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Top 5 Hotels in San Francisco

Posted: 5/10/24 | May 10th, 2024

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in the United States. I always look forward to my next visit. The city boasts an incredible food scene, especially Asian cuisine, and is close to stunning national parks where you can hike among towering redwoods.

However, due to the thriving tech industry, San Francisco is also one of the most expensive cities in the country. While I love visiting, it’s easy to overspend, especially on accommodation. With a plethora of hotels in the city, not all of them are worth staying at, as I’ve learned from experience.

Having visited San Francisco on and off for over a decade, I’ve stayed in many different hotels. Here’s a list of the best hotels in San Francisco to help you plan your trip:

1. Argonaut Hotel

A bright and colorful hotel room at the Argonaut Hotel in San Francisco, USAA bright and colorful hotel room at the Argonaut Hotel in San Francisco, USA
In a nod to the building’s former life as a 20th-century warehouse, everything in this award-winning four-star boutique hotel is nautically themed. Located at Fisherman’s Wharf, the spacious rooms are all blue and white, featuring exposed brick walls and timber beams, and wall décor like large compasses or mirrors shaped like ship windows. Some have excellent views over the bay too. Each room has a minifridge and minibar stocked with local goodies, a 50” HDTV, and a coffee maker with complimentary locally roasted coffee. The bathrooms are a bit small and dated, but the water pressure in the showers is good (a big plus in my book).

There’s also a 24-hour fitness center, in-room spa services, and a seafood restaurant where you get a $15 USD daily credit with your room. The restaurant also serves breakfast in the mornings, and though a bit expensive, it’s pretty tasty, offering lots of omelet options, as well as French toast and pancakes. I especially appreciate the hotel’s eco-friendliness, avoiding single-use plastics in the rooms, using water-saving systems, and even composting at the restaurant. The hotel is also dog-friendly if you’re traveling with your pup.

Book here!


2. Fairmont San Francisco

A spacious and airy room at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, USAA spacious and airy room at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, USA
Situated in posh Nob Hill, this five-star hotel is an iconic symbol of elegance and luxury. With distinctive architecture, this historic hotel has hosted guests from around the world for over a century. I love the timeless grandeur it exudes, with opulent décor featuring marble floors, sparkling chandeliers, and ornate furnishings.

The rooms are spacious, with high ceilings and amenities including a flatscreen TV, a desk with built-in USB ports, a tea/coffee maker, and a safe. The bathrooms are large too and feature marble bathtubs, plush bathrobes and slippers, and complimentary toiletries. The entire place feels like a resort, with a spa, gym, and several restaurants (one of which serves an excellent breakfast). Don’t miss the kitschy Tonga Room, the legendary tiki bar in the basement — there’s even a lagoon with a floating stage where bands play. You have to see it to believe it!

Book here!


3. Petite Auberge

A cozy B&B room at the charming Petite Auberge hotel in San Francisco, USAA cozy B&B room at the charming Petite Auberge hotel in San Francisco, USA
I adore this French-style, three-star bed-and-breakfast located on the edge of Nob Hill and Union Square. The décor gives the feeling of staying in an old farmhouse, with uniquely patterned walls, hardwood floors, antique wooden furniture, and a fireplace in some rooms. There’s a complimentary continental breakfast in the mornings (with pastries, cereals, yogurt, eggs, juice, and coffee) and happy hour with wine and snacks in the evenings too.

All rooms are spacious and match the hotel’s style, with floral wallpaper, bookshelves, wooden desks and armoires, and soft beds. In-room amenities include a flatscreen TV, bathrobes, a hairdryer, and luxury bath products. The bathrooms are a bit small, and the shower pressure kind of weak, but overall this place is super cozy and unique.

Book here!


4. Inn San Francisco

An elegant and large hotel room at the Inn San Francisco in San Francisco, USAAn elegant and large hotel room at the Inn San Francisco in San Francisco, USA
This charming three-star bed-and-breakfast is the best place to stay in the Mission district, known for its vibrant nightlife and dining scene. Housed in a classic Victorian mansion from the 1870s, the atmosphere here is delightful. The property is full of character, with grand double parlors adorned with woodwork, marble fireplaces, stained-glass windows, and historical photographs on the walls. It’s truly stunning.

All rooms are uniquely decorated with antique furniture and décor yet equipped with modern conveniences like an HDTV, a minifridge, and comfortable beds. Each bathroom is different (some with claw-foot tubs), but all are beautifully tiled and offer complimentary toiletries. Start your day with a delicious breakfast buffet included in your stay, featuring an array of options like fresh fruit, pastries, quiche, cold cuts, and eggs. After a long day, enjoy a glass of sherry on the rooftop sundeck or in the 24/7 hot tub in the tranquil English garden out back. For a unique and historic experience in the city, this is the place to be.

Book here!


5. Hotel Emblem

A cool hotel room with lots of art at Hotel Emblem in San Francisco, USAA cool hotel room with lots of art at Hotel Emblem in San Francisco, USA
As a fan of the Beat Generation (On the Road is one of my favorite travel books), I find this beatnik-themed four-star hotel super cool. It embraces its literary theme with a book nook in the lobby, giant quotes on the walls, and a writing desk with an inspiration board in every room. The hotel’s moody speakeasy bar hosts poetry slams and serves excellent craft cocktails. Upon check-in, you’ll receive a complimentary glass of sangria.

The eclectic rooms feature velvet chairs, pillow-top mattresses, a smart TV, a Nespresso coffee machine, a safe, and bedside USB outlets. The large bathrooms offer nice complimentary bath products and plush bathrobes. I also appreciate the healthy breakfast options at the hotel’s café, including breakfast bowls, smoothies, juices, and granola with yogurt and fresh fruit. Conveniently located on the border of Union Square and Nob Hill, the hotel is less than a block from a cable car stop and a short walk to a BART station, making it easy to get around town.

Book here!


San Francisco is a cultural epicenter of the United States. Whenever I’m road-tripping around California, I always make sure to stop here. It’s fun and beautiful, and I always cherish my time in the city. Just choose a hotel from the list above, and you’ll have a memorable stay in the Golden City.

Book Your Trip to San Francisco: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe, leaving no stone unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld for the biggest inventory and best deals. For other accommodation options, use for consistently returning the cheapest rates for guesthouses and budget hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never travel without it and have found it indispensable in various situations. My top recommended companies offer excellent service and value:

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to save money while traveling. I list all the ones I use to save money on the road. These companies will help you cut costs during your travels.

Need a Guide?
San Francisco boasts some fascinating tours. I recommend Take Walks, my favorite company for expert guides who provide behind-the-scenes access to the city’s top attractions. They are my go-to for walking tours!

Want More Information on San Francisco?
Visit our detailed destination guide on San Francisco for additional planning tips!


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