Formerly the Radisson Hotel Fisherman's Wharf, the three-pearl Hotel Zephyr ditched its outdoor pool in favor of a sprawling playground that's filled with fire pit lounge spaces and giant yard games. Some guests may mourn the loss of a pool, but overall the Zephyr raised the bar on its family-friendly amenities, which extends to the interiors. Common spaces feel like an urban amusement park, including a game room. Even its 361 guest rooms have a playful spirit, stocked with dart boards, iPod docks, and huge 48-inch smart TVs. It's location right across the street from the waterfront is appealing, and rates are cheaper than the nearby Hyatt or the Holiday Inn Express. If Hotel Zephyr booked up, check out the nautically themed Argonaut Hotel farther along the waterfront.
Waterfront hotel with a funky maritime theme and an outdoor lounge space
The hotel's $32 million renovation (completed in 2015) recreated the Hotel Zephyr into a funky but sophisticated, family-friendly property that -- not surprisingly -- is popular with couples and families. The maritime theme has a playful bent, with walls made of old shipping containers and chairs shaped out of reclaimed metal signage from the waterfront. The interior of the elevator is decorated with text taken from Moby Dick in a vintage-typewriter font. Local artists were brought on to decorate the space and recycled materials were used throughout. The heart of the hotel is "The Yard," an eclectic outdoor lounge with seating around fire pits, a unique rusty-pipe water fountain, and a super-sized version of Jenga.
Across from Fisherman's Wharf, within walking distance of Pier 39 attractions
Across the street from the Fisherman's Wharf waterfront, Hotel Zephyr occupies an entire city block. It's conveniently a four-minute walk to the ferries for Alcatraz, Sausalito, and Tiburon. The hotel is also about three blocks away from the terminus of the Powell-Mason cable car line, which connects to Union Square and Nob Hill, along with other parts of the city. It's a four-minute walk to dining and family-friendly attractions at Pier 39 and a 10-minute drive or 16-minute streetcar ride (line F) to the Embarcadero and the Ferry Building's Farmers Market. Expect at least a 45-minute drive to San Francisco International Airport.
Playfully decorated rooms with iPod docks and 48-inch smart TVs
The 361 rooms at Hotel Zephyr have modern decor with a maritime twist -- partial walls are made of reclaimed shipping container steel, globe lights are strung up in red fishing nets, and some rooms even have seaworthy porthole windows. Each Standard Room has either one king bed or two double beds with duvets that exclaim "S.O.S," along with a work desk and roller chair. All rooms are stocked with iPod docks, Keurig coffeemakers, and mini-fridges, along side big 48-inch smart TVs (though there's a fee to upgrade to high-speed Wi-Fi, necessary for streaming videos). Some rooms have window-side bench seats and add fun perks such as dart boards. Many rooms face the street or have city views, while Deluxe Balcony rooms face an interior courtyard and have small furnished balconies. Higher-category rooms have views of San Francisco Bay. Bathrooms have back-lit LED vanities and shower/tub combos. EO toiletries are provided.
Fun outdoor lounge, game room, fitness center, business center
The centerpiece feature of this hotel is its gargantuan outdoor lounge, dubbed "The Yard," where guests can find shuffleboard and giant-sized versions of Connect-Four and Jenga, along with seating areas next to fire pits and a sculptural water fountain. There's no restaurant, bar, or breakfast here (but as of summer 2016, there are plans to open a food truck at some point). Free, basic Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and the lobby has a business center with a pair of Macs and a printer. There's also a modern meeting room for business guests. The industrial-style indoor game room has a pool table, ping pong, and a shufflepuck table along with flat-screen TVs and chairs made out of skateboards. There's also a thoughtful bike storage room and a fitness center with several cardio machines and an elliptical.