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“Cosmetic charm can't fix the deeper flaws”

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Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Ranked #95 of 230 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed February 2, 2013

Stayed here 10 years ago and was interested in seeing the more recent refurbishments, so tried it again for one night. Some nice cosmetic upgrades with excellent beds, modern décor, and new electronics. But there’s no forgetting this is an ollllld building with small bathrooms (older tubs, toilets, etc.), slow elevators and very thin walls. That means since the baby in the neighboring room didn’t sleep all night, neither did we. (While sounds might at least be muffled by some hotel walls, here it was like we were sharing a room – every word distinguishable.) Also: Restaurant Scala had been a favorite for years, but it’s slipping now: dinner was a big disappointment with mediocre, lukewarm food and odd, forgetful service. While waiting in line to check out the next morning, I noticed the three parties ahead of me complained of the lack of sound insulation (two were asking to be moved from streetside rooms to interior-facing rooms because Powell Street is a major thoroughfare). I didn’t mention our own experience to staff; they seemed so worn out, as if they are bombarded with unhappy guests and are just trying to keep up. There are better choices in this Union Square neighborhood, including other Kimptons if you're loyal to that brand. (I've tried and returned to Monaco, Triton and Palomar.)

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TravelinNic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded February 4, 2013

Dear TravelinNic:
Thanks for being a loyal Kimpton guest and also returning to the Drake! That means a lot to us! Yes, we have completed a renovation in 2011 to colaborate "modern" with "history".
Hope you'll return to the Drake in the near future.
Jim Gross, General Manager

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2,036 - 2,042 of 3,353 reviews

Reviewed February 2, 2013

Stayed at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on a girls weekend getaway. There were 3 of us,so we go the double Queen Deluxe Room. Room was nice for an older hotel. Check in/out was easy. Only complaints were the room we were in, the shampoo dispenser pump was broken, we left a note, but it still didn't get fixed for the 3 nights we were there. Our last night, they didn't leave any washclothes in the room. And the office chair would eject you as it was very wobbly. Otherwise, it was a great stay. Beds were comfortable. There were some noisy people staying about us our first night, but the rest of the nights were quiet.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Rhonda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded February 4, 2013

Dear Rhonda L:

Sounds like you had a great "girls getaway" at the Drake! Sorry about the shampoo pump...I'll make sure to let my Housekeeping know to take a careful look at these pumps! Thanks for letting me know. Many guests seem to like our comfy bed, too...
Visit us soon!

Jim Gross, General Manager

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Reviewed January 29, 2013

Stayed at this hotel while on a business trip to San Francisco. I love older hotels with character and this had plenty starting with the doormen dressed in Beefeater costumers. As with older hotels you will find that the rooms and bathrooms are on the small side. Everything was clean and comfortable but then I can sleep just about anywhere. Lobby bar is definitely a gathering place and LaScala was great for breakfast. To me the real 'gem' of the hotel is the Starlight Room located at the top of the Drake. Classy, old school nightclub with red velvet banquettes and spectacular views of the City. It's magical -- don't miss the Starlight Room if only for a drink or to take in the city views. If you appreciate charming, older hotels within walking distance of Union Square and Chinatown, try the Sir Francis Drake.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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Thank SARChicago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2013

Dear SARChicago:
You defiitely sound like someone who knows how to appreciate a classic hotel! Indeed, our building was built in 1928 and is recognized as one of the historical buildings in SF! Additionally, our Beefeaters are some what of a SF icon within the travel industry; featured in many travel magazines and brochures all around the world! I'm happy to know that you were able to visit both Scala's and Starlight during your stay, not to mention, you must have taken advantage of our location to hit some shopping needs around Union Square and Chinatown!
Hope to see you back at the Drake soon.
Happy 2013
Jim Gross, General Manager

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Reviewed January 28, 2013

The hotel has really nice rooms, very convenient location about 5 mins walk to union sq and cable cars were right outside the hotel. Bed was not really comfortable, didn't sleep very well. All the staffs were really kind and offered great service.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank wkong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2013

Dear wkong:

The Drake IS the place if you want a convenience, great service and the history all packaged into one! Hope you'll come back and stay with us soon.
Happy 2013
Jim Gross, General Manager

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Reviewed January 28, 2013

In San Francisco for a conference and stayed a couple of extra days. Made it a point of going to the hotel since had heard so much about. Very disappointing. From the bellman at the entry more involved in texting than greeting guests....to sitting at the bar for 15 minutes without being acknowledged by the staff. Granted, it was very busy with only 4 other people at the bar. Can only say, been there, done that, and won't do it again.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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Thank Paravars
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2013

Dear Paravars:
I appreciate your specific comments on your recent stay. I'll address these to my department heads.
Regards,
Jim Gross, General Manager

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Reviewed January 27, 2013

I stayed at this hotel overnight on a business trip and it was perfectly lovely. I was particularly pleased with the stylish décor, the cleanliness, the comfortable beds and the lovely bathroom, which featured updated fixtures and marble. The hotel was quiet, comfortable and I would definitely stay there again on business. Note 1: The beds were full size beds, so the double room accommodates only two people (or possibly an adult and two small children). Note 2: There is a Starbucks practically next door for morning coffee and Union Square is right next to it. Note 3: There is no refrigerator.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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Thank aklindsay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded February 6, 2013

Dear aklindsay:

Thanks for appreciating our stylish decor! There are several types of rooms which you can choose from: regardless, our beds are known to be very comfortable and our rooms are very very clean! Hopefully, you got to enjoy the convenience of our location, especially to the surrounding restaurants and shopping! If you didn't, these are on your "to do" list on your next visit to the Drake!
Hope to see you soon!
Jim Gross, General Manager

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Reviewed January 27, 2013

We stayed here for a week the hotel is very close to union square and the cable cars stop almost out front. There is a Starbucks you can get to from the hotel and across the street a Walgreens and Sears Fine Food. The hotel is lovely old world charm we had a couple of issues however the management and staff addressed them immediately very grateful for their prompt attention. Lovely time sitting in the lobby bar having a couple of drinks.

Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
Thank LizSloman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded February 5, 2013

Dear LizSloman:

Thanks for staying at the Drake! Our location can't be beaten, can it? I'm glad to hear that things were taken care of. We all strive to make our guests' stay as pleasantly as possible!
Hope to welcome you back at the Drake soon!
Best,
Jim Gross, General Manager

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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 Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel

Address: 450 Powell Street, Union Square, San Francisco, CA 94102-1504 (Formerly Sir Francis Drake Hotel)
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:
#18 Green Hotel in San Francisco
#48 Luxury Hotel in San Francisco
#58 Business Hotel in San Francisco
#70 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
#75 Family Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range: $168 - $566 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 416
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kimpton 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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