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
I loved staying at the White Swan Inn! The location is great. My husband and I walked to Union Square, Chinatown, Grace Cathedral, and the turnaround for the Powell/Hyde Cable Car. I'm sure we could have walked to many other attractions, but limited time and the daunting hills made us turn to Uber instead.
Check-in was easy and pleasant. Leon took us to our deluxe king room. He was quite enthusiastic and made us feel very welcome. The ambience of the room made me feel like I was visiting a friend. The room itself is big (#37), with a sitting area (2 chairs and a table) and a fireplace. The fireplace starts with the flip of a switch next to the bed. The room also has a small pantry area with a sink, refrigerator stocked with free water and soda, and a coffee maker. The bathroom is small but newly renovated and spotless. Across from the bathroom is a dressing room with a full sink and huge vanity mirror. There is also a walk-in closet off the dressing room. If I remember correctly, there is an ironing board, an iron, and a couple fans in the closet. The only thing that would make the room more cozy and perfect would be a comfortable sofa in front of the fireplace. In another review, someone mentioned the lack of sufficient power outlets. I discovered a power strip under the table, so there were ample outlets for my electronics.
The common areas on the first floor (really the basement), are wonderful. Again, it was like visiting someone's home. I especially enjoyed spending time sitting in the library reading next to the fireplace or looking at the interesting collection of English cathedrals displayed in the bookcases. The breakfast buffet was good. There were enough choices to give us a good start to the day, including fresh fruit. Regrettably, we were never around for the afternoon wine/appetizer gathering.
The 100-year-old lift was charming. We chose to take the stairs most of the time, however.
My only complaint is that we had to reactivate our room keys several times during our 2-day stay. I'm not sure why we had so much trouble with the card keys.
I look forward to our next visit to the White Swan Inn.
I have been to a lot of hotels and often say I will review said hotel but it’s a rare occourance where I literally want to shout to everyone who’s considering a SF hotel that YOU HAVE TO STAY HERE! I don’t want to be over the top but the room.... it was just perfect. I slept with a quiet real fire in the background that doesn’t overheat the trim but gives it a unique ambience. Not to forget to mention that the rooms are just in general, beautiful. I ate a varied and incredibly tasty breakfast - there’s enough variety for anyone. I also enjoyed the little extras... a free mini bar with actual soda variation.... freshly baked cookies every day that are different each day too..... free wine and nibbles every evening?! Who does this? I Just wish I had experienced this place earlier in my 31 years... it sets a bar.
We had a wonderful stay at the White Swan Inn. Centrally located so you can catch public transport a few blocks away. Nice breakfast and a wonderful wine and cheese serve every afternoon. The wine service was a great way to relax and rest feet before heading out for evening activities. The staff were all wonderful and made sure we were satisfied with everything. Room was very comfy (even had a fireplace!) and no noise despite being on a busy street. Looking forward to a return visit some day.
We got what we expected. In January hotels in S.F. are expensive. High end places are in the $400-$450/night range and we've never spent that much for a hotel in ANY location. With tax, the W.S. was close to $300/night including breakfast. It's not inexpensive, but in S.F. it worked for us.
This is a relatively small hotel - 5 floors with about 5 or 6 rooms per floor. It's kitchy - flowered wall paper, flowered carpeting, multiple colors, etc.
The lows for us were the climate control (it was unadjustable and often too cold), the lack of adequate lighting in our room, a small-bowl toilet, and early morning noise in the hallways when the cleaning crew begins work.
The highs - very friendly employees, a good cleaning crew, and the location of the property. There are freshly baked cookies in the afternoon and a wine hour.
Soft drinks and bottled water are provided in the in-room refrigerator.
We changed rooms because ours had an angled ceiling in the shower, a difficult-to-use TV, and a inadequate-sized closet in the bathroom. (That's room 55.)
What a warm athmosphere there is in White Swan Inn. Fireplaces everywhere, including our room and nice christmas decorations. We really enjoyed our stay. The common area downstairs was excellent for relaxing and studying/working.
+ big room with fireplace
+ good wifi
+ small kitchen area
+ free breakfast and wine tasting with snacks every evening
- room was a bit dark. Could use a better lighting.
- unfortunately no view from our room’s windows. Nothing can be done about it though.