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
Stayed for a conference - perfect! Check in was a breeze (to the right when you walk in). We were able to get into a room right away, which I love and appreciate! Location is great, within walking distance of Union Square and Chinatown, shopping, and the Embarcadero. A little dodgy at night/and in daylight going the other way down Market as you get closer to the Tenderloin! Doorstaff/Bellstaff were super helpful with Lyfts and directions and recommendations for things to do.
We were in a standard King room - great size for SF. View of I think the other side of the hotel so it was a bit tricky at night - trying to close the blackout shades for privacy but I like a little bit of light to wake up to in the mornings. Pool area was great - we explored but didn't go in. (Hot tub looked like it was being cleaned). Pool is on the 4th floor, where we stayed, and the hallway got a bit loud sometimes. Would not recommend/stay on the 4th floor in the future.
The bathroom was average/small and had no vent except the door. Also wish there was more of a nightlight feature so that turning on the light didn't mean shining lights into someone's eyes at night in the bed. Only a small amount of counterspace. Individual medium-sized bottles of nice shampoo/conditioner/body wash.
Check out the Pied Piper bar (service was excellent) and the Garden Court (lunch service was amazing and the waitstaff wonderful). Would definitely try to partake of afternoon tea here in the future!
Overall, a great stay where I felt like royalty! Would stay again for sure!
If you are looking for a flashback experience of more elegant times with full modern conveniences, then The Palace with outstandingly fit the bill. Beautiful historic architecture, elegant and sophisticated yet still inviting and cozy. Food outstanding and service was a dream. The staff made us feel like billionaires.
By far my favourite experience of hotels in SF. I liked the old-glamour feel of the hotel as well as the pool. Location unbeatable right next to Montgomery metro. I would stay here again if the price was competitive. I'll most likely be back at some point. Hotel room was great, even though I didn't feel the market street-view was particularly worth it.
Staff was fine. The concierges were not professional enough to my liking for a 5 star hotel and I would double-check to ensure they are not a bit too nonchalant here and there. The lost-and-found person I dealt with wasn't quite as polite as I would have liked, but maybe he was having a bad day.