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“Perfect boutique hotel” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Palomar San Francisco - a Kimpton Hotel

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Hotel Palomar San Francisco - a Kimpton Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   12 Fourth St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (SoMa)   |  
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Enjoy cocktails for $1
Ranked #40 of 235 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersSilver level
Oahu, Hawaii
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
“Perfect boutique hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2005

We stayed at the Palomar from July 1st - 4th and had a fantastic time. From the moment that we stepped out of the taxi, we were greeted by the doormen. The bellman promptly brought our luggage to our room and instructed us on the use of the AC, etc. The staff was always friendly, and especially the concierge, Virgil, was most helpful and cheerful when we had questions. He always made us feel like special friends.
The room was very sleek and clean, the beds and blankets,were "most"comfortable, and the Aveda toiletries were nice. We also enjoyed the nice music and in room CD's.
The housecleaning staff was efficient, and came in every afternoon to fill the ice bucket and to do turn down service. They also always left a nice Ghirardelli chocolate candy with us. :)
A nice extra was the complimentary yoga basket to use in the room. It was a nice way to unwind after the plane ride.
We also enjoyed the complimentary coffee and tea in the morning in the lobby.
The only downside was that since it was downtown, the nights felt unsafe to walk around, but as soon as we got to the hotel, the doormen were there to open the doors.
Check out was a breeze, and the bellman was there to take our luggage to the taxi.
A perfect get away at an intimate hotel. We will definitely return!

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,432 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (302)
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English first
Canton, GA
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2005

My wife and I went to San Francisco & Napa for our 10th anniversary. We stayed at the Palomar at the back end of our trip - and it was well worth it.

The staff made us feel special and took really good care of us. We only stayed two nights, but their hospitality made us feel like we were long-time friends and frequent guests.

The bell staff was very efficient and they brought up our bags right away. When we were getting ready to leave for the airport, they helped us box up and seal a case of wine we were checking as luggage on our flight.

For our anniversary they gave us a nice bottle of red and box of chocolates. They also obtained great dinner reservations for us.

Our room was really nice and spacious. Turn down service was a nice touch - they left more chocolates. My wife loved the bath accessories, hair-dryer, etc.

I really liked having the nice stereo, etc. in the enterainment cabinet. It was nice to listen to music on a decent sound system in your room.

The hotel is in a great location if you going to use Market Street as your home base for your San Francisco stay. Palomar is close to the Pier/Wharf areas, the Financial District and the chain shopping (Macy's Nordstrom, etc.)

We booked using a online special rate that included a parking credit - but most of the rental car agencies have return counters close to the hotel. Thus we could have returned our rental car two days earlier and used the parking credit for credit at the Fifth Floor restaurant (one of SF's best.)

If we had any complaints, its that the staff did not always give us the best or clearest directions to the various sites/restaurants that we were going to visit. The directions were mostly vague ... "walk up 4th three blocks, turn right - its on that street" kind of thing. Because of that it took us 10-15 minutes to find the hotel, find one of our restaurants, etc.

We liked the overall look and feel of the hotel, the location, and our stay. For the price we expected a good experience and we got it.

  • Stayed June 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2005

I went to San Francisco on business and found the Palomar after unsuccessfully booking at the Marriott across the way. This was my first experience at a "boutique" hotel. The main thing that attracted me to this hotel was the modern style and attention to detail without the expensive room rates.

When I arrived, I was not disappointed. The lobby, though small was minimalistically classy. There was something different about this place.....The check in was fine, and the front desk staff were quite friendly.

My room was wonderful. Lots of characteristic swank, very modern, sharp and clean. I was impressed with the CD/radio, the decor, and the AVEDA toilettries which all indicate Kimpton's desire to offer high quality affordably.

I had a bit of trouble during my stay - a false alarm and a premature check-out botch. However, The staff were quite apologetic and did what they could to accommodate me. I was moved to a different room and discovered that the decor was essentially the same from room to room. Not surprising, but probably the secret to allowing them to offer what they do.

The hotel has a restaurant/lounge that - as it turns out - is frequented by locals moreso than hotel guests (at least so I think). This would be fine, but the fact that the lounge was located on a floor adjacent to guest rooms makes me wonder if this was the wisest form of planning. Still, the noise level rises only around happy hour and is not otherwise a problem.

The fitness room is compact but the essentials are there. Business types may frequent this hotel, and this is why I found the fitness room to be used very rarely by hotel guests.

The novelty of the hotel may wear off, since it's a lot of surface wow and not too much depth in amenities. But this is not a resort, and as far as hotels go, this is a winner if you match style and class with the manageable room rates.

  • Stayed May 2004, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
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Toronto, Canada
1 review
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2005

My girlfriend and I visited San Francisco for 4 nights and after looking around online a lot, we chose to stay at the Hotel Palomar. Here's my thoughts on it:

- Once you have done your looking around online and found what you think is the best deal, go to the Palomar website and see what they are charging for the exact same type o room. If you call the number for reservations or go to the Kimpton Group website you can see they have a "best rate guaranteed" deal where they match the rate you found plus you get late checkout times and a room upgrade if available. The room upgrade is probably a little iffy according to other reviews on this site, but it did work for us. We booked a King Deluxe (their base room) and were upgraded to a Executive King room which is slightly larger and faces out rather than looking at the inner courtyard. The room is still not overly large (350 square feet) but the view was nice (Market Street, with Macy's etc. in view). I should mention that I wrote an email to the reservations people at the hotel asking for a room upgrade as well so not sure if the upgrade happened as a resut of the Kimpton guarantee or my email. Still, well worth a try. We got ours for $200 U.S. a night including all taxes which while not a huge steal was decent.

- Hotel location is pretty decent, located right in the middle of the shopping district and centrally located for any touristy things you are plannin on doing. The one thing I would say is that while the immediate neighbourhood is good, SF has a big problem with homeless people and you will often see them in front of the hotel. This is true everyhere in the downtown area so not a big deal but still a little unsettling. It was always relieving to have the doormen open the oor for you as you approach and escape into the lobby.

- Service was fine for us, though we didn't ask for very much. We checked in late in the evening with no problem and the bellhop was very friendly and informative. The desk staff were polite but never seemed to go out of their way to say hello as you walk by or anything. Maids were friendly and said hi and smiled whenever they saw you.

- Design and decor was great. It is a beautiful hotel if you are into modern style and some nice luxury touches. There was nothing in our room that turned me off the place. I hate when you stay at a hotel and it seems nice but then you notice scuff marks on the wall or cracks in the bathroom tiles and so on. The king bed was super comfortable though if you or your partner are a restless sleeper it might be problematic as it was somewhat springy and when my girlfriend would turn over, I would bounce a little on my side. That said, it was a great sleep with wonderful linens and pillows. One of the best beds I have slept in, in a hotel. The TV was fine and the Sony CD player was very nice with some music and a light jazz station coming in very clearly. The bathroom does lack a little bit in privacy as it is a sliding door that does not latch or close. It is not see through or anything but when the bed is right beside the bathroom door you may hear more noises when someone uses it then you would prefer. If you aren't shy though, no problem!

- Overall it was a pretty good experience. If we returned to San Francisco I would probably stay there again, though I would be tempted to stay in a different part of the city. We were there on vacation and it proved a decent home base from which to go out each day. Hope you found this useful as I know reading the reviews helped me decide!

  • Stayed May 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2005

We arrived to check in after a lengthy car trip and were told that because of "a strange event" our deluxe king had been downgraded to a small room with a sofa bed. When we asked what the "strange event" was, we were informed by the manager that expedia customers are not guaranteed the room they book even when they prepay. I asked if they still had deluxe kings available if I were to book with them directly and they said yes.

We told the manager this was unacceptable, he said nothing. No apology, nothing. When we got Expedia on the phone and they talked to him, they said he was unpleasant. What stunned us was there was no apology, no recognition we were about to be massively inconvenienced, nothing. No comp, nothing. Stone-faced and unwilling to concede we were customers. It is as if we are doing them a favor staying at their hotel. We decided to go elsewhere and will never stay at a Kimpton hotel again.

Unfortunately, poor service seems to be a hallmark of Kimpton. We stayed at the Vintage Plaza in Portland -- no wake calls, forgot to call town car, bad room next to heat exchanger. Kimpton is style over substance, with a sniffy attitude froms staff. Bad service is not isolated at Kimpton. Do them a favor and stay there or do yourself a favor and stay elsewhere.

Awful, awful, awful.

Stayed May 2005
Was this review helpful? Yes 23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2005

This hotel made my boyfriend and I feel like superstars. They were incredibly attentive from the moment we arrived....even allowing us to check in to our room 3 hours early. I even had a pair of pants dry cleaned in 4 hours. The room was very nicely appointed and clean. The decorations and ambiance were very modern and well done. The 5th Floor restaurant was SUPERB. We ate some of the best scallops ever there. We sat at the bar for a couple of drinks, the bartender and waitstaff were all very nice. When the bartender overheard my boyfriend and I discussing how we were going to make a reservation at a restaurant he immediately called and made the reservation for us. We didn't even have to ask! Upon check out the hotel arranged for a luxury town car to take us to the airport. We were extremely impressed by the service and location of this hotel. It is right in the center of everything: shopping, dining, tourism. I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone who is visiting the San Fran area.

  • Stayed April 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2005

I booked a one night stop-over stay in the Hotel Palomar based on the positive reviews on this website and I certainly didn't disagree.

We were greeted after a long journey in a friendly and professional manner by all members of staff. The room, although interior facing was nicely decorated and extremely quiet. The bed was the most comfortable bed I'd ever slept in a hotel which meant we had a wonderful nights sleep.

The location of this hotel is brilliant if you want to be close to Union Square. It is just two blocks away and all flat walking, so no steep hills to climb!

The only negative was the pricey restaurant in the hotel. We ate there being jet lagged and needing an early night but $23 for a couple of scallops, although very nice, was a little over the top!

Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Palomar San Francisco - a Kimpton Hotel

Address: 12 Fourth St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > SoMa
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Spa Hotel in San Francisco
#17 Luxury Hotel in San Francisco
#24 Green Hotel in San Francisco
#31 Business Hotel in San Francisco
#39 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
#43 Family Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Palomar San Francisco - a Kimpton Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 198
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Named one of the world's top 500 hotels by Travel + Leisure, the centrally located Hotel Palomar San Francisco offers a sophisticated urban sanctuary. This luxury boutique hotel occupies a beautiful historic building five floors above the bustling city streets. Showcasing the acclaimed Fifth Floor restaurant, the hotel is within easy walking distance of Union Square, Moscone Center, the Financial District, the thriving SOMA district and the best of San Francisco's theaters, shops and galleries. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Palomar San Francisco
Kimpton San Francisco

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