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“The Old "Guest House"”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Hotel Drisco

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Hotel Drisco
Ranked #1 of 227 Hotels in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
San Francisco, California USA
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“The Old "Guest House"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 August 2014

I have lived in the neighborhood for many, many years. This place was originally called the "El Drisco" but the name changed when they refurbished it a few years ago. This is a hidden, unknown jewel of a place that we neighbors always tried to keep under wraps. For many people in the neighborhood, it's the "guest house" where you put friends who you don't have room for.

While The Drisco is not centrally located, there are still some interesting, off-the-beaten-path sights in the neighborhood. If you walk north one block on Broderick Street you will come to Broadway Street. This is "outer" Broadway and the three block stretch between Divisadero on the the east and Lyon on the west is locally known as the "Gold Coast". These are the most exclusive and expensive homes in The City. There is a prohibition on tour buses in the neighborhood so you can't get here unless you know where it is. All of the houses along here, on both sides of the street, have the most magnificent "bridge to bridge" views. And while the houses on the north side of the street may seem "small", they're not. They're built on a very steep hill and most of them go down four or five stories that you can't see.

If you're feeling energetic and up for a walk, turn left on Broadway and walk down three block to the end of the street where it meets Lyon Street. You'll be at the top of the Lyon Street Steps, one of San Francisco's "step streets". It's only two blocks to the bottom so go ahead and give it a try. At the first intersection beyond Broadway you'll come to a little public garden area at Vallejo Street. The Italianate house on the right is the home of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband Richard Blum.

One more flight down and you'll come to a small park at Green Street. You can now elect to turn around and climb back up or continue down Lyon Street four blocks to the Lombard Street Gate of the Presidio of San Francisco. Depending on what time you get here, Liverpool Lil's is a charming place to have a drink and some food. Or turn left on Lombard into the Presidio and you'll see the Presidio Social Club on the left. Also a great spot for wining and dining.

Back at the hotel, if you turn right onto Pacific Avenue you can get a feeling for the neighborhood. This is "outer Pacific Heights". At the southeast corner of Pacific and Divisadero you'll see a lovely old mansion. This place was once completely subdivided into small apartments. The current owner restored the building to its real glory a few years ago. Now cross Divisadero and walk about half way down the block until you see a very small street that goes off to the left. This is Normandie Terrace, one of the "hidden streets" of San Francisco. Less than a block long, Normandie Terrace dead ends at a high cliff that overlooks Broadway Street below. You may see some security vehicles along here due to the fact that Representative Nancy Peolsi's house is on the street.

To the south from the hotel, down Baker Street, you'll find California Street. Turn left and head toward Divisadero. This whole area is far from the tourist track. The stretch of Divisadero from California Street south to Geary Boulevard has a few bars and restaurants. Much of the business here comes from the hoardes of medical and support professionals who work at the hospitals in the area.

On California near Divisadero you'll find Tataki (the best sushi and sashimi in town), Food, Inc. (good honest food at decent prices), Cumaica Coffee (a local place with decent java) and the Wild Hare (the local gin joint).

Farther afield; a half mile walk further east on California will bring you to Fillmore Street where you'll find a wealth of dining and drinking establishments and a very lively atmosphere.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank PRF_sfo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DriscoManager, General Manager at Hotel Drisco, responded to this review, 31 August 2014
Dear Guest (and neighbor!),

Thank you so much for your wonderful review, and for taking the time to point out so many of the great little unknown sights located in the immediate vicinity. We should distribute your review to our incoming guests in the form of a walking tour of the neighborhood!

I loved your characterization of the Drisco: "This is a hidden, unknown jewel of a place that we neighbors always tried to keep under wraps." I'm afraid that the secret is out now, especially with sights like Trip Advisor! But we always do our best to accommodate all who wish to stay with us. Just one friendly piece of advice: please call well in advance!

Kind Regards,

John Spear
General Manager
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
37 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 August 2014

My husband and I stayed here for a few nights during our honeymoon (make sure to include information like that when booking and they will probably give you something extra).I still dream about it and smile every time I think about it. It was by far the best hotel experience of my life thus far. Every single one of the staff we encountered were amazing. Even the maids looked you in the eye and sincerely wished you a nice day. The concierge and doormen went above and beyond to help us out, move our car, recommend places to go and hail taxis. Plus they host a cheese and wine tasting every night which is to die for. We tasted some of the best wine and found my all time favorite cheese. The hotel was beautiful and clean. I wish I could stay here for every vacation. When we return to San Francisco we will absolutely be staying here again even though it was a little bit of a hike to get to places. The bus ran pretty close though.

Room Tip: Higher floors have a better view, but all seemed good.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank amandas229
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DriscoManager, General Manager at Hotel Drisco, responded to this review, 31 August 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you so much for your review. We are all so honored that we were able to have provided you with the best hotel experience of your life -- wow! I look forward to welcoming you back.

Kind Regards,

John Spear
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
70 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 August 2014

Pros - Amazing personal service (you get what you pay for), fabulous wine reception, beautiful traditional hotel
Cons - No parking (although staff will look after your car keys & move your car to avoid a parking ticket), no air con, very noisy overnight (because you need to keep your windows open to keep cool), Pacific Heights is quite isolated from the rest of San Francisco

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Dave S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DriscoManager, General Manager at Hotel Drisco, responded to this review, 31 August 2014
Dear Guest,

I am very pleased that your enjoyed our luxurious amenities and service, but I was disappointed to learn of the areas where you felt we were lacking. I frequently say that the Hotel Drisco is not the perfect hotel for everyone, and indeed I think one can say that about any hotel, but in the Drisco's case we do have a certain "feature set" (to borrow the lingo from the nearby Silicon Valley) that leaves some people in awe at the experience and frankly leaves a few folks from time to time wondering what all the fuss is about. One need only peruse the long list of amazing reviews here on Trip Advisor to get a sense of just how happy we have made so many of our guests, and that is such a source of pride for all of us here at the hotel.

I have found that almost universally, if a guest is not pleased with their experience at the Drisco it's because they were looking for the features available only in some of the larger, more modern, more centrally-located hotels in the city. And that is totally fair! And so in the interest of trying to help my fellow travelers decide if the Drisco is right for you, I offer the following list of things that the Drisco does NOT offer:

1. Air Conditioning. We don't have it. We generally don't need it. The Drisco is perched high atop a hill and the windows that open wide let in the wonderful breezes constantly flowing in off the Pacific Ocean. Nature's air conditioning. We also offer fans in the room if you need even more air circulation, and we benefit from San Francisco's acclaimed temperate climate. As Mark Twain is famously credited with saying. "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

2. Parking. We don't have it, sort of. We do not have a parking garage or lot, but since we are located in a very exclusive residential neighborhood of San Francisco, parking on the street is generally quite easy to find. But we do offer what I consider an amazing service (one I have never seen offered at any other hotel anywhere): Our Bell staff will be pleased to keep your keys and move your vehicle for you whenever necessary to remain in compliance with the local parking regulations.

3. Location. This is a tricky one. I believe we have the best location of any hotel in San Francisco. When I travel, I like to stay in areas relatively close to the center of the action but not right in the heart of it, and that is exactly what the Drisco provides. But I understand that people have different desires in that regard. If you prefer to stay within close walking distance of many of the most popular San Francisco attractions, the Drisco is not the best hotel for you, plain and simple.

4. Modern construction and/or esthetic. The Hotel Drisco was built in 1903 and we have taken great care to preserve the many wonderful old features of this historic building, while skillfully imbuing many modern conveniences. But that also means the floors sometimes creak a little, and the walls are not as perfectly soundproofed as a hotel with more modern construction.

I hope the above is helpful to those reading my reply to your review, and thank you again for taking the time to post! In the future I genuinely hope that you find a hotel that perfectly matches your needs here in San Francisco!

Kind Regards,

John Spear
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 August 2014

We spent 5 nights at the Drisco and could have stayed even longer. From the moment you arrive you realize you are somewhere special and are treated as such. The service, the food and the terrific staff all reminded me of a luxury hotel in London where service is everything. The location is the best, on the top of Pacific Heights with 360 degree views at every corner. Just walking the neighborhood was a treat. Numerous old style mansions inches away from the next one. The wine and cheese each afternoon was a real treat and the breakfast was incredible, espresso, lattes, wonderful food!!

The location is a few blocks from The Presido from which you can walk to the Golden Gate Bridge. Also a few block from the Fillmore Street district which has some of the best local restaurants in the City.

If you are considering a stay at the Drisco, book it, it will be one of the best travel decisions you make.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank bob g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DriscoManager, General Manager at Hotel Drisco, responded to this review, 31 August 2014
Dear Guest,

I loved your comparison of the Hotel Drisco to one of the great small hotels of London! I used to live in London and have a great fondness for the culture of service one can find in many of the small, independently run five star hotels there. Thanks so much for your review.

Kind Regards,

John Spear
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
128 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 August 2014

Wow! We had such a wonderful time escaping "life as parents" with the Hotel Drisco as our home base.

We noted the reviews from other people (thank you!) that mentioned the difficulties in parking so chose not to rent a car for this trip and were very happy with the result. The hotel driver was very nice and made our visit very comfortable. We're from the prairies so were happy to let someone else contend with the hills of San Francisco!

The afternoon snacks and wine tasting was wonderful. My husband was tempted to skip dinner and just eat meatballs -- I wouldn't let him *smile* though I agree, they were really good meatballs. The front sitting room with tea was also very nice.

The room was lovely, the bed was comfortable and the bathroom was lovely. I loved the touch of the bathtub products (bath salts, etc) that were provided. We also loved the "white noise machine".

We didn't pay extra or "try" to get a nice view in the hotel so our room wasn't "special" and it was still a wonderful city view (in other words, I think most views in the hotel would be very nice).

I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone who asks.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ltcguenther
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DriscoManager, General Manager at Hotel Drisco, responded to this review, 15 August 2014
Dear ltcguenther,

I'm very glad that you found the Drisco to be a romantic escape from your life as parents -- we specialize in that!

We have so many unique and special amenities here at the Drisco that I am always intrigued to see which ones our guests choose to comment on. In your case, I was pleased to see that you enjoyed the signature meatballs we serve during our complimentary wine reception each night, our wonderful Bvlgari bath amenities and our bedside sleep machine.

Many of our guestrooms do have spectacular views of San Francisco, however quite a few also look inwards at our interior courtyard. If a great view is important to you then please book one of our room types with "City View" in the guestroom name.

Many thanks for your great review!

Kind Regards,

John Spear
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reno, Nevada
Level Contributor
92 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2014

The property is in a very nice part of Pacific Heights, on top of the hill looking down over the San Francisco Bay. The rooms were nice. There is one small elevator and a narrow stairway so it's a minor challenge to get to the room. There is also no parking on site, so the valet staff parks your car on the street and moves it every couple hours to comply with the neighborhood parking rules (a little weird).

There is a complimentary continental breakfast and evening wine tasting/appetizers. Also, although we did not have a change to use it, the hotel apparently provides complimentary access to the Presidio YMCA.

We were only able to stay 1 night before moving on, but would stay here again in the future. Far cheaper than the major hotels in Union Square and many more perks.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank timo123123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DriscoManager, General Manager at Hotel Drisco, responded to this review, 13 August 2014
Dear timo123123,

I'm very glad you enjoyed your stay and will be returning!

There's no question that we're a one-of-a-kind hotel. Built in 1903, we've taken great care to have preserved all of the original architectural charm (including smaller staircases and elevators than you would find in a large, modern hotel!) while weaving in all manner of modern necessities.

We also take great pride in the parking services that our Bell Staff offers. In fact, I am unaware of any other hotel in the world that offers to move your vehicle every few hours in order to keep you in compliance with the rather strict local parking regulations. Complimentary I might add!

Thanks for your review, and I look forward to welcoming you back soon!

Kind Regards,

John Spear
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2014

We stayed one night at the Hotel Drisco and our only regret is not booking several more. Everything here was top notch from the service, to the room, to the location. It was one of the best hotel experiences I've had! We enjoyed the wine and cheese reception in the afternoon and the breakfast...well, I don't think I've ever been able to order a latte at a "free breakfast with your stay" before. We used their free bikes all day to explore the Presidio, Golden Gate Bridge, and Golden Gate Park. It was a relatively short walk to a wide of array of restaurants, cafes, and shops.The location right next to the Presidio was beautiful and relaxing. I would absolutely stay here again if/when I find myself in San Francisco!

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Sarafloot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DriscoManager, General Manager at Hotel Drisco, responded to this review, 13 August 2014
Dear Sarafloot,

Thanks for your great review! I'm so pleased that you were able to use our bikes all day during your recent stay, and that you enjoyed our location next to the Presidio -- what an amazingly beautiful park.

I hope your travels do take you to San Francisco again in the near future so we can welcome you back as one of our many repeat guests.

Kind Regards,

John Spear
General Manager
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 Hotel Drisco

Property: Hotel Drisco
Address: 2901 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94115-1011
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > San Francisco > Pacific Heights
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in San Francisco
#1 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
#1 Business Hotel in San Francisco
#3 Family Hotel in San Francisco
#5 Green Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Drisco 4*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Please note that we are currently closed for renovations until July 1, 2017! The Hotel Drisco, constructed in 1903, blends traditional elegance with the convenience, comfort, and amenities of a world-class modern hotel. Our warm hospitality, inviting atmosphere, and impeccable service are designed to please business and leisure travelers alike. Our complimentary services include a gourmet continental breakfast, evening wine reception, chauffeured sedan service to several popular San Francisco locations and complimentary high-speed Internet access. ... more   less 
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TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, Booking.com, Odigeo, Priceline, TripOnline SA, Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd and HotelQuickly so you can book your Hotel Drisco reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Drisco Hotel San Francisco
Drisco San Francisco

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