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“Arrived, hating it! Left, loving it!”

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Argonaut Hotel, A Noble House Hotel
Ranked #15 of 231 Hotels in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed August 30, 2005

I did not want to stay at this hotel in this part of San Francisco. I'm a Four Seasons kind of guy where I know it is going to be safe, clean and kid friendly. Although not much character you usually know what you are getting with a Four Seasons or other "upscale chain". My wife is the total opposite. She prefers character over luxury. So, I reluctantly agreed to stay at the Argonaut. The hotel is on a very touristy, crowded street. Quiet, it is not. The location if fine for everything around the wharf and even Lombard street is pretty close, but that's all. All other attractions are a bus, cable car, or taxi ride, away. The cable car station is accross the street from the hotel but get there early to avoid a long (1-2 hour) line. Just outside the hotel is the Cannery where outside every evening they have live music until 10PM. It was very loud in our room but not as loud as movie night on Sundays. They have an outdoor screening of a movie every Sunday and it is louder than the live music and it went on until 10:40pm.
I thought the hotel was not kid friendly at all. No activities, pool, game room, gift shop or anything. Just a treasure chest filled with cheap little toys by the front desk. But so much for my opinion because our kids loved the hotel. The staff were very, very friendly and helpful. The concierge was Fantastic. The rooms are noisy from outside noise and adjacent rooms but its all part of the "character". The rooms were not so small. They were very comfortable for a family of 4. It is a four star hotel and it truly felt like it was. I highly recommend this hotel. The next time we go to San Francisco we will not stay here only because I would like to try a different part of town. But for 1st timers this is a great place and we will stay here again. Some day. PS: ask about The Big Red Shiny Mack Fire Engine.

  • Stayed: August 2005
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3  Thank Mr.Mom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,086 - 5,092 of 6,023 reviews

Reviewed August 29, 2005

My husband and I traveled to the Argonaut Hotel with my parents, my husband's mother, sister, niece, brother and sister-in-law - plus our German Shepherd, Cleo, who is a service animal. We had three rooms, including a Bayview Suite, which comfortably slept 4 adults and one child (King-size bed in bedroom with rollaway and pullout sofa in the living room with a door separating the two spaces). This suite had a view of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and Ghirardelli Square (Room #345). It also had a dining room table that easily sat 6 people and a refrigerator with enough room to add our "treasures' that we brought back from our outings (chocolates, wines & doggy bags from various restaurants). The Jacuzzi tub in the suite's bathroom overlooked the bay with a separate shower area. At $770 a night, it would be a reasonable alternative for two couples interested in having more room to move about as well as the best view in the hotel. The King Bay-view room that my husband and I upgraded to, also had a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Ghirardelli Square. The Cable Car turn-around was right outside our window in the park across the street (Room #322). Upon check-in I was told that this room was slightly larger than most and judging by the pictures I’ve seen on this site, I think it's true. My parent's room with two full beds was a bit smaller but still had the same view as our room.

Everyone from the bellmen to the front desk to the restaurant staff at the Blue Mermaid was exceptionally friendly as well as professional. With two older ladies in wheelchairs, a service dog, three rooms and two cars that needed to be valeted, we had quite a group! The Argonaut staff handled all of us with aplomb and ease. Our cars were always waiting at the curb together. The bellmen assisted both moms in and out of the cars and helped get the wheelchairs in and out of the trunks of the cars. Everyone enjoyed the wine reception in the lobby of the hotel each evening and the staff at the Blue Mermaid would happily pack up meals for some of our guests that didn't make it down to the restaurant for a meal (and deliver it to the room, if we asked).

My favorite was the intimate little beer garden at the Blue Mermaid where they fired up their portable heaters when it got a bit chilly outside. On our last evening there, they were showing an old Hollywood movie outside while serving food and drinks. We mentioned how clever we thought it was and the manager told us they had just started doing that every Sunday night. A very nice touch!

Check in and check out was a breeze. The rooms were spotless. The beds were extremely comfortable. Everyone that worked at the Argonaut seemed genuinely happy to be there and that was reflected in their smiles and willingness to help in any way they could.

A+++, Argonaut!

On a side note: the Argonaut Hotel allows pets, not just service animals. There is a great little park right across the street from the hotel where I walked Cleo each morning. There is also a little beach and a pier that was just perfect for an early morning stroll/jog. Pier 39 is only 6 blocks away - an easy stroll past shops and food and fun!

  • Stayed: August 2005
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5  Thank Puppysmoocher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2005

My wife, teenage daughter and I stayed here at the end of July 2005. Overall, this is a great place with great location, beautiful decor, outstanding service and unique, spacious rooms (ours also had a direct view of Alcatraz and a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge).

Employees are friendly and greet you when entering the hotel. Kevin, one of the bellmen, was probably the best service provider we have ever experienced. He was very funny, answered our questions and offered honest advice of places to see.

We ate at the hotel restaurant, The Blue Mermaid, and found it to a charming room, with great service but with very average food.

The major weak spot at the hotel was the concierge staff. They lacked basic knowledge of the area and seemed indifferent about helping us. As a result, we avoided them after interacting with 2 different members of the concierge staff on 2 different days. I found out later that the concierge group is outsourced to a private firm so the concierge employees are not actually employees of the Argonaut Hotel--it's too bad since they are well below the high service quality found elsewhere at the hotel.

I wrote my comments on their feedback form and received a personal note a few days later thanking me for my comments--they clearly "get" the service concept.

We would definitely return here-- it was worth paying more to stay here given the experience.

  • Stayed: July 2005
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4  Thank Traveler111Stamford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2005

I read the reviews for this hotel before leaving for the US (with my wife and 2 daughters aged 14 and 10).
I thought it cannot be that good, but it is!!
Location,friendliness of staff,quality and value is all brill.
My daughter loved the free msn messenger facility to keep in touch with her friends.
Only downside was restaurent facilities -these really need to be improved however as there are plenty to choose from in the area it was not really a problem.

  • Stayed: July 2005
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4  Thank Orchardbank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2005

First impressions were good - door staff were friendly, lobby was pleasant. The first room we were checked into was pretty claustrophobic, so we upgraded to one with a kingsize bed and a bit more space. The rooms are all equipped with a large TV and a DVD player.

The fire alarm went off at 4am - no explanation or compensation was offered, nor even an apology. Give the staff's reaction at the time, I don't think this is uncommon.

The attached diner / restaurant is excellent for breakfast and casual dining. They also supply room service.

Cleanliness was excellent and there was no noise heard from other rooms or the corridors.

  • Stayed: August 2005
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3  Thank topbanana123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2005

We were 2 couples in 2 rooms. Great hotel, friendly staff and helpful. It is located right in the Fisherman's Wharf area and you can walk everywhere. They do charge for valet parking as there is no other choice with the location of the hotel. Everday, at 5:00pm there is wine tasting - FREE! Each month is a different winery and from all over the world, not just Californian. Would definitely recommend it and will stay there again.

Mike & the gang!

  • Stayed: July 2005
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3  Thank mteixeiraca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2005

My children (ages 6, 11) and I just returned from a stay at the Argonaut Hotel. This was our first visit to San Francisco and we couldn't have picked a better place to stay. Very centrally located in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf with everything in close proximity. The hotel was very clean, the decor wonderful, and the staff great. Special attention was given to my boys as the staff high-fived and greeted us during our various comings and goings from the hotel. The rooms have Nintendo which is fun for the kids (only one controller though, so kids must take turns). Contrary to a couple other posted comments, we found the Concierge to be very helpful.

We were in San Francisco for 3 full days. The first day we drove our rented convertible to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield for their FREE tour. This is a must for kids. Plan to be there around 2-3 hours. There is a reasonably priced cafe with fun food for the kids to eat, and a candy store along with free sampling candy bar. The tour of the factory lasts for 40 minutes, but the line waiting for the tour can take about an hour. Well worth the wait though and the interior is fun for the kids (gumdrop chandeliers, huge inflated jelly beans hanging from the vaulted ceiling, jelly bean art sculptures, etc.) The place is GREAT and is only a little over an hour drive to get to. Driving there you cross over several large bridges and through cool tunnels which the kids enjoyed. Jelly Belly tour is a must. We then drove back to our hotel and checked in. There is no parking available, so we just paid the $36 a day the hotel charges for the convenience of the valet.

Activities we did while in Fisherman's Wharf included:

- the Bay Cruise (best time to go is round 1:00-2:00 because there is a less chance of fog and you'll have a better view of the Golden Gate Bridge when you go under it). They provide headsets which give you a "guided tour" which my 11 year old enjoyed and the 6 year old pulled off his head.

- Alcatraz (buy these tickets weeks in advance else the ferry will be sold out and you will not be able to go). They provide the headsets as well which are great and even have the sound effects to go along with it (prisoners, cell doors closing, etc.). It is cold and windy on Alcatraz as well on the ferry going over, so bring a sweatshirt with hood.

- Ghirardelli Square. The two places we visited here were the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop which is a chocolate candy store and has an ice cream cafe (decadent sundaes, and the shop gives free packaged samples which was a hit with the kids), and we visited Lori's Diner for breakfast. Very cute diner with neon lights, 50's cars, old gas pumps, Betty Boop, etc. Another hit with the kids and cute photo opportunity.

- Alioto's for dinner. Expensive, nice views, good crab, however not the best choice with the kids. Better for romantic dinner with honey. We did the Rainforest Cafe one evening as well.

- Boudin Sourdough Bakery. This place is small but fun. You can take a tour of the bakery and they have a fun little museum. The bakery makes wonderfully designed bread in the shape of crabs, fish, alligators, teddy bears, turtles, trolley cars, etc. Fun for the kids. They ended up eating their breads on the plane ride home (in part because of the 2 hour delay on the runway on a meal-less flight!).

- Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum. Right along the strip and a fun place to duck into to spend an hour.

- Brown Bear Factory. Similar to Build-a-Bear Workshop where you pick out the teddy bear you would like and they stuff it and sew it then you pick out clothes for the bear. Then Mom cries when she has to pay the bill. Just joking, but plan to drop about $90 for a couple teddy bears.

- Pampanito Submarine. We toured this sub which was interesting. Head-set listening tour again which the kids liked. Takes about an hour and is worth it if you haven't been on a sub before.

- Golden Gate Bridge. We drove here and they have a nice lookout area for wonderful photo opportunities. We then drove over the bridge in our convertible and back.

- Golden Gate Park. Just a huge green park with lakes and places to picnic. We had planned to rent and ride bikes but it was cold and rainy on this day.

- Exploratorium (you will need to drive here or take a taxi). This is a fun science museum for kids. Two huge warehouse-style floors with tons of cool stuff for kids to do. Decent priced cafe. 2 hours well spent when trying to keep busy kids occupied.

Lots of stores and restaurants along the wharf. It's fun just to walk around. Look for the Metal Man - a silver street mime who when you place $ in his silver cup will come to life with robotic sounds and movements. And last but not least, watch out for the Bush Man. You will know him when you see him! ;-)

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
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9  Thank jsiaosi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Argonaut Hotel, A Noble House Hotel

Address: 495 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94109-1314
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > Fisherman’s Wharf
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in San Francisco
#6 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
#7 Green Hotel in San Francisco
#11 Luxury Hotel in San Francisco
#16 Business Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range: $272 - $842 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Argonaut Hotel, A Noble House Hotel 4.5*
Number of rooms: 252
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco's most popular destination, the boutique Argonaut Hotel features breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. This luxury hotel is historically set in a former timber and brick warehouse across from the waterfront. With its exceptional service, its charming style and the adjacent family-friendly Blue Mermaid restaurant, the Argonaut Hotel is an ideal spot to enjoy San Francisco. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kimpton San Francisco
Argonaut Hotel San Francisco

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