Hotel Zetta steers clear of buttoned-up notions and instead opts for a playful approach: a ceiling-high plinko game and a chandelier made from old reading glasses occupy the soaring lobby, while cool art, such as a montage of vintage albums, lines the walls. There’s even a “Playroom”, complete with a pool table, photo booth and shuffleboard. This means the property skews towards a young crowd – or those conversant in the entrepreneurial, social media and tech worlds. This makes sense, given Twitter HQ is just up the road. Service is smooth and the buzzy lobby bar and next-door eatery make dining on-site appealing.
On the fringe of SoMA and the Union Square shopping district, Hotel Zetta is within walking distance of Chinatown, the Financial District, SF MOMA and the Ferry Building. Nearby public transport links are abundant, including the historic tram to Fisherman’s Wharf. San Francisco International Airport is about 20 minutes by car.
The 116 rooms are spacious and light-filled. Crisp white walls are set against dark wooden floors, while beds feature leather and polished-wood bedheads that reach almost to the ceiling. The other furnishings lean towards functional rather than high-end, but quirky touches, like a single wallpapered stretch in the bathroom illustrating a shelf of books, keep things interesting. Tech amenities include bluetooth speakers and a smart TV for streaming. All rooms come with an Illy espresso coffee machine.
Food and drink
The lobby bar, known as S&R, thrives during after-work knockoffs, but the best atmosphere is next door in Cavalier, with its leather banquettes, clashing plaid and floral wallpapers, and marble-topped tables. This London-inspired brasserie serves flavourful fare like crisp Brussels sprout chips, herb-roasted chicken and fish and chips, as well as smart cocktails (The Vesper, a mix of gin, vodka, lillet blanc and orange bitters, is sublime). Want to kick on? Simply slip into the concealed speak-easy, Marianne’s, at the back of the restaurant.
For business traveller
There is no business centre but there are three meeting rooms that cater to between 20 and 50. The hotel also operates a “borrow bar” – with laptops, tablets, a mini-projector, Go Pro and more available for loan. You can even borrow a PlayStation 4 with a VR console –though that seems more geared to after-hours entertainment. Services like printing can be done through reception.
For wellness traveller
Story Bikes are available for cycling around town, while the gym on the fourth floor is open 24/7 with cardio machines, free weights and stability training equipment. In-room spa services are available. If you fancy a run, ask for the scenic-tour running map at reception.
The fab factor
The shower screens have a custom hole in the glass. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a super-clever design feature that means you can turn on the taps before stepping in without getting wet.
Best for: Millennials and millennials-at-heart
Number of rooms: 116
Rates from: US$299 (about $412), plus a nightly guest amenity fee, which covers things like coffee pods, daily bottled water and a welcome drink on arrival.
Wi-fi: Complimentary high-speed wi-fi throughout
Parking: Valet parking is available from US$62 (about $85) per night
Address: 55 5th Street, San Francisco, California 94103
Telephone: +1 415 543 8555