. From magic shows on Saturday nights to book readings during the week to the Singer Songwriter Series on Friday nights, Hotel Rex offers one of the most eclectic and engaging schedules of events of any hotel in town.
Even when nothing is scheduled, you'll have a hard time pulling yourself away from the demure but lively Library Bar, which features satisfying dishes from Chef Elvin and inventive cocktails from experienced barman Tony Poloni.
Tony Poloni pours a drink. — Photo courtesy of Hotel Rex
"Our Library Bar area is bright enough so you can see everyone, quiet enough so you can have a conversation, but has space enough so you can read a book from our shelves," Poloni explains. "Not many bars in San Francisco can offer all that."
In a city where most hotels tend to put a cellphone or computer between themselves and their patrons, Hotel Rex strives to put personal connection back in to the hotel business.
"As a boutique, our hotel is small enough where we feel we can welcome people into our home," Dang says.
If you want a hotel that balances big-city sophistication with small-town warmth, be sure to check out Hotel Rex on your next San Francisco visit.