Best hotels and hostels in San Francisco

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa

    Yotel San Francisco

    Newly situated within the long-standing Grant building, this chic downtown hotel is a West Coast first for parent company Yotel, a chain of compact, technology-forward luxury stays. Design choices conserve time and space at every turn, from the self-check-in kiosks to the adjustable 'smartbeds' (which morph into couches) to the playful 'sky cabins,' cozy lofted sleeping quarters with extralong mattresses and large flat-screen TVs. Comfy communal and private work spaces are all connected to high-speed wi-fi, the gym is open 24 hours, and a rooftop bar and restaurant was slated to open in the summer of 2019, with an awe-inspiring view of City Hall and beyond.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa

    HI San Francisco City Center

    The seven-story, 1920s Atherton Hotel was remodeled in 2001 into a much-better-than-average hostel, with private baths in all rooms, including dorms. And it scores bonus points for ecofriendliness: the place is powered mainly by solar panels, and shower heads change color based on the length of a shower. Four pancakes or four eggs cost $1 and there's an on-site bar – though dive bars and bargain eats are the main selling point of this location at the edge of the gritty Tenderloin.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

    Argonaut Hotel

    Fisherman's Wharf's top hotel was built as a cannery in 1908 and has century-old wooden beams and exposed-brick walls. Rooms sport an over-the-top nautical theme, with porthole-shaped mirrors and plush, deep-blue carpets. Though all rooms have the amenities of an upper-end hotel – ultracomfy beds, iPod docks – some are tiny with limited sunlight. Parking starts at $65. Pay extra for a mesmerizing bay view. Kids meet other kids in the big lobby.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Japantown, Fillmore & Pacific Heights

    Hotel Kabuki

    Welcome to the Steve Jobs of SF hotels – minimalist and austere outside, but inside sneaky psychedelic touches make you wonder who's been microdosing magic mushrooms. Japanese mid-century modern meets '60s SF in cleverly updated decor: Noguchi tables flank shibori tie-dyed bedheads and slate-gray walls feature trippy Jonathan Adler prints. Book directly to score free passes to Kabuki Springs & Spa.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in North Beach & Chinatown

    Orchard Garden Hotel

    San Francisco's original LEED-certified, all-green-practices hotel uses sustainably grown wood, chemical-free cleaning products and recycled fabrics in its soothingly quiet rooms. Don't think you'll be trading comfort for conscience: rooms have unexpectedly luxe touches, like high-end down pillows, Egyptian-cotton sheets and organic bath products. Toast sunsets with a cocktail on the rooftop terrace. Book directly for deals, free breakfast and parking.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

    Inn at the Presidio

    Built in 1903 as bachelor quarters for army officers, this three-story, redbrick building in the Presidio was transformed in 2012 into a smart national-park lodge, styled with leather, linen and wood. Oversized rooms are plush, including feather beds with Egyptian-cotton sheets. Suites have gas fireplaces. Nature surrounds you, with hiking trailheads out back, but taxis downtown cost $25 to $30. Parking is $9 per night.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa

    Axiom

    Of all the downtown SF hotels aiming for high-tech appeal, this one gets it right. The lobby is razzle-dazzle LED, marble and riveted steel, but the games room looks like a start-up HQ, with arcade games and foosball tables. Guest rooms have low-slung, gray-flannel couches, king platform beds, dedicated routers for high-speed wireless streaming to Apple/Google/Samsung devices, and Bluetooth-enabled everything.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in North Beach & Chinatown

    Hotel Bohème

    Eclectic, historic and unabashedly romantic, this quintessential North Beach boutique hotel has jazz-era color schemes, wrought-iron beds, paper-umbrella lamps, Beat poetry and artwork on the walls. The vintage rooms are smallish, some face noisy Columbus Ave (quieter rooms are in back) and bathrooms are teensy, but novels beg to be written here – especially after bar crawls. No elevator or parking lot.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in The Haight & Hayes Valley

    Parsonage

    With rooms named for San Francisco's grand dames, this 23-room 1883 Italianate Victorian retains gorgeous original details, including rose-brass chandeliers and Carrara-marble fireplaces. Spacious, airy rooms offer antique beds with cushy SF-made McRoskey mattresses; some rooms have wood-burning fireplaces. Take breakfast in the formal dining room, and brandy and chocolates before bed. Two-night minimum.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Japantown, Fillmore & Pacific Heights

    The Kimpton Buchanan

    Roll out of bed and find shopping, spas and shabu-shabu dining at your doorstep. Mid-century modern luxe city-view rooms offer views of Japantown's Peace Pagoda from the considerable comfort of your king bed and spa king corner rooms have Japanese soaking tubs. Cheeky style – like the whiskey-crate-paneled lounge – and thoughtful amenities, including PUBLIC bicycles at your disposal.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

    HI San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf

    Trading downtown convenience for a glorious parklike setting with million-dollar waterfront views, this hostel occupies a former army-hospital building, with bargain-priced private rooms and dorms (some co-ed) with four to 22 beds (avoid bunks one and two – they're by doorways). All bathrooms are shared. There's a huge kitchen and a cafe overlooking the bay. Limited free parking.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in The Haight & Hayes Valley

    Chateau Tivoli

    The source of neighborhood gossip since 1892, this gilded and turreted mansion graciously hosted Isadora Duncan, Mark Twain and (rumor has it) the ghost of a Victorian opera diva – and now you too can be Chateau Tivoli's guest. Nine antique-filled rooms and suites set the scene for romance; most have claw-foot bathtubs, though two share a bathroom. No elevator or TVs.

  • Lodging in Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa

    Loews Regency

    On the top 11 floors of SF's third-tallest building, Loews offers sweeping bird's-eye views from every room. There's nothing earth-shattering about the classic decor, but the details are sumptuous and, oh, those vistas – you're eye level with the Transamerica Pyramid. Splash out on a 'Golden Gate Suite' (from $1999), with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge from your bathtub. Alas, there's no pool – hence the four-star designation – but there's a spa; and service equals, sometimes beats, the city's five-stars.

  • Lodging in Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa

    Hotel Union Square

    Cleverly stylish Hotel Union Square adds soft touches like tufted headboards and down comforters to complement the original brick walls. The main drawbacks are lack of sunlight and very small rooms, but designers compensated with concealed lighting, mirrored walls and plush fabrics. Rumor has it that Dashiell Hammett lived for a time in the hotel, and a theme suite honoring him features an old typewriter and an antique suitcase filled with his books. Conveniently, the cable cars are right outside.

  • Lodging in North Beach & Chinatown

    Pacific Tradewinds Hostel

    San Francisco's smartest all-dorm hostel has a blue-and-white nautical theme, a fully equipped kitchen (free coffee, tea, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), spotless glass-brick showers, a laundry (free sock wash – so smart), luggage storage and no lockout time. Bunks are bolted to the wall, so there's no bed-shaking when bunkmates roll. No elevator means hauling bags up three flights – but it's worth it. Great service; fun staff.

  • Lodging in Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa

    Hotel Zeppelin

    A block west of Union Sq and a half-century back in time, this trippy boutique stay is replete with throw-back details. A Gothic fireplace and mod furnishings anchor the rock-n-roll-inspired lobby, while a giant peace sign constructed of license plates livens up the basement game parlor. Gen Xers will appreciate the lava lamps and vintage record players in the bedrooms, and the option to borrow albums from the hotel's vinyl library.

  • Lodging in Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa

    Marker

    Snazzy Marker gets details right, with guest-room decor in bold colors – lipstick-red lacquer, navy-blue velvet and shiny purple silk – and thoughtful amenities like high-thread-count sheets, ergonomic workspaces, digital-library access, multiple electrical outlets and ample space in drawers, closets and bathroom vanities. Extras include a small gym, an evening wine reception and bragging rights to stylish downtown digs.

  • Lodging in Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa

    Hotel Vitale

    When your love interest or executive recruiter books you into the waterfront Vitale, you know it's serious. The office-tower exterior disguises a snazzy hotel with sleek, up-to-the-minute luxuries. Beds are dressed with silky-soft 450-thread-count sheets, and there's an excellent on-site spa with two rooftop hot tubs. Rooms facing the bay offer spectacular Bay Bridge views, and Ferry Building dining awaits across the street.

  • Lodging in Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa

    Palace Hotel

    The 1906 landmark Palace remains a monument to turn-of-the-century grandeur, with 100-year-old Austrian-crystal chandeliers and Maxfield Parrish paintings. Cushy (if staid) accommodations cater to expense-account travelers, but prices drop at weekends. Even if you're not staying here, visit the opulent Garden Court to sip tea beneath a translucent glass ceiling. There's also a spa; kids love the big pool.

  • Lodging in Downtown, Civic Center & SoMa

    Galleria Park

    Exuberant staff greet your arrival at this certified-green, recently renovated boutique, a 1911 hotel restyled with contemporary art and handsome furnishings. Some rooms (and beds) run small, but they include Frette linens, down pillows, high-end bath amenities, free evening martinis and – most importantly – good service. Rooms on Sutter St are noisier, but get more light; interior rooms are quietest.