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“The Drake was tops with me and my kids - don't believe the negative comments”

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Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Ranked #94 of 230 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed June 24, 2013

Last week my kids and I (ages 6 and 4) stayed at "The Drake" with a friend and her 3 year old. We had a FANTASTIC stay! The Sir Francis Drake is a Kimpton Hotel and the service at Kimpton hotels is superb. Everyone we encountered was extremely friendly, helpful and professional.

I understand that some reviewers had minor problems with their room or billing issues - but I am certain that if they just mentioned them to someone at the front desk or a manager, the problems would have been quickly resolved. The hotel staff truly wants you to enjoy your time there - they will take care of any issue you have.

Here are the reasons why we LOVED our night at The Drake:

- The hotel is in a terrific location. You are 1 block from Union Square (with shopping, restaurants, live music on the square), you are on the cable car line (so fun to see the cable cars go up and down the street - breakfast at the Cable Car Cafe across the street meant that the kids were entertained watching the cable cars while we ate), 3 blocks from BART, a few blocks from bus lines, a nice walk to the Embarcadero, etc. The location really can't be beat!

- The hotel is BEAUTIFUL! The property is charming, with the Beefeater bellmen and ornate ceilings and furnishings in the lobby. The hotel has had a major renovation and the rooms have beautiful comfortable furnishings. Our beds were clean and super comfortable - all of the kids slept great!

- The hotel has many different types of rooms. I'm sure some are smaller than others. We had a gorgeous room with 2 queen beds (and space for a rollaway) and plenty of space to spare. The room had a desk, bureau with a TV on top, and nice view of the buildings surrounding the square. The bathroom was small, but that didn't matter to us. We spent our time in our room, in the lobby area, and in SF - not in the bathroom.

- Yeah for Kimpton wine hour! The hotel has a free wine hour from 5-6 every day. I don't drink alcohol (and of course my kids don't either), so the pastry chef, Tim (who was on Bravo's Top Chef: Just Desserts) personally brought our freshly made lemonade for my kids and I. They also brought out a cup full of M&Ms. In addition, there were some little pizzas that we could have for a snack. And there were hula hoops for the kids (and adults) to play with. The wine hour is a "can't miss" benefit of being at a Kimpton Hotel and this wine hour was one of the best of the Kimpton properties I've stayed at.

- They treated my kids wonderfully! Right when we checked in they gave all of the kids a few little toys. To an adult, the toys seem small and silly, but the kids loved them! They thought it was so fun that the people at the hotel gave them toys. And when we arrived in our room, there were more toys for the kids - little bags packed with crayons, paper, sticky hands, mini Beefeaters, necklaces, bracelets, etc. And there were little robes out for the kids to use while we were there. And, there was a tray with cookies, milk and fruit - YUMMY! Our kids said this was their FAVORITE HOTEL EVER (and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton Maui a few months ago).

- Definitely check out the lounge at the top of the hotel. The view is beautiful up there!

SUMMARY: The staff at the hotel is absolutely wonderful. The location is perfect. The hotel is beautiful. The wine hour is fun. Kimpton properties are awesome. Don't believe the negative reviews. And if you have a problem during your stay, just tell the manager (rather than complaining after the fact on TripAdvisor).

Room Tip: Ask for a quiet room
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Christina04
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 June 25, 2013

Dear Christina04:
Thank you for taking the time to write this wonderful review! I shared your email/review with my team and we ALL enjoyed having you at the Drake! It can't be expressed any better than you did and we really appreciate it! You are absolutely right; we are here to make everyone's stay a memorable one and are open to any suggestion/feedback.
WE look forward to "WOW"ing you in the near future!
Jim Gross, General Manager

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1,825 - 1,831 of 3,280 reviews

Reviewed June 23, 2013

My husband and I go to San Francisco every Christmas and stay at this hotel. Its in a great location (the cable car tour stops right in front), across the streeet from Union Square, the restaurant has an award winning menu from competitors from the show "Top Chef", the bar has an oustanding Jalapeno Martini, and the staff is very helpful and friendly.

Only downside....its a little expensive and the rooms are small.

Room Tip: Take the cable car tours. Its convienient and a great way to see the city.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ad D
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 June 24, 2013

Dear Ad D:
I appreciate your annual "pilgrimage" to the Drake! Holiday season in SF is very festive, especially around Union Square and the Drake (as you know) is just a step away from it.
We look forward to seeing you and your husband sipping Jalapeno Martini at the Drake this upcoming holiday season!
Jim Gross, General Manager

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Reviewed June 23, 2013

My wife stayed here for a conference. First thing she was greeted with was "your credit card has been denied" even though her room was paid in advance. Hmmm, well, we just vacationed and, yes, I have carefully budgeted this month. With NO prior notification, she was informed that all guests must pre-authorize $150/day for "incidentals"! Whoa. I am sure there is some reasonable explanation based on somebody ripping them off or stiffing them. It seems like a poor business practice. We teach "inform before you perform." They reached some acceptable (at least to the front desk person...) solution with her debit card. You only have one chance to make a first impression and my wife was insulted and upset.
As identified by other guests, this is a great location for access to cable car and other establishments. However, as also experienced by other guests, the room is adequate, however, my wife did not sleep well. Too much noise, both from people (homeless?) in the alley and from neighboring construction.
Embarassing customer service and poor sleep? That's never a winning combination. We have stayed in two other hotels near Union Square and had wonderful vacations. We won't be returning here!

Room Tip: Try another place nearby!
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank BlueSkies7780
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 June 24, 2013

Dear BlueSkies7780:
Thanks for sharing your wife's experience with us. Please know that it's fairly common for a hotel to pre-authorize credit cards. I am glad that an alternative solution was found; however, I will consult our front desk to handle the matter more discreetly.
Regards,
Jim Gross, General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2013

I enjoyed my stay at this hotel. The location is fantastic for exploring San Francisco. The Cable Car stops right outside the door, there are bus stops on the corner, and it is a short walk to the BART.

The hotel has been beautifully renovated. The rooms are nicely decorated but I agree with other reviews that the rooms are small and the bathroom is REALLY small - which is the only downside to this place. The upside is the huge mirror in the bedroom with nearby power outlets so I used that space more than the cramped bathroom. There was a bit of street noise but once you put down the room darkening shade, it seems to block much of the noise.

I attended a multi-day meeting here and the meeting staff (Vinnie) was wonderfully attentive. During our last lunch, the pastry chef, Tim Nugent dropped by for a visit to demonstrate his hula hooping skills - 4 hoops at one time. I was impressed and it clearly demonstrated that the staff at this hotel likes to have a bit of fun.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled on business
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Thank bosaknm
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 June 24, 2013

Dear bosaknm:
I appreciate your review! It is FUN to work with people like Tim and I am as amazed at his "hula-hooping" skillls as you are! I'm glad that he was able to share that with you.
Thanks for noticing our beautiful hotel, too. We've gone through a $9 mil renovation to add some modern amenities without destroying the classic beauty of a 1928 historic building. It is always appreciated that there are people who can truly enjoy the beauty.
Hope to see you at the Drake soon!
Jim Gross, General Manager

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Reviewed June 21, 2013

Stayed at SFD btw 14-17 June 2013. Had some initial issues after having booked for 6 (2 adults/4 kids) and being allocated a room which did not cater for 6 BUT after a call to reception all was sorted out and we were given a new room in the recently renovated part of the hotel (room 307). The room was very well appointed but lacked a few basics that I consider standard in a hotel room IE: room safe, fridge and a working phone and for the price per night we paid this was not really acceptable but we soldiered on. All in all a very nice room which catered week for our large family. On our first night we had a completely unacceptable situation where another guest was allocated our room and was issued a card to enter it which they did while we were all asleep after a long trip from Australia. Cannot not understand how this could happen. The hotel offered free continental breakfasts as an apology (which was appreciated) but after being abrubptly woken up it destroyed our sleep and prolonged our jet lag. The hotel itself is beautiful and is in the perfect location but it needs to iron out a few basic problems. On the plus side we had the pleasure of dealing with head of house keeping on out arrival (Mark - I think) and he was a credit to the organization and could not have been more helpful.

Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
Thank Silverfox2204
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 June 24, 2013

Dear Silverfox2204:
Thank you for posting your comment. Although, I'm glad that we were able to move you to a different room, it is totally unacceptable that a key for the same room was made for another guest! I have already consulted my front desk staff the importance of not just double-checking, but triple-checking that the thing in this nature is NEVER an acceptable practice. I sincerely hope that you enjoyed the rest of the stay. Lastly, I do appreciate your mentioning of the name of our employee, Marc. Yes, indeed, he has been a great asset to the Drake and I'm happy to know that you have come across his service during your stay.
Sincerely,
Jim Gross, General Manager

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Reviewed June 17, 2013

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with Easytobook.com
Thank Patrik I
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded June 21, 2013

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed June 15, 2013

Right off Union Square, this hotel puts you right in the heart of San Francisco. You can get anywhere you want (China Town, Pier 39, embarcadero, etc) easily from this location. The hotel isn't high luxury but its fun and funky, with clean rooms and a very pleasant staff. The lobby bar is nice and the view from the Starlight room is hard to beat. There sure are fancier options but you pay for them. This is affordable comfort in an amazing location.

Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank HoustonYankee
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 June 21, 2013

Dear HoustonYankee:
Funky it is! Some would say "Ecletic", even "Unique"! Well, that's what you get when you take a historic building (circa 1928) and add $9mil worth of room renovation/modernization. It is indeed a "win-win" situation when you combine the convenience of our location without the "stuffiness" of our team and the service.
Thanks for visiting our Starlight Room, too. It does provide the view you will never forget!
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.
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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
#46 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: $208 - $656 (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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