The 10 Best San Francisco Hotels for All Your Out-of-Town Guests (or a Luxe Staycation for You)

Whether you want gorgeous views, a rooftop bar or a grand ambiance

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Holidays are the time of year to bring everyone together. But all that togetherness will undoubtedly start to wear on your last nerve after a few days, especially if your family is crashing at your place. So, spare your sister the “I don’t mind the air mattress” nicety and put her—and the rest of your out-of-town guests—up at a hotel. We’ve got one for every relative’s vibe, so no one winds up sleeping on the floor next to the dog bed. Then, post-holiday, reward yourself with a luxe staycation at one of these beauties for a job well done. Here are the best hotels in San Francisco right now.


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Buzziest New Opening

1. The Jay Hotel

The Jay Hotel

  • Location: Financial District
  • Rates: from $429/night
  • Why We Love It: amazing central location, IG-worthy interiors, The Third Floor restaurant & bar

The Jay, San Francisco's only major new hotel in 2023, has officially opened its doors just in time for holiday travel, and it screams luxury. After a spectacular transformation by global design brand AvroKo, the former Le Méridien Hotel now reflects the Brutalist architecture style that defines this downtown neighborhood. You’ll find impressive art and gilded touches throughout, with rooms that have a gorgeously understated elegance (think quiet luxury). Looking for a posh dine-in experience? The hotel’s restaurant & bar The Third Floor is run by the esteemed Omakase Restaurant Group (Omakase, Niku Steakhouse, Dumpling Time).

Just blocks from the charming Jackson Square restaurant and shopping district and a short walk to the Ferry Building, The Jay sits in a primo location for out-of-town visitors. It’s also not too far from Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square’s famous holiday ice rink and giant Christmas tree.      

Most Opulent

2. Beacon Grand

Beacon Grand

  • Location: Union Square
  • Rates: from $176/night
  • Why We Love It: the reimagined Starlite Room, rare whiskey library, top-notch concierge service

The former Sir Francis Drake Hotel, which dates back to 1928, has debuted a major makeover and a new name. The extensive renovation and redesign has modernized and brightened rooms and public spaces while honoring the grandeur of the architecturally significant Renaissance Revival building.

Original details in the grand lobby—including magnificent chandeliers, grand staircases and marble flooring—have been preserved, and new jewel-toned furniture feels like a luxurious living room. On the mezzanine-level Beacon Lounge, an original fireplace and mantle have been restored. Design choices highlight the space’s intricate moldings, hand-made rod-iron railings and inlaid ceilings. Newly renovated rooms feature European Oak hardwood floors, railroad shower tile and custom wallpaper that appears as a damask pattern, but upon closer inspection, reveals iconic city images.

While the hotel has maintained many of its iconic fixtures, the Beefeater-cloaked doormen are a thing of the past. In their place, you’ll find a team of “social hosts” at the ready to provide insider tips, local favorites and special access to hard-to-get restaurant reservations.  

Most Sustainable

3. 1 Hotel San Francisco

1 Hotel San Francisco

  • Location: Embarcadero
  • Rates: from $500/night
  • Why We Love It: eco-conscious sensibility with quiet luxury aesthetic, wellness spa, zero-waste bar program highlighting local and sustainable wine & spirits, chance to explore in the hotel’s Audi e-tron

1 Hotel San Francisco sets the standard for mission-driven hospitality, truly living up to its sustainable ethos. Designed to capture the natural beauty of the Northern California landscape, the hotel has utilized sustainably salvaged, reclaimed redwood from the original Bay Bridge for its elevator landings and corridors and reclaimed barn wood for the lobby floor. Native greenery, exposed brick and warm terracotta accents all reference the city’s urban ecology. The guest rooms and suites are fitted with smart, energy-efficient systems, sustainably sourced linens, live plants and an earthy, minimalist aesthetic including hand-loomed rugs and carpets made from natural plant fibers and recyclable wool. But the real beauty is what’s outside—exceptional views of the San Francisco Bay and Bay Bridge.

The property also boasts several stunning rooftop terraces, beehives and a chef's garden (which fuels the onsite restaurant Terrene). Adorned with hanging plants and handmade sconces, Terrene emphasizes local produce, and the kitchen supplements its farm-to-table menu with ingredients sourced daily from the Ferry Building farmers market across the street. The bar program also keeps it local—there’s even a list of cocktails made only with booze and botanicals sourced within 50 miles. The indoor-outdoor space transitions beautifully from day to night, with a tea light–covered patio opposite the Embarcadero, and is the perfect spot to take in the city by the bay.

Swankiest Rooftop Bar

4. Luma Hotel

Luma Hotel

  • Location: Mission Bay
  • Rates: from $199/night
  • Why We Love It: expansive collection of local art, tickets to basketball games, room service with robot delivery

The first major hotel in SF’s rapidly developing Mission Bay neighborhood, Luma is located in the center of all the action—blocks from Chase Center (concert venue and home of the Warriors), Oracle Park (the Giants) and food-truck park meets mini-golf course Spark Social.

At first glance, you can tell this hotel is something special. Designed by Hornberger + Worstell, the hotel’s exterior is wrapped in colorfully back-lit, laser-cut panels evoking the crystalline structure of the salt ponds historically found in Mission Bay. Luma, meaning “bright light,” is a fitting name for the hotel, which also features a large-scale lobby installation by local light artist Jim Campbell that can be viewed from the street through three-story-tall windows. Floor-to-ceiling windows in guest rooms and suites offer sweeping views of the surrounding city skyline and bay.

But the biggest draw for both locals and guests is Cavaña, the stylish rooftop bar scene on the 17th floor of the hotel. Look for vibrant, Latin America-inspired flavors—like papaya, mole spices and poblano peppers—in both the food and drinks. Soak in the views while you sip an expertly crafted cocktail and watch all the beautiful people…because a night at Cavaña is always a party.

Best Theater Access

5. The Line SF

The Line SF

  • Location: Mid-Market
  • Rates: from $269/night
  • Why We Love It: rooftop solarium, weekly pilates class taught by the prestigious LINES Ballet, creative programming (like incense workshops)

This futuristic-looking, Flatiron-inspired hotel makes a statement against downtown’s historic architecture. The Line SF leans into geometric patterns with a contemporary design by Handel Architects and feels like an invigorating addition to the neighborhood. Rooms are minimalist in style, many with incredible skyline views. Some even have big soaking tubs.

But the main draw here is the hotel’s proximity to SF’s theater district. Easy walking distance from Golden Gate Theater, the Orpheum and Curran Theater, this is where you put up your relatives who can’t miss a trip to SF without seeing a show. Have a family meal at the hotel’s Tenderheart restaurant or a sunset cocktail on the rooftop solarium and then head over for a performance of The Lion King (November 22 to December 30).   

Most Culture

6. Canopy by Hilton

Canopy by Hilton

  • Location: SoMa
  • Rates: from $186/night
  • Why We Love It: rooftop bar, vintage-style mini-fridges, board games for borrowing

Finding a posh home in the former Virgin Hotel, Canopy by Hilton is smack in the center of SF’s original arts district. SFMOMA, the Museum of the African Diaspora, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Children’s Creativity Museum (not to mention several art galleries) are all a few blocks away. It’s also right across the street from Yerba Buena’s indoor ice rink—perfect for some family-friendly holiday fun. 

Richly textured rooms have Nespresso coffee makers for your first morning cup, and suites boast in-room fireplaces and soaking tubs. Have dinner at The Social restaurant, grab an afternoon pick-me-up at Bean Bar cafe and cheers with craft cocktails at Shelby’s Rooftop bar. When you’re ready to venture out, Canopy Enthusiasts are your on-hand concierges who can connect you with the best recommendations to stay like a local.

Most East-Meets-West

7. Kimpton Hotel Enso

Kimpton Hotel Enso

  • Location: Japantown
  • Rates: from $194/night
  • Why We Love It: vending machine with Japanese snacks, matcha tea station, in-room yoga mats

Combining Japanese sensibilities with a West Coast urban vibe, Hotel Enso is for travelers eschewing the tourist bustle in favor of an authentic neighborhood experience. (Quick lesson: San Francisco’s Japantown is the oldest and one of only three remaining in the country.) Anchored by the Japan Center and Peace Plaza, the six-block neighborhood is full of ramen shops, historic sites and, our favorite, the Kabuki Springs & Spa.

With the warm, welcoming feel of a friend’s gorgeously designed apartment, the spirit of the hotel is reflected in its name: Enso, the imperfect Zen circle, which symbolizes strength, connectivity, strength and beauty in imperfection.

The rooms are simple yet design-forward, with nods to Japanese culture in the form of shibori tie-dyed pillows and textures reminiscent of tatami mats. In the lobby, you’ll find a matcha tea station and a vending machine with Japanese drinks and snacks. But the standout is the calendar of onsite activities, including origami folding and Ikebana flower arranging classes, Japanese brush painting and Taiko drum circles.

Best for Mt. Tam Views

8. AC Hotel San Rafael

AC Hotel San Rafael

  • Location: San Rafael
  • Rates: from $269/night
  • Why We Love It: rooftop bar, thoughtfully designed co-working areas throughout the hotel, easy access to Pt. Reyes and Wine Country

If you live in the North Bay, save yourself the hassle of crossing the Golden Gate and put your out-of-town guests up in the brand-new AC Hotel in San Rafael. Think floor-to-ceiling windows in minimalist-designed rooms with outlets and USB ports in all the right places. You can expect all the modern amenities, plus onsite restaurants, but the real draw is Above 5th, the hotel’s rooftop bar with views of Mt. Tam and beyond. Weather permitting, you’ll head here with the family for happy hour or a nightcap by the firepit.    

About a block from the Mission San Rafael Arcángel (hello, history), this boutique-inspired hotel is just blocks from a decked-out downtown during the holiday season. Keep the family busy with lots of charming small-town events—from a winter wonderland and holiday marketplace to a gelt drop and lighted boat parade—that are sure to get them in the holiday spirit.

Best Urban Oasis

9. Hotel Citrine

Hotel Citrine

  • Location: Palo Alto
  • Rates: from $179/night
  • Why We Love It: heated pool and sundeck, PUBLIC bikes for rent, stunningly gorgeous bistro & bar

Silicon Valley’s Hotel Citrine is a chic urban oasis with an eco-conscious sensibility. From guest suites with sustainable bedding and eco-friendly finishes like bamboo and terrazzo flooring to a restaurant emphasizing local ingredients and plenty of plant-based options, every detail has been thoughtfully planned. Close to Stanford, upscale shopping in Palo Alto and plenty of holiday-centric activities (don’t miss the glowing Filoli Gardens), this is the perfect spot for your out-of-town guests.

We’re especially into Hotel Citrine’s “In-Laws Package” (available November 18 to January 14), designed to give your visiting in-laws and family members a home (away from yours) this holiday season. They’ll get 2+ nights at their own private refuge and overnight valet parking, plus a $25 daily food and beverage credit. Did we mention that they’ll be greeted with a complimentary Mother-in-Law cocktail (it’s both bitter and sweet, ha!) at check-in? Done.   

Best Nightlife

10. Kissel Uptown Oakland

Kissel Uptown Oakland

  • Location: Oakland
  • Rates: from $165/night
  • Why We Love It: cool neighborhood, gorgeous design, room service

This 1910s Beaux-Arts building has come a long way since its days as a car showroom. Taking its name from the Pacific Kissel Kar-Dean Lippi Showroom, the Kissel Uptown Oakland is a happening spot for your younger (or young at heart) out-of-town guests. Digitally printed 70-foot glass panels with patterns by local artist Kelly Ording are just one of the nods to Oakland and the area’s history. Rooms look like Anthropologie-meets-CB2 catalogs and are decked out with globe chandelier lighting and hardwood-style floors, while suites include soaking tubs and private garden terraces. The hotel’s buzzy rooftop bar, High 5ive, along with Otto’s Uptown Kitchen serve up food and drinks both day and night. And if you don’t feel like venturing out, the hotel even offers room service.

With concert venues (The Fox and Paramount theaters), a funky indie movie theater (New Parkway) and tons of bars and restaurants (Itani Ramen, Bar Shiru and Drake’s Dealership to name a few), Uptown Oakland is the place to be if you’re looking for fun after dark.

allison mccarthy

San Francisco Editor

Allison McCarthy is a writer and editor with 15 years of experience in the industry. She's currently the San Francisco editor at PureWow, where she covers the best of what's...