San Francisco is an expensive town to get a bed in so we’ve made a point of recommending some boutique hotels with a uniquely San Francisco feel.
Hotel Des Arts
It’s in a slender building that dates back to 1914 so if you don’t like narrow staircases or tiny 100-year-old elevators, Hotel Des Arts may not be for you. But it could be for almost everyone else. Centrally located on the border of Union Square, the Financial District and Chinatown Gate, its fittings and linens are minimal and tasteful but the décor has been handed over to local and international artists – a different one has painted each of the hotel’s 51 rooms.
Allen Ginsberg used to stay here and could be seen typing beside the window of what is now known as the Allen Ginsberg room.This quirky three-star hotel with a bohemian vibe is housed in a historic 1880s building that was completely renovated 20 years ago to reflect the style and flavour of the Beat era, resulting in a charming, intimate 15-room hotel.
Renovated in the style of a Parisian salon, the Rex’s lamps are hand painted, there is art on the walls and the bar is lined with bookshelves housing an extensive library. There are readings, movie nights, art shows, live music and cabaret – events that attract both tourists and locals. There are literary-themed cocktails and a daily wine hour.
The Clift has been around for 100 years but this old-style elegance feels extremely contemporary thanks to a Philippe Starck redesign. This is one very cool boutique luxury hotel. The furniture throughout is lavish and at times eccentric: the lobby has chairs by Ray and Charles Eames and a coffee table by Salvador Dali.
This is a sophisticated hotel, close to pretty well everything. It pitches itself at people who are working but who also want to have fun, especially San Francisco’s cultural, entrepreneurial and tech-savvy communities. The art and decor emphasise the hotel's focus on recycling and reuse while still looking sharp.
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