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
regrettably we were sorely disappointed with the hotel -
the high point redemption of 80,0000 points + $162 cash spend were absolutely waste -
the room was 7 paces from the door to the back wall and 8 paces across - it was impossible for two adults of average weight and height not to bump into each other constantly.
Bathroom space is so tight that the toilet paper holder becomes a forced arm rest when sitting on the bowl. You will not be comfortable.
The tub wasn't clean when we got in and the towel rack was falling,
the whole bedroom looked tired. think thick layers of paint accumulated over time - gives the “hiding something” feeling. the bed and linens were nice
windows were dirty and although we asked for a quiet room we were placed right next to the trolley and it was very loud at night (could hear mechanicals and water running)
we were told that we'd be contacted friday to change rooms and no one called... we were on vacation just two days no time to waste - decided to bite the bullet and decided o spend as little time as possible in the room.
BUT was not a relaxing nor restful stay - we did NOT rest.
kudos to the doorman for his friendliness on saturday on our way out - he was the highlight.
this definitely ranks near the top in my list of hotel regrets in all the paces where I’ve stayed And I’ve stayed enough hotels to reach elite status in several chains
Weasked for a partial refund of points and cash after following up in the satisfaction survey and haven't seen a reply
Would not stay again
Stayed here in August 2018 for a weekend. Extremely long wait to check-in in the mid-afternoon. Apparently being an IHG Platinum member didn't mean anything here. Only one or two elevators out of four were working at any time. Was quicker to take the stairs from the 9th floor.
The hotel is in a great location right off of Union Square. After that it's all downhill. Severely needs to be renovated and updated. The hallway carpets are worn and dirty. Room had a nice bed and bedding but the bathroom was in poor shape. Also had various flying insects in the room at any point in time.
For the life of me I can't imagine why Kimpton Hotels thought it would be a good idea to include this in their named inventory of locations until they brought this up to the standards of their brand.
We had four night stay at this superbly located hotel. Great for shops, walking to piers and attractions. Early evening free wine tasting was great chance to chat with other guests and came at exactly the right time to help us adjust from European time zone.
Perfect location- union square right below it. Close to basically everything. The main entrance of hotel very classy, elegant. The rooms are lovely.. small- but lovely. Restaurant in the hotel (Scala) is beautiful, very pricey however. They had a happy hour between 5-6 in the hotel for free wine. Which was great. We did email them before hand saying it was our honeymoon and nothing nice was done for us. All of our other hotels on this holiday supplied a little something. Unfortunately, not at the Sir Francis Drake. Lifts are awful. Slow, and never working. All in all, we did enjoy it!! I would stay again for its location.
My wife and I stayed for four nights , as part of our honeymoon trip to San Francisco and Vegas.
We booked via Virgin Holidays so had high expectations .
We had a pick up arranged from the airport And arrived mid afternoon.
I had previously emailed hotel to advise that it was our honeymoon and requested some champagne in our room for plough arrival.
My wife had also emailed the hotel , but sadly both emails went unanswered.
Our virgin rep had called a week earlier to check on our itinerary and we’d mentioned this, so was assured that he would speak to them and sort this.
Needless to say there wasn’t anything waiting in our room when we arrived .
Our check in was clinical and efficient but with no offer of help with our bags to our rooms. No friendly small talk either from the check in staff.
Our room was a major disappointment. Small and poorly furnished with no coffee making facilities or fridge . Just some miniatures in a drawer .
Due to a local strike / protest with local hotel employees ( not this hotel) there was constant noise outside our hotel room which meant we didn’t sleep well at all on our first night.
We raised next morning and a very helpful lad at reception arranged for another room at the back of the hotel which proved to be much quieter .
However , the same poor room furnishings meant we couldn’t hang our clothes properly. Bed was uncomfortable and bathroom tiny with a tatty old stained sink and bath.
We were really unhappy with the quality of the room and general reception received so we raised with our virgin rep Adam, who was excellent I must stress in dealing with our concerns .
It also transpired that he had actually delivered champagne a week prior to the hotel with some basic instructions but sadly the hotel mislaid it/ forgot etc .
Adam contacted the hotel again and we were eventually given the champagne on our last night with no apology or reason given.
There are some good points to mention:
The bar staff in the hotel bar are very attentive and very helpful giving drink suggestions (gin varieties etc) and also restaurant recommendations .
Late night bar on 21st floor Plus the diner / restaurant below are both worth a visit. But sadly that’s it. It feels a tired hotel that may be suitable for short business stays.
as Location is central for the city , but that’s really all it has going for it.
We didn’t enjoy our stay and despite Seeing some great sites in San Francisco we couldn’t wait to leave .