Review of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel

A recent four day stint in San Francisco had me staying at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Located on Union Square, this boutique hotel is a part of the Kimpton line, and offers a unique experience among the many possible accommodations in the Bay Area.

The Hotel can be seen behind Saks Fifth Avenue

Here are the pros and cons of my stay:

The Hotel

The building was constructed in 1928 and stands at 21 stories tall. It features a Renaissance style with Corinthian columns, a grand staircase, and an impressive lobby. Which makes this hotel highly personable and memorable for visitors. Combined with its location only a half block away from Union Square and on the Trolley line, provides guests the opportunity to reach nearby attractions, great restaurants and shopping, and access mass transit.

The Lobby

La Scala’s Bistro/ Starlight Room

There are a couple of dining options available for guests at the Sir Francis Drake. The two most notable features are La Scala Restaurant on the ground floor and the Starlight Room on the 21st floor with views of the surrounding city. Included in the cost of accommodations were three options.

While the atmosphere in this Italian/French themed restaurant was upscale and comfortable, the portion sizes were unsatisfying, the food somewhat bland, and the prices were obscene even by San Francisco standards. With so many incredible dining experiences to be had on Union Square, not to mention cheaper prices, the La Scala Restaurant’s only appeal was that its convenience and budget considerations.

The View from the Starlight Room

The Starlight Room is billed as a festive bar with live music and great drinks. There were great views and it was festively decorated, but the cocktail prices were steep and the drink unsatisfying.

The Room

In line with the highly boutique nature of the Sir Francis Drake, the room was beautiful, the beds were comfortable, and the view exceptional. But the hotel is historic, and the rooms small and the bathroom especially so. Which bordered on the uncomfortable. Though it should be noted that the room was functional, comfortable, and offered a great view of the city.

Besides obvious pitfalls such as the waits during breakfast and the small bathroom, the Sir Francis Drake Hotel provided an overall satisfactory experience. Though it isn’t necessarily right for everyone. Last year, during our San Francisco & Wine Country tour we stayed at the Grand Hyatt located a block away from the Sir Francisco Drake Hotel. The hotel rooms were spacious, the breakfast included in our tour was expansive and satisfying, and the location offered the same advantages as the Sir Francis Drake. But on the flipside, the Grand Hyatt lacked the kind of charm that accompanies the boutique hotel experience afforded by the Sir Francis Drake.

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