• Spacious rooms with fireplaces and wet bars; some have walk-in closets
  • All rooms come with flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and iPod docks
  • Walking distance to many sites and attractions
  • Free breakfast served daily
  • Free happy hour served daily includes appetizers and wine
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • In-room mini-fridges stocked daily with free sodas and bottled water
  • Lending library is a cozy spot to read and relax
  • Coffee and tea available in the lobby all day
  • 24-hour business center for guests' use
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  • No air-conditioning throughout
  • Most rooms lack views
  • Traffic sounds reach rooms facing the street
  • Few amenities; no full restaurant or gym
  • Some find the decor stuffy
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Bottom Line

The 26-room, mid-range White Swan Inn in San Francisco’s Nob Hill district offers a cozy and intimate atmosphere, with rooms featuring fireplaces and ample sitting areas. The bed-and-breakfast features a classic-inn-meets-mod-London vibe, with abundance of floral walls coupled with cheeky artwork and lattice-patterned arm chairs designed by Christian Lacroix. The result is a jumble of patterns and textures that can feel fussy and cluttered to some, but overall gives off a quaint and charming vibe. The inn, an easy walk to Chinatown and Union Square, may be old-looking, but it doesn’t feel dated thanks to a renovation in early 2015. It may be worth comparing rates with the inn’s nearby competitors, like the Nob Hill Hotel, which is also English-inspired but has a slightly higher price point, and the Petite Auberge, White Swan Inn’s sister property right next door, which has similar features at similar price points. 

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White Swan Inn


English charm and a nod to the vibrant '60s 

The White Swan Inn dates back to 1915. The decor of the five-story hotel is a visually striking tribute to the mod look of the ‘60s and to London’s old-fashioned hotels. The Victorian London vibe starts with the deliberate clashing of floral wallpaper in the common spaces and suites with couches and chairs that don’t coordinate, and a heavy reliance on dark wood furniture, like the many hutches and buffet cabinets that display teacups. The ‘60s retro feel is evident in the parlor, a relaxing seating area with a fireplace, with pink and green chair-rail-height wall paneling, a celery-colored couch, and black-and-red hexagon-patterned rugs. The colorful theme extends toward the lending library, with its whimsical artwork on the walls and accent-lit bookshelves that give off a warm, salmon-colored glow. The inn celebrates its name with swan images spread throughout the property. For some, the mismatched floral look is a nice stroll back in time, while for others, it's as if Laura Ashley exploded in the inn (in a bad way). It’s a romantic getaway for some, but families with children come here as well due to the many nearby attractions.

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Within walking distance of Union Square, Chinatown, and other famous sites

The Nob Hill White Swan Inn is a nine-minute walk to Union Square, which contains the largest number of upscale department stores and chic boutiques in the city, and a 13-minute walk to Fisherman's Wharf, which features many water activities on boats and cruises, and family-friendly sites such as the Sea Lion Center and Ripley's Believe It or Not!, among others. Bike rentals are available at the wharf, providing a scenic option for exploring Golden Gate Bridge. Chinatown is a five-minute walk from the hotel. The inn is next door to its sister hotel, The Petite Auberge. Local transportation includes the Powell Street cable-car stop, which is a two-minute walk from the hotel. The San Francisco Airport is a 23-minute drive from the hotel. There is no free shuttle to the airport.

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Rooms mix historic and modern touches.

Rooms here are surprisingly spacious for a bed and breakfast, and feature ample seating areas near the windows and welcoming fireplaces. The rooms have the same floral-heavy and homey Victorian decor that saturates the entire inn. Though the design style harkens back to another time, the rooms are outfitted with modern amenities, including 32-inch flat-screen TVs, DVD players, iPod docking stations, and free Wi-Fi throughout the inn. Wet bars have sinks, tea- and coffee-makers, and mini-fridges. The black-and-white bathrooms, with white tiles in the shower/tub combos and black-and-white, hexagon-design flooring, give off a clean feel. One downside is that rooms lack air-conditioners. The rooms are stylish rnough, but not luxurious.

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A ton of free meals and snacks in a convivial, cozy atmosphere 

Served daily in the cozy parlor and dining area are free breakfasts that feature hot foods and free evening receptions that feature appetizers and some of the best local wines. Free, fresh-baked cookies and free tea and biscuits, a nod to the inn’s English theme, are served every day in the afternoon. The inn serves free coffee and tea all day, and free soft drinks and bottled water are replenished daily in the in-room mini-fridges. There’s no in-house restaurant, but there’s so much food timed during eating hours that it’s easy for guests to forget about having lunch or dinner. The inn includes a cozy garden courtyard with tables and chairs, a sliver of quiet ambience within the city. A  24-hour business center are and a 360-square-feet meeting space are available. The hotel lacks a fitness center, but discounted passes to an off-site gym are offered at the front desk.

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Best Rates


  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Basic Television

  • Business Center

  • Cabanas

  • Cable

  • Concierge

  • Cribs

  • Dry Cleaning

  • Free Breakfast

  • Gameroom / Arcade

  • Internet

  • Kids Allowed

  • Laundry

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Poolside Drink Service

  • Rental Car Service Desk Onsite

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.