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“OK Stay” 3 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
Upland, California
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“OK Stay”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 23, 2013

My husband and I booked a trip to San Francisco for 3 days, 2 nights in December 2013. We weren't impressed with the Sir Francis Drake and I wouldn't stay there again.

The rooms are small- we expected this because it is a historic hotel- but the bathrooms are REALLY tiny. If you are pregnant or a large person you'll have problems. I'm 4'11" and petite and even I felt cramped. We had trouble with the door jam in the bathroom because it wouldn't close. We'd have to try the knob 4-5 times to get it to stick every time we went into the bathroom.

There is no mini fridge or microwave in the room. If you need to keep things cold your best bet is to get the ice bucket and fit what you can in it with ice from the machine.

When we first arrived (we drove) we knew we didn't want to valet park due to the price ($50 a night!) so we parked 2 blocks away at the garage on Stockton & Sutter for $27 a night and in and out privileges. It was inconvenient... but city parking prices are what they are. We were unloading our car when the valet guy asked for the keys. I told him that we weren't going to valet and he seemed shocked and said, "OK, but you only have 10 minutes to check in and move it." He's lucky there was no line for check in or I would have been upset that they only give their guests 10 minutes to check in and unload.

We pre-paid for a room via Travelocity with Venture points and were given a room on the 6th floor near the cable car stop. I understand that the hotel didn't put the stop there, but the car comes by every couple of minutes and goes DING DING and it drove me absolutely nuts the first couple of minutes we were there. I went down to the front desk for ear plugs which they provided and then offered to move our room.

The offer to move our room was great, except the lady at the front desk said it would be on the other side of the hotel and be quieter... which was not true. We were moved 2 floors down to the 4th floor and sure enough there was a cable car stop in front of our window there as well. We didn't bother complaining again, I just used the earplugs and tried to stay out of the room as much as possible until the cars stopped running.

When we checked out we asked to have a baggage cart sent to our room, and the bell hop that brought it wanted to take our things down but we declined because we weren't ready to head down just quite yet (my husband had to get the car that was parked 2 blocks away first and then rush the 10 minutes they give you to pack your things and check out). His attitude was similar to the valet when we first arrived... not very friendly.

When I asked for a map of the local area at the concierge desk, the concierge asked where we were headed and I told him the Mission District. He replied, "Oh that's a very hip area where the hipsters are. You can go there and get tatted" as if he was making fun of me. He was an older man and even if this was a joke it didn't come off that way, it felt more like an insult. I just took the map he handed me and left.

With every experience we had with the customer service I was disappointed. No one seemed friendly, and when they tried to make jokes they fell flat and were condescending. The rooms were ok- nicely decorated and the beds were comfortable, but little to no amenities. If you need to be in downtown and want to be near shopping and the cable cars this is the hotel for you. Unfortunately it didn't meet my expectations (we've stayed at Kimpton's before) and I won't be back.

Room Tip: Get a room on a high floor to avoid the noise from cable cars!
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank mollylovesit
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, December 27, 2013
Dear Mollylovesit,

I really appreciate you taking the to give us feedback; I am truly sorry that the cable car's kept you from having a good nights rest. The Drake is in the center of all the action close to world class shopping, great restaurants and a Starbucks right on the corner of Sutter and Powell streets and with all that activity comes a little bit of noise; I wish you had moved the second time I'm sure my team would have gotten it right. I am also sorry about the less than stellar interaction with my associates that is not acceptable. My goal remains the same to make our guests happy, and if we miss the boat I want to fix it during your stay.

Thanks again for your feedback..


Happy New Year!
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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)
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English first
Dallas, Tx
Level Contributor
42 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 22, 2013

The hotel had elegant detail and the lobby was exquisite. Everyone on the trolley took pictures of the front as well as the doorman. It is located one block from Union Square and its beautiful Christmas decorations and was within walking distance. I have never had earthquake instructions in the hotel info before. Luckily I didn't need them. The $50 parking charges for each night were an unpleasant surprise, but the guy behind the desk gave me the AAA price and that helped a little. Valet parking only.

Walgreens was across the street and a Starbucks was right next door.

Room Tip: The Historic Queen, on the 18th floor, was beautiful, but there was no coffee maker and the bathroom...
See more room tips
Green Features: We opted not to have the room cleaned the second day as there were already enough towels.
  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank KatieScarlettDallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
113 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 20, 2013 via mobile

My wife's work brings her to SF once a month so my daughter and I decided to join her this week during her stay at the Sir Francis Drake. We were all very happy with our stay.

The location is perfect, one block off Union Square. We had a room on the 8th floor facing away from the street, so very quiet indeed. The climate controls and sound proofing is good. Our room was a larger one with two double beds, so plenty of room for three. But it is an old hotel, so in general, spaces are on the small side. Everything "just fits." No shelf space in the bathroom for example.

Service was excellent: comfy bath robes, complimentary coffee and hot chocolate in the lobby every morning, very friendly and helpful staff. The exercise room was sufficient, nothing to rave about. Always enjoy staying at a Kimpton property! You won't be dissatisfied.

Stayed December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Dimitrivaz
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, December 21, 2013
Dimitrivaz,

I really appreciate the wonderful comments about our excellent location, great associates and thoughtful amenities. The Drake is a perfect location to enjoy the holidays we are steps away from world class shopping and great restaurants.

Happy Holidays!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
reno
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2013

Very clean and nice room. Be sure to book the second queen room in the list as the other is quite small. Wine tasting at 5:00; very helpful employees. Wonderful location, close to Union Square, shopping and places to eat.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank bajamama8
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, December 19, 2013
Bajamama8,

Happy Holidays and thank-you for staying at the Drake!

Great location, close to shopping, clean, comfortable, are comments we here quite often; we are also pet friendly and have three options for great food or a glass of holiday cheer.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntington Beach, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2013

Have stayed at the Sir Francis Drake for a quick weekend getaway every December for the past 5 years. We usually upgrade to get a King room on a high floor with a view of Union Square including the big tree, skating rink, and decorated front of Macy's. What a great location for shopping, touring Chinatown, shows, and quick access to transportation. This year we bought 3-day Muni passes that allowed us to jump on and off the cable cars and busses so we were able to stop at many places along the cable car route instead of just getting on at Union Square and off at the wharf. All those little shops along the way are fantastic. The Drake is older, so expect small bathrooms and older decor, but the rooms are well-kept and the beds are very comfortable. The lobby bar is also great, although quite crowded around happy hour time since it is a favorite place for groups to meet before going out. Also have a Starbucks next-door and fantastic dim-sum a few blocks away. We look forward to coming back next year!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank M 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, December 19, 2013
Dear MP,

Thank-you for staying at the Drake! We have just put the finishing touches on a $12 million renovation that compliments the perfect location to shop, dine and enjoy all that San Francisco has to offer.

Happy Holidays!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eugene, Oregon
Level Contributor
89 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 16, 2013

First, and most importantly, we like the SFD. Centrally located, 1/2 block from Union Sq. And, it's a medium sized hotel vs. the huge St. Francis. Nice bar, great Kimpton service. We've traveled plenty and have no problem with the smaller room (1221), and very small bathroom ... kind of like NYC hotel standard rooms. Street side rooms are a bit noisy. And, unless one or two of the elevators were not working, take a little extra time when using the elevators; they got very busy and the wait was often long. Skip the breakfast line for Sears across the street, and go to The Chancellor for a good breakfast.

Room Tip: Try to stay away from street side rooms.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Duck1949
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, December 18, 2013
Duck 1949,

I can't say it much better than you did. Great location, close to world class shopping and a staff that is more than will to please. I will add that you should really give Scala's a try for breakfast, lunch or dinner; Executive Chef Larry Finn hand picks fresh ingredients daily and comments are fantastic. Next time your in San Francisco give it a try.

Happy Hollidays!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irvine, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 14, 2013

My husband and I were staying there to celebrate our 1st anniversary and It also was the place where we 1st met at 2010 Thanksgiving. Therefore, this 2013 Thanksgiving trip has a really special meaning for us. But...... staying there was totally a nightmare.
I feel regret to choosing staying there and ruin our trip.


1. Couldn't get a good night sleep.
Pillows and mattress are not comfortable at all,
actually its the worst I ever have. My husband and my neck and back hurts when we wake up. Then we decided to buy pillows from MACY to at least have a little better sleep.

2. NOISE from 21F lasted till 1AM. Still, the same issue, coudln't get a good night sleep.
At room 1910, we can hear noisy music upstair and could't fall asleep, ask to change the room . At room 1901, there is no music, but the noise from elevator is still loud enough that we couldn't sleep well.

3. Bathroom door was broken, can't lock the door. (room 1910)

4. Took 5 min to get hot water shower. (room 1901 only took 1 min)

5. toilet paper holder was broken.

6. Housekeeper came in our room when we were sleeping in the morning.


Overall, the most unacceptable part is that we could't sleep well because the bed, pillow and noise we can hear from the room.
Its our vacation, cant understand how come a hotel could't provide customer a good night
sleep.
The reason I choose to stay at Sir Francis Drake is because the location, and the lobby, room style. But didnt expected that we could have a such bad experience for poor room quality.
I felt regret to choosing staying at Sir Francis Drake Hotel.
Wont stay here anymore.

PS: I'm the KIMPTON inner circle member, I've emailed the CS in advanced to inform them to prepare the snacks that my husband likes (this is one of the member's benefit.).
But nothing get prepared!! (minus one star for this!)

Room Tip: If you like quiet room, ask front desk in advance.
See more room tips
Green Features: I like their environmentally-friendly practices. And they also provide 10USD for guests who choose to save energy.
  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank doki777
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, December 16, 2013
doki777,

I am truly sorry that you experience at the Drake was not a positive one; getting a good night sleep is expected when you stay at a hotel , and we definitely dropped the ball on that. The rooms items have all been corrected (thanks for letting me know) I just wished you would have given me the opportunity to move you to a different room during your stay.

Happy Holidays and Happy Anniversary.
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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