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All the way back to the Gold Rush one thing’s for sure: the City by the Bay has a fiercely independent spirit and that’s evident by its unique San Francisco boutique hotels.
But one look at the big hotels clustered around Union Square (aka many visitors ground zero) and it can seem, well, like the city is about chains when it comes to hotels.
The good news is that beyond downtown San Francisco, that is very much not the case. Thanks to the recent revamp of some classic hotels as well as a few new boutique hotel openings, the city’s lodging options have been given a much-appreciated breath of fresh air.
When looking for where to stay in San Francisco, we love staying at independent hotels because they often have a local personality, interesting design, and strong attention to detail. Another bonus? Many San Francisco boutique hotels are locally owned and we love putting our travel dollars right into the local economy whenever possible.
Five Unique San Francisco Boutique Hotels
For all those reasons and more, we found it high time to share our favorite boutique hotels in San Francisco. These spots have that distinct city spirit through and through, and where you should book a room at one of the unique places to stay in San Francisco.
Inn at the Presidio
This 26-room inn is set in the heart of the historic Presidio. This California national park was a military post for over 200 years before becoming part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Originally a Georgian Revival-style building restored as a guest lodge, the Inn at the Presidio opened in 2012 and has been in popular demand ever since. Perched overlooking the bay, with easy access to the hiking trails of Marin, Chrissy Field, and San Francisco’s many attractions, this hotel offers a scenic and historical place to rest your head.
Inn at The Presidio, 42 Moraga Ave, San Francisco, CA 94129
The Lodge at the Presidio
Due to the popularity of the Inn at the Presidio, The Lodge at the Presidio opened to expand the hospitality offerings in the Presidio. Owned by the Presidio Trust and operated by Waterford Hotels. With 42 rooms, the Lodge will be centrally located in the heart of the Presidio and housed in military barracks undergoing complete historic rehabilitation.
Not to be outdone by its sister property, most of these new guest rooms will have views of the Golden Gate Bridge or the San Francisco Bay. The Lodge will feature a courtyard with a fire pit, a front porch with rocking chairs, a large dining room for complimentary breakfast, and local wine and cheese will be served. If you’re looking for classic city views, this is where you stay in San Francisco.
Lodge at The Presidio, 105 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94129
Perched atop the Pacific Heights neighborhood, the Hotel Drisco delivers stunning views of the San Francisco Bay and sophisticated service.
Housed in the original 1903 Edwardian-style building (with recent renovations and improvements), the 43-room hotel is a luxurious destination in the heart of one of the city’s most desirable and iconic residential neighborhoods. With a recent, thorough renovation, the building marries historic charm with modern touches, leaving no detail overlooked and a bevy of unique places to admire in San Francisco.
Hotel Drisco, 2901 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94115
From its roots as a 1960s motel to a destination for some great rock ‘n’ roll bands, the Phoenix remains one of the most popular San Francisco hotels. Smack dab in the middle of the Tenderloin district, it’s both affordably priced (a rare find in this city) and conveniently located for most of San Francisco’s main tourist attractions.
Despite its urban location, the hotel embodies a relaxed and free spirit personality, with a tropical courtyard oasis and heated pool. The funky rooms have seen many musicians stay over the years and continue to exude personality to this day. A popular destination itself, the onsite restaurant Chambers houses one of the most extensive record collections in the country.
Phoenix Hotel, 601 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA 94109
The Proper Hotel
The Proper Hotel sits in a historical flatiron, red-brick building on Market Street. The interior design by Kelly Wearstler is playful and unexpected, mixing the traditional feel of the building with vibrant colors and bold graphics. The three restaurants offer a range of dining options: Villion, the all-day restaurant, and lounge; Charmaine, a rooftop bar and lounge with fabulous city views; and La Bande, a casual cafe and market.
The 131 guest rooms are decadently designed and unique – check out the bunk rooms for a thoughtful take on traveling with friends or coworkers – with thoughtful amenities and sophisticated attention to detail. Despite being new on the radar, this has quickly become a local hot spot because it’s one of the truly unique places to stay in San Francisco.
San Francisco Proper, 45 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94102
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Have Us Plan Your California Trip
Did you know we’re also a boutique travel agency specializing in California vacation planning? If you’re looking to plan a trip to California, our California trip planner services are here to help you plan your perfect itinerary.