Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel
What We Love
- Authentic Gothic Revival style and Art Deco interiors
- Themed cocktails and variety shows at the Starlight Room’s “Sunday’s a Drag” brunch
- Free morning coffee and tea, and nightly wine served in the lobby
- Read more about what to see and do in San Francisco and Big Sur in our magazine section
What To Know
- Free WiFi is available if you sign up for the free Kimpton Karma program
- Each room is equipped with Yoga TV and mats
- The hotel was built in 1928, so some rooms are cozier than others
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Named after the 16th-century swashbuckler who sailed the California coast for Queen Elizabeth I, the landmark Sir Francis Drake Hotel blends classic Gothic Revival style with Art Deco glamour. A beefeater doorman welcomes guests in the ornate lobby, which is adorned in Italian marble, crystal chandeliers, spiraling staircases and gold leaf ceilings. The guestrooms are elegantly appointed quarters, with sleek glass-topped furnishings and retro chairs in playful colors of royal purple and silver. Equally stylish is the wood-lined Scala’s Bistro and the Starlight Room, on the 21st floor, where the ruby-red decor tries to compete with the expansive city views.
Bed and Bath
Handsome button-back chairs, Victorian headboards and damask drapes in the 416 rooms and suites channel the kind of opulence you might find in the master bedroom of the namesake naval commander himself. Complementing the hotel’s 1920s flavor are retro modern accents such as bedside lamps in the shape of hitching posts. Located on the upper floors, the stylish suites feature separate living and dining areas. Although small, the bathrooms are well equipped, with granite sinks, coconut-infused Gilchrist & Soames products and animal print robes.
After having a glass during the nightly lobby wine hour, snag a table at Scala’s Bistro, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and local hot spot. Standout dishes include the pesto and ricotta ravioli with lemon cream or marinara sauce, washed down with the Roseblum old-vine Zinfandel. Twenty-one floors up, the Starlight Room is a vibrant nightlife spot that hosts a “Sunday’s a Drag” brunch that features Donna’s Savoy Bounce cocktail (Prosecco, St. Germain, cointreau, absinthe, lemon) and a 45-minute variety show. Although the third-floor fitness center is small and modestly equipped, you won’t need it after spending an afternoon tromping up and down San Francisco’s hills.
In the Area
The hotel is on one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, Powell Street, where retail therapy choices include big name brands such as Neiman Marcus, Gucci, Burberry, Prada and Marc Jacobs. Throughout the year lively Union Square is a host to free outdoor entertainment, from Film Night in the Park to monthly concerts showcasing up-and-coming Bay Area musicians. For some of the best views of San Francisco, hike up Grant Avenue to North Beach’s latest artisanal cocktail spot, 15 Romolo; we love the punchy Pimm’s Cup and the Rio Grande (bourbon, Reposado tequila, lemon, lime, syrup). Or hop on the cable car on Powell Street and head for Nob Hill and join well-heeled residents at the speakeasy-style Bourbon & Branch for creative libations. Save room for the best Bay Area bites at the gourmet vegetarian Union Square restaurant Millennium, where herbivores will love the masa dumplings with porcini molé and agave-centric elixirs. For a modern spin on traditional Vietnamese, head over to Charles Phan’s Slanted Door in the Embarcadero’s Ferry Building.
How to Get There
Husband and I stayed her for one night May 4th . Our room was located on seventh floor on the Powell street side and was nicely decorated. There was definitely street noise at night more so than their location in NYC. But, bed was comfortable and I had ear plugs. The bathroom was incredibly small, so much so you have to enter sideways to close the door. I realize it’s a very old hotel however, they need to enlarge the rooms and bathrooms. If I was staying more than one night I would HAVE to move to another room with a larger bathroom. There was no counter space for your toiletries, towels hang on a rack IN THE SHOWER-so if you did not pull your towels down before starting the shower your towels would be soaked. I loved the location as we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf and China Town. The bar on top floor offered a beautiful view! We drove from Napa Valley so we had to use the hotel parking which was $65 for the night. I felt this was entirely too high. We have stayed at many Kimptons - Baltimore, Phoenix, Philly, Miami, and New York and I felt the service at this location was not to their usual standard. When we checked in they only had a room near the elevator and we wanted a lower floor so we waited only to get a room on the same floor they offered us earlier. I hope this is not indicative of being a part of IHG.
I will continue to stay at Kimpton hotels but, feel this location fell a bit short.
I stayed at the Sir Francis Drake for business in April. My room was a top floor room, cozy and clean with amazing city views. The hotel is centrally located on Union Square with a Walgreens across the street (in case you forgot anything) and a Starbucks next door. The location is highly walkable to many sights. And don't forget to check out The Starlight Room on the top floor for 360 degree city views.
This is a very old hotel. If you are into old places with some history behind, this place is for you. I wished there was a way to get rid of this acidic smell present in the corridors on in the rooms. My severe note is not about the hotel "old" aspect but the room lacked simple things to make this place enjoyable. No glasses in the bathroom. The faucets have this water saving aerator, the same ones you find in the airport bathrooms. Shaving was... interesting. Very hard to do anything with this water flow.
This is a noisy place. SF streets are not quiet but the whole bunch of noise coming from the building. You can definitely hear other flushing the toilets, taking a shower or closing their doors.
Place is clean. Bed is comfortable. Rooms fairly small. Great location (Union Square/Market Street).
Hotel has stairs to reach the lobby. There is no ramp.
This hotel has that classic character throughout it that makes you think of days gone by with all the history of the building. Great location and we always try to get back for happy hour if we can!! There is lots of shopping as well and restaurants close by.
I made a reservation for the Sir Francis Drake Hotel for the grand two queen room (the large room with two queen beds) for my husband, my son, and me. I got a confirmation for this specific room and thought I could be certain the room would be reserved for us. Nevertheless I called one week before our arrival to make sure the room was available and I pointed out that for health reasons the room has to be on the lower floor. I was assured that there would not be a problem with the grand two queen room on the third floor or lower. When my son arrived a day before my husband and me he was put on the 15th floor with a king bed and a pull-out bed!. He requested the grand two queen on the third floor, but was told it was not available and he might get moved to a lower floor the next day without guarantee. I called reservation and was told that the king room is all that was available and that there is no way to change it. By then my son and I were stressed out, because I was trying to find another hotel which could accommodate my health issues. I again called the hotel and this time I was connected to the front desk which told me that my son could move down to the 4th floor, but it had to be immediately or the room would be gone. So my son had to repack, even though he had appointments, and had to go through moving from the 15th to the 4th floor. The whole experience was extremely stressful, unacceptable, and should have never happened. When I pointed this out to the front desk the next day when I arrived they agreed and gave us some breakfast and drink tickets to pacify us. If they had been serious about the mistake they made they should have reimbursed us for the first night. Obviously the needs of the hotel have priority over the needs of the guests at the Sir Francis Drake. Therefore we will never stay at that hotel again, and will very carefully look into staying at other Kimpton hotels either, which is unfortunate since we had good experiences at Kimpton hotels in the past. But maybe Kimpton hotels are not as good as they once were.