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San Francisco Hotels

Sir Francis Drake Hotel

  • 450 Powell St. Map It
  • Union Sq.
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  • Can't beat the location
  • Free in-room Wi-Fi
  • On-site restaurant and bar are moderately priced
  • Renovation added needed zip to a formerly faded queen


  • Small baths
  • Some complaints about unresponsive service and cleanliness

Updated 03/15/2013

Fodor's Review

Beefeater-costumed doormen welcome you into the regal lobby of this 1928 landmark property—newly unveiled from a $30 million renovation—decked out with chandeliers, Italian marble, velvet furnishings and a sparkling new centerpiece bar hugged by silver stools and a pair of Renaissance-inspired murals; the cumulative effect is of an Italian castle restored to her former glory. The renovation was just what this ole gal needed, injecting her with new life and energy.

Though quarters are fitted with typical technological amenities, the rooms are meant to evoke Sir Francis Drake's era with regal headboards atop beds draped in blue, white, red, and gray. Bathrooms are, unfortunately, still tiny. But something else that hasn't changed—the first-rate locationand its rich history, including Harry Denton's Starlight Room, on the hotel's top floor. A tribute to faded 1920s glory, it's one of the city's best-known skyline bars. The hotel's surprisingly affordable restaurant, Scala's Bistro, serves better-than-average food in its somewhat noisy bi-level dining room.

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Hotel Information


450 Powell St., San Francisco, California, 94102, United States

Map It


415-392–7755; 800-795–7129

Hotel Details:

  • 412 rooms, 4 suites
  • Rate includes No meals

Updated 03/15/2013

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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Jan 15, 2010

Sir Francis Drake Hotel Review

Kimpton has recently taken over this hotel, and generally speaking I have always been happy with Kimpton. However my last stay here just a month ago was a horror story from the get go. First, upon checking in, my reservation was WRONG. I was supposed to have breakfast vouchers and there was none. Even though I had my printout from my booking on line, they would not honor it, and told me that I had to deal with KIMPTON and NOT THE HOTEL!!!

The hotel could not do anything. Next problem was that the room I booked was NOT what I got. I was to have this nicely appointed room (and I have had it before when I stayed there) and what I got was an old outdated room with a miniature bed barely able to accomodate my 6' length. In addition when I got my computer out to get ready for my meeting in the morning, the Internet was down. They insited it was fine, but after persistance and calling their techinical support, which turned out to be several thousand miles away....after having the call escalated twice, I was able to talk to a tech who said the WiFi equipment was not functioning on a number of floors, and they could not get a repair person there until the next day. I needed WiFi for my meeting, and so I wandered the hotel with my laptop and found a signal 6 floors below. Wandering the service staircase I was struck at how dirty the hotel was. The hotel moved me to another room where WiFi was, but the room was just as bad. Also the pillows in both rooms smelled like B.O. as if sweaty people frequent the hotel...what the hell is that about??? If that was not enough, after all this drama I left my room to get ice for a badly needed drink. The ice machine on my floor was broken. I went to the floor below mine, and it was out of service. I went to 2 other floors before I found an ice machine that worked. Wandering the halls, I was struck by how dirty they were, with meal serving trays littered about. Too many and too late in the eveining to be a result of people who just ordered and finished their dinners. Just as I was ready to sleep (it is now midnight) a large jackhammer noise seems to be coming from the wall. It turns out they scheduled construction work in the middle of the night!!!! The front desk apologized claiming they knew nothing of the schedule until just now and said it will be finished in an HOUR!! 1 am!!!!! They told me they had to go because their phones were ringing off the hook! Until Kimpton gets their act together I would NOT recommend staying at this hotel unless you like a LOT OF DRAMA!!!

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By Donna_M

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Jan 20, 2007

Very enjoyable!

We stayed here Aug. 2006 for my brother's wedding ( held at the hotel ). We had a king room which looked recently remodeled and was very nice. The bed was comfortable and had lovely bedding. The bathroom is quite small but that should be expected in older hotels ( which I prefer for the ambiance anyway ). The hotel is beautiful and the wedding was fantastic. Room service breakfast was great!!

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