Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Old-world elegance with a modern vibe in the heart of San Francisco
Historical doesn't mean stuffy at Sir Francis Drake. Proud of its illustrious past and its position as one of the older hotels in the area, the Drake retains its historic character while keeping its design and amenities updated for the modern traveler. The public spaces of the hotel have a mid-20th-century feel, with dark wood paneling, chandeliers, old-fashioned telephones, ornate art pieces, and a mezzanine level with a large fireplace. In addition, a still-functioning mail chute is located near all of the elevators. The doormen wear red and black uniforms that are based on those worn by the Tower of London guards in England. As part of the hip Kimpton brand, the hotel prides itself not only on design, but also on creating camaraderie among guests through programs such as its free wine hour each evening and its pet-friendly policy.
The Drake is located within blocks of Union Square, and features views of the Square from many rooms as well as the hotel's nightclub.
Less than a five-minute walk from Union Square and with a cable car that runs right by the front door, the Sir Francis Drake is well-situated for seeing all of San Francisco's most popular sites. Union Square is home to numerous department stores, galleries, and theaters, as well as bars and restaurants. There's a Starbucks next door to the hotel and a pharmacy and several banks across the street. The Sir Francis Drake is centrally located near many forms of public transportation including the cable car, taxis, subway stations, and bus lines. Chinatown, the Financial District, and Nob Hill are all a 20-minute walk or less from the hotel.
Housed in a historic building, the rooms are clean and up-to-date.
There are several room types available in a range of sizes at Sir Francis Drake. It is advisable to carefully review room types before booking, as some guests have complained that the standard room types are quite tiny, as are their bathrooms. Upgrading to a suite gets you more space and lovely views of Nob Hill and/or Union Square.
Rooms effortlessly blend classic and contemporary design schemes, with jewel-toned color palettes, funky patterns, and details that serve as a nod to the hotel's history (such as the large closets that were initially designed to hold steamers trunks).
Business travelers may appreciate the dedicated work spaces in the rooms. Those guests who are in San Francisco to relax -- or just need a break from work -- may enjoy the in-room spa treatments that are available. In-room yoga mats are also a useful perk for some. The rooms are pet-friendly, with no size or weight restrictions.
Despite the hotel's heavily trafficked location, street noise is not an issue in the rooms.
Free coffee, tea, and wine appeal to both leisure and business travelers.
Sir Francis Drake is part of the Kimpton brand. As such, the property offers several of the popular amenities for which the brand is known. Free morning coffee and tea, a free wine happy hour every evening, and a pet-friendly policy are all part of a stay at Sir Francis Drake.
Loaner bikes are available for guest use at no cost. There is also a 24-hour fitness center, but it is minimally equipped. And though in-room spa treatments are available, the property lacks an actual spa.
The Drake features a restaurant, Scala's Bistro, which serves French and Italian cuisine and is a popular dining option among the guests, particularly those business travelers who don't want to stray far from the hotel in the evenings. At the top of the hotel is the Starlight Room, a great place for a cocktail and views of the City by the Bay.
Wi-Fi is free only for Kimpton loyalty members.
The Sir Francis Drake attracts both business and leisure travelers with its great location close to Union Square and public transportation (including the cable car that runs right outside the hotel). But the business traveler might be slightly disappointed with the amenities: The business center and fitness center are both minimally equipped and Wi-Fi comes at a cost to everyone except Kimpton loyalty program members. There are, however, ample meeting rooms for groups. Staying at a Kimpton hotel does have several perks, including free coffee and tea in the lobby each morning and a free wine happy hour in the evenings. The hotel is also pet-friendly, with no extra costs and no size or weight restrictions. The hotel is one of the oldest in the area and takes pride in its history, but the property nonetheless feels modern with its clean, quiet, and comfortable guest rooms (each features a work space). Interior rooms on the lower floors are the quietest, but rooms in the Towers offer the best views.
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