Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
An overhaul of this historical hotel makes it one of Union Square's best all-around choices.
Originally built in 1910, the building was taken over and transformed completely by Kimpton in 1995. The lobby and Grand Café restaurant, two of the most beautiful aspects of the hotel, have Art Nouveau and Art Deco touches like opulent wall murals and paintings, high ceilings, and grand ornate staircases. The lobby's lavish furnishings and cozy fireplaces -- not to mention complimentary coffee and tea in the morning, and wine reception in the evening -- give it a great ambience and make it a popular place for guests to lounge.
The 201 rooms (completely renovated in 2013) come off as nearly flawless, with luxurious beds and good gadgetry. The service isn't quite of the over-the-top ultraluxury sort, but everything the hotel attempts to do it does extremely well. And the hotel features a solid lineup of amenities.
Though you can usually find a room of the same size for less in the Union Square area, you get what you pay for in reliable service, rooms that rank among the area's best, and amenities and services that go beyond the expected for a San Francisco hotel.
Well staffed and reliable for all the services you'd expect at a hotel of its tier
Service here is rock solid: Friendly, knowledgeable staff, doormen, and 24-hour room service are all what you'd expect for a mid- to upper-range urban hotel. The large staff does a good job keeping guests from feeling anonymous. You couldn't get much better without paying up for an ultraluxury hotel.
Union Square, known for high-end shopping
Hotel Monaco sits two blocks west of Union Square, which is famous for its high-end retail shops and not much else. Home to enormous outposts of Niketown, Saks, Tiffany, Macy's, Louis Vuitton, and Neiman Marcus, among others, Union Square is to San Francisco what 5th Avenue is to New York and Rodeo Drive is to L.A. Locals don't hang out here, but the square is great for people-watching nonetheless, and it occasionally plays host to small festivals and demonstrations. Still, if conspicuous consumption isn't a priority, you might prefer a neighborhood closer to the city's biggest attractions, like Nob Hill or Fisherman's Wharf.
Small but with classy décor, luxurious beds, and great technology
Overall, rooms are on par to those in its class and neighborhood. As in many of Union Square's historical buildings, they are a bit small, but bathrooms are reasonably big and rooms are well furnished. Luxurious beds are the highlight, but flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and iPod docks all pass muster for some of the best rooms in Union Square.
Renovated in 2013, the rooms are exceedingly stylish and wonderfully eclectic. Featuring French Art Nouveau headboards and silk linens, sleeping is a luxurious affair. The traditional Indian block print motif on the drapery, coupled with the room's bold graphic striped wallpaper and trompe-l'oeil dressers, creates a bold, whimsical style. While it is delightful, some may not find the eclectic decor particularly calming.
In Union Square, it's standard to give guests a small fitness center and business center and call it a day. Hotel Monaco ponies up to give guests a better package and one of Union Square's most pleasant hotel lobbies for lounging. The grand lobby, with comfortable furniture, cozy fireplaces, and great artwork, is a pleasant place to hang out, especially when the hotel is serving free wine in the evening or coffee and tea in the morning. , though it only has a couple of treatment rooms and it's not regularly staffed, does offer guests use of its coed facilities, which include a whirlpool, sauna, and eucalyptus steam room. Other Kimpton perks include pet-friendly policies and kid-friendly perks, making this a much better bet than the many of Union Square's typically bare-bones hotels (even its trendy neighbor, the Clift, offers fewer features beyond its cool atmosphere).
Any pet under 200 pounds welcome; free
One of the best options in the area, but rooms are somewhat small and noisy at times
Rooms are somewhat small and can be noisy, but this is fairly common among midrange, Union Square hotels (the Argonaut Hotel, in Fisherman's Wharf, avoids these downtown pitfalls). That said, the hotel offer some nice extras for kids, including free Kimpton backpacks and small toys on arrival, loaner goldfish for the guest rooms, and board games and kids' books in the lobby. Another good family option is the Handlery (thanks to its pool).
The hotel is in shipshape condition, with thoroughly cleaned rooms (completely renovated in 2013) and furniture throughout the hotel in great condition.
Grand Café Brasserie and Bar serves three meals a day plus room service.
The hotel restaurant, Grand Café Brasserie and Bar, is a pleasant surprise in Union Square, where many restaurants serve mediocre, overpriced food. French and Californian menu options mingle, and the dining room is one of the hotel's most beautiful features: Part of the building's original structure, its tall ceilings, sparkling tile mosaic pillars and huge, hanging light fixtures give it a vintage San Francisco appeal, and the service and food make this one of the better dining options in the area.
Not as conventionally luxurious as some Union Square-area competitors, but so filled with interesting touches and thoughtful extras that you won't notice. The rooms are smallish but have wonderful beds, quirky-yet-elegant style, and state-of-the-art technology. The service is rock solid. And the lobby is a great place to hang out, especially for the free wine receptions and morning coffee.