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“Great inn!”

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Cornell Hotel de France
Ranked #28 of 230 Hotels in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 12 July 2014

We stayed for four nights and would stay here again. Previous poster had negative reviews on the breakfast: you have 3 choices - 1. pancakes or French toast depending on the day. 2. eggs (2) anyway you want it plus one bacon, a little bit of potato hash and toast. 3. Omelette. Plus they have 3 types of cold cereal - corn flakes, raisin bran, and mini wheats; coffee and orange juice. The service was fast and the servers friendly, so not sure why the poster was disgruntled. The breakfast was sufficient for us.

Another poster was concerned about safety due to open windows. The rooms do not come with A/C. I am assuming this is the reason why the windows were open. San Francisco was cool when we were there late June. It never got above 70 deg F and it was colder at night that one night, the heat went on. The inn felt like being at home so we didn't feel threatened by open windows.

The bath tub has claw feet so it can be a hazard for someone climbing in if one has balance issues.

The building is old but wonderfully decorated and very European, esp. the breakfast area (in the basement) which doubles as a French restaurant (Jeanne D'arc) open only during dinner. Like in Europe, the elevator is hand opened. Each floor is named after a French artist: Modigliani, Matisse, Gauguin, etc. and posters/copies of their work decorate the hallways.

The location cannot be beaten: near Union Square, and the Hyde-Powell St. and Hyde-Mason St. cable car turnaround, shopping, and restaurants. The rental car agency (National/Alamo) happened to be just across the street. Market St. is down hill, four blocks if using the BART as well as public transport. The visitor center is at the bottom of the hill as well.

Tip: buy a MUNI pass, which can be bought at the visitor center. We did not have a rental car until the last day when we headed out of town. We bought 3-day passes, each pass /person. Cable car cost per ride, one-way; street cars/buses are /ride, one-way. We used the public transportation to get around the city (very efficient) and rode the cable cars to our hearts content with the passes (all three lines!!). The receptionist will give you a handy map with the streetcar/cable car/bus lines on it. Use this to plan your day. If you have a car, it sounds like the inn has an agreement with one of the garages for a discount.

Why 4 instead of 5 stars: It's an older establishment. The furniture shows it (in our room anyway). The side chair has an iron burn. The room was quite small (there were 3 of us, adults in 2 queen beds). No view from our room except the roofs of other buildings, etc.

All in all, if in San Francisco, I will gladly stay here again and have dinner at the restaurant (/person, prix fixe).

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank joyrdch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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770 - 776 of 1,714 reviews

Reviewed 12 July 2014

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Easytobook.com
1  Thank YvonneandBert
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveller and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Claude L, Owner at Cornell Hotel de France, responded to this reviewResponded 30 September 2014

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed 11 July 2014

The absolute perfect location, being 5 minutes walking distance to union square. Definitely overpriced for an old European hotel, but it was certainly beautiful in its own way. Would stay here again simply for the perfect location. We also walked to Fishermans Wharf within about half an hour! Oh- And the breakfasts were awesome!

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Shenayde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 July 2014

Whenever we visit SF, we always stay at the Hotel Cornell, and most often in Room 608. It feels like home away from home. Excellent staff. Great restaurant. Cute dog. Best location for us. Beautiful artwork.

Room Tip: Select a room by price.
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank AlohaCharlie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2014

My wife & I had a great stay. While everything is actually new and modern, it all has the feel of an old family-owned inn in Europe or perhaps a Bed & Breakfast. The clawfoot tub, the old-style caged elevator, and the decorations all add to that feel in the best way.

It's very conveniently located right on the cable car line just a few short blocks from Union Square. However, we never heard any street noise in the evenings or at night, even though our windows were open all night long.

The staff was wonderful. The lady at the front desk showed an amazing amount of patience with a very confused customer on the phone, finding several ways to explain the most basic details of the hotel until the customer understood.

I would gladly recommend this hotel to anyone and would be happy to stay there again if I should ever return to San Francisco.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Thank Eric T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Claude L, Owner at Cornell Hotel de France, responded to this reviewResponded 7 July 2014

Dear Eric T,

We are very grateful for your kind words about us.
So glad you liked our small hotel and shared your
experience with the Trip Adviser customers who
may be looking for an establishment similar to us.
The employee described in you comment is Diana,
Very devoted for the clientele and our hotel ..she
is " the best". We hope that you will have the oppor-
tunity to come back to San Francisco and stay with
us.... Merci encore

Warm regards

Claude Lambert - Owner

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2014

I was at the hotel for a business meeting. It is centrally located, walking distance to Union Square and to Chinatown, or Nob Hill if you want to walk a little more in a vertical direction. It is less than a block from (I think, check this, the Powell cable car). About 10 minutes (mostly vertical) from Union Square.

The hotel itself is comfortable and quiet. My bed was excellent. The shower pressure wasn't the strongest (at 8 AM, prime time) but was adequate. There is an old-fashioned claw tub in the room, and I very much enjoyed taking baths the days I was there. Rooms are scrupulously clean. There is a flat screen tv which I never turned on, and free wi-fi that I used every day. The included American style breakfast is freshly cooked and tasty, and tasteful, too. Not too much food, just enough.

Service was amazing--my group was having a meeting there and we had courteous help as long as we needed it.

The decor was to me delightful. Don't come here if you want 'cookie cutter.' It is in fact very reminiscent of a 2 or 3 star French hotel, except the hygiene and cleanliness is much higher.

There is no room service, so don't think of the Cornell if you expect that. There is no workout room.

I just loved this hotel and will return again if my life takes me to San Francisco in the future. In a way, it's a little kitchy, with reproductions of French paintings, original paintings on the doors of the rooms (mine had a severed head from one of the floor's paintings). I loved it. And I especially loved the French style elevator, a cage-style early design.

The other patrons were lovely. This may be a tourist hotel in a tourist district, but (I hope including myself) the tourists are of a high class, and enjoy good service at a very fair price.

I think the Cornell is an outstanding option for an affordable SF hotel....

Room Tip: I had a room facing the street, and because the trash is collected at c. 4 AM, you may want to look...
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
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1  Thank Annie021
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Claude L, Owner at Cornell Hotel de France, responded to this reviewResponded 7 July 2014

Dear Annie021,

We greatly appreciate you taking the time to share your
good comments and feedback with us. We are glad
that you liked our service, decor and the quality of our
clientele. We hope to have the pleasure to welcome
you again.

Warm regards

Claude Lambert - Owner

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2014

The hotel made us smile when we walked in, we loved the painted decoration everywhere. We had one of the smallest rooms, on 4th floor, but it was perfectly OK, with plenty of storage space for us, and what you expect in a central city location. (we had a MUCH smaller room in Hong Kong!) Don't know what you call the bed in US but it was much bigger than ours at home in UK. The toilet/shower room was compact but all you need, shower was excellent. Air conditioning was not necessary in June, we had a ceiling fan, and a window that opened onto a central air shaft so there was some daylight and sky view, and it was very quiet and we slept well. We choose to stay here because of the excellent location - but be aware that the streets are VERY steep if you are wheeling a suitcase (to lots of other hotels nearby as well.) The old lift adds to the character and is big enough for 4 plus suitcases.

Breakfast was unexciting but adequate to start the day. There is a nice lounge downstairs and a coffee/tea room with free drinks always available and cookies to buy. There was a coffee machine in our room but it takes a bit of improvisation to make a cup of tea! Staff were courteous and helpful and you can print boarding passes if the computer is willing (it wouldn't load ours) but it is rather slow. Wifi was excellent in the room.

Altogether this was a good choice for us and we thought the hotel and dining room were very pretty. The Pizza/pasta room over the road (Uncle Vito's) had delicious cheap food and an affordable half carafe of house wine, and the nearest Japanese down Powell Street (Maru) was very nice too with good combination meals.

Room Tip: Choose between a probably noisy street view room or a quiet one with no view. A ceiling fan is a goo...
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank silvertravellers48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Claude L, Owner at Cornell Hotel de France, responded to this reviewResponded 7 July 2014

Dear silvertravellers48,

Thank you for both your patronage and for posting such
good comments regarding our business. We work very
hard to ensure that we please our customers. We have
no more than ten days of big heat in San Francisco and
it is true that air- condition is not necessary. Our rooms
facing the street have double windows and it is not noisy.
Merci encore..

Warm regards

Claude Lambert - Owner

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 Cornell Hotel de France

Address: 715 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108-3402
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > San Francisco > Union Square
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
#6 Business Hotel in San Francisco
#7 Best Value Hotel in San Francisco
#7 Family Hotel in San Francisco
#25 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range: £108 - £251 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Cornell Hotel de France 3.5*
Number of rooms: 58
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stay in the Heart of San Francisco Discover the charm and elegance of France in the heart of downtown San Francisco at this family-owned and operated hotel, ideally placed within walking distance of vibrant Union Square. Cornell Hotel de France boasts an exceptional location close to many of the city's main points of interest. The theater district as well as the legendary Chinatown can be found only minutes from the hotel. The city's historic cable car system is also easily accessible and provides service to many areas of the city. Originally built in 1910, the Cornell combines old-world charm with today's modern amenities such as wireless internet access. Start the day with a free breakfast at the hotel's on-site renowned restaurant, Jeanne d'Arc. Admire prints of masterpieces from famous artists throughout the hotel. Union Square is a great choice for travelers interested in shopping, restaurants and city trip. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cornell Hotel San Francisco

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