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“Wonderful, Old San Francisco Landmark” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel

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Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   450 Powell Street, Union Square, San Francisco, CA 94102   |  
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Ranked #70 of 235 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersGold level
Pleasanton, California
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Wonderful, Old San Francisco Landmark”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

Spent the night at the Sir Francis Drake over the holidays and had a wonderful time in this old San Francisco landmark. It is a Kimpton Hotel, so, you know that the refurbishing is at its best (no one takes care of the old classic hotels better than the folks at Kimpton). The location is perfect: right next to Union Square on the Powell Street cablecar line. The doorman, dressed in his classic Beefeater attire, greets every guest as they arrive. The lobby is beautiful and teeming with excitment. The reception desk is terrific with a friendly, helpful staff. We were given a top floor, corner room that had a view of Nob Hill. It was perfect for us and decorated beautifully. The bathroom was a bit small with a tub & curtain for a shower (but those smart Kimpton folks mounted large bottles of bodywash, shampoo, and conditioner so you just pump out what you need saving us from those little bottles that are so wasteful). The bed was very comfortable and made up with good, quality linen. The walls are a bit thin but, remember, it is an old, landmark hotel. Sometimes what you hear can be very inspiring! Now, those of you that read our "2forever1" reviews, know that we are not complainers nor try to write sarcastic, negative reviews; if we do not enjoy our visit, we just do not write about it. But, we do have to add a negative note to this review. Beware if you arrive by your own car. The cost is not the shock because they are very upfront about it when you make the reservation (it was $50 a night for us, plus $7 parking tax). What surprised many of us was the length of time it took to get the car in the morning. We waited over an hour for ours. We did not mind because we went into the restaurant and had a cappuccino and people watched (when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade). But other people were getting rather upset over the wait and some got rather vocal. So, allow yourself plenty of time to claim your car. And, do not yell at the doorman over the wait; it is not his fault. Now you are forewarned. All in all, you will have a wonderful time at the Sir Francis Drake. It is classic San Francisco.

Room Tip: Be sure to ask for a room as close to the top as you can.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim G, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, January 25, 2013
Dear 2forever1:

Wow...what can I say.. well, thanks for posting a thorough and thoughtful review! We definitely strive to work best with what we have, not only trying to keep the Classic and Historical building, but with the recent renovation to bring in some "New". Thanks for recognizing that!
Well, our parking rate is pretty compatible to other hotels in the vicinity.... And I admire your outlook in life...it's something we all can learn from!
Hope you'll visit us soon!
Happy 2013
Jim Gross, General Manager
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1,942 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (417)
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Colorado
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

Great location, great staff, but the property is run down. The red carpet entrance is threadbare. Our room had the smallest bathroom I have ever seen. The window was flapping open and would not shut. We had to buy duct tape and tape the window shut. Another window was cracked. The front desk clerk said all the windows were bad, so we decided not to switch rooms. I would be embarrassed if I was Kimpton.
The staff was excellent, particularly the concierge and front desk staff.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Jim G, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, January 24, 2013
Dear CaminoWalkerColorado:

Did you know that our building is recognized as one of the historical buildings in SF? It was built in 1928 and we have gone through some major renovation in the recent year. Our location is definitely a huge plus, in addition to my great staff who is always here to greet our guests with smiles. Yes, my concierge staff is one of the best in the city and definitely know what's going on in the city!
Happy 2013
Jim Gross, General Manager
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
77 hotel reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

This hotel is very conveniently located right in the heart of San Francisco, by Union Square.

The public rooms are very impressive. Our bedroom had a great view of Union Square. We enjoyed the wine reception held late each afternoon.

There were a few downsides to staying here:

1. There are only four fairly small lifts (elevators) in this large hotel. Besides serving the bedrooms, these elevators carry those going to the popular Starlight Room at the top of the hotel. As a result elevators often took quite some time to arrive and, when one came, it was frequently full.

2. The ensuite bathroom was tiny with very little space for toiletries. However, it was nice that the bathroom had a window which opened.

3. The main body of our room was extremely well lit, but the walk-in closet was not lit at all and was therefore dark. The in-room safe was near floor level at the back of the closet, behind all the hanging garments. It could only be accessed by crawling on the floor, pushing our longer hanging garments aside and, as there was no lighting, using a torch (flashlight) to see the numbers on the door and to see within the safe.

4. The bed was exceptionally high, which would be difficult for short guests.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Jim G, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, January 22, 2013
Dear MSDSK:

Thanks for visiting us! Sounds like you enjoyed our location and some of the amenities that we offered. Everyone LOVES our late afternoon wine hour!
As you might have noticed, our Starlight Lounge is a "go-to" spot for our locals and the visitors from all over the world and our elevators do tend to get used more often by the club goers... Were you able to visit the lounge? If you didn't, it's a well-worth visit!

Happy 2013
Jim Gross, General Manager
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Boston, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013 via mobile

Stayed at this hotel with family. Calvin at the reception desk was extremely helpful upon check-in. The rooms we stayed in were on the smaller side but comfortable, charming and have a lot of character(older but refurbished). The bathroom has a tub but still small, the walk-in closet is spacious enough to have all your luggage. The room has a smaller fridge with a mini bar but barely enough room to fit you. The location is great but the parking is $50. I walked two streets over and parked for $13 from midnight to 9:30am. The view from the top floor is amazing. Heater made some noise during the night, but I was fine with it.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Jim G, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, January 22, 2013
Dear Elk555:

Thanks for mentioning the name of our staff. Now I can personally thank Calvin for his job well done! We did go through an extensive renovation/refurbishing in 2011 and we now offer a unique blend of classic and new. Glad you liked it! Our parking rate is pretty compatible to other hotels in the area... even our own SF residents often pay parking fee to park on the street in their neighborhood. I'm glad that you found a cheaper place to park overnight netheless.
Jim Gross, General Manager
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Oldsmar, Florida
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

We love San Fran and usually stay by Fisherman's Warf. But this time we selected Union Square location. The Sir Francis Drake is at a great location. The cable car stop is right outside your door , as well as hundreds of restaurants, GREAT shopping and even discount theatre tickets. The staff is very helpful but the best help for suggestions is Lief, the head conciergre. He really knows his city.
The rooms are nice, clean and comfortable but nothing outstanding. The one negative is the bathroom is really really tiny. The Starlight Room on the roof is a must for an evening cocktail. Be aware of the rooms on the street side for noise. We were on the 11th floor and still heard the street noise, it wasn't bad , just be aware.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim G, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, January 22, 2013
Dear 367Donna:
Congrats on making a decision to stay with us by Union Square! Although, Fisherman's Wharf is world renowed location, you can't beat the convenience of staying with us right on the cable car line and the area saturated with shoppings, dinings and other entertainment!
Hope that you'll decide to stay with us on your next trip to SF!
Jim Gross, General Manager
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Bentonville, Arkansas
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

My wife and I stayed at the Sir Francis Drake for 4 nights over the New Year's time period. The hotel room was pretty small, but cozy and a very comfortable bed. The view out our window was of the Marriott across the street and it was a bit noisy with the sounds of Union Square, but we were generally so worn out from the day it didn't matter.
The one con for the hotel was a significant billing error that we couldn't seem to get resolved. We booked through priceline and didn't use any services, but somehow came out with over a $100 bill. We called to get it corrected, but they never actually made a change so we had to end up disputing the charge with the cc company.
Aside from that, we did enjoy the stay and it is a beautiful hotel. Just make sure and keep an eye on your bill.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim G, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, January 22, 2013
Dear Mason K:

You, as well as many others seem to love our bed, especially after a day of shopping/sightseeing or whatever that people choose to do. Sounds like you did a plenty of activities outside of the hotel! Hope everything has been squared away.

See you soon at the Drake.

Jim Gross, General Manager
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

Location makes up for small rooms then again you are in downtown San Francisco. If you're a shopping and dining conoussieur this is the place to stay. It's not the St. Francis but it has nothing to envy it. It's a popular hotel with a rich history in the city. Make sure you hit the top floor restaurant for views.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim G, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, January 22, 2013
Dear jrankw;

We are known as the Drake; built in 1928 and is recognized as one of the historical buildings in SF. There are several types of rooms that we offer and most of them are compatible with other hotels in the vicinity. As you mentioned, for the conoussiuer of all types, the location provides the most convenience for all! Thanks for stopping by the Starlight Lounge.

Jim Gross, General Manager
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Additional Information about Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel

Address: 450 Powell Street, Union Square, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Francisco
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#13 Green Hotel in San Francisco
#31 Luxury Hotel in San Francisco
#44 Business Hotel in San Francisco
#69 Family Hotel in San Francisco
#73 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 416
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Sir Francis Drake Hotel, housed in a landmark building in the heart of Union Square, is quintessential San Francisco: exciting, romantic, timelessly elegant and unique. The ornately decorated lobby, old-world hospitality, and Tom Sweeney, the hotel's infamous Beefeater doorman, transport you to another time and place. The legendary Starlight Room, the adjacent Scala's Bistro and unmatched hospitality complete the picture to create an unforgettable San Francisco experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kimpton San Francisco
Sir Francis Drake Hotel San Francisco
Drake Francis Sir

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