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“A nice visit to an historic classic SFO Hotel” 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 (Union Square)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #70 of 233 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersGold level
Bellingham, Washington
1 review
“A nice visit to an historic classic SFO Hotel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2010

This is an older deluxe hotel in the center of the city. It has room service but in-room conveniences such as microwave, refrigerator, coffee-maker, etc. are not included. WIFI is OK but you need to sign up for the Kimpton loyalty program to get it free of charge.

The room lacked a comfortable desk chair, but they brought one up on my request. Maid service was excellent. They also have a deal where you can decline maid service for any given day and get a $10.00 credit for use in the restaurant, etc.

We booked this for a very good rate through the Entertainment 2010 book which in turn used Expedia to book the room through some or other arrangement. The net result was a rate well below the rack rate.

Stayed November 2010, traveled on business
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JPRICEGM, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, November 29, 2010
Thanks for the great reveiw!

So glad that you enjoyed your time with us and we were able to take care of your request for a more comfortable desk chair. We are actually in the process of planning a signficant renovation to the property that will provide ergonomic desk chairs in all of our rooms.

We are also very proud of our Choose To Conserve program that allows guests to opt out of housekeeping services to save energy and resources while providing a $10 credit in our restaurants and bars.

Thanks again, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon!

John Price
General Manager
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2,114 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
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Washington
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2010

When you arrive to the hotel, you are greeted by the nice man in the funny costume outside. Upon walking into the Sir Francis Drake, you think "Wow, this place is baller!" Then the rather entertaining guy behind the counter checks you in. Ahh yes, that large room and comfortable bed await.

Or do they?

The rooms are tiny. Yes, I know it's San Fran, but these rooms are like closets. Speaking of closets, you can fit about 5 shirts in the one provided. The bathroom? Literally a toilet on top of a sink on top of a shower. Yes, it's that small.

The pillows suck. As in, they may as well not be there they are so thin when you lay your head on them.

The walls are thin as paper. I could hear the people in the room next to me talking all the time. If they went into their closet, it sounded like they were hanging clothes up in my closet.

TV was old school and received horrible reception.

Finally, the windows were disgusting. See the attached pic.

For the price (which thankfully my company paid) there are too many nice hotels in this city to stay at to stay here. Not worth more than maybe $75 per night.

At least the location is good if you're looking to be near Union Square. The gym was also semi-decent for cardio, but worthless for weight lifting.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JPRICEGM, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, December 13, 2010
Thanks for the review ~

Sorry that you were disapointed in the size of the rooms. Its true, some of our rooms do tend to be smaller than more recently built hotels.

We are planning an extensive renovation to the property in spring of 2011 which will address many of the other issues you pointed out - such as the windows and the television.

Thanks again,

John
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
186 reviews 186 reviews
57 hotel reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2010

Having arrived in SF after a long flight and a delay in London due to fog we were keen to settle in to a nice room. The welcome we received could barely be described as indifferent. We were checked in by Mike who just wasn't interested. We were there three nights and despite me being a) a member of their loyalty scheme and b) having already registered for a 'e upgrade' no upgrade was possible and we were told the hotel was full. This view wasn't echoed by the domestic, bar or concierge staff during later investigation. Then they mislaid our luggage. Looking good now isn't it??? For the first time I was in a bathroom where I could touch all four walls with my arms not even outstretched without moving. One thing - the room was on the back of the hotel which meant no vieew - but also, no noise. If you go here DO NOT accept room 932. It is near the elevators and maids station. Having said that there are some positives. The beds are wonderful. The cafe is great for breakfast and evening drinks and the lobby bar has one of the best bar tenders anywhere. Such a shame all this was so severely overshadowed by the initial impression. Late in our trip we stayed at a sister Kimpton hotel and could not have been more impressed by the check in procedure. So, Mike needs training or maybe some personality tablets???? Check out my review of the Argonaut Hotel.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
JPRICEGM, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, November 24, 2010
Thanks for your review.

It’s very disappointing to know that you didn't enjoy your time with us. I will check-in with Mike, as usually he's a fine fellow with a great deal of personality and charm ...I'm sorry you caught him on what sounds like an off-day. I regret that, as I know how important first impressions are.

The rooms do tend to be on the "historically-small” side, but the fact is, we weren't sold out during your visit and there was no reason to check you in to the room you had when other, larger rooms were available. I truly apologize for that.

We are planning a renovation of the rooms in the early part of 2011 that will prove to truly enhance the room and the comfort of the guests. I hope that should your travel plans return you to San Francisco, you will consider giving us another chance.

Thanks for the comments on the bartender, I will be sure to share that with the team.

John
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Belfast
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2010

We stayed here for 7 nights for our honeymoon. Our experience here was terrible, we have stayed in quite a few hotels and never have experienced rooms or service quite as bad as this!

The ONLY positive about this hotel is the location, nothing else redeemable about it.

When we got there, the hotel did not have our reservation (even though they could tell it was pre-paid), they did sort this out for us. Even though our room had been pre-paid they asked us for a credit card for any "incedentals". I explained that our room was pre-paid and that we did not have a credit card and where never told that we needed one, I know from experience that if a room is pre paid, they usually ask do you want to put a credit card on file to use the in-room facilities. We where speaking to a guy on the reception called Nelson, he wasn't very helpful at all in this instance, he then advised us that we needed to give them cash-$300, I said that this was quite a lot, he response was "it is usually $700, we reluctantly gave him the cash to check in, leaving us very short for spending money. We decided to sort this out with the booking agent as the staff in the hotel did not really want to hear it, all they said was "hotel policy" I understand that hotels have policies (I worked for 2 and a half years for a large online travel agency) but they made no effort whatsoever to try and come to an agreement with us.

We went to our room (1133) and it is the smallest hotel room I have ever seen. There was a double bed, with very very little room to move around it. As I already said, we where there for 7 nights and had 2 suitcases with us, there was nowhere to put our clothes and so little room that in order to get something from one case we had to stack it on top oif the other one in order to be able to set it down. The decor is appauling, mucas green and beige striped walls and a large porthole mirror on the wall (I almost wish we have have been on a boat rather than that place). The bathroom barely had enough room for one person and the walls where stained and grimy looking. The windows are single paned and being in the middle of Union Square, it gets very very noisy. We could have actually coped with the room and the noise if we where not constantly bartered by the hotel staff about us not having a credit card on file with them.

The day after we checked in on return from being out our phone was flashing with a message, it said I needed to go to recpetion. I did this and was told by a gentleman that there was no card on file for us. I explained that we reluctantly gave him cash, he said that was ok. Then the following day the same thing happened, this time a lady asking why there was no credit card on file, I told her that we had alsready spoken twice to someone about this, explained the situation (yet again) and she said ok, not once did she apologise. Then 2 nights after this, we decided to get an early night and where in bed, at 20 minutes to 11 in the evening our room phone rang and my partner picked it up, it was a guy asking why there had been a payout to us that was not authorised (booking agent arranged with hotel that we should get half deposit back and other half on check out) my partner advised that we where refunded half etc. The gentleman said "I will look into that" and hung up. I got very annoyed about this so went down to recpetion and asked for whoever rang us, lowe and behold it was the recpetion manager, i explained that 10.40 in the evening was not a very professional time to ring and speak to someone, that we had explained this situation many times before and I was getting fed up explaining it, I explained again what had happened, told him it was ruining our honeymoon, I may also add that Nelson (the fuirst guy I spoke to) was standing beside him listening and did not think to say he had already spoke to me about it. The staff here are abrupt, stuck up and never smile.

I know the manager reads these reviews and always says "if I had have know about it this we could have resolved it", well we arose all our issues with reception and not once did anyone offer to assist us or help us or even apologise for our terrible stay we had here. We even told the guy behind reception on check out about it and really he just shrugged, said that we had been given the smallest room.

I have read previous reviews and work in a building that is from 1800, it is not an excuse to say that the rooms are small because of the age of the building. And what is the excuse for single paned glass? It seems this hotel has not been updated in years and years and it really shows (although form the lobby you would not think it) they seem to put all efforts into the lobby and none into the room.

The location of the hotel is good, that is it but there are lots of other hotels at the same price on union square so my advice would be to go there.

This hotel spolied our honeymoon, wish we had have stayed at the marriott accross the street.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JPRICEGM, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, November 24, 2010
Thank you for sharing your experiences.

I hope you will accept my sincere apologies for your encounter with the hotel. You are correct in saying that had I known about it, I would have resovled the issue for you, but more to the point, I'm sorry that the members of my team that you did encounter were unable to do so. I take full responsibility for that and can assure you that I will address it specifically.

As to the condition of the room, I acknowledge that we do have challenges and are about to undergo a considerable renovation of the guest rooms that will resolve many of the issues you describe.

TripAdvisor will not permit me to leave you my contact information specifically, but you can find it on our website. I would be happy to discuss with you how we can make amends. I truly am sorry and I would like to create a future opportunity that would leave you with a much fonder memory of your time with us.

I hope to hear from you.

John Price
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Southern Colorado
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2010

Stellar, top notch service from all the staff. Extremely clean room, and very eclectic furnishings from the lobby to the room. Great bartender, strong drinks! Beautiful views and updated amenities, despite the age of the building. Wireless connection was fast and reliable. Word of warning, 16th floor room was pretty loud once the club at the penthouse level kicked in. Not a recommended floor for a good night's sleep on Friday or Saturday eves. The location in Union Square was fantastic, walk to anything at all. I can highly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JPRICEGM, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, November 24, 2010
Thank for the kind comments in your post. Delighted you had a great time with us, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon!

John
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Charleston, South Carolina
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2010

Our room was shoddy with the age really showing - worn fixtures, chipped paint everywhere, old windows, etc. Called to ask the front desk for a room in better repair. Was forced to go to another floor and wait 15 minutes for a maintenance man to let me into another room. Same state as the first. Back in the original room, we called the front desk and said we had a big problem paying top dollar for sub par accomodations. The desk promised to figure something out and would call us back. We waited a half an hour and then left in disgust. No one at the front desk cared when we told them why we would no be staying. No one has ever cared to contact me to discuss.
DON'T STAY HERE!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
JPRICEGM, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, November 24, 2010
Thanks for your review.

I am terribly sorry that you didn't enjoy the accommodations and that we didn't respond to your requests. I will be sure to follow-up with our front desk team.

We are in the process of planning an extensive renovation of the guest rooms in the early part of 2011, and I hope we have the opportunity to give you a better impression of the hotel and our commitment to our guests

John Price
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Newport Beach, California
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2010

Tired from flying to and fro, my family and I walked into this hotel. We found out that the concierge had messed up our reservation and that we would have to stay in two rooms that were 3 floors apart! When my dad and I opened the drawers, we saw someone's underwear still remaining. The wallpaper was beaten, the paint faded, and our view was of a wall.
The rest of our family stayed in a room with a wonderful view-except their toilet broke!

However, the doormen were incredibly nice, the room service was fast, tasty, and their staff were awesome!
The hotel is also famous for their acceptance of pets in their hotel. They are super friendly about that!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JPRICEGM, General Manager at Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, responded to this review, November 18, 2010
Thanks for the review!

Sorry about the bumpy arrival, but we are glad you enjoyed the team here at the hotel!

We look forward to welcoming you back!
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Additional Information about Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel

Address: 450 Powell Street, Union Square, San Francisco, CA 94102
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > Union Square
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
#22 Best Value Hotel in San Francisco
#31 Luxury Hotel in San Francisco
#44 Business Hotel in San Francisco
#62 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
#66 Family 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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