Just one block west from tourist haven Union Square, walking into the plush, foliage-lined foyer of San Francisco’s Hotel G immediately takes you out of the bustle of the city, and into your own, hip, oasis.
Re-opening in May 2014 after a two-year renovation, Hotel G’s Geary Street location is steeped in history. A hotel ever since the building was first constructed in 1909, the new owners renovated each floor under the watchful eye of interior designers Hun Aw Studio, maintaining the original flooring throughout and fully restoring the building’s front façade.
In a style described by the Michelin guide as ‘demolition chic’, Hotel G has a modern and youthful vibe. Complementing the rough textures of original tiling and exposed concrete with mid-century furniture, plush rugs and warm fittings, the hotel splits 153 rooms over 12 floors to become a different sort of option for downtown San Francisco.
Less than a 10-minute walk from downtown Market Street and just one block away from Union Square, Hotel G is perfectly situated for exploring the city.
The immediate surrounding area is known for shopping, with big chain shops like Niketown, Macy’s, the Disney Store just a few minutes walk away, and the Westfield Centre also nearby. Just beyond Market Street are the wonderful museums of the SoMa neighbourhood, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, plus SoMa’s burgeoning restaurant scene.
To get further afield is just as easy. From the Powell St. Bart station, you can go north-east to the Ferry Building and into Oakland, while lines south-west go to the hip Castro, Mission and Lower Haight neighbourhoods. You’re also just a few block away from the end of the historic San Francisco cable car, which while touristy is still a must, and makes it easy to reach Fisherman’s Wharf and Lombard Street to the north.
The style of the hotel carries through to the rooms. The interior is minimal and can feel a touch sparse if it’s not what you’re used to but the style works. The crisp, white walls, curtains and bathroom are softened by warmer, wooden furniture and slick detailing. The rooms are sleek and everything is functional, there’s no excess or clutter on show, meaning it’s the beds that really dominate.
Big and comfy with excellent pillows, fluffy duvets and luxury linens in every room, Hotel G’s beds boast tall, feature headboards that are the real showpiece; perfect for lounging in bed, day or night. Blackout blinds really do the job too, so you’ll get a great night’s sleep, or well-deserved lie-in.
We stayed in a Greatest King, the largest of the hotel’s five room types. Akin to a suite, it was big and spacious with a sofa, small coffee table and armchair, with enough room to have a couple of friends up while we planned the day. Plus all rooms come with a mini-bar and espresso machine so you’re able to start and end your days right.
The original concrete floor was a touch cold but rugs covered the important floorspace, and it’s a small price to pay for original features. Guests are given hotel slippers for the room too.
With Geery Street down below, we were worried about late night traffic and noisy pedestrians but we had no problem in the room. Unfortunately, however, being surrounded by similarly high rise buildings, there weren’t particularly impressive views, even on the 10th floor.
One great surprise though, the rooms and communal space throughout the hotel are decorated with art from a collaboration with Creativity Explored, a local non-profit arts centre that works with adult artists with developmental disabilities. The pieces are all for sale, with profits going back into the program. It’s a really nice touch and the artwork brings an individual personality to the space.
Our bathroom featured luxurious marble tiling and fittings, with larger rooms boasting a magnificent table sink, and smaller rooms just a freestanding basin. It was more of a classical bathroom but matched the sleek, minimal style of our room. The shower was excellent and very refreshing in the morning, while all rooms come with C.O. Bigelow toiletries.
Hotel G has all the amenities you’d expect from a modern city hotel. WiFi is free downstairs and in your room, and if not particularly fast, it’s perfectly acceptable for holiday planning and just about streams Netflix if you need a little SF breather. The gym on the second floor boasts four Technogym machines for a range workouts, plus there’s floor space for yoga or stretching. It’s not a huge gym but perfectly functional and definitely big enough for a hotel of this size.
Hotel G also have a well-equipped conference room available for hire, and as an extra little sweetener, if you book directly, they’ve partnered with a local limo company to pick you up from SFO for free.
Restaurant and bars
Two excellent restaurants and a superb cocktail bar are the Hotel G’s surprise up its sleeve. On the corner of the building, Three 9 Eight is a French-American brasserie menu serving hearty breakfasts from 7am, and classic French sandwiches, steaks, moules frites and charcuterie and cheese boards until late.
On the other side of the hotel foyer, Klyde Cafe and Wine Bar is a little more snacky, serving a small yet composed menu throughout the day alongside an excellent local wine list.
But the Benjamin Cooper Cocktail lounge is the jewel in the crown and has rightly become a local hangout. Styled like a speakeasy, the cocktail list is superb while the bartender also made an excellent rendition of a couple of our favourites. If it’s your thing, Benjamin Cooper also serve local oysters until close.
At the time of reviewing, Hotel G was not offering a breakfast service, but the hotel does now offer packages with breakfast at the Klyde included.
A modern and stylish city hotel, Hotel G finds a balance between being a hip yet welcoming stay for leisure travelers, and a more edgy, suave stay for business guests.
Perfectly situated for downtown exploration and the vibrant, traditional neighbourhoods beyond, Hotel G stays true to the history of the building, the attention to detail while renovating each floor and the period features they were able to retain really pays dividends.
But most importantly the Hotel G is an escape. The second you step inside the foyer, the bustle from outside is cut off, and while you can certainly have fun at the excellent restaurants and bar, the rooms and superb beds will ensure you can recoup precious energy, ready to go again the next day.
For reservations and more, please visit: www.hotelgsanfrancisco.com
Hotel G, 386 Geary Street San Francisco, CA 94102