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“Great location, great service, some cutbacks”

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Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Ranked #95 of 230 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed February 3, 2013

This was my second stay at this hotel. The first time was for business and when I checked in I was given a couple of drink passes for the bar. I was disappointed this time to find that they have eliminated the drink passes in favor a wine hour, which lasts for one hour from 5-6pm. Definitely a cost savings measure.
The hotel is wonderfully decorated, wonderfully located and pet friendly, which I love. The service is great, the staff accommodating and the club on the 21st floor is very nice. We will definitely stay here again and may bring pets next time. Hopefully the fire alarm won't sound at 1:30am next time. That was just a bit scary as I was really not sure if it was false.

Room Tip: Try to get an upper floor. On my first stay I was at the corner of intersection on the 3rd floor and...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank NorcalGSP
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 NorcalGSP:
The Kimpton hotels have been known for the wine hour which we used to pass out drink tickets in lieu of the wine hour. Just as FYI - we went through a complete renovation in 2011 to add some "modern" facade and amenities to the "classic". Our building is recognized as onr of the historic buildings that was built in 1928! Sounds like you enjoyed our Starligh Lounge? It is often frequented by many of our out of town guests as well as many locals!
Yes, hope to see your pets on your next visit to the Drake, too!
Jim Gross, General Manager

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2,052 - 2,058 of 3,371 reviews

Reviewed February 3, 2013

We spent a week vacation in San Francisco at this hotel. The hotel is located in Union Square, which is really a great location in the heart of town. You are surrounded by all the shopping and some of the best eateries.

Our first night we were assigned a room with a very small bathroom, which would have been fine, except that the toilet was shoehorned between the sink and the wall, with the toilet paper holder right at your side. Such a setup makes it impossible to sit on the toilet since the toilet paper holder was in the way poking you in your side. This was not the worst, it was virtually impossible to reach down there to clean yourself. We complained and we were assigned a different room the next day, which was fine. Imagine if we had to stay in this room for the entire week.

Our room now is large and the bathroom is adequate, you can at least sit on the toilet and wipe. The toilet seat itself is wobbly; the tub does not drain adequately and for the rest of the week we took showers with standing water up to our ankles. The color scheme in this hotel is black, gray and silver with a red dresser. The hinge on one of the dresser’s doors gave way and it took maintenance two days to fix it. The hotel is dated and lacks what I would consider basic amenities of modern conveniences. You actually could see signs of wear as well as poor maintenance throughout.

The beds were very good and the hotel was quite so we slept well. However, on our last night we were rudely awakened twice from a deep sleep because the alarm went off. The first time we were going down the stairs half dressed when we met with a hotel employee who informed us it was a false alarm. The second time, at 1:30 am, the alarm went off again and I got dressed and stepped out into the hallway, were several guests were standing wondering what to do. Then one person said they called the desk and were informed that it was a false alarm. Of course it was difficult to go back to sleep especially that the lights kept flashing in the room for an extended period. Not certain if it was a prank or a malfunction in the system.

Now to the good, the young folks running the front desk, they were all friendly, very polite, and courteous. They made it their business to know you and assist you in any way they could. Nelson, Elgin, and Mary as well as the others which I did not talk to but were always smiling and eager to help are the can do people at the hotel. I believe that without them the stay would have been a total disaster. The older employees were really nonchalant and were almost invisible.

All in all, it was an OK stay, but next time I will stay at one of the modern hotels especially that the Sir Francis Drake is still as expensive a stay as any other Hotel. A newer hotel will at least have a coffee maker in the room and I will not have to hurry down stairs in the morning to get my first cup of Joe before they ran out.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a large bathroom
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Valiant10000
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 12, 2013

Dear Valiant10000:
We certainly try our best. Our building is recognized as one of the historical buildings that was built in 1928! With our complete renovation in 2011, we incorporated some modern furnishings and other amenities to better suit our guests. Our unique and eclectic design is not for everyone, but many seem to like it and return to the Drake year after year.
I do agree that our team at the front desk, including those you've mentioned (thanks for remembering their names!), are awesome bunch of people!
Hope you'll come back to the Drake in your future trip to SF.
Jim Gross, General Manager

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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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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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Additional Information about Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel

Address: 450 Powell Street, Union Square, San Francisco, CA 94102-1504 (Formerly Sir Francis Drake Hotel)
Phone Number:
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
#47 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: $153 - $455 (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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