Top 10: The Best San Francisco Boutique Hotels

San Francisco
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Sara Benson, The Daily Telegraph, September 14, 2015

An insider's guide to the top places to stay in San Francisco, including the best hotels for period features, designer interiors, buzzing cocktail bars and an arty vibe.

The Marker

Often ranked among the city’s best lodgings, this boutique hotel is a seamless mix of glamorous early 20th-century style and modern design. Pull up a plush, high-backed chair in the airy lobby, which sports a fireplace, whimsical hot-air balloon frescoes and indoor greenery. The building, dating from 1910, has many impressive beaux-arts features that have been beautifully preserved, including a grand staircase with wrought-iron railings.

Read the full review: The Marker

Scarlet Huntington

Opened in 1924 as a residential apartment building, it was converted into the 12-storey Huntington hotel after Second World War. The interior has lots of old-world charm paired with modern style and amenities, thanks to an opulent $15 million remodel in 2014 by the Singapore-based Grace International group. Renamed the Scarlet Huntington, this city landmark consistently makes the top hotels in the world lists.

Read the full review: Scarlet Huntington

Argonaut Hotel

This boutique hotel inhabits a renovated early 20th-century fruit cannery warehouse, with exposed red-brick walls, wooden plank floors and nautical-themed interior design that incorporates vintage steamer trunks and antique telescopes. The San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park museum and visitor centre is adjacent to the lobby.

Read the full review: The Argonaut

Phoenix Hotel

California hotel magnate Chip Conley started his Joie de Vivre chain by transforming this formerly seedy 1950s "no tell motel" in 1987 into a rock ‘n’ roll haunt catering to the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Bowie, Pearl Jam and Keanu Reeves. The public spaces have a colourful, groovy and modern feel with artwork by local artists.

Read the full review: Phoenix Hotel

Hotel Vitale

A modern boutique hotel with a light and airy feel and fabulous views over the bay or the city from most rooms. The red brick building was purpose built in 2005 and the soothing interior design palette is by Irish born Colum McCartan (a founding member of top British hotel design group United Designers).

Read the full review: Hotel Vitale

Clift San Francisco

Parts of the chic portfolio of boutique properties owned by the Morgans Hotel Group, the Clift is bold, sexy and stylish. The hotel’s lobby, designed by Philippe Starck and Ian Schrager, bursts with energy – look for the fantastically oversized chair. Head straight to the buzzing Redwood Room bar for cocktails and unbelievable people-watching, or sink into a velvet sofa in the Living Room, the hotel’s lobby lounge.

Read the full review: Clift San Francisco

The Buchanan

Formerly the eclectic Hotel Tomo, this boutique property received a modern makeover in 2015 by the Kimpton hotel group, known for its streamlined style and eco-conscious practices. Nods to the hotel’s Japantown locale include design elements like charred Japanese whiskey barrels, indigo-dyed shibori fabrics and Asian pottery on display.

Read the full review: The Buchanan

The Mosser Hotel

First opened as a hotel more than a century ago, the Mosser underwent multi-million-dollar renovations in 2003. The red-brick and white-trimmed Victorian exterior of the building was preserved, but the interior has been redone with a more modern look. Abstract artwork hangs behind the reception desk, while red velvet seating adorns the lobby.

Read the full review: The Mosser

Hotel G

Dating from 1908, the hotel’s original façade has been restored, and many of the historic design elements such as wooden and tiled floors have also been gussied up. Far from taking itself seriously, the hotel has a humorous, wink-wink attitude evident, for example, in the tongue-in-cheek writing above the elevator doors. Original artwork displayed around the hotel is all for sale, with profits benefiting a local non-profit organisation.

Read the full review: Hotel G

Hotel Zetta

Redesigned in 2013 as a luxury boutique hotel, this century-old building (formerly the Hotel Milano) combines chic interior design with environmentally sustainable elements such as recycled wood and found art. Owned by the LA-based Viceroy Hotel Group, it attracts a trendy, young tech and art-loving crowd.

Read the full review: Hotel Zetta

Read more: the best hotels in San Francisco

This article was written by Sara Benson from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.