White Swan Inn
What We Love
- Central location on Bush Street, close to Union Square, Lombard Street and a short walk to the Embarcadero
- Intimate vibe in the heart of the city; the hotel has just 26 guestrooms and a plugged-in staff
- Daily buffet breakfast (baked goods, eggs, fruit and more) served in the colorful dining room or on the furnished outdoor patio
- Free WiFi
What To Know
- No gym, but staff can organize passes for a nearby fitness center
- Valet parking is available for an extra fee
- Pets are not permitted
- Not the pick for minimalists; the decor is all bold colors, patterns and graphic wallpaper
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
In San Francisco’s posh Nob Hill neighborhood, White Swan Inn is an Anglophile’s dream, all country cottage prints and mod-inspired accents. Interiors are done up with acres of colorful, graphic wallpaper, from classic English rose motifs to full-on floral bouquets, plus patterned carpets, richly upholstered sofas and armchairs, and mahogany furniture. The small living room is a cozy space with a working fireplace for the inn’s daily wine hour, while the homemade breakfast buffet is served in the kitschy dining room or on the furnished patio each morning. There’s also a library for playing vintage board games or relaxing after a day of exploring the local sights. All 26 guestrooms are individually designed but uniform in their more-is-more design brief, with colorful wallpaper and monochrome accents, plus comfy four-poster beds, LCD TVs, mini fridges and tea and coffee makers. Simple tiled bathrooms have over-tub showers and single vanities. There’s no gym but the staff can organize passes to a nearby fitness club, or recommend city walks to take in all the nearby sights.
In the Area
The hotel is centrally located near many beloved cafés and restaurants. Farm:Table features delicious fresh produce for lunch, and the brunch at Brenda’s French Soul Food is wildly popular (hint: arrive late). On a sunny day, take San Francisco’s historic cable car over Nob Hill to Fisherman’s Wharf to gawk at the California sea lions. With Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Chanel, and Saks Fifth Avenue, Union Square is a bustling commerce hub. For an authentic speakeasy experience and some killer cocktails, book a reservation at Bourbon and Branch (a password is required for entry). On a boat trip under the Golden Gate Bridge and out to the Farallon Islands, blue, gray, humpback, killer, and sperm whales can be spotted seasonally. Check out San Francisco’s best bookstores: City Lights in North Beach (co-founded by beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti) and Green Apple Books, in the Richmond district.
How to Get There
We stayed for 2 nights at end of October and booked the two rooms with fireplaces. The fun started at check in, went to our room at 4pm to find it still hadn’t been cleaned and no sense of urgency to get it done. No help with bags coming in and when we asked the flustered guy at the desk for a Chinese Restaurant recommendation he replied with “I don’t like Chinese so wouldn’t be comfortable giving you one”………this set the tone for any questions we had over the next 2 days. Our room couldn’t get the TV going, sockets are a luxury and very noisy. The 2nd room, bulb was gone despite asking twice , the pilot light remained on the gas fire, to be informed “its always like that..”, also luxury of a double extension lead for power. Forget to mention that their toilet also stopped flushing! The breakfast was an experience- very little food, crowded and the staff when not arguing amongst themselves would simply scowl at you. It was scary at times and you might feel safer walking the streets of San Francisco. I was tempted to phone Karl Malden or Mickey Douglas for protection. There are easily better places to stay. Be warned the 1-2 star ratings are the truthful ones for White Swan.
My Wife and I stayed at White Swan Inn on 2 separate occasions, on May 3 - May 8 2019, and October 28- October 30 2019. Overall we love the property, location and hotel staff, with the exception of 1 lady that works at the front desk. Regretfully, despite a great team effort, it only takes 1 person to lessen the quality of a hotel and the quality of stay for its customers.
There was 2 separate occasions that this particular lady at the front desk was quite rude:
1. during first stay in May 2019, As i was moving multiple luggage's up to my room, I had politely inform here that I will be parking in-front of the hotel lobby for about 15minutes, as will need multiple trips to move all my luggage to the room. Instead she just responded very rudely by saying Maximum 15 minutes parking and that I should park somewhere else - did not offer any porter help, or even to inform that they have a luggage cart to help with my belongings.
2. during checkout on October 30 we were running late at checkout, due to we were trying to ensure that we can drive to our next destination at Petaluma, which at the time had restrictions due to the Kincaid fire. We ask the front desk agent (a very nice Man) for late checkout during our check-in. he can provide us until 1pm, and offered to keep our luggage if we needed more time. unfortunately we came down a bit late at 1:30pm. As she was the at the front desk at checkout, she started barking to my wife that checkout time is 12pm, and that we are lucky she will not be charging us for the late checkout. again, relayed in a very unfriendly and rude manner. When we ask if we can leave our luggage for a couple hours, again she rudely ask how many pieces and how large. Seeing as she is not very eager to provide any kind of service to her customers, we said forget it and left the hotel.
As a repeat customer that stayed twice within 4 months, and does quarterly visits to San Francisco, maybe it would be wise to have your staff appreciate your repeat customers. despite our love for the room and the location, the unfriendliness of this particular front desk agent will make us seek another hotel for our future stays at San Francisco.
We stayed in the Abbey Suite for 4 nights with 4 of us, 2 adults and 2 children. Good location for us to get out and see things and a variety of restaurants nearby too.
Breakfast was simple but something for everyone. Afternoon drinks were nice out on the terrace.
Traffic noise was a slight issue in the evening when windows needed to be open given the late summer warmth.