San Francisco hotels for every traveller

By Kyndra Campbell, Writer and native Californian 

Title photography by Hotel Zoe / Noble House Hotels


San Francisco all hustle and bustle, but you can recharge and relax in its great hotels. Californian writer Kyndra Campbell shares the top spots for resting your head – you’ll only wish you were staying longer.

Best for solo travellers: Hotel Zoe

The lowdown: Seven minutes’ walk from Pier 39 (or take the hotel’s guest bikes), the clean, modern Hotel Zoe lets you stay in the heart of the action. Sociable types will appreciate the hotel’s public areas: a fireplace in the lobby and firepits outside in the courtyard, where you could make friends or swap travel tips with like-minded guests. You can also loan iPads in the lobby, free Wifi and work out in the gym across the street – all included in the amenity fee.

In the know... The hotel has an Italian restaurant that’s perfect for ‘locavores’ – it only uses the freshest seafood. Pescatore also has a morning breakfast service – with fewer fish and more patisserie.

Book a stay at Hotel Zoe

Spend your evening sipping a barrel-aged Manhattan at the Hilton’s Cityscape bar.

Best for a budget: Hilton San Francisco Union Square

The lowdown: With all the amenities you might want in a hotel located in the Theatre District, the Hilton San Francisco Union Square has rooms that tailor to every traveller’s pocket, with luxury at a fair price. Relax on the 16th floor poolside or catch public transport just outside the door. This hotel is practical and value for money – especially if you’re watching the pennies.

In the know... For the best cheap eats in the city, head to Stockton Street in Chinatown for great-value dim sum from the plethora of delis and restaurants.

  • Top up your tan at the Hilton Union Square’s outdoor pool

    Happy hour 

    Spend your evening sipping a barrel-aged Manhattan at the hotel’s Cityscape bar overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and Transamerica Pyramid. 

    Fly to San Fran
  • Revel in the sumptuous maritime-themed rooms of the Argonaut hotel 

    Nautical by nature 

    Loosen up with a massage from the Argonaut’s in-room spa service whilst admiring views of the Golden Gate Bridge in one of the hotel’s Bay View rooms. 

  • Bring the modern touch to your city break, at cool high-rise W Hotel San Francisco 

    Love the wine you’re with 

    Vino lovers should head to W San Francisco’s restaurant Trace, where you can take your pick from more than 200 organic and biodynamic wines. 

    Plan your holiday

Best for families: The Argonaut

The lowdown: What could be more fun than sleeping in a nautical-themed room that’s a stone’s throw from the bay? Built in 1907 in the historic Haslett Warehouse in Fisherman’s Wharf, The Argonaut is an icon that has a little something for everyone. The on-site restaurant, The Blue Mermaid, sports an ambience of old-time Barbary Coast and Gold Rush times. Enjoy their fine selection of seafood delights.

In the know… The hotel offers free bike rentals (first come, first served) as well as guided waterfront tours with a National Park ranger on Saturdays and Sundays. Relax in style and dream you’re sailing away on the bay as you’re tucked in tight at The Argonaut.

  • Live on the luxury side, with a one-of-a-kind suite at Fairmont San Francisco

    Suite singin’ 

    As well as the Golden Gate Suite, the Fairmont is also home to the Tony Bennett Suite, named after the ‘I left my heart in San Francisco’ singer.


Best for couples: Fairmont San Francisco

The lowdown: Built in 1902, timeless classic charm adorns the suites of the Fairmont San Francisco. Located at the crest of Nob Hill, the Fairmont is home to breathtaking views of the city. Cosy up to your lover over a delicious dinner in one of its three renowned restaurants, unwind with a serene massage in the spa, or take in spectacular Golden Gate views from your balcony suite.

In the know… The Fairmont is known for its top-notch weddings and social events. This is the perfect locale for your celebration of love, a family reunion or other special occasion.

Best for a little luxury: W San Francisco 

The lowdown: Luxury is a high-rise suite on the 31st floor of the swanky boutique hotel W San Francisco. Located in the hip SoMa district of San Fran – home to the SF Giants, trendy bars and fashionable cafes – the W is a destination for those who enjoy the finer things in life. Multi-coloured luminescent ambience welcomes you in the lobby beside a glass-paned double fireplace. Indulge in a house specialty triple oxygen facial from the renowned Bliss Spa on the fourth floor, or relax beneath the eight-metre light sculpture Lumina as you sip a classic San Fran Manhattan cocktail in the Living Room Bar.

In the know… Parking can be particularly challenging in this area of the city, so take advantage of the W valet parking services and step aboard a classic trolley for a ride throughout your stay.

Best for a one-night stopover: Holiday Inn San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf

The lowdown: If you only have 24 hours and you’re hoping to sightsee as much as the city has to offer, Holiday Inn San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf is your ideal hotel. Close to trolley stops and within walking distance to Ghirardelli Square for a late-night chocolate delight, and Pier 39 for a sourdough bread bowl of rich clam chowder, Holiday Inn is the place to squeeze all you can into a short stay.

In the know… This hotel doesn’t have a great deal of facilities, but it does have comfortable, spacious rooms.