What We Love
- The vintage wooden bar in the Redwood Room
- A striking 35-foot fireplace warms the lobby
- Cable car and BART stops are five blocks away
What To Know
- The hotel has a sexy, upbeat vibe
- Reservations are recommended for the Redwood Room, which can be swamped on Friday and Saturday nights
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
When it opened nearly a century ago, the Clift immediately earned acclaim as one of the West’s most opulent hotels, and a larger-than-life makeover by Philippe Starck kept this 372-room study in swank towering above San Francisco’s iconic Union Square. Whimsical, surrealist-inspired furnishings (as well as an original table designed by Salvador Dalí) fill the wonderfully bizarre lobby, along with chairs by Midcentury Modern luminaries Ray and Charles Eames.
Bed and Bath
In the guestrooms, Murano glass lamps lend sparkle to the soothing lavender, ivory and tangerine color scheme. Rooms come in a variety of sizes and configurations, from small standard rooms to rangier studios to downright spacious deluxe suites (925 square feet). But all rooms have a luxe vibe, with 400-thread-count sheets, Merino wool blankets and furniture upholstered in velvet and leather. Malin + Goetz products add an aromatherapy element to the serene spa-like bathrooms.
Past meets present in the sexy Redwood Room, a riot of Art Deco opulence and Starck-provided drama, from the towering back-lit bar to the digital art flashing on the plasma screens. For a quieter drink, sink into a cushy velvet sofa in the Living Room lounge off the lobby, or sample the farm-fresh breakfast fare at the Velvet Room restaurant, which debuted in summer 2010. There’s no spa, but guests can request massages and treatments in their rooms.
In the Area
Score one of the hotel’s free bikes and pedal across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito (10 miles). Stop for drinks on Bar Bocce’s patio, which has gorgeous views of Tiburon and the bay, before taking the ferry back to San Francisco. A few blocks away, SoMa (South of Market) buzzes with industrial-chic nightclubs, music venues such as Slims, and retro-divey bars like Butter. During the day you can explore the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Cartoon Art Museum (started with funds from Charles Schulz) or catch a game at the waterfront AT&T Park, home of the Giants.
How to Get There
This review is long over due since I have been staying at The Clift every year since 2010 which only goes to show how consistent the excellence is.However, I am very disappointed upon my last visit to discover the famous hotel bar, Red Room, now closes early. This definitely put a damper on my plans as I am very familiar with the bar staff and the craft cocktails they deliciously make for me. For this reason I am giving the hotel 4/5 since that was such a crucial amenity to the hotel. While this hotel does not have spa amenities they make up for that with there luxurious ambiance, seductive rooms and pop up shops in the lobby. When checking in the staff has always been flexible with me about the time of check in if there are rooms available and they don't stick you with any fee for this. This hotel is in the heart of union square so don't bother with a car unless you don't mind the $40-50 a night parking and trying to find valet where ever your going in the city. Also use concierge- they are so nice and go ABOVE & Beyond whatever they are asked to do. They have even been so kind as to watch my dog for me on one rare occasion. I love the clift.
We stayed at the Clift for a tip during the American Urologic conference - our flight was delayed so we would have missed our connecting flight so the airline booked us for a fight the next day. We called the Sonesta and after a 30 min phone call where we had to give flight info etc they said we were able to cancel the night we would no longer be needing without cost. However, at checkout they said there was no record of this and charged us! They were very rude in the process.
Additionally after a long day traveling, presenting at the conference and having a late celebratory dinner I come back to the Hotel and realize that I remember the room number but not the floor so instead of walking around the hotel potentially waking other guests i ask at the reception. Hovever, the one receptionist refuses rudely to tell me as the room was booked under my friends name. I ask if someone can walk up with me as I have my luggage with name tags up there and it would be easy to identify me as belonging to that room. Normally they would just confirm that you know checkout dates or perhaps the DOB of the person booking the hotel.
This was not getting anywhere and the stupid receptionist forced me to go upstairs and try all rooms with my room number IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT on a trial and error basis which I had tried to avoid to prevent any disruptions to other guests! I could not believe it. When I complained in the AM all they said was we will talk to her to refresh her on our policy. I also was wearing a suit and am a 30 year old female so I don’t understand why they would be so oddly obstructive!
I'm well travelled and have been to 35+ countries, staying anywhere from 5* luxury hotels to hostels. I admit never leaving reviews here but feel compelled to as Clift is hands down the worst place I have ever stayed. The hotel is old and outdated, the front desk staff are awful and the food is criminally overpriced. It's an embarrassment to SBE/Morgans Hotel Group. I emailed a detailed complaint nearly a month ago which has been ignored - I shouldn't be surprised after the "service" I received while staying at the hotel.
I've stayed at several hotels from the group and have always had a wonderful stay. Clift was horrendous. The majority of front desk staff are snobby and unhelpful. Some of the bar staff are incredibly rude. Even the manager was obnoxious. The doormen are absolutely wonderful though. I
The original room I was checked into was disgusting. It smelt musty and had peeling enamel in the bathtub. The new room was lovely but you can hear noise and sirens all night. The area, Tenderloin, is quite rough due to the homeless crisis in San Francisco.
There are PLENTY of other hotels to stay in so avoid Clift and save yourself a ton of hassle.
The decor in the whole hotel was a little weird, modernist artsy for us. For instance, the entire hallway on the floor we were on was a lilac purple: the floors, walls and ceilings. Our room was entirely white, while the two opposing walls were floor to ceiling mirrors. Our window looked into the building next to us, maybe 10 feet away. The furnishings were nice and somewhat updated, everything had been remodeled but the style of the bathroom didn't match the modern feel of everything else. Downside was that there were really no small amenities: no coffee maker in the room, no pool, gym or breakfast that I recall. The staff was very helpful with giving us info for walking around the city.
The location is what saves this place. It's a great spot, steps away from shopping and tour pick up location. We walked pretty much everywhere on this trip. We did not travel in June of 2017, but 2016.
Hotel is just “OK.” The rooms are dated which makes it feel dirty. The shower has no drainage. I had no hot water in my sink. I wouldn’t stay here again. On a positive note the bar and breakfast room are pretty awesome.