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“A piece of history in a great location.” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel

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Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Ranked #89 of 227 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersGold level
2 reviews
“A piece of history in a great location.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 November 2009

When you first see and enter the SF Drake hotel, you will feel like you're stepping back into the highest echelons of society in the 20's. The hotel has a classic and historic charm to it without being overly opulent or tacky, it's got true class. It's even easier when you accept the quirky color choices of the drapery.

The employees are dedicated to great service and deliver on their promise, from the Beefeater who greets you, to the front desk employees, to the concierge. Everybody working there is friendly and helpful.

Don't make mistakes and expect a 'standard' or 'deluxe' room to be big. This is an historic hotel and, as such, rooms are not huge. Bathrooms are tiny in the smaller rooms, almost too small. The 'junior suites' are much more comfortable in size, with plenty of room to move about and even 2 showers in the bathroom. Get a suite if possible, but two people can make do in the smaller rooms.

There's only 1 mark I have against the hotel, and I didn't ask whether it is of any historical significance or just coincidence. Both rooms in which we stayed had the worst way of making a bed possible. There was no fitted sheet on the king sized mattress, just a flat sheet barely tucked in on the edges. This means through the night the sheet can shift and expose you to the pad or bare mattress. We worked through this by ensuring the duvet stayed tucked, thus keeping the sheet on the foot of the bed. Strange.

The location is great, right in front of a cable car stop, half a block from Union Square. It's close enough to real coffee (No, I'm not a Starbucks fan), too close to shopping, and withing walking distance of many places of interest.

The hotel bar is nice and features "prohibition era" coctails, i.e. some real coctails rather than all the sour mix junk you find in most bars. We found it quite busy in the evenings with corporate groups.

Get a tour of the prohibition room if you can find someone free.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Oktoberfeisty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SFDManager, Hotel Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 4 November 2009
Hello Oktoberfeisty and thank you for an enjoyable review to read (with the exception for the bed making). It looks as though you certainly got the feel that this hotel is going for.

I'm glad that you found the staff friendly and professional. I'm also pleased that you found your stay enjoyable and would look to stay with us again in the future.

I will double back with the housekeeping staff to ensure that the correct sheets are being used on the beds. Thank you for pointing this out.

Take care and we hope to see you again in the future.

Patrick Jackson - Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,047 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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English first
Avalon, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 November 2009

The hotel has been one that I have wanted to stay in fro a long time and sad to say that I was a little disappointed in the hotel. It was gorgeous and did have some things to request for in room that were complimentary: straightener, makeup mirror, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a few others. The room was small, but that was fine because it is San Francisco. They were comfortable and has great bedding. I am not sure if it is entirely worth the price we paid for.
The most difficult time was when some of us went back to get our bags. All of us stored our bags with them while we went out to eat lunch. Half of us had to get back earlier then the rest. The man who tagged our luggage only ripped off the ends, handed them to us, and sent us on our way. When we went back for our bags we had three tickets not knowing if they were on our bags or not. Of course they weren't and the man that was there then, gave us a hard time. He was trying to tell me what was in one bag and made my friend describe every little detail that was inside of it before giving it to us. Their storage area is quite large but very unorganized. When tagging bags, you should put a name on them and correspond the tags to the correct bags. I worked in upsacle hotels form my hometown and we were way more efficient. Our hotels were not even half the size but vetter customer service and organization. The Sir Francis Drake was pretty and I would stay there again, but hope that the experience is much better.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank IslaGael
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SFDManager, Hotel Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 4 November 2009
Thank you IslaGael for your stay with us. I'm glad to see that you would stay with us again in the future.

It's a shame that your luggage storage episode had put a damper on your stay. You are correct that given name on ticket would better aid the staff to retrieve your luggage from storage. Had the staff known that your parties would be returning individually, they would have split the tickets up and given the tickets to the rightful owners.

Thanks again and we appreciate your stay and review.

Patrick Jackson - Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 October 2009

We spent 4 nights at this hotel as part of a longer CA break. The location couldn't be beaten, just a block up from Union Sq., on a cable car stop and walking distance to the F Car and convienient buses. There's also a great breakfast diner across the way - Sears - that's so useful to fuel up before a long day sightseeing.

The hotel itself is good. Rooms were clean, small but enough for a city break and well furnished. We were in a corner room on the front and it wasn't noisy, you could hear the cable car bell, but we liked that bit of character!

The thing that really lets this hotel down is the staff. We arrived after a 23hr journey and there was no help with the bags, the receptionist didn't engage in any conversation even after we tried to talk to her. On another day we approached another receptionist to ask a question, half way through the question she picked up the phone and didn't even acknowledge that she'd cut us off. On a couple of other occassions we approached reception and they simply weren't interested to help. There is a beefeater outside the hotel, i think there's 3 different guys - only one (on our last day) remotely wanted to talk or help.

I would stay in this hotel again and i would recommend it as the location is fab and hotel is good, it's just a shame as it could be 100% with a bit more interested/ helpful staff

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Strawberry_diamond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SFDManager, Hotel Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 4 November 2009
Hello Strawberry_diamond, and thank you for your review. I'm glad that you found the hotel nice, clean, and to have a good location.

Please accept my apology for the perceived lack of interest from our staff. I have to admit I'm somewhat surprised by your review as I feel as though the staff are more of a strength for this hotel and that I do not hear the kind of feedback as you had just relayed.

I will share your comments with the staff to keep us on our toes. Nothing better informs us of how we are doing than hearing it directly from our guest.

Thank you again and we hope to see you again in the future.

Patrick Jackson - Hotel Manager

patrick.jackson@sirfrancisdrake.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
101 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 October 2009

We had a great rate and our main reason for the stay was seeing the South Pacific at the Gplden Gate Theatre. The location of the Sir Francis Drake was perfect as you are pretty much in the heart of Union Square. The staff was helpful and they have good business center that we needed to use. The place itself is filled with so much history. The rooms had the old beautiful old big windows to see the city. We had a great view from our room. Rooms were very clean and housekeeping staff very helpful. I would stay here again.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lmlupner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SFDManager, Hotel Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 28 October 2009
Thank you very much lcastaldo for the nice review of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. We hope to see you again in the future.

Patrick Jackson - Hotel Manager.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Del Mar, California
Level Contributor
18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 October 2009

We went there for the Nike Marathon. Upon check-in the ditzy desk chick wouldn't get past the fact that I was okay with her charging a ton of money on my debit card. Really, it's okay-I'm not broke so get past my Vans and hoodie and just give us our key. Our room was smallish--paint peeling, view sucked, and no cool Kimpton robes (I'm an InTouch member but was told those were in some mysterious Tower room only). Oh and the AC was busted. And the windows didn't open. I called for maintenance and the guy said the "engineer" would be right up. 30 minutes later I called again to be told that the "engineer" had gone home--but would I like a fan? After speaking with the manager the following morning we changed to a different (better) room. At least the AC worked and I got a decent night's sleep before the marathon. The manager also comped the night that we sweated rather than slept. Beyond that, the hotel is in a stellar location in downtown SF. The staff, mostly, was totally cool--especially Keith and LeBan, the Doorman. The hotel is old. The beds are comfy and the housekeeping staff keeps it clean but, it is an old building--just don't expect perfection. No flat panel TV's. No coffee makers in the rooms. Honor bar is decently priced. Room service is available. In summary, it is satisfactory but I'm not convinced it's worth the money. When we go back we'll probably give another hotel a shot.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank jkdt3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SFDManager, Hotel Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 21 October 2009
Hello webetravelers, and thank you for staying with us for the Nike Women's Marathon. I hope that you were successful in completing it.

I would like to apologize for the challenges you had faced and wanted to let you know that we value your feedback have been addressing the issues at hand.

I am pleased that you think of us well enough to return in the future and look forward to proving you an incident free stay next time your with us. Please let me know if there is anything that i could do for you in the future.

Thank you again.

Patrick Jackson - Hotel Manager

patrick.jackson@sirfrancisdrake.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Phoenix, AZ
1 review
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 October 2009

Just checked in today. Based on the reviews that I read, I assumed the hotel would be average. Yes, it is. Location is the only thing I can say is good, but honesty there are a ton of hotels all around the Drake. I chose this hotel because it was a last minute business booking. I arrived and the doorman was outside looking for the President who was in town giving a speech. I had to ask another guest where the check-in desk was. The desk clerks were not what I would consider over-friendly by any means. I have traveled for the past 2 months and met much friendlier staff. Upon exiting the elevator to my floor [4th], it was like walking into an ashtray. It stinks like stale cigarettes. I will say that my room does not smell too bad, I think you get used to it. My view is the roof and the walls of the hotel. The size of my room is good, the bathroom is small and in great need of repair. The toilet runs randomly, the shower drips and the wood trim in the bathroom window is chipped, dirty, and just plain looks BAD. It also allows for bugs to enter through the cracks. I spent the first 15 minutes killing bugs and a big fat fly that was in the room. I can't imagine a chain such as Marriott or the Hyatt having a room in such a state. The website states all rooms have a refrigerator, honor bar and a complimentary movie channel - I have none one of those things. I found an old Walgreens bag where I think my Refrigerator is supposed to be?? The TV channels offered are reminiscent of pre-cable, because that's pretty much what you get, basic channels. While it may seem nit-picky, I noticed that I don't even have a bath mat in the bathroom. Guess I am to use one of my towels. Outlets are a premium. There are none in the bathroom. The alarm clock is set-up on the desk which is not next to the bed; I am assuming this is because there is no outlet next to the bed - DUMB!

I know the Manager reads these comments and hopefully he will take the time to freshen up the place. It does not require a complete rehab to paint trim and do general cleaning. Location will not sustain you forever! I really wanted to like this place...

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled on business
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank brownsb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SFDManager, Hotel Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 21 October 2009
Dear brownsb, I am so sorry that you had the experience you had just described. Please accept my apology. You are correct that I do read these reviews and put forth action plans to correct our deficiencies where we can.

The 4th floor does allow smoking as it's our one floor that it is permitted on.

I do hope that your concerns were relayed to the staff and that we were able to take care of them. I'm sorry that your room was in the condition you described and I will inspect the fourth floor to see if I can identify the room you speak of to have it detailed.

Please let me know if I may be of service to you in the future. I do wish that you had a more pleasant experience and would hope to be able to make it up to you on your next visit to San Francisco.

Thank you for your review.

Patrick Jackson - Hotel Manager

patrick.jackson@sirfrancisdrake.com
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London
Level Contributor
57 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 October 2009

This was our first hotel of 5 during a honeymoon tour of California. It is a bit touristy and very big but it is bang in the middle of San Francisco and very handy. The shops are within spitting distance and the Powell-Mason cable car stops outside.

The room was big enough and although the decor is all a bit tired, we were more than comfortable. Lots of towels, a comfy bed and a decent shower were all provided and whilst the walls were paper thin, our neighbours were considerate!

The concierge was very professional and the 3 door men (dressed in crazy beefeater outfits) were excellent at sorting out cabs (which can be a nightare on a Saturday night). But make sure you have an appropriate tip on you if you use them as they can be a bit pushy and aggressive if you don't put the right size note in their hands.

We felt very safe in the hotel and, whilst we might not stay there again in the future, it would only be because we would want to explore somewhere else.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JodyHatter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SFDManager, Hotel Manager at Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel, responded to this review, 21 October 2009
Thank you JodyHatter, for your review of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. I am pleased that you found the hotel convenient and comfy.

I will share your views with my Doorman about an expected tip. To be quite honest, I have not heard such a remark during all my time here.

Again, thank you for your stay and your review.

Patrick Jackson - Hotel 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
#45 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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