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
- Eco friendly
- Free WiFi
- 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
Comfortable room, no issues with connecting to WiFi, lift always worked. The neighbourhood can be loud - emergency vehicles going past which for the first 2 nights did wake us up. After that mostly got used to it. Neighbourhood is close to Tenderloin which we avoided due to its reputation. So only ever headed away from that area at night. Felt comfortable walking to local restaurants at night. Overall good area, $10-15 USD Uber trip to fisherman’s walk when we needed to get there quick. Otherwise walked
I stayed with my brother for 5 nights. The hotel is easy to get to, and the staff welcoming and helpful from the start, with a good sense of humour thrown in. The room was very good, 2 large double beds - only a minor quibble - some more creamers for the coffee would have been useful. Standard issue is just 2, 4 would have been helpful. However we could have got more had we asked. Staff were very helpful in suggesting ways to get around, for instance the easiest way to Pier 31 for the Alcatraz ferry, and they arranged for our airport shuttle bus on our departure. Overall a very enjoyable stay.
This is the third time I'm staying at the Carlton and whever I check in it feels like coming home. The staff is extremely helpful and welcoming.There is a nightly event where you're offered complimentary wine and you can enjoy local bands.The room was spacious and perfect for a family of four with two queen sized beds. There is free drinking water available in the corridor and you can get a complimentary refrigerator if you ask for it.The location is within walking distance of many restaurants and tourist attractions. The tenderloin is close by as well but you don't notice "the roughness" at the hotel.Hotels in SF are quite expensive and I find the Carlton to offer good value for money.
If you must stay in the Tenderknob, fine. Stay here. It's centrally located and within walking distance to the cable cars and some great restaurants and cafes. But it is really overpriced and needs updating. I am from San Francisco and have stayed at several hotels in the city. This one is very meh. $250/ night seems reasonable but $400/ night is criminal. Tip: Make sure to request a room as far away from the early morning trash and recycling as possible.
We first stayed in this hotel at the beginning of our 14 day tour for one night and returned at the end of our tour for two nights. Overall the hotel is very clean and tidy the rooms could do with updating, especially the bathroom suites which are looking tired. We found the reception staff very helpful and friendly no matter what time of day and night. Rooms could probably benefit from a microwave as food out and about and in the hotels cafe in my opinion is very expensive compared to what we’re used to in the UK who can warrant $13 or so dollars for 2 poached eggs on a slice of toast, but overall a nice place.