Southern California

6 Best Luxury Hotels in San Francisco

Though the city is world class, the luxury hotels in San Francisco are by themselves worth the trip. Here's a round up or our absolute favourites.

I am heading across Yerba Buena Gardens, a grassy outdoor park in downtown San Francisco. It’s a cloudy day and the fog hasn’t yet lifted. I’m on my way to my favorite cafe, Samovar Tea Lounge, perched on the gardens’ upper terrace above the waterfall. I order a Pu-Erh tea, plus a piece of black sesame mochi cake, and sit outside to take in the beauty of blooming flowers and lush greenery – after all, I’m on vacation and in no rush.

After I am fully caffeinated, I make my way across the complex to my favorite museum, and arguably the best in town, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). There is an audio tour, but I prefer to explore alone, finding treasures on every floor: a living wall, an oversized Richard Serra sculpture, a few Warhols, black and white photographs, and a large cafe with an outdoor sculpture garden that oozes California chic. Next stop, a relaxing massage and body wrap back at my hotel’s luxe Reméde spa, and perhaps some room service.

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, San Francisco is large enough to feel like a big city, yet small enough to make you feel at home. Best known for its tech culture, iconic Golden Gate bridge, vertigo inducing steep streets, cable cars, rolling fog, and stunning bay views, it’s an iconic California hotspot.

Though the city is world class, the luxury hotels in San Francisco are by themselves worth the trip. Here’s a round up or our absolute favourites.

The Ritz Carlton: Classic Luxury in the Heart of Town

Nothing says luxury like the Ritz. Located in Nob Hill, The Ritz Carlton San Francisco sits on a steep hill at 600 Stockton St., with a cable car stop right outside the hotel’s door. Stay here for the legendary service and for the prime location near Chinatown, North Beach and Union Square. The hotel’s complimentary car service runs from early morning through late at night (within a square mile radius), so you can travel in style.

The Ritz Carlton is well suited for couples looking for a special weekend getaway. The rooms are gorgeous and opulent, designed in crisp white, blue and grey hues. Bathrooms are made of Italian marble and exude a classic luxury, just like you would expect.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

Top rated
San Francisco
9.2 Excellent (2115 reviews)

The Fairmont: An Iconic Hotel Perched On Top Nob Hill

If you are looking for a historic San Francisco hotel, this is it. The Fairmont is a local institution that dates back to 1907 and comes with a storied past. Sitting atop Nob Hill with gorgeous views of the Financial District, Fisherman’s Wharf and the bay, this is where Tony Bennet first sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and where delegates drafted the United Nations charter in 1945.

Today, this stately white Beaux Arts-style property welcomes travelers with group of world flags at its entrance. In fact, the vast lobby is one of the city’s central meeting places and stuns with high ceilings and marble floors.

The Fairmont is expansive, with over 600 elegant rooms. The balcony suites have a distinct look that has come to represent the Fairmont’s signature style, with white French doors that open onto large filigreed terrace balconies overlooking the rooftop garden and San Francisco’s skyline.

Fairmont San Francisco

Top rated
San Francisco
8.7 Excellent (2690 reviews)

The Palace Hotel: Old-school luxury at a historic landmark

The Palace Hotel is one place you don’t want to miss when visiting San Francisco. Both couples and families will enjoy a stay here. Created in 1875 and recently renovated, this traditional Victorian hotel has spacious rooms made for royalty.

This historic landmark takes its cues from the Gilded Age and its opulent Garden Court — a glass-domed atrium with ornate, crystal chandeliers — is why people flock here.

Guest suites have 11-foot ceilings, crown moulding and luxuriously comfortable beds thanks to the Frette linens and pillowtop mattresses. In the morning, try the hotel’s signature brunch for a taste of local flavors – choose from omelettes, salads, decadent desserts and sparkling wines.

If you are heading to nearby Chinatown, consider a visit to China Live – a marketplace, restaurant, cafe and shop serving Chinese food. There is also a hidden bar upstairs that opens at night; ask your server to get you in.

Palace Hotel a Luxury Collection Hotel San Francisco

Top rated
San Francisco
9.0 Excellent (2260 reviews)

The St. Regis: A Hotel in SoMa for Art Lovers and Techies

The St. Regis is perfect for art lovers and techies who love the prime location in SoMa and its proximity to a number of museums. SoMa, or South of Market, is ground zero for San Francisco’s technology companies. It’s also where the Giants play, if you want to catch a game, and home to the Moscone Center, where many business conferences take place.

Just outside the window are the Yerba Buena Gardens, a stunning outdoor park which houses Samovar’s tea lounge. Several museums are within walking distance, including the excellent San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) next door and the Museum of the African Diaspora.

Of course, the St. Regis has no shortage of over-the-top luxuries on site. Beige and cream colored rooms are spacious and well-designed with modern art. Suites come with the St. Regis’ signature butler service; let them unpack your bags while you kick back and relax.

There is also afternoon tea service, craft cocktails and late-night bites in the Lobby Lounge, which will dazzle you with its impressive over-sized paintings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Make sure to try the house drink: the Golden Gate Mary, a Bloody Mary with tequila and chili pepper, made to match the color of a Pacific sunset.

Even the gym and the pool have great views here. Reméde, a deeply luxurious spa, offers a dizzying menu of treatments and an indoor infinity pool that is open all year.

The St. Regis San Francisco

Top rated
San Francisco
9.4 Excellent (1212 reviews)

The Four Seasons: Unwind in a Hotel High Above the City

The Four Seasons is a modern oasis of calm towering above bustling downtown San Francisco on Market Street. Unwind in newly renovated guest rooms decorated in shades of grey, blue and white — a nod to San Francisco’s fog and ocean. The hotel is on the upper floors of a skyscraper, so deluxe view rooms on the 15th and 17th floors have the best views, not to mention floor-to-ceiling windows.

There is plenty to do at the Four Seasons, including dining at MKT restaurant, which serves California-centric and seasonal cuisine in front of 180-degree views. However, the hotel also offers a host of activities to help you get out of the city, including sailing in the bay, a day trip through California’s wine country, or dinner and a movie at Francis Ford Coppola’s Cafe Zoetrope.

Families can enjoy special programs like summer Saturday night movie screenings and a host of games on the hotel’s outdoor veranda terrace, including ping pong, Jenga, chess and Connect Four. Cribs, children’s toiletries, robes, slippers, coloring books, and childproofing can also be provided for families with young children. Oh, and there is milk and cookies to treat the kids, too.

Four Seasons San Francisco

Top rated
San Francisco
9.4 Excellent (1066 reviews)

Hotel Nikko: Find Serenity at this Asian-inspired Hotel

This modern, Japanese-inspired luxury hotel, near Union Square, boasts over 500 rooms and suites, a glassed-in pool, and a massive gym with dry saunas and steam rooms. Families and couples love Hotel Nikko for its luxury vibe at an affordable price. Another plus? It’s pet friendly.

The hotel’s in-house entertainment is none other than Feinstein’s at the Nikko, a San Francisco nightclub (and institution) where you can enjoy dinner and a show after a long day sightseeing. ANZU restaurant serves sushi and has a delicious raw bar. For couples and families who want to venture out, The San Francisco Playhouse is not far.

Rooms are sleek and stylish with Japanese accents, decorated in soothing blue hues. Beds are beyond comfortable and rooms on the highest floors provide stunning views.

Hotel Nikko San Francisco

Top rated
San Francisco
9.2 Excellent (4201 reviews)