Fodor's Expert Review Sir Francis Drake Hotel

450 Powell St., San Francisco, California 94102, United States See on Map

Beefeater-costumed doormen greet you as you enter the regal lobby of this 1928 landmark property that feels like an Italian castle restored to her former glory. The first-rate location just steps to Union Square and rich history make this a favorite for business travelers.

Valet parking is very expensive, so sleuth around online to find a cheaper garage to park in for the night.


Guest quarters are fitted with typical technological amenities yet evoke the past with regal headboards atop beds draped in blue, white, red, and gray.

YOU SHOULD KNOW For all rooms, guests must pay a nightly "amenity fee" to cover the newspaper delivery, Wi-Fi, bikes, and in-room yoga mats. Take advantage of the $10 credit at the hotel restaurant.


Fodorites comment that bathrooms are too tight for comfort. While larger room types offer more spacious restrooms, be warned that this is a historic hotel, with plenty of original quirks. Atelier Bloem bath amenities might make the tight squeeze more tolerable.


The lobby is decked out with chandeliers, Italian marble, velvet furnishings, and a centerpiece bar hugged by silver stools and a pair of Renaissance-inspired murals.


Arrange with the front desk for an in-room massage treatment.


Precor machines populate the fitness center. The hotel offers yoga mats in your room, with a yoga channel to get your om in gear.


Scala's Bistro serves better-than-average food in its somewhat noisy bi-level dining room. Take advantage of that amenity fee which gets your a $10 credit on your meal, and splurge on the tasting menu. The house risotto, or the porchetta with fennel are fine choices. Don't miss the cream pie for dessert.


Harry Denton's Starlight Room, on the hotel's top floor, is a tribute to faded 1920s glory and is one of the city's best-known skyline bars. In the lobby, sit atop the white wingback bar stools and sip craft cocktails, or enjoy free bevvies at the nightly social hour.


Getting Around

Valet parking is well over $50. The cable car passes right out front, taking you to Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf. At Powell Street Station (5-minute walk) catch the Muni or BART trains, which connect you with the city's outer neighborhoods, the East Bay and both Oakland and San Francisco airports.


For a Parisian cafe experience, head over to Cafe de la Presse (5-minute walk) for quiche, sandwiches, and hearty salads overlooking the Chinatown gate. Gourmet pizza and fresh salads, craft cocktails and a fine selection of wines make Delarosa (10-minute walk) a crowd-pleaser.


Across the street, Golden Gate Tap Room (1-minute walk) boasts a dizzying selection of beers on tap. Atop Nob Hill, ride the elevator to the Top of the Mark (6-minute walk) for martinis with an epic city view.


This historic treasure, with a solid restaurant and legendary rooftop club, pleases families traveling with pets.


Business, Historical, Pet Friendly, Views
412 rooms, 4 suites
Breakfast Yes, for a fee
Lunch Yes
Dinner Yes
Bar Yes
Room Service Yes
Valet Parking


Phones: 415-392–7755; 800-795–7129

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