Hotel Carlton, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel
What We Love
- Free lobby wine reception and live music offered nightly
- Friendly staff quick to please with recommendations to nearby hot spots
- Welcoming whimsical interiors adorned with historical relics
- The LEED-certified hotel is also pet-friendly
What To Know
- Free WiFi
- Residential neighborhood is shy on nightlife; prepare to walk or Uber
- Ask the staff for reliable directions after dark to avoid walking through the untamed Tenderloin
- Valet parking is $35 per day
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Midcentury Modern furnishings combine with ornamental decor to transport guests from the residential streets of Lower Nob Hill to faraway lands. Indian candy-coated fennel seeds offer a peculiar palate cleanser at check-in, where the staff provides keycards emblazoned with photos of indigenous peoples from around the world. This rural motif carries throughout the hotel’s nine floors, including the original 1927 elevators, which are embellished with maps of the world.
Bed and Bath
Each of the 161 guestrooms features eccentric decor, framed photographs of 15th-century Nepalese temples and original hand-painted Moroccan bedside tables. They start at 195 square feet, but what they lack in size they make up for in spectacular city views and such mod cons as iHome docks, marble-topped work stations, 32- to 42-inch flat-screen HDTVs and pint-size bathrooms equipped with Lather body products.
Unwind in one of the lobby’s Midcentury Modern loungers, and take advantage of the nightly wine and live music reception, followed by an Eastern-inspired meal at the on-site Saha restaurant. With red banquettes and canopy-bedecked ceilings, the intimate candlelit dining room is a fitting place to enjoy such standout dishes as classic North African couscous and cinnamon-braised beef ribs served ragú-style with Yemeni noodles. Heading off-site? A car service offers free weekday rides to the Financial District and Civic Center from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In the Area
At the foot of residential Nob Hill, the Hotel Carlton is a 15-minute walk from San Francisco’s lively Union Square, which throughout the year plays host to free outdoor events, and such big name designers as Gucci, Burberry, Prada and Marc Jacobs. Prefer a more boutique experience? Uber over to Union Street, the main thoroughfare of the eponymous microhood between Octavia and Fillmore streets, where you can stock up on designer decor at Atys, decadent delights at CocoaBella Chocolates, popular books at Chronicle Books and coveted cotton collections at BeGood Clothing. For some of the best views of San Francisco, hike up Grant Avenue to North Beach’s latest artisanal cocktail spot, 15 Romolo, where we love the punchy Pimm’s Cup and the Rio Grande (bourbon, Reposado tequila, lemon, lime, syrup). Or join the well-heeled residents of Nob Hill at the speakeasy-style Bourbon & Branch for creative libations. Save room for the best herbivore bites at Union Square restaurant Millennium, where the masa dumplings with porcini molé and agave-centric elixirs are musts. For a modern spin on traditional Vietnamese, head over to Charles Phan’s Slanted Door, in the Embarcadero’s famed Ferry Building.
How to Get There
This is my first review of a hotel, but my experience with Hotel Carlton has been so bad that I think I ought to share it. I have many things to comments negatively, but I will limit myself to one objective complaint. I booked a room at the hotel with Booking.com, and Hotel Carlton charged my credit card twice. I contacted the hotel immediately, and they stated that my credit card had been charged only once. One month later, when confronted with my credit card bill at the reception of the hotel, they acknowledged that they had charged the credit card twice and promised to solve the problem---I just would have to wait one week. One week later, I found out that Hotel Carlton returned to my credit card 40 dollars less than the amount initially charged in excess.
Staff did not acknowledge fire alarm during the night. Incident that kept us awake for over an hour.
Staff did not seem to be able to make decisions at the desk without seeing a manager first.
Rooms are very small and paper thin walls.
It's a good hotel in a good location, wine evenings are nice and decor is good but the hallways need a revamp. The reception staff are welcoming and helpful. The food is decent at Saha Lounge (though avocado was mysteriously left off all the dishes supposed to contain it, without explanation) but avoid at all costs if Maiko E is serving. Worst service I've had in the US, avoids customers like the plague, prefers to text and eat behind the bar while you desperately try to get her attention each morning. I wouldn't come back here because of her. If someone else is serving, go ahead.