Pay to Stay: 10 Best Hotels in San Francisco

Whether you're visiting from near or far, the most important choice you'll have during your vacation is where to stay. Since San Francisco is a tight forty-nine square miles criss-crossed with public transportation, almost every San Francisco hotel can claim they are "perfectly situated." Even if a hotel isn't smack-dab next to Union Square, it's probably only a MUNI bus ride or a short walk away.

And since tourism is the bread and butter of this city, almost every hotel will have comfy beds, quality sheets and linens, and all the basics that a world-class city demands of its hotels.

So what really separates the good hotels from the best hotels?

We'd argue it's the quality and reliability of the service. If you're ready to lavish yourself in luxury, then the high-end hotels of The Palace, The Fairmont, and Sir Francis Drake each have over a century of wise and valued service. You'll pay top dollar at these hotels, but you'll get top-dollar service to match.

If you don't want to break the bank with your stay, but you still want one of the best  hotels in San Francisco, we've also included smaller, less expensive hotels like Hotel Rex. You might not be pampered in silk every inch of your stay, but these hotels have just as much to offer - in a smaller, more personal setting - than the grand hotels.

Fort 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...  Read More



Occupying the top five floors of a 1908 office building, Hotel Palomar employs luxurious textiles, bold prints, and splashes of saturated color to convey a sense of stylish opulence. It's a Kimpton hotel, so you can expect absolutely top-notch...  Read More



The Loewes Regency San Francisco occupies the top 11 floors of 345 California Center, the city's third tallest building " every guest room has a spectacular view. Room amenities include high-speed Internet access, Frette Egyptian cotton...  Read More



Offering 171 of the largest and most stylish rooms in all of downtown San Francisco, Hotel Adagio is a grand gesture to all that's great in San Francisco's past, present and future. The hotel stands out from its many Union Square counterparts...  Read More



This small, charming hotel offers many of the same services found at larger hotels. Service is personable and friendly, and rooms are designed to pamper, with extra-large beds, fuzzy slippers, warm bathrobes, and lovely bathrooms. Unique...  Read More



This grand hotel is found on famed Nob Hill. Known for being one of the best in the world, it lives up to expectation. The amenities, though expected at a hotel of its caliber, are a welcome touch. Guests enjoy an indoor swimming pool, a sauna...  Read More



If you want a taste of old San Francisco - but with all the modern amenities - book a room at Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The grand style the hotel lobby and public areas continues into the guestrooms and suites, which feature a combination of...  Read More



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...  Read More

Hotel Emblem San Francisco
Photo courtesy of Hotel Rex San Francisco


This intimate 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...  Read More



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...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom