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“Classic lobby” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel

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Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Ranked #90 of 227 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersGold level
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Classic lobby”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2013 via mobile

Classic lobby and hotel bar are best features. Try to get a room on a high floor. The lower level rooms looking out on Sutter are noisy 24/7. For unexplained reasons TV was programmed to block most channels. Took two calls and five hours to fix. Service was much more prompt in delivering extra pillows - a necessity.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank SnapperJT
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 review, April 9, 2013
Dear SnapperJT:
The Drake as locals call it was built in 1928 and is recognized as one of the historical buildings in SF! We went through a $9mil renovation in 2011 to add some "modern" to our "classic"! We are also located in the very center of all hubs; shopping, dining and all other entertainment and feeling/hearing the hustle and bustle of the city can be exciting.
Glad you enjoyed the Bar Drake and thanks for letting me know about the TV channels. We routinely inspect our rooms and will certainly make sure that all TV channeles that we provide are all in working condition!
Jim Gross, General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,052 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (678)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
114 reviews
85 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 181 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2013 via mobile

As a native local, I value the classic sf hotels and this one is a treasure for the city. You can't be guaranteed a quiet night staying here but it is a special place and kimpton has remodeled it in a way that does not detract from its original glory. I recently split a visit home between here and the argonaut where you are guaranteed a perfectly quiet night. This hotel is very centrally located amid all of the shopping of the city and good for public transportation as well. The rooms are small but it is common for sf. If you want a big room in sf stay in the argonaut or be prepared to pay a lot of money. Some of the rooms in newer hotels are bigger -- but they lack traditional sf charm.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nnsanci
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 review, April 9, 2013
Dear nnsanci:
Old world charm is worth keeping, isn't it? I certainly appreciate that you value what we did in preserving "history" with new. As you may know, we have completed a $9mil renovation in 2011 so that we could add a bit of "modern" while keeping history. You are absolutely right about the comparison between Argonaut and the Drake. We are centrally located to everything that this city has to offer. Depending on where the guest is from, some may prefer to hear the sound of SF famous Cable Car and other hustle and bustle. There are of course, several types of rooms, smaller to larger, street-facing, with a city view, etc.
I apprecate your loyalty!
Jim Gross, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

What I liked most about this hotel is the feeling you are staying in a historic hotel that has been beautifully decorated. As many other reviewers have mentioned, the Sir Francis Drake is in a great location right in Union Square. The cable car runs right in front of the hotel however it's still takes a while to get on. The hotel is close to many of the major bus routes and in walking distance to Chinatown and Market Street. We stayed in a Duluxe City View Room which was a good size. Bathroom, especially vanity unit were small but still ok. We were on level 20 and you could hear city noise and on also the Starlight Room nightclub which is on level 20. I didn't mind but if you don't like much noise, bring the ear plugs! Room service was average - many more great places to have breakfast in San Francisco.

Overall, for the price we payed, the hotel was excellent.

Room Tip: Deluxe Rooms
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Maria P
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 review, April 5, 2013
Dear Maria P:
As a real estate agent would say, Location, Location, Location; so would many tourists! The Drake is the best in taking advantage of all what SF offers! Cable Car, which you can hop on right outside of our front entrance, short walk to Chinatown to grab some dim sum, Union Square and surrounding luxuery shopping and Market Street for wide variety of other things.
Our Starlight Lounge is actually located on the 21st floor and hope you get to stop by on your next visit to the Drake. And our Housekeeping department has ear plugs should you need them.
Hope to see you soon.
Jim Gross, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
phoenix
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

the sf drake is right in the middle of everything. all transportation is accessible, many restaurants, bars, the theater district, all easy to get to. the geary bus (from bay to ocean) is 1 block away, the cable car runs out the front door, the stockton line goes from market to fisherman's wharf.

the recent redo of the hotel was done w comfort in mind but not to compromise the historic look and feel of the place. it still 'gives good lobby'. Leif, the concierge, is a priceless resource and will find a way to make whatever you had in mind happen. i had heard that the place was getting a little 'dated' but kimpton has done great things making an old sf classic work in our day and age. tip: sign up to kimpton's preferred guest list (free) and get free fast internet.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank davedavePhoenix
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 review, April 5, 2013
Dear davedavePhoenix:
Wow, you sound like a local! You are absolutely right about the bus routes, etc. The Drake IS the hub of all fun: eating, shopping, seeing the shows, more eating, shopping...list goes on! The Drake is history and IS one of the historical buildings in SF; built in 1928! We spent $9mil to put "that" comfort so that people of all ages can enjoy their stay. Kimpton In-Touch is free to sign up, great perks to go with. Definitely worth signing up! Lastly, but not least, Leif is truly an asset to us and thanks for mentioning his name!
Hope to see you soon in SF!
Jim Gross, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, CA
Level Contributor
47 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2013

The stay here started off very well.
Checked into the Sir Francis Drake on a friday evening.
Have to say the location is perfect. Really easy to walk a bunch of places and close enough to public transportation, etc. Parking was easy (but expensive - about $60 per night).

The hotel lobby is lovely, very historic. The lobby is basically a check in desk and bar. There is a restaurant downstairs and that is it for public space. There is a mezzanine area where they supposedly service their wine hour, but we didn't end up experiencing that.

The room was well decorated, but qute small. The bathroom had NO storage for any supplies whatsoever so toiletries went into the meagar storage space. No unpacking here as there was hardly anywhere to put thing (a couple drawers). Beds were very comfortable and our room was far from the elevator and had very little outside noise.

Harry Denton's Starlight lounge is on the top floor of the hotel and was a fun, quirky place to spend a few hours.

Through Sunday morning, the hotel was a good value, if not the nicest place I have stayed.

However, on Sunday a large convention took over the hotel. The Sir Francis Drake clearly cannot handle a convention. I have stayed at many hotels, and although there is a convention, it hardly impacts the normal guest. There is space and room for the convetion attendees to gather without disrupting other guests.

Not the case at the Sir Francis Drake. The hotel closed the 24 hour gym as many of the attendees were staying on the 3rd floor were the gym is.

The lobby was such a zoo, it was difficult to walk through it. Even the concierge of the hotel said , "it was difficult to walk through the lobby and the attendees won't even move out of your way." On top of that, the hotel has 4 elevators. They put bellman in two of the elevators and wouldn't let you in unless you had a badge for the conference.

It meant that Monday and Tuesday, we walked up and down 9 flights of stars on about 5 occasions. If we waited for an elevator, it took about 20 minutes for us to obtain one.

We came back from site seeing to enjoy the afternoon wine reception. However, when we got there the entire mezzanine was taken over by conference attendees. We inquired about the wine hour at the front desk, they offered us a glass of wine, but said that the hotel was just too crowded to accomodate the service. We were really looking for a relaxing place to hang out, but instead were stuck hanging out in our postage stamp room as there was no where else to relax in the hotel.

I was disapointed in how the Sir Francis Drake handled the convention, other hotel guests were clearly second class citizens.

I would consider staying here, considering the location and the first two days, but given the bad taste it left in my mouth, I will look for other alternatives first and would defintely call to see if there is a conference if you are considering this hotel.

Room Tip: Rooms not on Powell Street are more quiet. Don't stay if there is a convention here.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NBere
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 review, April 9, 2013
Dear NBere:
First off, thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is certainly NOT our intention to treat our guests differently, your comments will definitely help in better serving our individual travellers while hosting a large group in house. We have already discussed some of the issues you mentioned and it is ours as well as guests best interests to make everyone's stay a pleasant one. As far as our parking rate goes, it is compatible to other hotels in the vicinity; Starlight lounge offers one of the best views in the city as well; there are several types of room, anything from smaller historic rooms to larger suites to accommodate different guests' needs; yes, our guests love the comfortable beds!
Please note that I am all ears and should you wish to discuss further, please feel free to contact the hotel and get in touch with me or my Hotel Manager.
Jim Gross, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
28 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2013 via mobile

I hate assigning an average review to anything. But this hotel deserves it. The hotel staff tries ands is good. The hotel is tired. Which is a way of saying that everything is getting worn out. In the public spaces it is all well used. This hotel has all the feeling of an older New York hotel. The location could not be better. Can't underestimate location in San Fran.

The rooms are old style meaning they are small. The closet is small. The bath is small and old. You've seen the bath before. Door opens out. Can't be too big or you'll never get in the bathroom. The woodwork is all reprinted for the umpteenth time. The halls smell of old hotel. You've been there so you know what I describe.

They've tried. They have out money into making the room nice. All soft goods and the new wall treatments add class to it all. If you like an older hotel and don't mind small then you'll have a good time.

Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
Helpful?
Thank yukontraveler
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 review, April 5, 2013
Dear yukontraveler:
In a good sense, NYC and SF are pretty similar. The space in the city is limited and precious; great for walking and/or taking public transit. The Drake is no different, our building is historic (recognized as one and was built in 1928), went through a $9mil renovation in 2011, surrounded by great restaurants and shopping, right on Cable Car line and walking distance to just about everything! Our room types range from smaller to bigger to meet people's different needs. Overall, this is a hotel in the city and most people are exploring the "City by the Bay" during the day and they look for a comfortable bed and accommodating staff which I believe you enjoyed.
Thanks for your review.
Jim Gross, General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Peoria, Illinois
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 1, 2013

Good location. Hotel is historic, feels old and is not particularly well maintained compared to similar historic hotels. Currently staying at the Drake as I type. My family and I are being relocated midway through our stay after sewage backed up into our tub. The staff has been completely unconcerned about the inconvenience- almost rude about it. Significant delay to move to our "new room". We had to follow up several times to remind the staff to arrange our move. Staff was very slow and unresponsive to the move and to our inconvenience. I would not recommend trusting your stay in San Francisco to the Sir Francis Drake. Major disappointment. Earns one star ONLY for location.

Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank 930JohnP930
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 review, April 4, 2013
Dear 930JohnP930:
I certainly appreciate your concern and I take all my guests' concerns very seriously and would love to talk to you.
Can you please contact me before you leave?
Jim Gross, General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
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

Property: 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:
#17 Green Hotel in San Francisco
#44 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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