San Franciscans don’t often get a chance to enjoy the full service of a hotel in the city. But given the hot, smokey weather, there’s no better time to book an arctically chilled luxury retreat, replete with brand new sheets, city views and rooftop bars from which you can try and spy the window of your cluttered work-from-home desk.
And now that friends and family are visiting again, it helps to know whether you’ll want to recommend the same local hotel every time, or to switch it up and try something new—especially given that the San Francisco hotel scene changed dramatically during the pandemic.
Here are the 11 SF hotels that should be on locals’ radar—new properties built from the ground-up as well as recent renovations—and who they’re best to book for (yourself, aside, of course).
New San Francisco Hotels
8 Mission St., Embarcadero
Best Guests: Locals in need of a spa day, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market pilgrims, first-time business travelers and family and friends not 100% ready for today’s urban SF
The new Embarcadero destination is the second California location for 1 Hotels, the luxury lifestyle brand inspired by nature. The 200-guest room, eco-friendly property near the Ferry Building pays homage to the Bay Area environment with an earth-tone palette, native greenery, reclaimed woods and layered textures. Hand-loomed rugs and carpets are created from natural plant fibers and recyclable wool.
Duck into the full-service Bamford wellness spa for massage treatments, body services, and facials with natural and organic ingredients—or head to the Field House gym, open 24/7 with state-of-the-art weight training and cardio equipment, as well as Peloton bikes. The indoor-outdoor café and lounge, Terrene, features fresh ingredients grown locally, even on the rooftop garden, which also has beehives for on-site honey production. Add a brunch visit to the restaurant on your Ferry Building shopping days, and choose between delicious smoothies, sweet potato waffles, healthy bowls, salads and flatbreads.
33 Turk St., Tenderloin
Best Guests: Real and aspiring social media influencers, cool friends visiting from NYC/Portland/Seattle/LA, and concert/theatre-goers seeking best-of-SF food, drink and shelter
The hippest new property in the city rises from—where else?—the corner of Mason and Turk in the heart of the Tenderloin. Opening on Sept. 30, the LINE SF is the latest property from a proprietor that aims to serve urban communities in big cities, such as Koreatown in L.A. and Adams Morgan in D.C. The guest rooms are sleek and the hotel’s striking exterior will certainly liven up the struggling Mid-Market zone.
But the most exciting part of the LINE is what’s on tap for its drinks and food. SF-pedigreed chefs and mixologists are heading up the menus at Tenderheart, an all-day ground-floor eatery; Rise Over Run, a view-tastic rooftop restaurant and bar; and Dark Bar, a unique lobby bar to delight those who love hotel lobby bars. L.A.-based Altered Coffee will also open its first SF outpost in the hotel. Locals long in search of Tenderloin options for pre-and post-theater or concert happenings will beat a path to the LINE.
100 Channel St., Mission Bay
Best Guests: Warriors/Giants fans, Chase Center event-goers, frequent visitors ready to explore a new part of town and scientist/biotech business travelers
LUMA is the first hotel in the city’s Mission Bay neighborhood. The 299 contemporary-style guest rooms maximize vantage points of the city skyline and bay, and the color-neutral tones include pops of teal to emphasize the meeting of water and land here.
The 1,500-square-foot fitness center has premium cardio equipment as well as hand and free weights. Grab a Sightglass coffee paired with Craftsman and Wolves pastries at Twyne, or snag a snack from the front-desk Bodega. Set to open this fall is LUMA’s 5,500-square-foot fully enclosed rooftop bar and lounge with 180-degree views of the city. Expand your San Francisco art awareness by visiting the property’s ground floor, which features large-scale art installations such as a Jim Campbell piece with 4,000 wires that end in single LED light bulbs, and an 18-foot-tall Adia Millet abstract painting of the indigenous birds known to Mission Bay.
2 More New SF Hotels Worth a Look
Newly Renovated San Francisco Hotels
450 Powell St., Union Square
Best Guests: First-time tourists wanting the classics, old-school SF visitors who loved The Sir Francis Drake and thirsty locals needing a new stop in Union Square
Formerly known as The Sir Francis Drake, the Beacon Grand has changed its identity and redesigned its public spaces and 418 guestrooms. The primary goal of the renovation was to celebrate the craftsmanship and grandeur of the Renaissance Revival building while also recognizing the public spaces and architectural details hidden over time.
In the heart of the Union Square hotel, the Beacon Lounge serves three meals a day, transitioning from daytime café to evening bar with modern interpretations of classic San Francisco dishes and custom-blended cocktails. Tucked away from the Beacon Lounge is The Library, with a collection of rare whiskeys and select productions and vintages of bourbon, single malts and ryes. Crowning it all is the historic Starlite Room, which will reopen for dancing with fresh changes in 2023.
222 Sansome St., Financial District
Best Guests: Business travelers in suits, parents wanting a recognizable brand, and staycationers looking for weekend specials
The Four Seasons in the Financial District recently renovated its 155 guestrooms, lobby and fitness center, as well as two private Terrace Suites, and The Overlook—a special-event terrace on the 40th floor. Guest rooms have a contemporary design with natural wood floors, modern furnishings, spa-like bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and views of important San Francisco landmarks. The two premium Terrace Suites feature an expansive 2,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space with panoramic views of the city and bay.
While the all-day dining menu at The Lounge & Bar includes elevated bar bites and hearty entrees, a brand-new signature restaurant will be added to expand dining and drinking options. When you’re visiting friends or family staying here, walk through the Sky Bridges on floors 40 and 48 to give them the lay of the land through floor-to-ceiling windows.
125 Third St., SoMa
Best Guests: Museum lovers, Moscone conventioners, Union Square & SF Centre shoppers and tech business travelers
The St. Regis has completed an update of its 260 guest rooms, meeting spaces, lobby and bar. Guest room luster has been added through a color palette of silver, copper and iron, and California panoramas by Ansel Adams are visible through layered smoked desk glass. The reimagined St. Regis Bar and restaurant Astra let in an abundance of natural light and city street scenes with floor-to-ceiling windows.
This hotel in SoMa’s Yerba Buena cultural corridor is a draw for arts and culture enthusiasts with the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) located within the building’s ground floor, and SFMOMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and more nearby. Even if you don’t have family or friends staying here, drop by the bar after a museum visit, and enjoy a cocktail beneath the sweeping brass trellis as you watch the city go by.
3 More Recently Renovated SF Hotels Worth a Look
- Hotel Caza (formerly the Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf), re-opened in April 2021
- The Clift Royal Sonesta in Union Square, re-opened in May 2021
- Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SoMa (formerly the Park Central), re-opened in February 2022
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