Comfortable, traditional rooms with flat-screen TVs and coffeemakers
Free morning coffee and tea and free afternoon sherry
SF Playhouse, a popular theater destination, is located on-site
Room service is available from nearby Morton's The Steakhouse
Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
Rooms are small and lack air-conditioning
No restaurant (the unaffiliated Farallon, a fine-dining seafood restaurant, is in the same building)
No on-site fitness center (though free access to the one at nearby Hotel Diva)
One block from Union Square, this charming boutique hotel offers attractive rooms that mix antique furniture and modern comforts. But amenities are few -- there's not even a fitness center on-site (though guests can access one at a different hotel a few blocks away). Still, its impressive historic building, intimacy, and stately feel make it one of the better options for the price in this location. Travelers should compare Kensington's rates with the ones at Hotel Cartwright, another early-20th-century charmer that's low on frills but a short walk from Union Square.
A historic building near Union Square with a beautiful marble lobby and a stately, relaxed vibe
This stately hotel, housed in a 1920s Moorish/Gothic building in San Francisco's Union Square area, is a throwback to an era of hotels with huge marble lobbies, crystal chandeliers, and massive wood-paneled elevators with loveseats. The hotel, which takes up the first floor as well as floors five to 13, shares the building with an Elks Lodge, an old-timey social and philanthropic club founded in 1868 (the organization built the building in 1924). Though the hotel and the Elks Club are unaffiliated, the hotel may be especially appealing to visiting Elks members, who can access the Elks Club's gym, sauna, billiards room, and pool (these areas, though in the building, are off-limits to hotel guests). The hotel itself has few features, but guests do get free passes to the fitness center at Hotel Diva, which is a few blocks away.
Kensington Park sits right in the middle of the popular, often crowded upscale shopping and theater districts, so the leisurely parlor room feels like a nice change of pace. The free afternoon tea and sherry in the impressive lobby with the painted ceilings, marble (non-working) fireplace, cushy velvet club chairs, marble floors, and contemporary horse sculpture make for a classy way to unwind. Price-wise, the Kensington falls in the middle of Union Square options, but it lack amenities that some other area boutiques offer. It's still a solid option, though, for its attractive rooms and stately, intimate feel.
Kensington Park is a block off of Union Square on a safe street
The broader Union Square area is popular with out-of-towners because it's a hub for high-end retail and transportation (cable cars, buses, trolleys, BART trains, and the Muni light rail are all available here). Union Square has plenty of restaurant options, but it isn't a hot spot for nightlife, and the area's western edge borders the seedy Tenderloin.
Between 200 and 240 square feet, Kensington Park Hotel rooms are on the small side, though not for San Francisco. Rooms feature Serta beds with white-leather headboards, monogrammed pillows, and soft faux mink blankets. Vintage-looking ceiling fans aren't just there for aesthetics; they're quite necessary, as the rooms lack air-conditioning. Furnishings are mostly traditional (antique dressers, Art Deco glass globe table lamps, heavy brick-red drapery). A few modern pieces (white IKEA-like desks, white-lacquered mirrors) look slightly out of place. Bathrooms with brass detailing have shower/tub combos, PH toiletries, hairdryers, and magnifying mirrors. All rooms come with 32-inch flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, bathrobes, ironing equipment, iHomes, and USB ports.
A sherry happy hour, an attached restaurant and theater, and free Wi-Fi
In terms of features, the hotel’s highlight is the free afternoon tea and sherry available in the attractive Old World lobby, filled with gold accents. The is no restaurant, but Farallon, one of San Francisco's premier seafood joints, is housed in the same building (it is operated independently). It's a pricey place, but Kensington Park guests get preferred seating. Even if dinner isn't in the game plan, it's worth stopping in for a drink to take in the lively under-the-sea theme atmosphere, especially the glass jellyfish floating above. Room service is available from Morton's The Steakhouse, which is next door to the hotel. Like Farallon and Elks Club, the SF Playhouse is another tenant at 450 Post Street; guests can reserve tickets when making their reservations at the hotel. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, and there are a conference room and a lobby computer station with a printer.