Extensive indoor and outdoor meeting space, and a small 24-hour business center
Free Wi-Fi throughout the property
Free morning town car service to the Financial District
Pet-friendly policy (no extra charge)
Valet parking only and for a steep fee
Hefty extra “Urban Fee” charged per room per night
Interior rooms lack views (but are quieter)
No pool on-site (free access to lap pool at nearby YMCA)
In-room coffeemakers available only on request
The upscale Hotel Vitale has a great location on the Financial District waterfront, surrounded by fine dining and across the street from the famous Ferry Building. Its 200 rooms are warm and spacious, with a soothing neutral palette, free Wi-Fi, and upscale amenities such as Bose sound systems, LCD TVs, fully stocked minibars, and limestone bathrooms. Americano Restaurant & Bar is known for its popular happy hour, which spills over to its cute outdoor terrace, and the spa offers a serene bamboo patio with soaking tubs. Rates are average for location and style, but there is a steep fee for valet parking, and the mandatory “Urban Fee” (which includes basic Wi-Fi, daily 10-minute massages, and Nespresso machines) may make some guests feel nickel-and-dimed. In this price range Le Meridien San Francisco offers a comparable experience.
Stylish business hotel with soothing interiors and striking views from its two terraces
This Joie de Vivre property was built in 2005, and its brick exterior looks almost too new among the historic structures that line the San Francisco Embarcadero waterfront. Interiors, however, have a soothing palette and chic combination of leather, wood and stone that lend spaces a subdued, timeless elegance. The cozy, stylish lobby sets the tone for a relaxing stay, with large comfy couches in a range of earth hues, accent walls covered with natural wood boards, warm lights, and a subtle lavender smell. One of the biggest perks of staying right on the waterfront is the possibility of having expansive views -- and the hotel certainly makes the most of this privileged locale. Two outdoor decks on levels five and seven each offer a handful of padded loungers where guests can be seen enjoying the million-dollar vistas across the Bay and over the iconic Ferry Building. Some rooms also offer partial and even panoramic views.
The hotel is a favorite among business travelers, but it is also a popular pick for couples (and even the occasional celebrity) for its great design, central location, and upscale services. It is busiest during happy hour, when young businesspeople from the nearby Financial District offices flock to the bar’s buzzing terrace for after-work drinks. However, the atmosphere at Hotel Vitale is generally quiet and upscale.
Opposite the iconic Ferry Building and a short stroll from the Financial District
On the eastern edge of San Francisco's somewhat sterile, skyscraper-dense Financial District, the Hotel Vitale fronts the picturesque Embarcadero promenade. It is within a five-minute walk of fine dining and public transportation, including the California Street cable car, the F-line streetcar, and the Embarcadero BART station. The iconic Ferry Building, a foodie paradise packed with high-end restaurants and the host to a renowned, thrice-weekly farmers market, is just across the street. Ferries to Oakland, Sausalito, and Alameda dock opposite the Vitale as well. Union Square, the Exploratorium, and Chinatown are each less than 20 minutes away on foot. The hotel is a five-minute drive from Fisherman’s Wharf, which offers a number of kid-friendly attractions and dozens of bustling seafood restaurants, and a 15-minute drive from Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco International Airport is a half-hour drive, or 40-minute BART ride away.
Well-designed rooms with soothing decor and free Wi-Fi; some have striking Bay views
The Zen-like style -- soft earth tones, natural wood furniture with clean lines, and close-up photos of nature -- gives the hotel’s 200 rooms a notably tranquil feel. While the square footage of the standard units (310 square feet) is about average for San Francisco, the design and soothing palette makes the most of the space and the rooms actually feel a tad larger than the norm. Amenities are on par with other upscale hotels, and include large flat-screen TVs, well-stocked minibars, Bose sound systems, laptop-size safes, robes, and slippers. Surprisingly, rooms lack coffeemakers, and while Nespresso machines are available free on request, the hotel only has a limited number of them. Basic Wi-Fi is free throughout the property, and upgrades are available for a fee.
Limestone bathrooms are upscale and appealing, with either walk-in rain showers or shower/tub combos, an array of high-end Jonathan Adler toiletries, and hairdryers. A few selected suites have deep soaking tubs. Some rooms have striking panoramic Embarcadero and Bay views, but interior-facing rooms, while quieter, have uninspiring vistas of a wall.
Excellent spa, small fitness center, popular Italian restaurant, and valet parking
The hotel’s excellent spa offers various massages and facials, but it is best known for its signature "Bathing Ritual," a 25-minute outdoor soak in a private rooftop bamboo garden. With just a handful of cardio and strength-training machines, the fitness center is a little modest for an upscale hotel -- but those looking to get a full workout can request free passes to two nearby gyms, one of which has a lap pool. Americano Restaurant & Bar serves solid Italian cuisine in a stylish dining room with large windows, and has a hopping happy hour popular among young locals. Its buzzing street-level terrace has a few picnic tables and Ferry Building views, while its indoor cocktail lounge has a cozy atmosphere. The hotel also features concierge services, a small 24-hour business center, and free car service to the Financial District. Valet parking is the only option here, and comes with a hefty fee.
The hotel charges a so-called “Urban Fee” per room per night on top of the daily room rate. This extra charge includes basics such as Wi-Fi and Nespresso machines (upon availability), as well as more special perks, including 10 percent off at the spa, daily 10-minute massages, and fitness and yoga classes at a nearby gym. Pets are allowed free of charge, but owners must sign a waiver.