Hotels in this story
With four months of the year behind us and the summer rapidly approaching, we know that many travelers have vacation on their minds. And we don’t blame you! It’s time to get out of that office chair and stretch your legs, which is why last week we started to inspire you with our picks for the best luxury hotels in Miami. Below, we’ll turn to San Francisco. We’ll tell you about some of our favorite hotels for a family trips, girlfriend (or dudefriend) getaways, and, for unfortunate practical reasons, business trips.
Family trip: Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is one of San Fran’s most vibrant areas, and it’s sure to be a hit with the kids. The Wharf is covered in seafood restaurants, souvenir shops, and — quite literally — the city’s famous sea lions. Ferries to Alcatraz leave from here, and the Powell-Hyde cable car line starts here as well. Below are four of our favorite affordable, kid-friendly hotels on the Wharf.
With a knockout pool area and direct access from the hotel grounds to the waterfront in Fisherman’s Wharf, the Radisson is as family-friendly as a San Francisco hotel gets. The 355 rooms have some blemishes and the service is minimal, but the pool will keep kids happy and the convenient location will keep adults sane.
Renovated in 2008, this 531-room Sheraton has large, comfortable, and colorful rooms. Outdoor firepits, an outdoor heated pool, and a spacious, modern gym are nice touches. Overall, the hotel is nothing special, but it’s a solid choice for tourists exploring Fisherman’s Wharf.
The 313-room Hyatt offers more style (and amenities) per dollar than the other Wharf area chain hotels. It has comfortable rooms, a sleek lobby, a lively sports bar (in an even more impressive space), a large fitness center, and a pool.
After finishing its renovations in December 2009, this 285-room Marriott is one of the freshest-feeling hotels in kid-friendly Fisherman’s Wharf and is located three blocks from the shops and attractions along the waterfront. It has up-to-date guest rooms and a spacious fitness center, but unlike the Sheraton, Radisson, and Hyatt, it lacks a pool.
Getaway with the gals: Union Square
Union Square is known for its shopping, making it one of our favorite areas in San Fran for a girls’ getaway. It’s also a big transportation hub, which makes it easy to hop to other parts of the city. Here are three options that won’t break the bank, because your shopping surely will.
Not as conventionally luxurious as some competitors in the neighborhood, 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’s a great place to hang out, especially for the free wine receptions and morning coffee.
A fun-and-games theme and free happy hours give the Serrano Hotel character, but it offers few amenities and trip planners should be aware that the hotel is in the less-than-ideal Tenderloin District (in addition to being three blocks from Union Square). However, it’s less expensive than other area hotels and it has an attached eclectic Asian restaurant for convenient dining.
This 685-room Hyatt offers all the standard amenities of a midrange city hotel, with a few extra touches. Its Union Square location, spacious rooms, and scenic 36th-floor restaurant make it a good choice for business and leisure travelers who want a lot of comfort without paying top dollar.
Stuck in the office: SoMa/Financial District
Okay, so maybe you just absolutely can’t tear away from work long enough to take a leisurely trip this summer. If you’re lucky enough to have your boss send you to San Fran on business, though, here are three options we love — a luxury pick, a mid-range pick, and a value pick (in that order).
Built in 2005, the St. Regis offers the best in luxury: rooms with great beds and bathrooms, 24-hour butler service, critically acclaimed Ame restaurant, and Remede Spa and pool. Its business-heavy SoMa surroundings and modern building lack the historical grandeur of Nob Hill’s grand dames, but otherwise it stands shoulder to shoulder with its hilltop competitors.
This Starwood means business. With classy, spacious meeting rooms, a happening lobby bar, and a location in the heart of the Financial District, the Meridien caters primarily to individual and small-group corporate travelers. But its stylish, well-appointed rooms, some with panoramic views, make it a good luxury option for tourists as well.
It’s not quite as fashionable as its competitors in SoMa, near the Moscone Convention Center and the downtown musuems, but the 374-room Courtyard by Marriott San Francisco Downtown was renovated in 2009 and its indoor pool and larger-than-average guest rooms make it an attractive choice for the price.
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