Sir Francis Drake Hotel (SFD)
Union Square – San Francisco CA
With all the winter weather drama this month this was the vacation that almost wasn’t. Landing in SFO I took the shuttle straight to Union Square where the Sir Francis Drake Hotel is located. I think Union Square is probably the best location in the city to set up camp. Among other things, Union Square is packed full of shopping and dining. The street car runs directly in front of the hotel and the hop on hop off tour buses are about a block away (if you like that kind of thing).
I consider San Francisco an enigma. I was born and raised on the east cost but have lived in six different cities in six different states. Of course I’ve visited many cities in the states, so my point is that I’ve got a bit of the US experience but I just can’t put this city in a box. Being different is not a bad thing, just interesting to me. You can read more about my visit here.
The Sir Francis Drake is not unlike most buildings in this city in that its a lot more than meets the eye as the facade can be misleading. The entrance appears very touristy with the tricked out doorman but once inside its old hollywood with grand attempts.
The ornate staircase leads you up to the main level that has the reception and bar with ample mingle room and swanky seating, low and high back chairs. This area has a lounge feel as the bar is the main attraction and the reception appears as an after thought as it should be.
I booked my room via the American Express Gold Hotel Collection which provides some added perks which in my case was a room upgrade, welcome gift of wine, cookies, chocolate and OJ(which I immediately figured was meant to go with Vodka – there’s a liquor store right next door-giggle), a nice hand written welcome letter, two free drink credits and $75 to use on the mini bar on-site restaurant or credit towards my bill at check-out. The upgrade came in handy because the rooms are rather small but I was able to snag the King Suite which has a bit more space with this sitting area. Yeah its a pretty good deal!
I’d also recommend following Kimpton on twitter as they tweet great information about discounts and special passwords to use at check-in for all kinds of goodies from the treasure chest! Oh yeah almost forgot about the great program Kimpton has where you can score other credits for dining just by forgoing room service. The coupons are good at the in house Italian restaurant Scala’s which was very good. Sign up for free Kimpton membership and wi-fi is on the house and pretty speedy.
Kimpton properties are boutique and how cute is this room? I loved the decor, colors and texture of it all. I was very happy with the size of the room and I felt like Goldie Locks in baby bears bed. There was a standalone shower and bath but the sink area was so small that there was absolutely no room to situate anything other than my toothbrush. Oh, then there is this thing about dated buildings that apparently equates to ‘charming’ in that the windows where ancient and I guess this is why you hear every single sound outside. This was not so bad for me because I live in the city so I guess I am use to a little ‘culture’ leaking in from the outside.
My room was on the 6th floor facing the front of the building and I could definitely hear the street car but I swear I thought I could hear someone sweeping. Now that’s pretty bad so if you are sensitive to sounds of any kind please request a room on a higher floor.
This picture directly above and below taken directly from their website.
Below another angle of my room
As hard as I’ve tried, I honestly can’t find anything negative to say about the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Anything negative would be based on personal preference which is not really a valid complaint. I find when I come upon something like this its due to my lack of research and planning and I can’t put that burden on the venue. If the room is too small upgrade to larger room, to noisy outside, switch to a room away from the street. What’s not acceptable is poor unfriendly service, broken plumbing, fixtures or being just plain dirty…oh or not delivering on something stated up front or on the website.
If you have time use the bikes to check out the city then grab a drink and take in the views from the Starlight lounge on the 21st floor.
They actually have a velvet rope and a nice size dance floor with a DJ.
The staff was efficient, friendly and most importantly, personable. Room was clean, comfy and cute, food delicious and drinks tight. Since this was my third visit, I don’t think I have any plans to revisit San Francisco but if you are I’d recommend that you seriously consider this hotel.
See my review of Scala’s here.