When choosing a hotel in San Francisco, I was looking for something that would provide a home base more interesting than the basics for myself and my teen daughter. When I stumbled across the Hotel Zephyr San Francisco, I loved the quirky photos of the colorful interior, and the communal areas that seemed so inviting.
So before searching out some great resources on San Francisco itineraries… I booked us this funky hotel. And we were not disappointed!
Hotel Zephyr Location:
The first thing that attracted me to the Hotel Zephyr San Francisco, was the location. I knew I would be in the city with my daughter and no car, so we wanted to be where a lot of sites were easily walkable. The Hotel Zephyr location on Beach Street is only about one block from the waterfront, and two blocks from Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. Ghiardelli Square and the Alcatraz Ferry landing are easily walkable, and North Beach and Coit Tower aren’t bad either. Even the Ferry Building, which is a little longer of a walk but reached by walking the flat, wide promenade that is the Embarcadero, was something we happily walked to. (See my post all about the foodie and ice cream wonderfulness that is The Ferry Building.)
Many blogs and articles suggest choosing a hotel near Union Square, and if you are wanting to spend significant time in Chinatown, doing significant retail shopping, or in the financial district you may want to consider that. We visited these areas but did them all in one day (not big money shoppers here) and just Ubered back to the hotel afterward. We found the waterfront area more central to the sites we were interested in.
Hotel Zephyr San Francisco Room:
Our room had the basic space and amenities we come to expect in a “two double beds” hotel room. The bonus was the nautical themed rooms that were more interesting visually than your basic rooms. We had a fairly spacious desk area and more than sufficient internet access, which is key to in the travel blogger life. The bathroom had all the helpful amenities, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and a hairdryer.
The view was what we chose to take a bit of an upgrade for, and weren’t disappointed. From our balcony, looking over the parking area beside hotel to Pier 39, we could just make out the sea lions that lounge there throughout the day. There was also boat traffic and the bay, and for those of us used to a land-locked view in regular life, this is a relaxing change. We could also watch the happenings in the communal courtyard area at the center of the hotel, which was quiet during the day, but a little more lively and active in the evenings.
Hotel Zephyr Communal Areas:
Where the Hotel Zephyr San Francisco really excels in the communal areas of the hotel. The main lobby has seating areas that are inviting and made for groups to congregate. While we were there, one group was having a pizza party one night and scattered family groups having dinner and playing Pokemon-Go another night (I plead the 5th on whether we were taking part in the Pokemon-Go festivities).
Off the lobby is a game room that had ping pong and other game tables, as well as a table dedicated to Connect-4 games (which seems to be a theme in the hotel) and another table or two for whatever you decided to start using it for. There were also televisions scattered throughout the area with various kid-friendly shows playing.
The outdoor courtyard is particularly unique with nighttime firepits burning around funky metal sculptures, and a wall sized connect-four game. The seating is plentiful and fairly comfortable, and we were drawn to spend time just hanging out in the area on two different nights. The firepits giving enough warmth to beat back the San Francisco nip in the air. There is an old-style RV in the courtyard which serves standard individual pizzas and kid-friendly foods and drinks, as well as the limited beer and wine selection. We took advantage of this one evening, and a cheap pizza and glass of wine at the fire pit was a rather nice way to spend an evening! I will note that this is the only “restaurant” in the hotel, but being steps from Fisherman’s Wharf and the area dining it’s not like you are hurting for convenient options.
Hotel Zephyr San Francisco Funkiness:
San Francisco’s Hotel Zephyr Hotel excels in general funkiness and décor. When looking for a place to stay in San Francisco, I returned again and again to the posts about Hotel Zephyr because the photos were just so visually interesting. The seating area off the hotel lobby has one wall covered in shipping containers while the opposite wall displays wall-sized Popeye themed comic book art. Seating is eclectically and colorfully mismatched but situated to invite small group gatherings and Instagram photography.
The outdoor courtyard is colorful, sometimes completely unique – such as the seats created out of circular openings in a free-standing wall – and interspersed with greenery and small tables to hold your drinks and snacks.
In general, you just don’t know what you will find around the next corner. A bird sculpture that seems made of found metallic objects? A chair made of a no fishing sign? A collection of colorful bouys hanging from the wall? Elevator walls covered in text? Keep your eyes open, you’ll find more fun stuff to photograph!
Hotel Zephyr Service:
I had reserved our room with a deal through hotels.com, which often means getting the smallest, hidden room with no view. But, when I checked in to the Hotel Zephyr San Francisco, they offered us an upgrade to a room with a view at a relatively small increase in our nightly rate. The front desk staff was helpful with breakfast recommendations and laundry service (we BOTH got pigeon poop on us while out and about!), and all the staff we interacted with were friendly and helpful.
Hotel Zephyr San Francisco Overall:
I was very happy with our stay at The Zephyr Hotel San Francisco during our time in the city, and would definitely choose to stay there again. Choosing to stay near the waterfront made a little nervous since so many places advice the financial district, however this worked out much better for us!
If you are looking for more ideas of what to do in San Francisco while visiting, check out my post on 8 Things To Do With Kids in San Francisco. If funky, colorful street art and community projects are your thing, see my post about and photos of the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps!
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