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“Lovely boutique experience with whimsical touches and functional rooms”

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Clift Hotel San Francisco
Ranked #76 of 230 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed November 25, 2013

The Clift was an excellent hotel, and definitely epitomizes a functional, fun, design-driven boutique hotel.

The location of the hotel is ideal, adjacent to San Francisco's Union Square, close to transport, restaurants, drug stores, etc. Some people complain about the homeless people around the streets - but that's SF - can't really avoid it.

The hotel staff were polite and professional during my interactions with them. Not effusive, and didn't seem like they would go out-of-their-way for you, but efficient and pleasant. I did find it frustrating that the front door didn't have an attentive doorman waiting to open the door for guests, especially with bags and such - something I'd expect for a hotel of this caliber.

The lobby is high design, like walking into a tasteful and unexpected wonderland, with Philippe Starck's unmistakeable style. The rooms are much more understated though, which lends for a very relaxing and calming stay.

The rooms are all decorated in a gentle lavendar and ecru with large mirrors that enhance the light in the room, an understated palette, and the decor is simple but very tasteful and functional. I had a room facing Geary street on the 8th floor that had incredible light and a view. The bathroom was well maintained and not too small, but not large either. I stayed in a Superior Room - so a step above the most basic room.

The amenities in the room are very luxe and top notch. The toiletries are all Malin + Goetz (you'll want to stash them in your bag to take home with you) which makes showering a joy. The linens in the room are absolutely amazing. The bed, sheets, pillows - one of the best, most comfortable beds I have had in a hotel. Also, the bathrobe is quite comfy!

The only caveat that I would add is that this hotel's rooms are definitely showing signs of wear and tear as the hotel is now aging from its original buildout. The hotel could invest in a few upgrades / replacements to some of the in-room fixturing that are showing signs of wear and tear - but nothing was so glaring as to detract from the overall experience. Also, some people might be offput by the "club" atmosphere of the hotel bar and lounge on a Friday or Saturday night, but aside from having to say you're a guest to get past the velvet rope to the elevators, I didn't mind this at all and the room was very quiet.

Overall, a highly recommended hotel in the Union Square area.

Room Tip: Choose a room on a higher floor facing Geary for a view and sunlight. Also, it's worth it to pay...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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Thank JetsetNick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CliftFOM, Manager at Clift Hotel San Francisco, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2014

Hello,

Thank you for you positive feedback. I am glad you enjoy our fabulous lobby and the superior category room. Look out for us in the near future we are planing to renovate or property. Some of the issue you mention will be address in the renovation plan.

Cheers,
Pam

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1,973 - 1,979 of 3,662 reviews

Reviewed November 25, 2013

We took our first trip to San Fran in August. We booked the Clift after getting a great rate through expedia and then looking up reviews on Trip Advisor. The reviews were mixed but for the most part pretty good. Still a little unsure and unfamiliar with the area, we arrived and were really happy with the hotel. Perfect location in Union Square. Nothing was more than a $7-10 cab ride away. We could walk to a lot of places. We were lucky enough to get a corner room. It was bright, clean and funky. Would definitely stay there again.

Room Tip: Ask for a corner room if possible!!
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Leanne D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CliftFOM, Manager at Clift Hotel San Francisco, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2014

Hi,

Thank you for your positive comments about your stay at the Clift. I am happy to hear you had an enjoyable stay and you were able to enjoy the convenient location as well as commute.

We hope you consider staying at the Clift the next time you are in San Francisco!

Cheers,
Pam

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Reviewed November 22, 2013

We used the Clift as a base for our travels in the USA in September, and by the time we returned for the third time we felt like one of the family!
This is an old building that has been turned into a really nice hotel, and it has been done with great style - not sure about the lilac corridors, but I got used to them! The ground floor is pretty funky and clearly the bar is the 'in' place to be at the moment - hence the bouncers on the door in the evening, as it would be too easy for anyone to roam the hotel without them.
As there were three of us, we had a suite with a wheel-in bed. The rooms were very spacious, even with the extra bed, and were stylish and elegant, making use of the original features. The bathrooms were not large, but nicely done and with a good range of toiletries.
The restaurant was good for both dinner and breakfast, with plenty of choice and excellent friendly service. In fact, it was the service that stood out at the Clift, beyond anywhere else we stayed on our trip. Every one of the staff we encountered was friendly and charming, and a pleasure to deal with. Of particular note were those at the concierge desk who were a mine of information and for whom nothing was too much trouble.
Thank you for a lovely stay!

Room Tip: The corner suites are spacious and very comfortable
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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Thank LizPin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CliftFOM, Manager at Clift Hotel San Francisco, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2014

Hi,

Thank you for your positive feedback regarding your recent stays at the Clift! I am delighted to hear you had a fantastic visit and we were able to provide exceptional service. We have one of the best concierge team in the city and I am happy to hear our team was there to assist with your request.

We hope to see you at the Clift the next time you visit San Francisco!

Cheers,
Pam

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Reviewed November 20, 2013

The hotel was starting to grow on me. The "vibe" was fun rather than annoying. My room wasn't big, but not as small as I expected. It was pretty clean too. For $565 (plus tax) per night in the middle of the Salesforce.com conference, I thought I had done okay. Then I came back from a client dinner and had to get past a velvet rope and a bouncer. I was forced to show my room key to prove that I deserved admission to merely the lobby of the hotel. Yes, despite paying a substantial room rate, the burden of proof was on me. I was treated like a prostitute trying to access an elevator bank at a Las Vegas hotel. For some reason, less "trendy" hotels like the Ritz and the Four Seasons in SF actually welcome their guests back rather than stationing someone who didn't make the TSA cut at their front door. Goodbye, Clift Hotel - we won't see each other again.

Stayed: November 2013, traveled on business
Thank Jim G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CliftFOM, Manager at Clift Hotel San Francisco, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2014

Hello,

I am sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your last stay at the Clift. The reason the security asks for a room key is for the safety of our guests staying in the hotel.

The next time you decide to stay at the Clift, mention your trip advisor during your reservation booking so we can make your next stay more enjoyable!

Cheers,
Pam

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Reviewed November 19, 2013

Stayed during a Realtor convention in SF in November, 2013. I had several options through the convention booking service, but picked the Clift because the photos and reviews were intriguing. The place was clearly sold out, and after we arrived by car, unloaded the luggage, and went for a hike through China town, our room still wasn't ready. They offered a free drink in the Redwood Room, their art deco bar, where the whole room is paneled in the wood from one redwood tree, which we accepted gratefully. That room is spectacular, with creative video artwork on the walls. It's also really expensive at night, with so-called 'bottle service' where you must purchase a bottle of something, minimum price around $300. Set ups are free. But that's a digression. When our room still was not ready by around 6 pm, they gave us an upgrade, a corner suite! We had a bedroom off a large sitting room looking out to the northwest through three large windows. the suite included a dining table, desk, comfy couch and funky wheeled chair. The bathroom was very small, per the original Deco area design of the hotel, but sufficient. After all, how much time does one spend in the bathroom anyway? We were there three nights, and the front desk staff was unfailingly helpful and outgoing with tips and directions. Concierge Erika was particularly nice, and we liked her advice a lot. I do suggest parking at the Union Square lot, which is a couple of blocks away. Makes getting in and out of the hotel a bit dicey, but our overall parking fee was around $50 per night. And that's outrageous.

Room Tip: Get high up if possible for a quieter room
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled on business
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Thank John v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CliftFOM, Manager at Clift Hotel San Francisco, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2014

Hello John,

I am disappointed to hear we were unable to get you in to your room in a timely manner. I hope the complimentary upgrade and drinks in the RWR more then makeup for the delay. We hope to see at your next convention in San Francisco.

Cheers,
Pam

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Reviewed November 15, 2013

The hotel is interesting. It's a nice hotel, but seems to be missing some of the basics. For one, they have no coffee makers in the room. They do have free coffee in the lobby in the morning from 6-10 am, so that works, but nothing in the rooms. You have to call down for ice as well, they do not have ice machines.

My room was small, but nice. The beds are very comfortable. On the weekends the bar downstairs is very hopping and there is usually a line out the door. There is a separate entrance for hotel guests to enter as long as they show their key. You have to show your key near the elevators as well.

There is no pool or whirl pool, but there is a gym. Gym is your standard hotel gym with some cardio machines and free weights.

I feel that the location for this hotel is excellent though! It's close to all the transportation lines you need. It's right by union square and a starting point to jump on the Powell Cable cars. Market street is close too, and you can just jump on the F trolley to take you to the Ferry building, the pier for Alcatraz, pier 39, etc. Chinatown entrance is only a few blocks away very easy to walk to.

I felt that I was in a great location to see everything I wanted to while visiting San Fran. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars to eat at right around the hotel.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Kim L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CliftFOM, Manager at Clift Hotel San Francisco, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2014

Hello,

Thank you for your comments regarding your stay at the Clift. I am happy to hear you enjoyed the convenient location of the hotel and you were able to commute easily in exploring San Francisco.

We hope you consider the Clift the next time you are in San Francisco!

Cheers,
Pam

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Reviewed November 14, 2013

if you like the shopping in Union Square then i guess this is a good choice. I would have preferred another location. too crowded with tourists. the nicest part of the hotel is the bar and lobby. but the Friday night crowd was very young.. it felt almost like a college happy hour and there was no room to sit and enjoy a cocktail if you were a hotel guest. the rooms were average

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank jjpdds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CliftFOM, Front Office Manager at Clift Hotel San Francisco, responded to this reviewResponded January 13, 2014

I am deeply sorry to hear that our hotel was unable to offer you the experience you were seeking. Our bar is famous among locals and travelers so it draws a very excited, large group of people enjoying the weekend. I understand how it may be off-putting, if you would prefer to have a clam glass of wine. We also offer our Living Room, where the full bar menu is available to a set of guests, whose focus is relaxation.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Clift Hotel San Francisco

Address: 495 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-1222
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:
#27 Business Hotel in San Francisco
#41 Green Hotel in San Francisco
#42 Luxury Hotel in San Francisco
#64 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range: $226 - $547 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Clift Hotel San Francisco 4*
Number of rooms: 372
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An inspired fusion of old-world hotel elegance with distinctly contemporary energy and glamour, the nearly century-old CLIFT’s modern and daring sense of diversity perfectly captures the city’s spirit. Steps from Union Square shopping and the legendary Nob Hill, CLIFT is perfectly located for sightseeing, shopping and socializing. Designed by Philippe Starck, the soaring lobby contains one of the most eclectic furniture collections in all of California ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clift San Francisco
San Francisco Clift Hotel

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