Sep 25, 2023



Travel Inspiration

The Best Hotels in San Francisco: 5 Unique & Exciting Choices

Fora Author Fora

The Modern Travel Agency


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If you’re visiting Northern California’s coolest city, staying in a stylish hotel is just part of the experience. Need options? Great — we’re covering five of the best hotels in San Francisco.

Want personalized recommendations instead? Connect with Fora to plan and book your trip. We'll unlock VIP perks at the best hotels in San Francisco (at no extra cost), provide expert itinerary suggestions and more to level up your trip.

What’s the best area to stay in San Francisco?

Embarcadero, Japantown, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Marina…this question is tough because there’s no shortage of fun neighborhoods to explore in San Francisco. A lot’s either going to depend on what you want to do while you’re there (check out our guide for things to do in San Francisco) or good ol’ fashioned personal preference.

Some may prefer the edgy, more authentic vibe of Tenderloin while others may be perfectly happy staying along the crowded streets of Union Square. And still, others may prefer the quieter, upscale feel of Presidio with its gorgeous hiking trails and mellow nature-filled atmosphere. 

There are a lot of options, and figuring out which suits you best can be a little overwhelming. Your best bet: take the guesswork out of the equation and plan and book your trip with Fora. We can help you decide where to stay in San Francisco that matches your travel style and budget.

The 5 best hotels in San Francisco

Nevertheless, read on for a breakdown of five of the best hotels in San Francisco, from historic boutique hotels to luxurious urban retreats.

1. The Fairmont: an iconic, world-class luxury hotel in San Francisco

Image courtesy of Fairmont San Francisco

One of San Francisco’s most legendary hotels, The Fairmont (a.k.a. Fairmont San Francisco) has been gracing the top of Nob Hill for over a century. This historic San Francisco hotel was designed by Julia Morgan, a celebrated California architect whose best works include Hearst Castle, just south of Big Sur. 

Ritzy is an understatement at The Fairmont, and every effort has been made to preserve the hotel’s incredible façade while ensuring the interior and its amenities remain decidedly up to date. Expect exceptional service, lavish accommodations and beautiful views of the San Francisco skyline. 

(Only spending a weekend in San Francisco? Read our guide for cool places to check out.)

Fora Perks at Fairmont San Francisco:

  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

2. San Francisco Proper: the best hotel in San Francisco for travelers with an eye for art & fashion

Image courtesy of San Francisco Proper

A top-10 boutique hotel in San Francisco, and arguably the city’s most fashion-forward choice (which is really saying something), the Proper makes a strong case for being the most unique hotel in the city, let alone Tenderloin, the hip and edgy neighborhood it belongs to. One would be forgiven for assuming they entered an eclectic art gallery if it weren’t for the comfy, residential-style common spaces set to greet them. 

From the get-go, San Francisco Proper wins guests over with a thought-provoking interior design that feels carefully curated. The rooms are equally interesting, and since this is one of the very best hotels in San Francisco, guests can rely on A+ accommodations and service.

Connect with Fora for the full scoop on San Francisco Proper, and to plan and book your stay. And if you’re curious check out our San Francisco art and culinary guide, too. 

(P.S. love Proper Hotels? The brand has another awesome hotel in Austin, Texas.)

Fora Perks at Proper:

  • $25 food / beverage credit.

  • Welcome treat in room on arrival.

  • Upgrade & guaranteed late check-out.

3. Taj Campton Place: one of the best hotels in San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood

Image courtesy of Taj Campton Place

Continuing our quick breakdown of the best hotels in San Francisco, Taj Campton Place offers a sharp juxtaposition from the vibrant atmosphere of San Francisco Proper Hotel with a minimalist design that settles for quiet refinement rather than the latter’s eclectic art gallery-style decor. Both hotels offer world-class accommodations, but travelers who prefer a more traditional experience may enjoy Taj Campton Place just a bit more.

Found right in the middle of Union Square, Taj Campton Place is surrounded by upscale shopping and fine dining options. 

(Need travel inspiration? Check out our 4-day San Francisco itinerary.)

Fora Perks at Taj Campton Place:

  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

4. Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco: once the largest luxury hotel in the world

Image courtesy of Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco

First built in 1875 — and fully renovated in 2015 — “The Palace” on Market Street was at one point the world’s largest luxury hotel. While it’s since lost that title, The Palace Hotel still treats guests to refined luxury in the heart of San Francisco. 

Here, a grandiose architectural theme inspired by Renaissance and Baroque styles gives way to an opulent interior design marked by gilded corridors, elaborate chandeliers and ornate furnishings. The Palace Hotel quite literally feels like you’re staying at an establishment fit for royalty. 

Befitting the hotel’s upscale ambiance, you can even enjoy tea time at the hotel’s famous Garden Court restaurant. 

Plan and book your trip with Fora to level up your experience at The Palace Hotel. 

(Traveling with kiddos? See our family-friendly San Francisco itinerary.)

Fora Perks at The Palace Hotel:

  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

5. Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco Union Square / Embarcadero: twin hotels celebrating two of San Francisco’s most exciting neighborhoods

Image courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero

There are actually two Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco locations, one just outside of Union Square, and a second hotel in Embarcadero. Both live up to the brand’s well-established pedigree, so deciding between the two tends to come down to the surrounding neighborhoods. 

As we mentioned, Union Square is where to stay if you want the best access to San Francisco’s upscale shopping district. But if you’re more interested in taking in famous sights like the Ferry Building or a trip to Alcatraz Island, you may prefer the Four Seasons Hotel at Embarcadero. 

Either way, you’re staying at one of the best hotels in San Francisco.

Fora Perks at Four Seasons Hotels:

  • When you book Four Seasons through Fora, you will enjoy exclusive Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits. Your advisor will be pleased to give you more details.

Get VIP Perks at the best hotels in San Francisco when you book with Fora

Ultimately, this is only a small sample of the best hotels in San Francisco. For personalized recommendations (and complimentary hotel perks), connect with Fora to plan and book your trip. 

Considering other destinations, too? Check out more hotel guides from Fora:

This article has been fact-checked by Pro Fora Advisor Amna Ismail, an expert on travel to San Francisco, California.

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