The Sir Francis Drake isn’t just a luxurious hotel, but a city landmark that’s as much beloved by the locals for its sweeping views and swanky bars as it is by visitors for the royal treatment it offers. In operation since 1928, the Renaissance architecture, grand lobby, ornate chandeliers, swirling staircases and British pomp and circumstance seems to pre-date San Francisco. Upon arrival, the fully costumed Beefeater doormen will help you with your bags, setting the tone for the type of service you can expect at this regal hotel. As with most vintage hotels, the rooms are small and well loved. But they’re also filled with rich wood furnishings and the striped wallpaper gives them a plush, old European feel. Ask for a higher floor for the best views and quieter rooms. Even if you don’t stay here, the hotel is still worth a visit. Pop in for a drink and gorgeous city views from The Starlight Room on the 21st floor. At Sunday’s a Drag Brunch, cross-dressers perform while you sip mimosas and gorge on omelets, is also a classic San Francisco experience worth looking into.
- Erika Lennert