Last Updated on February 21, 2021 by Katrina

Photo credit: Axiom Hotel San Francisco

The best hotels near San Francisco’s Union Square offer you a perfect, centralized launching pad for exploring the city. You’re within easy stricking distance of Chinatown, the Embarcadero as well as the trendy eateries of The Tenderloin. The cable car clangs right through the area, too. While hotels in Union Square may carry some extra cost for all that convenience, there are plenty of great values. Here are five hotels that will make you feel like you’re in the heart of the City by the Bay.

Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square (335 Powell St.; 415-397-7000)

This stately 1904-era Westin hotel, part of the Marriott family of hotels, is a landmark on Union Square. The hotel comprises the classic main building and a more modern tower rising up from behind. “Rooms in the old wing are smaller but more elegant. Accommodations in the much newer tower are larger, with better views …you should be happy either way,” says Newsweek. No matter where you stay, ride the tower’s glass elevator for big city views. Google reviewers tend to give the hotel high marks for its central location, but also for its grand dame ambience. “The hotel has so much history. It was fun to walk around and read the historical markers,” says one reviewer. Don’t miss the tasting room for famed Napa winery Chateau Montelena, right off the lobby.

Kimpton Sir Francis Drake (450 Powell St.; 415-392-7755)

This 416-room hotel walks the line between the boutique-hotel convenience that Kimptons are known for—a complimentary wine hour, free coffee, house bicycles—and big-city grandeur. That is thanks in part to the 1928 building’s history and the Beefeater doormen who greet you in the lobby. As Conde Nast Traveler notes, “Think marble walls, a grand staircase, crystal chandeliers, wood paneling, ornate ceilings, brocade curtains—and throw in some red upholstery and zebra-stripe pillows.” One Tripadvisor reviewer notes the hotel’s proximity to spots like the Masonic Theater, but notes that rooms are old-fashionedly compact. “We knew the room would be small (and it was!) but this is part of the charm of staying in a historical building. And the accommodations could not have been more stylish and comfortable.”

JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square (515 Mason St.; 415- 771-8600)

Just a block or so off Union Square, this 329-room JW Marriott will appeal to business travelers, with its airy lobby and conference facilities. But it’s not totally buttoned-down, either. The red-accented, glass-chandeliered lobby “is an exuberant space,” says Condé Nast Traveler. “Take a seat by the gas fire, or tilt your head back to get a glimpse of the soaring atrium.” A Google reviewer gives it props for solid service and for feeling relaxing, too. “Very quiet hotel, considering the central location,” she writes. “The rooms were clean and spacious, although not much of a view if you are on the north or west side. Great views from the south and east side.”

Taj Campton Place (340 Stockton St.; 415-781-5555)

This 110-room hotel on Stockton Street embodies San Francisco-style luxury. There’s serious foodie street cred (the house restaurant has a Michelin star) and an ambience that’s elegant but still slightly low-key. “Insulated personifies the guest rooms in this pair of joined prewar buildings,” says Travel+Lesiure. “Fitted with warm pearwood paneling and built-in dressers … they feel plush and snug, like the staterooms on a ship.” A Tripadvisor reviewer says it’s one of her favorites in the city, thanks to the “legendary customer service.” The “truly world-class” Campton Place is not just for special-occasion dinners: “Their breakfast was unforgettable.”

Axiom Hotel San Francisco (28 Cyril Magnin St.; 415-392-9466)

Among our list of the best hotels near San Francisco’s Union Square is one newcomer. This 152-room boutique hotel at the cable car turn where Union Square and SoMa meet has quickly gained fans for its relaxed elegance and good value. “The century-old building preserves its historic character through charming moldings and an intricate façade,” says Condé Nast Traveler, “while the soothing eggshell-and–powder blue palette and minimalist design makes each guest room feel like a refuge from the city.” One Tripadvisor user loved touches like the purified water hydration station on every floor, adding that “there are actually some 3-star hotels that were much more expensive and not as nice as the Axiom.”

Related: