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“Small problem but they went above and beyond to make up for it. GREAT stay!”

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Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Ranked #89 of 228 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersGold level
1 review
“Small problem but they went above and beyond to make up for it. GREAT stay!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 August 2012

Never been to San Francisco? A little older? Stay here. The hotel is elegant and the renovation in 2011 was very well done. The showers could do with glass doors and a light, but other than that the room was just perfect. The hotel is on the main trolley line and a half block from Union Square with all the major double decker bus tours of the city. This classic hotel and the staff impress from the moment you arrive and it's a terrific location for breaks in between activities.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank HappyDr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 20 August 2012
Dear HappyDr:

Sounds like you enjoyed our hotel as well as its location! I couldn't agree with you more on our 2011 renovation! We now have a product that combines the old and the new!

Hope to see you back at the Drake in your future trip to SF!

Jim Gross, General Manager
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3,080 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 August 2012

The facility is a great old hotel, and the Beefeater bellmen at the door, the front desk staff, and the Bar Drake in the lobby are wonderful- out of a 40's movie!

Our desk clerk and the Bar Drake mixologist (with the goofy Bono glasses - sorry!) enjoy their job and perform them excellently! If you want to pay $15 per drink,Bar Drake is a great place to do it. If you want to feel welcomed on check-in, come to the Drake. We also had a great meal for two at Scala's for $160. This is a great location if you want to be close to Union Square, like fancy hotel lobbies,and have lots of disposable income.

Our room at the Drake was a Grand King. Since this get-away was for both our anniversary and my wife's birthday, I asked twice if we could get a suite or a really nice room, and was told this room type was the best style available - they promised they would place us on a top floor in the very nicest of rooms.

We got floor 10 of 23 with no view except of other rooftops, no fridge or microwave, and we were located next to BOTH elevators and housekeeping. The walls were paper-thin, so we got to enjoy the sounds of our neighbors at night, and hotel staff in the morning. Housekeeping started at 7am SHARP! When we put up a Do-Not-Disturb sign throughout the day, housekeeping staff would just call instead of knocking - during one hour-long nap attempt, housekeeping called THREE times.

Reservation and front-desk staff asked if we were staying there for anything special, and I told them about the two major events in our lives - during the reservation they told me we were in for special treats; on check-in 'Nelson' told us we were in for something special, I called 'Nelson' last Wed. after they did nothing for our anniversary and he told me we were in for special treats for my wife's birthday later in the week. Nothing. They made no attempt during our entire seven-night stay to make us feel welcome, appreciated, special, or loyal. We didn't ask for any special treatment, but why did they bring it up if they clearly don't care?!?!

We stayed here primarily because of the Starlight Room; we love ballroom dancing, and were looking forward to doing it at the top of our hotel. The drinks were $10-20 each - as expected, but the music was song after song of indistinguishable R&B elevator music. We tried to tough it out and dance to the music, but the dance floor was coated in rubber or glue or something - if you are looking to dance, go elsewhere! Try Tonga Room at the Fairmont or the Top of the Mark at the Mark Hopkins.

Overall, the Drake really messed up this vacation for us - although the hotel is OK if you don't have high expectations, they dramatically over-promise and under-deliver; especially when you attempt to upgrade your experience and they won't help and don't care. Go two blocks north and visit the Mark Hopkins or the Fairmont for a much better stay and personalized service.

Unless you own a private jet, steer clear of the Drake and other Kimpton Hotels - they just don't care if you're there or not.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Senior_Picky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 20 August 2012
Dear Senior_Picky:

Although, I'm glad to know that you enjoyed the hotel's ambiance and the time you spent at the Bar Drake and Scala's Bistro, I am very disappointed to learn that our staff could not provide you with the level of service which you come to expect.

I have already readdressed your experience with my staff and hope that you'll give us another chance.

Regards,

Jim Gross, General Manager
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Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 August 2012

Warning! If you book your reservations through price line you will be treated as if you do not exist!
We were on a girls trip. When we checked a few hotels they all seemed to be sold out.
So we decided to try Priceline. They knew we had 3 people and booked us in a room with a double bed. We had to travel to an outdoor store and purchase an air mattress so that we did not have to sleep on the floor. We were told by the Hotel that if you book through Priceline your contract is with them and not the hotel. We paid over $300.00 per night and were treated this way. We then called Kimpton's1 800 number to speak with them and they compared our situation was like buying something at KMart and trying to return it to WalMart!!! We then ask if there hotel felt this way why did they participate with Pricline? We were told this was a higher authorities
decision. I wish I knew who this is and how they treated us. Thank goodness we were only there 3 days. The room was tiny, the bathroom the worst ever, space wise and size wise.
Walls very thin. Our room was in a creepy location as well. I would never stay here again or any of their other locations. I will make sure that kimpton hotels are marked off my list. We traveled onto wine country. Then returned to San Fransisco at The Four Seasons, where we were treated like the ladies that we are! It was fantastic and a great way to end our fabulous girls trip!

Room Tip: Do not stay here!
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Sherri T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 20 August 2012
Dear Sherri T:

First off, I apologize for any incovenience you experienced. It is certainly not our intention nor business practice to treat any guests differently from the others regardles of how the reservations are made.

As a general manager of the hotel, I am truly disappointed that my staff presumably made you feel that way. I have already reemphasized the importance of carrying out the best guest service at any point.

Sincerely,

Jim Gross, General Manager
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Toronto
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 August 2012

In short: Stay Here. This was my first time at a Kimpton hotel and I'm hooked. Their corporate philosophy is to go above and beyond the normal call of duty every day. And they do so, indeed. Believe me, this is a well-run house in a great location. A place I'd return to without hesitation.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TorontoBorn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 17 August 2012
Dear TorontoBorn:

I am very happy to know that you enjoyed our hotel and the service which our staff provided to you.

Sincerely,

Jim Gross, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
78 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2012

Stayed at the hotel. There were 3 couples and we all booked the same King upgrade. All three rooms were totally different. One had small bathroom/small room/huge closet. One had 3 small closets, large bathroom, and large room. No consistency whatsoever. Check-in was fine and room service was adequate. However, for the price of the room, I would choose to stay somehwere else. Very noisy all night.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Paige B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 15 August 2012
Dear Paige B:

Thanks for your comment. I'm glad to know that you enjoyed our service.

Hope to welcome you back at the Drake.

Jim Gross, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oakville
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2012

Some old hotels are great because they update them while retaining the old charm, but this is not one of those hotels. It is in an extremely good location, but that's all they have to offer.

We were part of a large wedding group staying at the hotel. Considering there were so many people who could spread a bad word, you'd think they'd have tried to provide good service. No such luck. Before leaving home we requested early check in. We got there and were told we wouldn't get in a minute earlier than normal. When we finally did get in our room, the maid was there and she told us the room had been ready for hours.

The rooms are oddly decorated, bright red dresser with mismatched end tables and desk. The lamps look like something they picked up at a garage sale. The closet and bathrooms are old, and although there is a new pedestal sink in the bathroom, it doesn't offer any room to put toiletries or a even glass to store toothbrushes or to have a drink of water to take pills. And the stench in the bathroom is something else. It smelled like sewage. We had to buy our own airfreshner, which only masked the stench, but the hotel wouldn't do anything to rid us of the smell. We had to leave the bathroom door shut at all times.

As members of the Kimpton in Touch program, we were led to believe that we could "raid the mini bar" - these rooms didn't have mini bars. Also, there was supposed to be a cocktail party at night, but apparently this hotel is the only one that doesn't have it.

The concierge was a joke. First we met a woman who appeared to be bothered by us asking questions. We wanted a recommendation for good dim sum - she suggested a place which we'd already heard about, so this agreed with what we were hoping for, so the decision was made where we'd go, so I asked her how to get there, and in the snarkiest voice she could muster, she told me that "you can't walk there". OK, so how's the best way to get there? I had to push until she finally said that a cab was the best way to go, but she couldn't tell us an approximate cost for the cab, so we had no idea if we were going 1 mile or a hundred miles, or if it should cost $10 or $1,000. She was completely unhelpful. Then I asked her if it was possible to get Alcatraz tickets for Saturday (this was Thursday). She said that we could get Alcatraz tickets for Saturday as part of a complete bus tour package that cost $100 per person. We asked her if there would be any issue if we booked after coming back from the dim sum lunch. She said there was lots of time.

So, off we went for the best dim sum ever (Yank Sing). It was so yummy. I highly recommend it - but expensive. When we returned from lunch we went back to the concierge who was now a man. He signed us up for the full tour, including Saturday Alcatraz. We paid our $20 deposit. Then later that evening the concierge found us to to tell us that we couldn't get to Alcatraz on Saturday, we had to go on Sunday. Thank goodness, you don't have to pay for the Alcatraz portion until the day you go, because although we had hoped to be able to go on Sunday, it was just too rushed as we were leaving later on Sunday, and we ended up having to pass on it. When we told the conceirge, he empathized with us and said the they should give us our deposit back, and he told us to come back and see him, but when we did, he only said "sorry. Come back and see us again and we'll take care of you". Well, that won't happen. I will definitely go back to San Francisco - it's a great place, but I will not stay at this hotel.

We told the concierge that the "City Sightseeing" tour company was terrible and they should not be affliated with them. He said he'd call them and he wouldn't use them any more, but I highly doubt that he will do anything. If you are going to do any sightseeing, there were lots of other "Hop on Hop off" companies. Don't use the "City Sightseeing group". They have very few coaches and you spend more time waiting for a bus than actually sightseeing.

Room Tip: Don't stay here.
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ChicaLou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 15 August 2012
Dear ChicaLou:

I appreciate your posting a comment and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you had to deal with.

As we have discussed, I appreciate your feedback on the tour company and I hope that you have been given a proper refund.

I once again, will have a talk with my concierges how important it is to triple-check on the tours and other recommendations that they are giving, a reputable one as well as the manner which they deliver their services to.

Sincerely,


Jim Gross, General Manager
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Level Contributor
3 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2012 via mobile

Don't even try the lobby, it's cold, windy, loudy and full at any time of the day!
The room we get (2 queen size beds) was very nice and quiet, even with the busy street going under, but a little small for 2. Hard to eat something from the room service with 1 chair for 2.
Also, you have specify if you want a room with a minibar. We didn't

Still, the location is great, and we had a very pleasant stay.
(also, you have to try the restaurant: veeeery good!)

  • Stayed August 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Marineelderwand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jim G, General Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 17 August 2012
Dear Marineelderwand:

Thank you for staying with us!

I'm glad to know that you enjoyed our location and the Scala's Bistro!

Hope to see you back at the Drake soon.

Jim Gross, 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 Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel

Property: Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Address: 450 Powell Street, Union Square, San Francisco, CA 94102-1504 (Formerly Sir Francis Drake Hotel)
Region: United States > California > San Francisco > Union Square
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#17 Green Hotel in San Francisco
#46 Luxury Hotel in San Francisco
#58 Business Hotel in San Francisco
#70 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
#75 Family Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 416
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, housed in a landmark building in the heart of Union Square, is quintessential San Francisco: exciting, romantic, timelessly elegant and unique. The ornately decorated lobby, old-world hospitality, and Tom Sweeney, the hotel's infamous Beefeater doorman, transport you to another time and place. The legendary Starlight Room, the adjacent Scala's Bistro and unmatched hospitality complete the picture to create an unforgettable San Francisco experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kimpton San Francisco
Sir Francis Drake Hotel San Francisco
Drake Francis Sir

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