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“Fantastic location, good rooms”

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Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Ranked #92 of 228 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersGold level
Wadebridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Fantastic location, good rooms”
Reviewed 31 March 2013 via mobile

Hotel has an amazing location just steps from Union Square with Cable Car running along street in front of hotel. With this being right in the heart of San Francisco you can hear traffic noise in rooms on lower floors at night but nothing you wouldn't expect from a big city.

The room was very well decorated with the theme style consistent throughout the hotel. The bed was exceptionally comfortable and the whole room was very clean. We were in a Queen room which in my opinion had all we needed to relax - ipod dock, huge high quality tv, large armchair, desk and free wifi. Bathroom was fairly compact but had a good size bath and shower.

You have the option of being given a $10 voucher each day if you don't have housekeeping make up your room - these can then be used towards drinks or food in the hotels restaurants and bar.

If returning to San Francisco we would definitely consider staying here again. Thank you.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KCotton1988
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, 1 April 2013
Dear KCotton1988:
You are absolutely right! We are situated in the center of all hubs; shopping, dining and all the tourist's attractions! They are all accessible by either by foot or a short hop on a cable car which you can catch in front of our door! Certain level of noise is expected staying at any given hotel in the same vicinity, but that's another exciting part of staying at the hotel in the city. As you mentioned, what you need is a comfortable bed in a comfortable room which we already got! Yes, many seem to love our $10 voucher for opting out the housekeeping service: win-win situation for all of us!
Hope to see you soon at the Drake!
Jim Gross, General Manager
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (691)
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Holt, Michigan
Level Contributor
47 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 March 2013 via mobile

Stayed for a business trip March 16-20. Upon arrival we were greeted by a welcoming doorman in a unique uniform. When entering the hotel to check in there is a grand staircase to a bar area and front desk. A few days later we found the secret path to avoid taking the steps (bad knees) and catch the elevators on the lower level. The hotel is nostalgic and older, but the ambience grows on you the longer you stay. Beds are comfortable, nice flatscreen tv in room, and nice size closet. Negatives are somewhat noisy because of traffic, trolley, etc., and no fridge. We utilized the $10.00 coupon offer per night for refund for no maid service and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast in the restaurant downstairs. We also checked out the Stalight Room one night on the top floor and enjoyed a cocktail while checking out the city lights and beautiful view. All in all we had a pleasant and memorable experience at this hotel.

Stayed March 2013, travelled on business
Helpful?
Thank CindyA617
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, 1 April 2013
Dear CindyA617:
Glad to know that you enjoyed your stay at the Drake! Our Beefeaters (the one in unique costume) are celebrities in their own right. Tourists from all over the world come to get the photos taken with one of them all the time! Hope you got a snap shot for yourself! The Drake has history, doesn't it? It is actually recognized as one of the historical buildings in SF and it was built in 1928! With our renovation in 2011, we added modern amenities to create more unique style. Isn't the view from Stalight gorgeous? It is not only frequented by the tourists, but pretty popular place for many locals as well.
Hope to see you back at the Drake in the near future.
Jim Gross, General Manager
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Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 March 2013

We stayed at SFDH about two months ago... Thank god for the upgrade of room, otherwise it would have been very poky and small especially the tiny toilet/bathroom. While the service provided by the reception was good especially Ryan who, after we complaint about the very small toilet, Ryan was quick to give us a much spacious room. Thanks Ryan.

When we took up the offer of a $10 voucher each night (4 nights ) for not having our room serviced at all and also the 'privacy' sign' was placed all the time.... Therefore we would assume NO ONE WOULD ENTER OUR ROOM!!! how wrong we were, someone did enter our room. I should have put all my jewellery in the safe...( I changed my earrings often depending on the outfit I wear) therefore I did not lock my jewellery pouch in the safe but how can we we lock a handbag in the safe??? It didn't work for us. Someone entered our room and stole my expensive jewellery n an expensive designer handbag... By putting a room 'privacy sign ' means nothing at all... Staff can still come into your room.

We are regular travelers n it was the first time I have lost expensive items. A lesson for me!!!
My trip was spoilt.

Ps. Surely the hotel can check on the RFID security room card to read what identification tag was used on this room during the period from 9 th n 10th feb???

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Lin662
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, 1 April 2013
Dear Lin662:
I certainly appreciate your feedback. We will, of course, investigate into this. Can you please contact the hotel directly so that we can proceed with the loss of your bag and jewerly?
http://www.sirfrancisdrake.com/contact-us/index.html
Jim Gross, General Manager
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Needham, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 March 2013

We loved the early twentieth century feel of this hotel. Kimpton has done a great job restoring this hotel, while maintaining the old world feel. Staff was friendly and very helpful. If you skip maid service, you will receive a $10 coupon. We used our two coupons for drinks at Harry Dentons. This bar is delightful with great city views. My only complaint: obtaining wireless access was quite a tedious process.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Joan S
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, 26 March 2013
Dear Joan S:
The Drake (as the locals call it) is indeed one of the historical buildings in SF... can you beleive that it was built in 1928? While we went through a $9 mil soft renovation in 2011, we maintained the "old charm" and updated with some modern amenities. Sounds like you really appreciated that! Also, were you able to join the Kimpton In-Touch loyalty program? This program, along with other perks, will enable you to log into the Wifi effortlessly.
I'm glad to know that you took an advantage of $10 coupon...and yes, the view from our Starlight lounge gives you a great glimpse of the "city by the bay"!
Jim Gross, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Davis, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 25 March 2013

My husband booked a Queen room through Priceline. Big mistake. When we arrived, the room was VERY small. It turns out the "Queen" room referred to a print of Queen Elizabeth in the room, not the bed which was a double. The room was miniscule...no place to sit, barely room for one person to pass between the bed and the wall. The bathroom was even smaller..the toilet was directly between to the bathtub and the wall. If you bent over to get up from the commode, you had to be careful or you would hit your head on the sink. There was no room on the sink to set anything at all ... well maybe a toothbrush. I don't mind getting an inexpensive room. What I do mind is advertising implying this was a room with a queen bed when it wasn't. We can get much more for less at other very nice Kimpton hotels in SF.

It's too bad. My husband and I come to SF often to visit family. Sadly, we won't be coming back to the Sir Francis Drake even though service was good, the room was clean and quiet (on the 15th floor) and the Starlight Room was a step-back in time.

Room Tip: Don't book through Priceline. I saw other comments that said the hotels always gives this type...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Starbritest
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, 26 March 2013
Dear Starbright1207:
I can assure you that the room you booked whether it was "1 Queen" or "Historical Queen" has one queen-sized bed. Please know that even our smallest type, Historical Queen has a queen-sized bed. Yes, the room, as name suggests, hasn't changed in its size since this building was built in 1928. Since, we have completed a $9mil soft renovation in 2011, to add modern amenities. The Historical Queen room may be smaller in size, but since they are located on the corner, it is also the quieter room. That said, unless you plan to spend a lot time in the room rather than taking advantage of our location (shopping, dining and sightseeing), this may be a good room to come back to for a good night sleep.
I do appreciate your comment on our service and Starlight lounge.
Jim Gross, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alexandria, VA
Level Contributor
287 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 151 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2013

The gorgeous lobby, fabulous staff and prime location are all that's great about Kimpton hotels. Service is top notch, with staff members everywhere - friendly and helpful. As you walk in, you look up and walk into a grand lobby with Sir Francis himself in red above the bar. Wine hour is a pleasant, relaxing time to sit in the comfortable, wonderfully eclectic lounge furniture.

We were in a basic room, and it was rather small. However, this is downtown SanFran, and it was nicely furnished with a cool chair and ottoman and a very comfortable bed, that I was satisfied. Then, came the bathroom - tiny, tiny, tiny. There was barely any space between the sink and the toilet, and your elbows hit the shower curtain from either because the tub/shower practically bumped up against them. The bathroom was also cold, and there didn't seem to be a heating/AC vent in it, which explains the frigidness. I appreciate the large containers of shampoo, etc in Cali hotels to save waste, and think it's great. However, I miss having to ask for cotton pads, etc. They'll get you them, but, it's just nicer to have these amenities in the room already. Also, the first night, we had no wash cloths. All it took was an ask, but still.

We were on the 6th floor, so well above street level, but the room was loud, loud, loud. I truly appreciate the lovely old building that houses the hotel, but the old windows don't insulate any of the city noise. We live in a city at home, so are used to noises, but late night sirens and early morning construction, etc just permeated both nights we were there.

While I'm a loyal Kimpton customer, we won't be staying here again.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank nkdp
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, 25 March 2013
Dear nkdp:
First off, thanks for being a loyal Kimpton guest! The Drake just may be the most unique Kimpton hotels there is. Our staff is all friendly and always eager to help our guests; our doorman, (aka) BEEFEATER is there to greet you into the old-world charm of the Drake Hotel. We even have a name for the giant Red guy - Scout! You are absolutely right, you can order a drink off Bar Drake, and relax on one of our eclectic chairs...
There are several types of rooms at the Drake; smaller more "historical" rooms to larger suites. After going through a $9mil renovation in 2011, we added some modern convenience to the "historical" feature of 1928, including smaller bathroom. Although, the size may be smaller in scale, we are constantly coming up with some innovative and "green" ideas, such as having larger bottles of shampoo and body soap so that they don't need to take up extra counter space where amenity usually sits on top of.
SF streets, especially our convenient location is the hub of all happenings! The noise that you might have heard may be the kind you may only hear in SF - Cable Cars and such. This indeed is a city that has so much to offer and we definitely sits on one of the best corners!
Jim Gross, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Mateo, California, United States
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2013

I booked a 2 bed room here for a bachelor party. I would say the best thing about this hotel is the location.

The rooms were much smaller than they appear in pictures and the hotel itself is totally rundown . They try to patch the rooms up with crappy flat screen T.V's, new linens and counter tops but it just lipstick on a pig. When we got into the room not only were we disappointed with the size, but the walls were so thin I think only the wall paper divided the rooms (our neighbors complained even thought is was just a few of us talking) and the windows were so dirty we even couldn't see outside. It was so small in fact I opted not to even stay there and got a room at the Hilton next door (same price but the way and a let few of myf riends stay. When I looked at my bank statement the next day I saw they have charged me $50 for parking even though none of us drive up there.

After about an hour and half and 5 phone calls back and forth they finally admitted they did not have any proof or even knew whose car was responsible and tried to blame it on the "vendor" they use to valet parking.

They finally reimbursed me but with all the time it took was very frustrating and left me with a bad taste in my mouth overall.

The place has allot of cool history to it, the bar in the lobby is great but you can find a much better deal in Union Square then what they are offering. Wouldnt stay there again with all the options in S.F.

Room Tip: Yes, don't stay here.
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Warren 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, 25 March 2013
Dear Warren B:
I appreciate your candid comment. Yes, comparing hotels is like comparing apples and oranges: some may like more sterlie of modern and the others, history combined with modern such as the Drake. As you mentioned, this is a historical building that was built in 1928 and we went through a $9mil renovation in 2011. As we speak, we are finishing up our meeting rooms that should be completed in the next month. This "eclectic" taste is not for everyone and do certainly appreciate your comment. We also offer several types of rooms; anything "historical" to larger suites. They all accommodate different guests' needs and wants. Speaking of windows, we schedule window washing few times per year and perhaps, you were here before the window was washed. We are pretty diigent on doing so since we are located in the city famous for dense fog (more like mist) can cover over the SF sky.
Sorry for the time it took for you to sort things out regarding your parking; although, yes, it is true that we do have a 3rd party vendor that handles the parking. I will talk to them about our operations is based on mutural effort.
At last, you are absolutely right about the Bar Drake! It IS part of the history and our mixologists do make great drinks! Hope you'll stop by to grab a drink!
Jim Gross, General Manager
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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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