Enhance your San Francisco Hotel Stay

Hotels are beefing up their services to appeal to more travelers. Unusual and unique amenities as well as environmentally beneficial accoutrements attract travelers who want a little extra. It’s not hard to find San Francisco hotels that are pet friendly, high-tech, and green. While basic rooms can be found in San Francisco on a budget, a plethora of hotels are offering special services or perks to enhance your stay for a few more bucks. Here are three hotels that all have moderate starting points but offer various enticing upgrades like in- room workout equipment, private lounges, and lobbies filled with old school fun and games.

Hotel Nikko

At the edge of Union Square, Hotel Nikko is a larger hotel with different classes of rooms and an overall luxe vibe. Reminiscent of hotels I’ve stayed in New York City, the hotel feels like a place you could come for business or play and live comfortably without ever leaving. Besides a business center, full service Starbucks, hair salon, Beverly Hills rent-a-car on premises, cozy nightclub that plays jazz, and an on-site restaurant called Anzu offering bold Asian flavors, there is a 10,000 square foot health club with dry saunas and steam rooms.

A glass enclosed 15-meter indoor swimming pool sits on the rooftop with a whirlpool spa and an indoor-outdoor sunbathing lounge deck. At night guests can socialize or rest on one of the couches near three firepits or read and soak up the last sunny rays during the day. For guest convenience, a new food and beverage menu is available, which includes s’more kits. Yum! For people who travel with their furry friends, an adorable wind shielded area similar to a doggy run lounge is on a separate area of the rooftop for Fido to release his energy.

While a basic modern room can be enjoyed for under $300, you can amp your stay by booking an Imperial Room or Executive Suite ($500 & up) located on the top floors. The Imperial Suite features an expansive stunning bedroom and a separate living room area with sofa and two 42-inch flat screen TV’s. Besides the half bath off the parlor, there is an oversized bathroom with rainfall shower, lighted bathroom mirror vanity, and a white oval spa tub where I gladly found some Zen.

The best part about booking an Imperial Room or Executive Suite is that you have access to the Imperial Lounge where a wine and cheese (plus a wide variety of unlimited food and drink options) evening reception is held and complimentary continental breakfast with numerous choices, plus Asian dishes like crispy dumplings and miso soup. The downstairs breakfast buffet at Anzu includes traditional Japanese food too along with American regulars like salmon, oatmeal, eggs, bacon, yogurt, and pastries.

Room views from Hotel Nikko

Our room was super clean and the king bed was the kind you never want to leave. Filtered water machines in the hallway allow for easy water refills. Natural light flowed through our room with far-off city scape views. On our last day exploring the city, we chose to spend more time enjoying our room and Hotel Nikko. A satchel of lavender with chocolates welcomed us to bed and lulled us into our best night sleep away.

Hotel Zetta

Located in the apex of downtown San Francisco, the boutique hotel is part of the Viceroy Hotel Group. The lobby boasts eclectic environmentally conscious décor from empty wine bottles flipped upside down lining the bar backdrop to a chandelier made from hundreds of reading glasses. A scrap metal dog sculpture greets guests while art installations pop up all over the hotel from hidden stairwells to hanging fixtures. The interactive lobby is a social hub, from Macs to a wall size Plinko game filled with mini soccer balls. A playroom and lounge near the lobby offers ping pong, a pool table, shuffleboard, giant Jenga, and multiple game consoles. Guests can even step into an alternate universe in the lobby’s virtual reality room.

You can find a hotel room here for around $300, including the resort fee and taxes. But enhance your visit for a couple hundred extra bucks more and indulge in one of their wellness guest rooms. Designed by Well + Away (a healthy hip guidebooks series exclusively for Hotel Zetta in 2016), the wellness initiatives include an in-room Peloton cycling bike (in case you don’t want to leave the room for the fitness center on the same floor), a Vital Bar packed with complimentary healthy snacks, spa treatments that can be booked to your room, ROIL bath products by Amanda George, and discounts to top fitness facilities nearby. The room’s pink Well + Away Guide helps you live your best ‘healthy’ life by informing out of town guests with ‘where to’ lists for vegan eateries, juice shops, fitness classes, running routes, as well suggestions from influencers and walkable itineraries related to art, food, or fitness.


For those really sensitive, highly allergic, or just plain anal about cleanliness, the Well + Away Pure guestrooms are deep cleaned for each stay with non-toxic cleaning products from Method and outfitted with hypoallergenic pillows, comforters, Casper brand mattresses and Dyson Pure hot and cool air purifiers. Also, Hotel Zetta’s Stay Green program offers hotel guests a $10 minibar credit for those who forgo nightly housekeeping services.

Although our hotel room had little natural lighting since we looked out into a closed fire escape, a Muse headband was near the TV to help us meditate. The device measures brain activity with an accompanying app that converts the EEG signal into audio feedback that is fed to your ears and actually translates the data into weather sounds. When you guide your mind to calm down, peaceful weather sounds are heard, but when your mind wanders, intensifying weather sounds begin. The hospitality and tech world have surely collided.

Hotel Carlton

In Nob Hill lies the carbon-neutral LEED-certified Hotel Carlton, part of the Joie de Vivre hotels. Built in 1927, this 9-story downtown hotel is a 13-minute walk from Union Square. Nightly complimentary wine receptions are held with local musicians in the quaint lobby adorned with traveler’s relics and clocks in many time zones.

Our clean room outfitted in bold hues like orange and aqua included a comfortable bed with plush Serta mattress and soft linens, flat screen TV, and updated modern bathroom amenities. Blackout curtains helps travelers get a good night sleep, although between my husband’s snoring and the thin walls, it felt like that it might not be possible. In keeping with their environmental mission, green cleaning products are used and filtered water machines are available on each floor for guests to take a pitcher back to their room.

Staying here we stumbled upon a restaurant nearby with a line out the door called Liho Liho Yacht Club. We returned an hour later to snag a seat at the restaurant’s bar to order one of the most memorable meals of our stay. Not a yacht club, but the hotspot’s sensational menu consisted of Asian, Indian, and Hawaiian cuisine.

For around $200 a night, Carlton Hotel provides eclectic, laid back vibes in a historic property that feels more like a European inn. Upgrade to a high floor or spacious suite for expansive city views.






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