cool and unusual hotels in San Francisco

Top 20 cool and unusual hotels in San Francisco 2020

Ever since the famous counterculture revolution of the 1960s, San Francisco has been a vibrant melting pot of free thinkers, bohemians, and anything a little unconventional. The Californian city has been at the forefront of many progressive movements from the beat generation to the revolutionary gay-rights crusade. With its left-field heritage and reputation for being alternative and funky, it’s not surprising that you can find so many fabulously creative hotels nestled amongst its hilly districts. From all of our team’s visits over the years here is our collective favorite cool, hip, and unique hotels in San Francisco (in no particular order) guaranteed to inject lashings of color, fun, and uniqueness into your city stay…

Hotel Triton – a stylish, inspirational and creative San Francisco hotel with an eco-friendly ethos

A unique hotel San Francisco

A beautiful boutique hotel San Francisco

One of the most popular hotels in San Franciso, a stay at the cool and highly rated boutique 4-star Hotel Triton is anything but dull. Located in the heart of the city (opposite the Chinatown Gate and only a five-minute walk from all the hustle and bustle of Union Square), from the moment you step into the lobby you’ll enter a beautiful, chic and artistic world with eco-friendly guest rooms that pay tribute to Jack Kerouac.

With its tireless dedication to creativity, this hip San Francisco hotel even hosts art exhibits by local artists. As well as free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, use of yoga mats, in-room spa treatments, eco-friendly boutique bath amenities, an honor bar filled with organic treats, and a daily wine hour, Hotel Triton is also known for its hosting of a number of vibrant events.

Hotel Zetta – a creative trendy hot spot and cultural launchpad in San Francisco

Hotel Zetta San Francisco - coolest hotel in San Francisco

Hotel Zetta bedroom in San Francisco

This 4-star exceptionally rated luxury hip boutique hotel has seen all the coolest magazines falling over themselves to name as one of the best-designed hotels in America. Bright, colorful, arty with enough eccentricity to keep things interesting, the designers definitely haven’t held back here! With a fabulous fusion of the old and new, centrally located Hotel Zetta is housed in a refined neoclassical building but the inside has been completely renovated to feature a clever mix of modern design with plenty of classic and arty details – think reclaimed wood and salvaged antiques sitting alongside swanky modernist sofas and chairs.

With a more than a little hint of fun, there’s even a two-story Plinko game in the lobby and a second-floor lounge that features billiards and shuffle-puck tables. Located only a 9 minutes’ walk from buzzy Union Square and a 3-minute walk from the Powell Street cable-car and BART rail station, this is a great choice for a hip hotel that combines high-tech lodging with artsy touches. Also expect a free weekly yoga class, in-room spa services, smart TVs and games consoles, and a 24-hour fitness center – we’ll guarantee you’ll fall in love with this funky and chic San Francisco abode! 

Palihotel – a beautifully crafted San Francisco boutique hotel in Union Square

A boutique hotel in San Francisco

A hip and unique hotel in San Francisco

When staying in San Francisco, could you pick a better location than Union Square? The gorgeous Palihotel is perfectly located in the Union Square area, next to the Powell Street and Market Street cable car line. This historic building has 82 renovated king, queen, and suited rooms, designed to suit a wide range of travelers.

There are many unique and romantic hotels in San Francisco but this is one of the best. This trendy hotel is also perfect for tourists as each room is a blend of classic and contemporary California-centric art and design. You are walking distance from several theatres, bars, and restaurants, a cable-car ride away from the farmer’s market and pier, and a BART ride away from everything else in this vibrant city!

Virgin Hotel San Francisco – a cool and vibrant upscale hotel which mixes a passion for food with music and culture

Instgrammable hotel in San Francisco

A hip new hotel in San Francisco

A trendy hotel in San Francisco

This chic and already very popular hotel by Richard Branson’s famous brand is located in the SoMa (South Market) district in San Francisco goes above and beyond to make you feel at home. Whilst you get your own king size bed to sleep on, so does your dog! More of a lifestyle concept than a hotel, the cool and vibrant San Francisco accommodation mixes “a passion for food and beverage with music and culture.

Every room at the Virgin Hotel (what they call a “Chamber”) is also equipped with sliding privacy doors; when you close them, you can separate the living area from the bedroom. You also get your own dressing room area with a make-up desk with amazing lighting, closet space, and a walk-in shower with a rainfall showerhead! Other reasons to stay include the excellent numerous dining and drinking outlets ( including the brand’s flagship space the Commons Club), the cutely named The Funny Library coffee shop, and the rather swish rooftop bar. Bliss!

Hotel Zeppelin – a hip and unique boutique hotel that celebrates San Francisco’s counterculture tradition

Hotel Zeppelin San Francisco - the trendiest hotels in San Francisco

Hotel Zeppelin bedroom San Francisco

Hmm…it’s tough trying to describe this cool San Francisco hotel but I think that’s the intention of its designers! It’s at once kitschy, hip, futuristic and historical… in parts, it reminded me of a sci-fi film made in the 1960s, in others a very clean and swish Frat house and finally a luxurious spa hotel! The 4-star and exceptionally rated Hotel Zeppelin is a beautiful mash-up of lots of styles and ideas that celebrate the cultural melting pot that is San Francisco, my room, for example, was a gorgeous melange of 1960’s colors with lots of contemporary twists. It featured vintage turntables, vinyl records, and funky artwork as well as Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and minibars. Suites and upgraded rooms feature unique touches such as fireplaces, kitchenettes and some have gorgeous outdoor decks.

Overall it was comfy as well as being trendy and a huge bonus was that it was set in the upscale Nob Hill neighborhood right in the center of the city, just minutes from Union Square (and a 2 minutes’ walk from the nearest cable car stop which will take you all over the city)The service was outstanding and nothing was too much of an ask – all in all, just a fabulous, unique and unusual place to stay in San Francisco!

  • Prices from $130pn a night
  • To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Zeppelin

Hotel Zephyr – a hip nautical-themed boutique hotel with a fabulous outdoor space

A unique hotel in San Francisco

A funky hotel in San Francisco

A trendy hotel in San Francisco

Hotel Zephyr is right bang smack in the middle of the popular tourist haunt of Fishermans Wharf (5 miles from the Golden Gate Bridgebut this no ordinary tourist trap! It is, in fact, an upscale and highly regarded boutique hotel that celebrates the industrial maritime heritage of the city and throws in plenty of fun too. As a former hosteller, I loved this place because it’s laid out to encourage interactions, from the cool outdoor courtyard complete with a fire pit, seating, and sculptures, a fun food truck and giant board games to the quirky yet luxurious lobby complete with portholes and furniture made from old dock signs – wonderful!

The trendy San Francisco accommodation is bright and comfortable too and there are loads of nice little touches that make it unique…for example, alongside the usual smart TV I spotted backgammon and chess in my room as well as a balcony offering fabulous views over the Wharf. Opt for a suite and you’ll also find floor-to-ceiling windows and other amenities include a colorful gym and free parking. This place is cheeky, quirky, and fun but also uncompromising in comfort – for seafarers and landlubbers alike, I would recommend it wholeheartedly!

Phoenix Hotel – the fun and unique ‘rock n’ roll’ hotel and one of the top places to stay in San Francisco

A fun and cool hotel in San Francisco

A hip Instagrammable hotel in San Franciso

Hip hotel in San Francisco

Otherwise known as the Rock’n’Roll hotel, this 1950’s style retro motor lodge is said to be where the likes of Little Richard, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Radiohead stay when they are in town. This funky oasis enjoys a very hip location on the edge of San Francisco’s trendy Tenderloin district (only a 10-minute walk from to BART rail station which will take you to the rest of the city), the classic hotel combines colorful kitsch with a super caring ethos – they donate a percentage of their profits to local charities for example.

This ultra-hip San Francisco hotel is set around a retro motel-style courtyard, the trendy rooms and suites offer mod cons like free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and minifridges and other hotel highlights include free passes to a nearby Japanese-style bathing facility, a seriously hip restaurant and a poolside lounge serving seasonal fare and creative cocktails. Fun is always high on the agenda at the Phoenix hotel and expect to see colorful murals at the bottom of the swimming pool, retro signs and original sculptures and art dotted around the courtyard.  – a very cool place indeed!

Hotel Emblem San Francisco – a much-loved Beat Generation-inspired unique boutique hotel in San Francisco

A chic hotel in San Francisco

Unique hotel in San Francisco

A trendy boutique in San Francisco

Centrally located Hotel Emblem is a much-loved Beat Generation-inspired boutique hotel. The historic building – which is located only a 3-minute walk from all the shops, restaurants, and theatres of Union Square – was painstakingly restored to offer a very unique accommodation experience in San Francisco. Hailed as the ideal retreat for ‘literary minds, creative souls, and non-conformists’ with sleek dark and artistic interiors and literary-themed furnishings.

The rooms at this unusual San Francisco hotel are chic and spacious with custom wall coverings, hand-painted lampshades, and an excellent range of modern amenities including smart TVs, Nespresso coffee machines, and free WiFi. Other very cool touches include a free nightly wine hour, a trendy bar serving up retro cocktails, weekly art events, and live jazz and random poetry readings at their popular on-site Café Andrée, a pretty special and very popular place to stay!

Argonaut Hotel – a highly Insgrammable nautical-inspired boutique in Fisherman’s Wharf and one of the best hotels in San Francisco

Intagrammable hotel in San Francisco

A cool hotel in San Francisco

Located in the legendary Haslett Warehouse in Fisherman’s Wharf (only ais a 12-minute walk from Pier 39 and 0.5 miles from Alcatraz Island), this exceptionally rated chic 4-star boutique hotel in San Francisco has indeed cast itself in iconic terms. The Argonaut Hotel has topped many a best hotel list for years now and pays homage to the city’s Barbary Coast days with a tasteful nautical theme and ship paraphernalia galore. The exposed brick image nods to its pioneering past while the slick design celebrates the city’s eclectic vibe and even the porthole-shaped mirrors manage to remain tasteful.

There’s also careful attention to detail at this contemporary San Francisco stay with luxury linens, in-room spa treatments, yoga mats, and – in upgraded rooms –whirlpool tubs and sublime views of Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. Throw in a superb spa, a complimentary wine reception, a seafood restaurant with terrace seating, eco-friendly credentials, and pet-friendly attitudes and you have a hotel hero even Greek legend would consider worthy of the name!

  • Prices from $130 a night.
  • To book, check prices or availability for Argonaut Hotel

The Clift – combines luxury, history and high art and one of the best places to stay in San Francisco

Beautiful hotel in San Francisco

A hip hotel San Francisco

This famous San Francisco institution of a hotel is a delicious fusion of luxury, history, and high art with pieces by Dali and Roberto Matta rubbing shoulders with crafted furniture and a tasteful design by Phillipe Starck throughout. Located a 6-minute walk from all the upscale shopping at Union Square and 4 minutes’ walk from a Muni Metro station, the much loved and highly rated Hotel Clift offers a beautiful and elegant San Francisco stay! I especially enjoyed a signature cocktail in the beautifully restored wood-paneled Redwood Bar which featured velvet sofas and conjured up images of the long-ago jazz era, flapper dresses, and a morose saxophone player briefly visible amidst clouds of cigarette smoke. Now, of course, there is no smoke and the saxophone has been replaced by music curated by local DJs – Thursday to Saturday it draws in world-talent too and a steady crowd of revelers follow.

My room at this trendsetting San Francisco accommodation was gorgeous, calm, and comfortable with a custom sleigh bed adorned with the finest quality linens and a state-of-the-art entertainment system that included a flat-screen cable TV. MALIN + GOETZ toiletries featured in the en suite bathrooms and a beautiful view of the city out my window. Location-wise it was perfect – if I jumped on a streetcar up Geary, I got to the rugged coast and ruins of Sutra Baths, if I went in the other direction I soon hit downtown and the financial district and eventually the Bay. An absolutely wonderful place to stay in San Francisco to experience the beautiful bohemian soul of the city with all the sumptuous modern comforts and that you need in life!

Hotel Via – a gorgeous new boutique hotel with a fabulous rooftop bar

Cool hotels in San Francisco

Chic boutique in San Francisco

The newest boutique hotel in San Francisco, but it’s also one of the largest! Their tagline is “Beyond Boutique”, and it’s understandable why! Their décor is modern and sophisticated with custom-made furniture and each room is equipped with 43 inch smart TVs, Illy coffee machines, KEYPR guest experience, and plush terry cloth robes.

The four-star Hotel Via Located in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, this trendy hotel boasts a 360- degree view over Oracle Park, the Bay, and the San Francisco skyline from its rooftop bar – perfect for Instagram lovers! Even some of their corner rooms have these stunning views. Naturally, this is the perfect location if you’re coming for a ball game – you may even be able to watch it from the comfort of your own room!

Yotel – a chic and futuristic San Francisco hotel with all the latest hi-tech features

A fun and trendy hotel in San Francisco

 A chic and unique hotel in San Francisco

Yotel bedroom San Francisco

The fun and funky 4-star Yotel San Francisco is the fourth hotel in the chain and has just opened in 2018 following the refurbishment of a historic building on Market Street. The highly-rated hotel is great for tourists but also for people who are on a working holiday with onsite co-working areas and space for meetings and gatherings. Yotel San Francisco prides itself on providing innovation, efficiency, technology, and a sense of community and stand-out amenities include the airline-style self-check-in desks and a one-stop concierge service known as ‘Mission Control.’

Guest rooms have a neat ‘cabin’ style and feature a mezzanine sleeping space and the very cool Technowalls – YOTEL’s signature smart TV where you can connect and personalize your space through mood lighting adjustment and mobile app streaming. Still want more? There’s also a swish rooftop terrace and bar which offers fabulous 360-degree views of the city, a great choice for a unique stay in San Francisco!

Hotel Diva – a chic and fun unique boutique hotel in San Francisco

Creative hotel San Francisco

Hotel Diva San Francisco

Marketed as a hotel for guests with a big personality, the 4-star Hotel Diva is a highly rated modern boutique hotel with a sleek, tongue-in-cheek provocative design. Definitely one of the hipper hotels in San Francisco, expect a steel-and-glass exterior and equally funky interiors like bright cobalt blue carpets, sculpted stainless steel headboards, luxury bed linens to slumber on and even a fabulous ‘diva’ walk of fame which features signatures of past celebrity guests!

Located just two blocks away from central Union Square (across the street from the American Conservatory Theatre and only a 3-minute walk to a Cable Car stop), the pet-friendly hotel also features fabulously funky rooms with all mod cons, a cool Mexican bistro, a free evening sake hour, an exercise room, no less than four individually decorated lounging areas and attentive staff who aim to cater to all your diva demands. We promise you, this place is anything but dull!

Galleria Park – a chic art deco–style boutique hotel set in a 1911 building

A cool boutique hotels in San Francisco

A chic boutique hotel in San Francisco

Situated in downtown San Francisco, in between the Financial District and Union Square, this beautiful Joie de Vivre Hotel boutique hotel is walking distance from all the major shops such as Barneys, Saks 5th Avenue, Tiffany & Co, Michael Kors, and Neiman Marcus. However, being so close to the Financial District, it is also a popular choice with business travelers.

Each room comes with a desk & ergonomic chair, free WiFi, and Illy espresso machines – it’s no wonder business travelers love it! The rest of the Galleria Hotel’s décor does not disappoint either; with marble-topped desks and contemporary art, it really is a beautiful hotel. The cool hotel also features a large rooftop terrace with a built-in walking track through an urban garden. Enjoy drinks up there or perhaps indulge in their nightly wine tasting event!

Hotel Herbert – a nostalgic budget boutique chic

Hotel Herbert San Francisco - a budget boutique hotel

Originally established as a clubhouse by an eccentric timber merchant in 1909, the highly rated and very popular The Herbert Hotel aims to be a warm, welcoming, and characterful home away from home for adventurous travelers on a lower to a mid-range budget. If you opt for the economy room you can save money by sharing a bathroom but other rooms have en-suites if you yearn for a little more privacy.

All the rooms at this trendy San Francisco abode offer cool exposed brick walls, some funky boho touches as well as flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. Its location is pretty fabulous too and is only a 4-minute walk from all the liveliness of Union Square and its also located along the Powell-Hyde cable car line which will take you all over the city. You’ll also love the chilled lobby which is adorned with photos and memorabilia from the property’s early clubhouse days – nostalgic and wonderful! 

  • Prices from $90 a night.
  • To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Herbert

The Good Hotel – a fun and colorful eco-chic hotel and one of the coolest hotels in San Francisco

A fun eco hotel in San Francisco

A funky hotel in San Francisco

This is a fabulous budget boutique that makes a really good alternative to a hostel or a guest house. Located in the funky South of Market district only a block from the Civic Center BART station (which will easily connect you to the rest of the city), this eco-friendly hotel really knows how to be fun and stylish with lots of funky details and very distinctive furniture. Living up to its name, The Good Hotel claims to be one of the greenest hotels in the city – it’s furnished with reclaimed and recycled products and has bathrooms that feature water-conserving toilets.

The rooms are hip and quirkily decorated with all sorts of fun features but being green is definitely still the name of the game! At this funky San Fran hotel expect blankets made from recycled water bottles, light shades made with recycled glass bottles, and even bed frames crafted from reclaimed wood. Other amenities include a cool photo booth, access to a fitness center and a heated outdoor pool, complimentary bike use and if you have a hybrid car, you can park for free, nice!

  • Prices from $80 per night
  • To book, check prices or availability for The Good Hotel

W San Francisco – a vibrant and trendy hotel which also doubles as a hip social hub in the city

W San Francisco hotel - a trendy hotel

W hotel San Francisco - a cool place to stay

Located in the dynamic SoMa district (the South of Market neighborhood which is dotted with upscale dining options and high-energy nightclubs, only a four-minute walk to a Muni light-rail stop and a mile from San Francisco Bay), the fabulous 4-star exceptionally rated San Francisco version of the prestigious W chain is located deep in the heart of the city’s energy. The bright contemporary rooms at W Hotel San Francisco offer flat-screen TVs, minibars and Wi-Fi and upgraded rooms feature sitting areas and/or skyline or city views and they also offer everything from the unrivaled proximity to the trendiest locations to making bold statements of luxury and an eco-minded ethos – they serve up only sustainable cuisine in their sophisticated restaurant TRACE for example.

At this wonderfully hip San Francisco hotel, also expect to make full use of their gorgeous luxe spa, a hip lounge, a fantastic nightclub-style cocktail bar which overlooks the restaurant, a have-to-be-seen to be believed sleek fitness center which features a glass ceiling and their exclusive whatever/whenever service which offers the ultimate in indulgence and is tasked with taking care of guests every possible whim! Get ready to lose your heart to the W! 

Hotel des Arts – a funky and creative budget hotel

Hotel des Arts San Francisco

Art hotel bedroom in San Francisco

Part hotel, part art gallery, the reasonably priced but highly rated Hotel Des Arts dedicates itself to featuring the contemporary work of international artists. Located in the city’s creative French quarter which is chock full of galleries, cafes and restaurants (and only a 7-minute walk from Chinatown and an 8-minute walk from BART Montgomery Street Station), this fab down-to-earth boutique hotel promises comfortable modern interiors embellished with more than just a dash of visual stimulation!

For the last year, some of the world’s top emerging artists have been allowed full artistic control over the design of the guest rooms and materials showcased in the decoration include wall-mounted vinyl records, graffiti, all manner of different fabrics and even three-dimensional artwork. The result is a fabulously eclectic range of individually designed rooms which also come with free WiFi,  flat-screen TVs, minifridges, and microwaves. An affordable but hugely interesting funky accommodation experience in San Francisco which is not to be missed!

Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel – an opulent boutique hotel set a historic 1920s building

Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel - an upscale hotel in San Francisco

Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel Bedroom

Since its inception in 1928, this 4-star highly rated hotel has been a landmark of opulence and glamour, welcoming through its doors many a celebrity and prominent public figure. Today the Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel it is a much-loved homage to the life of the city. Located in a suitably historic 1920s building just off Union Square in the beating heart of the city (only 2 miles from Fisherman’s Wharf), the hotel is rich in history and is continuing to trailblaze the best service, the most adventurous cocktails and probably the city’s longest-serving doorman at the hotel (who is now a national treasure)!

What a wonderful place this chic and contemporary San Francisco accommodation is – it made me just embrace the theatrical extravagance of the Californian city and I seriously loved it. From the divine cocktails and the free wine hour every afternoon to the regal rooms featuring flat-screens, Wi-Fi, iPod docks and in-room spa services to the 360° Views in the Starlight Bar and the hysterical Sunday Drag Brunch, I can’t think of a better place from which to experience this iconic city…!

Hotel Kabuki – a modern zen-inspired hotel located in Japantown

Hotel Kabuki San Francisco - a Japanese hotel in SF

Hotel Kabuki San Francisco

The highly-rated Hotel Kabuki is a stylish blend of Eastern convenience and Western aesthetics and the owners have succeeded in creating something really unique! I was immediately hit by the tranquil atmosphere of the hotel despite it being just a mile away from central San Francisco (the hotel is set in Japantown, three blocks from the shops and restaurants of Fillmore Street and 1.2 miles from Union Square). The intriguingly decorated, Japanese-influenced rooms feature luxurious linens, flat-screen TVs, and iPod docks and in-room spa treatments. Opt for an upgraded room and you’ll find gorgeous Japanese soaking tubs, balconies and/or whirlpool tubs. Other fabulous features at this unique and chic San Francisco hotel include free bathing passes to the nearby Kabuki Springs and Spa and a sleek lounge serving Japanese and American fare.

The gorgeous décor combines Japanese prints and colors with lots of natural light and thoughtfully designed spaces for a truly authentic twist on a boutique hotel experience. I found I had plenty of time to contemplate life in the serene Japanese garden and soaking in the deep Japanese style bathtub and I left feeling thoroughly rejuvenated despite a rigorous itinerary of city sightseeing! Definitely a cool and unusual gem of a hotel.

Hotel Whitcomb – a historic hotel that exudes a vintage style elegance and a popular place to stay in San Francisco

vintage chic hotel San Francisco

stylish hotel San Francisco
Hotel Whitcomb is the perfect blend of old-time elegance and contemporary facilities. The historic and chic San Francisco hotel once served as City Hall and as I walked off the streets into the beautiful turn of the century lobby complete with wood paneling, marble columns,  Tiffany stained glass, and crystal chandeliers and I instantly felt like I was on a set of a period drama! The original character of this historic building has been carefully maintained throughout the rooms and the communal areas and yet the feel is more distinctive than stuffy. Rooms also feature free Wi-Fi, desks and flat-screen TVs, suites offer a living room, dining area, and wet bar and other hotel highlights include an Asian fusion restaurant, a coffee shop and a wine bar, and an exercise room.

With its ornate classic elegance, it’s the perfect place to come if you want to feel a bit special but don’t want to break the bank either! It also has a great location only a five-minute bus or tram ride to Union Square, a five-minute walk from a BART rail station (which will take you to the rest of the city), and is also served by a streetcar that runs along Market Street. Using its own words it promises a ‘unique mix of vintage hospitality and urban convenience.’

  • Prices from $90 a night.
  • To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Whitcomb

HTL 587 – a classic modern hotel with fabulous city views and a great place to stay in San Francisco

Coolest hotels in San Francisco

funky hotel bedroom in San Francisco

A prestigious Ascend Hotel Collection Member, the highly-rated  Hotel HTL 587 is your calling card for trendy! Located in the chic and funky Downtown Tenderloin area, nestled among the galleries, hip restaurants, and cool bars, it is the perfect base for all those looking for a refuge from the vibrancy while still being part of the San Franciso legendary cool (it’s only a 7-minute walk to the UN Plaza BART station and a 15-minute walk to Union Square).

The bright immaculate rooms mix a classic and contemporary style design with incredible city views and come with all the usual mod-cons – free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and even a virtual concierge – and downstairs you’ll find a laid-laid-back Vietnamese restaurant and a convenience store. The cool and modern San Francisco hotel aims to ensure that guests receive comfort with a few quirky details and great service in a fabulously vibrant area in the heart of the city! 

  • Prices from $90 a night.
  • To book, check prices or availability for Hotel HTL 587

Hotel Vertigo – a Hitchcock inspired themed boutique hotel

Unique hotel in San Francisco

Alfred Hitchcock themed hotel in San Francisco

This highly rated unique San Francisco boutique hotel boasts a very intriguing past, the building (which is located in the posh Nob Hill area only a 9-minute walk from Union Square and a short walk from several light-rail stopswas once a Prohibition-era speakeasy and then the setting for the Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Vertigo – yes seriously!

With a hip new revamp and a name change, the fabulous Hitchcock inspired ‘Hotel Vertigo was born. With the mysterious movie theme running throughout the hotel you can also expect to find leather wing-back chairs, horsehead bedside lamps and Vertigo branded bathrobes creating a wonderful film set experience. Contrasting the classic decor is sophisticated in-room technology which includes a flat-screen HD TV, iPod docking station, and free Wi-Fi. Definitely one for the film buffs!

  • Prices from $110 a night.
  • To book, check prices or availability for Vertigo Hotel

Hotel G – a cool and hip boutique hotel that mixes modern style with a retro charm

beautiful boutique hotel in San Francisco

Relaxing hotel San Francisco

Only a block away from Union Square (a 6-minute walk from Market Street and the Powell Street Metro station), and located in a space which has undergone major upheaval from the great earthquake of 1906 to extensive renovations over the past two centuries, the stylish and highly rated Hotel G is a testament to the tenacity of San Francisco. The history endured by this hip San Francisco stay is encapsulated in every element of its makeup. As you meander through the lobby, relax in the bar or chill out in your impeccably designed room, you will be able to hear the jazz of the past musicians and soak up the vibe of a bygone era, that has been so carefully embodied in the current style and charm of the hotel. The attractive modern minimalist rooms feature Nespresso machines, minibars, smart TVs, and free Wi-Fi and other amenities include a relaxed Euro-American restaurant, a bar, and a gym. A great choice for an interesting boutique hotel located right in the beating heart of San Francisco. 

Hotel Boheme – a cool San Francisco that pays a wonderful homage to the beatnik era

Hotel Boheme San Francisco

Hotel Boheme San Francisco

Full of cozy charm and character, this intimate and exceptionally rated hotel perfectly captures the Bohemian flair of the late 1950s and early 1960’s Beat-era – a post-war literary movement which heavily influenced American culture and politics. The unusual San Francisco hotel has been thoughtfully put together by award-winning interior designer Candra Scott, Boheme Hotel has attracted many writers, artists, filmmakers, and deep-thinking travelers over the years. All of the 15 rooms have been uniquely decorated with strong colors, comfortable but striking cast-iron beds, muslin canopies, and period black-and-white photos which instantly transports you back to that wonderful bygone era. Oh, and as it’s located in Little Italy, you’ll also have immediate access to a huge number of authentic Italian delis and excellent Jazz and Blues Clubs to perfectly complete your authentic beatnik experience…

  • Prices from $140 a night.
  • To book, check prices or availability for Boheme Hotel

Orchard Garden Hotel – a serene upscale eco-boutique

eco hotel San Francisco

Green hotel San Francisco

Reflecting the city’s progressive ideals is this ultra-green, modern, and highly rated 4-star boutique hotel. The Orchard Garden Hotel is only one of four hotels in the world to win the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification – meaning it adheres to the strictest of environmental standards. Both luxurious and popular, the hotel was built with sustainably harvested wood and recycled materials, boasts chemical-free products (including all the products used to clean with), energy-saving rooms, and a restaurant that only uses organic and locally sourced ingredients.

Located in the Financial District only a 6-minute walk to the shops of Union Square and two blocks from the Powell Street cable-car line, other highlights at this chic San Francisco hotel include spacious rooms with free WiFi, flat-screen TVs and Egyptian cotton linens, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a delightful rooftop garden. A stylish hotel with a heart and a conscience, very rare indeed!

Staypineapple@The Alise – a hotel hip with upscale kitsch decor

Staypineapple hotel San Francisco

Quirky hotel San Francisco

Housed in a stately, 100-year-old building right on Geary Boulevard and close to everything I wanted to see in the city (only an 8-minute walk to central Union Square and a short distance to Chinatown) this little ray of sunshine was a real pleasure to stay in! Super friendly staff and comfy luxe rooms with a wonderfully quirky yellow pineapple theme that made it impossible not to feel happy at the 4-star exceptionally rated Staypineapple...I mean who can seriously feel glum wrapped in a yellow gingham bathrobe gazing out at fabulous views of San Francisco?

The rooms had a very high standard of décor which was bright, cheerful, and a touch kitschy with all the mod cons I needed including free WiFi, Bluetooth/iPhone dock, Signature bathrobes, and a very swish marble bathroom complete with a walk-in rainfall shower. The communal areas were equally as warm and welcoming and I enjoyed a glass of Californian wine (okay maybe two!) in the bar as well. Other great features at this hip San Francisco stay included an exercise room, loaner bikes, and available dog beds, water bowls and pet treats – aww! No detail is forgotten here, just a joyful place to stay!

Sparta 2A – a gorgeous contemporary San Francisco apartment

cool apartment in San Francisco

The highly-rated Sparta 2A apartment offers a departure from the frenzy of San Francisco where luxury and contemporary whimsy become reality. This light and airy modern San Francisco abode is a place where you can make a home during your holiday and explore at your own pace knowing that a relaxing environment nestled away from the hustle and bustle awaits you. Located 5 miles from Union Square, not only does it offer respite from the craziness of the city but the floor-to-ceiling windows provide guests with unparalleled views of the city and that bay that Otis Redding was so entranced by. As well as three bedrooms, a fully fitted kitchen (with a dishwasher and oven), modern decor and free WiFi the apartments offer a home-away-from-home ambiance! Lovely!

More unique, unusual and cool hotels in San Francisco

cool San Francisco

  • Nineteen 06 Missioneco-friendly modern B&B housed in a Victorian building from $150pn
  • The Adagio Hotel– Trendy four-star hotel with unique, elegant decor from $200pn
  • The Hotel del Sol– Colourful, trendy hotel with green credentials from $180pn
  • White Swan InnVintage romance in the style of an English country Inn from $190pn
  • Hotel CarltonEclectic and quirky international style in Nob Hill from $130pn
  • Petite Auberge– Popular romantic French-style boutique hotel from $230pn

If you liked our collection of cool and unusual hotels in San Francisco, we also have posts on cool hotels in Portlandcool hotels in Los Angeles, and quirky hotels in New York. And if you have a dog, make sure to check Top 15 dog-friendly hotels in San Francisco.

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Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I've always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I've lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I'm a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian - from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you'll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.

10 Comments

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    Ramona

    31 August, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Love visiting the bay area! One of our favorite hotels to relax near San Francisco is Cavallo Point. It’s right next to the Golden Gate Bridge so the views are stunning.

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    Caroline O'Reilly

    24 August, 2011 at 12:11 am

    I can recommend the Hotel Rex. I stayed there recently after four weeks in corporate hotels in Singapore, Los Angles and Boston. This place was a breathe of fresh air. Great customer service and the wine was a welcome beverage after a long day sightseeing. And the bar is full of local people who will eagerly ask you to join them for a drink and a chat.

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    Chris

    2 August, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I have fortunately had the opportunity to go to San Francisco some years ago with my family. I never actually stayed in the city, as it was a day trip (I was actually staying in San Jose). Checking out these hotels really reminds me of the culture of the place, though. These hotels are cool because they are all so different from each other. The Pheonix hotel looks particularly cool, though I may be biased because that frog playing a guitar statue is just sort of epic!

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