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
Some reviews describe this hotel as quaint, but I think tired would be more appropriate, and I certainly think it needs a refresh but without taking away its traditional features. Our bathroom door came off it’s hinges on the first day, and when we reported it to reception, we were told that the maintenance man was not in until the following day, but that someone would take a look the same day to see it could be fixed. It remained unfixed for the entire three days of our visit. Breakfast was poor with a limited choice of hot food, sausages were rubbery and croissants were limp. However, we did enjoy the complimentary wine and snacks served every day at 5:00 and the chance to sit in the comfortable lounge chatting to other guests of different nationalities. The snacks provided included hot and cold, and sweet and savoury, and were of much better quality than breakfast. One guest had the cheek to ask for another bottle of wine, which was willingly provided. I also liked the display of matchstick models of famous English cathedrals in the lounge. The hotel is reasonably convenient for Union Square, and Fisherman’s Wharf can also be reached by the Historic Cable Car, which is close by (the Cable Car Route also passes Lombard Street, another famous tourist attraction). There is also an excellent pub immediately across the road from the hotel, serving typical pub food and an excellent range of beers. Staff were friendly and welcoming, but if I ever returned to San Francisco as a tourist, I would probably look for another hotel, but whether I could find one at a similar price is debatable.
Just imagine waking up each morning, cozy & warm under your plush comforter, to the aroma of fresh coffee and scones baking in the kitchen somewhere below you. If you have opted for a room with a fireplace, just flip a switch and you will have a roaring fireplace. The bathrooms and showers have been updated in both inns, White Swan & La Petite Auberge. You will have a robe, coffee maker and bottled water in your room with plenty of outlets to charge your tech equipment.
These wonderful older homes date back to 1910. Leon will be happy to give you a tour of either or both properties. The entire staff is exceptionally accommodating. There are several comfortable dining/sitting areas where you can enjoy your breakfast or just relax by a fireplace for some friendly conversation before starting or ending your day. There is an outdoor patio area for those who don’t mind the cold. Whenever you step into the Inn, you will be greeted by a smiling face and a jar of freshly baked cookies and fresh fruit-infused water.
White Swan Inn is centrally located. You can walk to most places. The steep hills will help you get in shape. Or just use Lyft or Uber. Definitely do NOT rent a car! Wish we could have stayed longer than 4 nights in this very special place.
Be aware that while the room descriptions all mention a tub, not all the rooms have a bathtub (some are shower only); if that matters to you, you'll need to double-check that when you book and/or when you arrive. They were very accommodating when I asked to switch to a room that did have a bathtub. The afternoon wine and appetizers, and the morning breakfast, were very good. The rooms are good-sized, and the 100 year old elevator was charming and so much fun, lol.
Stumbled upon this property via StayTonight app. Was not disappointed... loved the kitsch decor and mix of themes. Lovely large room with fireplace and very cosy lounge area. Breakfast was good and lovely touch to have complimentary afternoon tea/snack/wine. Would definitely recommend for people looking for something charming in San Fran.
I stayed at the hotel for two nights in late November 2018. We were in room 27. A nice room with a great fireplace.
This is a nice boutique hotel close to Union Square. They offer a nice breakfast and a wine happy hour at 5 pm.
The service is nice and responsive. The only downside which is to be expected for a boutique hotel is the lack of a restaurant and bar. But those are easy to find within a short walk to Union Square