Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco
What We Love
- Swimming under the glass-domed ceiling that floods the hotel pool with natural light
- The recycling bins in the rooms
- The city views from the gym are a workout motivator (and we dig the marble baths in the changing rooms)
- The bevy of historic details, like the Maxfield Parrish painting that gives the Pied Piper bar its name
What To Know
- The wait at the check-in desk, which often seems understaffed, can be long
- WiFi is free only for Starwood members
- Valet parking is pricey
- Some suites have views of bustling Market Street
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
When the Palace first opened its doors in 1875, it was the world’s largest hotel and one of the West Coast’s premier places to stay—a reputation it maintained for multiple decades. By 2015, the interiors were looking tired, but a much-needed renovation transformed them back into modern masterpieces, with new floors, enormous tufted headboards, and lots of dark wood accents, all under 11-foot ceilings. The palette of dark blues, purples and grays feels current and complements the property’s charming but older architectural touches like monogrammed brass door knobs and heavy, century-old oak doors. The Palace’s historic elegance remains, particularly in the extraordinary Garden Court, a combination lobby-restaurant-lounge topped with a stained glass dome and enormous crystal chandeliers that still manage to elicit gasps from entering guests. A harpist plays here every Sunday and the brunch is legendary (so best reserve in advance).
In the Area
For tourists, museum buffs, and business travelers, the hotel’s location in SoMa (South of Market) is on point. The Financial District and luxe shopping in Union Square are both within walking distance, and a cable car ride to the waterfront views, shops and restaurants of Fisherman’s Wharf takes around 20 minutes. Guests can walk to the Museum of Modern Art, the Beaux Arts building housing the Contemporary Jewish Museum (and Wise Sons Deli), and the Museum of the African Diaspora within five minutes. There are myriad excellent bars also within stumbling distance from the hotel: try Hawthorn for a chic lounge experience and Local Edition for an underground, speakeasy-style atmosphere (and an extensive cocktail list). There’s a BART and Muni station at the hotel entrance, making movement to other neighborhoods around the city exceptionally easy.
How to Get There
This hotel looks fabulous in the pictures and upon entering, sadly it starts to diminish at check in. Check in took an age, we were then taken to our room; it was dark and deeply depressing even with every light on. We asked for a street view room rather than an interior room, we were moved. The next room had no bath, we were told that the rooms in the floor didn't have baths (that was not correct, the previous dark room did). We moved again to another room, supposedly with a bath - it didn't have one. On the fourth move we finally got a room that wasn't dark and dingy and had a bath, albeit one that was 3/4 sized and about 1.5ft deep. The bed was super comfy and sheets were lovely. However, there was no real wardrobe space, the bedroom small and cramped and intermittent wifi (front desk were absolutely no help in remedying this). I was treated to the tobacco smoke from the next room from the vent and even better was treated to regular early wake up calls from another neighbour - either through paper thin walls or the vent. The shower did not work properly and nor did the TV on the last day. Housekeeping seem to ignore the do not disturb signs on the door and opt to call you before 9am to ask when they can clean your room (a bit frustrating to be woken after trying to catch up on sleep when you had previously been woken by your neighbour). There are no tea/coffee facilities and the free beverage facilities noted as being in the lobby failed to materialise on any of the three days I was there. I didn't try room service as I would normally as I already thought I had paid this place far too much. I went to the bar for drinks, it is a nice bar but I didn't like the fact I had to ask for a code to use the restrooms. Overall this place is a complete let down.
We were guests at a very lovely small wedding and luncheon at the Palace Hotel. Elegant surroundings made for a memorable afternoon. Food and service were both impeccably delivered. The staff was attentive and made all the guests feel special.
I love the building and the architecture inside. The room is a little simple and doesn’t match the luxury exuded from the common spaces. Thankfully this hotel is now a Marriott and more affordable because a few years ago the same standard king room was 400+ and is now back to 200/night.
I came here for a wedding in the Bay Area and chose to stay here so I could finally experience the glass ceiling dining area (aka garden court) and enjoy this beautiful hotel. It didn’t fall short upon arrival. Just don’t expect grand rooms. The rooms are spacious and have nice toiletries but it’s not quite the same luxe you get in the hallways and lobby. The beds are ok and I took a star away because upon crawling in, I could hear the bed springs and I’m not a large person so it was a little disappointing. The mattress seems like it could be replaced. Sheets are great thankfully. Despite slight disappointments in the room, it’s nevertheless beautiful and clean.
If you’re taking public transit this hotel is right off of the Montgomery BART station so very convenient to lines that go to SFO and OAK and to other places like East Bay (go BEARS!). Parking is pricey as overnight is about $84. There is a parking garage around the corner off Stevenson for $28 a day.
Staff here is wonderful and accommodating. Overall a great hotel just wanted a little more for a place called “THE Palace” hotel.