Good Hotel 2.5

SoMa, San Francisco, California
Lack of dining options are the biggest drawback: the adjacent pizza place -- seen here -- is merely decent, and sit-down restaurants in the area are few and far between.

Best Boutique Hotels in San Francisco(23 of 23)

 Lack of dining options are the biggest drawback: the adjacent pizza place -- seen here -- is merely decent, and sit-down restaurants in the area are few and far between.
Housed in two adjoining century-old buildings, this 110-room luxury hotel is in bustling Union Square. It has an unassuming entrance, but this 26-year-old hotel is a high-end treasure. The rooms feel small (though they're not much smaller than average for San Francisco), but the understated decor -- low lighting and a cream color palette -- along with details like double-paned windows to keep out noise, provides a calming atmosphere. The cushioned window seat in many rooms is a nice touch. The Campton Place restaurant is not just a hotel restaurant, it is its own institution with a distinguished reputation, serving Mediterranean and California cuisine. Here you'll find fine dining with all its trappings: white tablecloth and leather booths, poised servers, and a wine cellar containing over 1,500 vintages. The hallways circle around an atrium backed by a mirrored wall. This 136-room historic hotel in swanky Nob Hill has large, luxurious rooms, a warm and attentive staff, and a quiet, intimate atmosphere. A 2009 renovation added contemporary touches to the old-world elegance. Even though this former apartment building has been a hotel for decades, the comfortable rooms still feel homey. At 335 square feet, they are larger than the standard San Francisco hotel room and about the same size as the entry-level rooms at higher-priced Nob Hill neighbors. The hotel's hushed air of civility extends to the restaurant off the lobby. Named for the four tycoons who built the Central Pacific Railroad, the Big 4 Restaurant is a swanky affair, replete with vested servers who quietly appear when a wine glass needs to be refilled. Boutique hotels are a dime a dozen in San Francisco, but the Huntington is the only one that houses such a standout spa. A large part of the award-winning spa's appeal is its vantage point: From its perch high on Nob Hill, the spa has city views that can be enjoyed from the lounge and pool area or the breezy outdoor patio. A romantic boutique with an impressive art collection, a swanky restaurant, and a relaxing, free wine hour every day, Hotel Palomar is another member of the Kimpton family. The large 350-square-foot standard "Deluxe" room is spacious enough to fit a desk, an easy chair, a small dresser, a bench, and a table ideal for housing a goldfish bowl without seeming cluttered (you can borrow a fish for your stay). Add in attentive service and the fancy Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge, and the Palomar is a good spot for a quiet getaway above the city's masses. Themed after literary and artistic salons of the 1920s and '30s, Hotel Rex feels in many ways like a bookstore/hotel mash-up. Its lobby is lined with shelves of antique books, retro reading desks, and armchairs fit for an afternoon of poring over the classics. If all the historic literary references seem a bit much, not to worry: Rooms are surprisingly modern, if a bit small. The reasonably priced, on-site, bistro-style Café Andree serves Californian fare for breakfast and dinner in a charming dining room. Spacious, apartment-like rooms, loads of free perks, and basic but stylish decor distinguish the 49-room Laurel Inn. It's located in Pacific Heights, amid upscale galleries and boutiques but away from the tourist frenzy. The Laurel claims to have fashioned its rooms "in the style of a modern San Francisco studio apartment," and it largely succeeded. The color scheme -- lots of black and tan with splashes of cobalt blue -- gives the rooms a modern look, yet the vibe is softened by down comforters, wooden window blinds, and plush curtains. The bar and lounge next door, Swank Cocktail Club, is affiliated with the hotel; guests get a free glass of wine. The Tomo stays faithful to its Japantown locale with colorful furniture, anime in the lobby, and Japanese pop art throughout the hotel. Kitschy, sure, but it works. Beyond their whimsicality, the rooms are clean and still feel fresh two years after a 2007 renovation. At 325 square feet, they're bigger than those at many far more expensive hotels downtown. The restaurant, Mum's, serves up good enough Japanese fare to draw locals as well as Tomo guests. The signature dish, shabu-shabu, refers to the sound of the meat cooking in boiling water (it's as fun as it is tasty). The Good might be mistaken, on a first glance at the lobby, for an unusually clean and cheerful youth hostel. However, a step through the hotel's decidedly low-key entrance -- a single glass door on a side street -- is a reasonably-priced leap into an atmosphere of brightly-colored whimsy and irreverence. The large rooms are furnished with bright modern furniture accurately described by the New York Times as "IKEA gone eco." And instead of generic, forgettable art on the walls, each one features a mural depicting a local San Francisco scene, like taquerias lining Mission Street. Lack of dining options are the biggest drawback: the adjacent pizza place -- seen here -- is merely decent, and sit-down restaurants in the area are few and far between.