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“Great location,nice hotel,unfriendly staff.”

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Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Ranked #96 of 230 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed April 13, 2014

This hotel is in a great location, Union Square is full of shops and restaurants. The Cable cars run right in front of the hotel. The rooms are large,clean and well kept. The bathrooms are TINY, with no counterspace, and terrible water pressure.The restaurant is very good and VERY busy. The hotel staff is not at all friendly-except the men hailing cabs in front, they are extremely nice! At check-in I felt as though I was bothering the desk person. I also had local questions twice, once the concierge seemed bothered by everyones questions. There was no concierge the second time and the desk clerk was very abrupt. I believe their job is to assist guests.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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Thank meier5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 12, 2014

We recently have stayed at three SF area Kimpton hotels, the Monaco, the Serrano (believe it's no longer a Kimpton) and the Sir Francis Drake. I think the Sir Francis is our favorite, primarily because of the location (half a block from Union Square) and the restaurant, Scalia. We had Continental breakfasts included with our package at all 3 hotels and we preferred the Scalia in terms of food, atmosphere, choices and service. The Scalia includes the Continental with the coupons but also gives you the flexibility of two other options (you just pay for coffee) or $10 off any breakfast entree. We really liked the flexibility - plus the pot of coffee that was placed on our table right away! Service was the best here and it's a very pleasant, nice but not grandiose atmosphere. The lobby is opulent and we enjoyed the complimentary wine hour. Our room was smallish but nicely decorated and the storage (drawers and closet) was pretty good. The bathroom was tiny and cramped but two glass shelves to hold toiletries helped. I'd recommend they replace the tubs with shower stalls when remodeling, as it would provide more room. The hotel is older but I felt it was nicely kept up. The elevators were slow; that was about our main complaint. There was abundant (and early) coffee and tea in the lobby. Wifi was fast and problem-free. The staff was very helpful so all in all I would definitely go back.

Room Tip: We were on the 14th floor and there was little noise from Powell St. below.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled on business
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Thank Clare46408
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2014

After moving from the UK I wanted to make my husband’s birthday a special event by booking a very characteristic and English themed hotel. After much research I decided the Sir Francis Drake was the best match for this with the grand décor and design. I wanted to book the best room available so booked a Grand Room with ‘additional seating space’ listed at a price of $409 a night (not including breakfast) The description on the website was ‘spacious’ and was one step below a suite at $1200 a night.

I emailed the hotel a few times to say it was my husband’s birthday and could they offer something to make the event special (upgrade or good view) I have no response to any of the emails. On checking in were relatively underwhelmed with the reception, no information provided on the services, rooms, bar anything just given a key to room 816. We went to the bar for a drink but was told nobody was serving! So went to our room. The room was absolutely not a grand king room. We hardly had room to get around the bed with our bags and I have never seen a bathroom so small. You could only fit one person in at a time. It was facing another high rise hotel room and had 1 bath robe. The bathroom was dated and the tiles were mouldy. The room was also very dark and very cold. When asking reception if this was the room we have booked and paid for i.e a spacious grand room the receptionist curtly stated yes with no it’s the right room with no intention of helping us. I was so deflated I did not argue any further as I did not want to ruin my birthday celebrations which I had planned.

When arriving back at the hotel that evening the bar again was not serving. We ordered breakfast to our room in the morning which was just under $90! Parking was $55. The bottles of water in the room were $6 each. We spent hundreds of dollars on our stay and it was appalling service. Breakfast came with no mention of my husbands birthday (I will admit the food was very good). Then at 9.30am a maid just opened the door without knocking and walked straight in to the room. At 10.00am a male member of staff just unlocked the door and barged straight in with no knock! 2 people in 30 minutes! At 9am in the morning!

On checking out we asked for the hotel to keep our bags for a while. On collecting them I was told to wait by a door until somebody came by to help. 20 minutes later the receptionist had to help me as ‘somebody must be on lunch’! The concierge and the receptionist watched me stand there for 20 minutes before helping.

I have since emailed the hotel twice a formal complaint. I have also messaged them on facebook asking them to reply and explain why we did not get the room we paid an extortionate rate for and after spending hundreds of dollars the appauling service and not making the stay ‘special’ at all! This hotel could be a great venue but as it is now they clearly do not value the customer and falsely advertise rooms. I have provided an opportunity to them to follow up on my complaint but are still not interested so hence leaving this review. I would stay clear. There are other hotels, cheaper with much better rooms and service.

Room Tip: Don't pay for a grand room as you just get an average room - save your money
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank KSav123
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 April 14, 2014

Dear KSAV123,

I am truly sorry that you had issues with your room type and your birthday celebration; I'm not sure whom you sent the email requests to but I can assure you that I didn't receive them. I personally respond to all complaints and I'm always available to help with guest issues that don't get solved to your liking. We make some mistakes, but we always do our best to make it better; I would love the opportunity to make it up to you.

Jim.gross@sirfrancisdrake.com

Thanks

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2014

I stayed here while on business in San Francisco. The hotel is beautiful, the architecture impressive, and it is well maintained. The beds are comfortable but the rooms are quite small. The toiletries provided are of a good quality but are hard to use due to the antitheft device that they are stored in. The location is right on a cablecar route, so you can get anywhere from the hotel. The evening wine reception like all kimptons is a nice touch. However, this one lacks charm due to a lack of seating and what seems to be a daily miscommunication between the reception organizers and the kitchen.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled on business
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Thank Highclasslowrent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2014

This hotel is one of the many Kimpton properties in San Francisco. Have stayed at The Palomar, Monaco and Harbor Court which are better in that order. Stayed at The Drake for a wedding this time. There are pros and cons. Pro's - It has a central location right off Union Square, provides an excellent value for location, friendly, helpful staff. Cons - crowded and understaffed front desk and valet, can be very loud depending on floor and room location, rooms are inconsistent, some good with decent size bathrooms, others tiny and loud with tiny showers. Elevators are the original and VERY slow.

Room Tip: Insist on a quiet room, avoid the top floor as the club is right above. The higher corners have vie...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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Thank 312-415-212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2014

Brilliant location right next to Union Square and next door to Sachs on 5th Avenue. An old building that is full of character and fabulous decor but the rooms are beautifully decorated and furnished. Continental breakfast was included in our rate and this was great - bowl of lovely fresh fruit, fresh warm muffin, orange and coffee or tea.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank ParqueTropical
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2014

I stayed at this historic hotel for New Years Eve and had a wonderful experience so decided to recommend it for a group weekend trip this past weekend 4/4/14.
They rooms had no hot water, the noise from the Starlight room was pounding until 11:30PM, there was either a wait for the elevators or a room key check before boarding in the evening.
The rate I booked at and the rate shown on the in room check out were 1 amount, yet pending charges on my card were substantially more.
I have left messages with billing, no return call for 24 hours then a call which I missed and no voice message was left.
There are many great Kimpton hotels in San Francisco, I suggest you think twice before booking at this one.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking Union Square, mid floors as to avoid the noise from the Starlight room
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank JRG3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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
Price Range: $188 - $498 (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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