1 Hotel San Francisco

Why book? There is no shortage of hotels in San Francisco. But, truth be told, none get high marks across the board. One might have a glorious natural setting, but is a hike from any real restaurant or cultural scene. Another, amazing design, but the location is a total downer. And, of course, there are a handful of high-end, big names that have excellent service and all the luxury bells and whistles, but aren’t exactly pushing boundaries when it comes to sustainability or decor. 1 Hotel San Francisco is the unicorn this city has been waiting for. It has an excellent location overlooking the Bay, an eco ethos at the core of its brand, on-point design, and a bar/restaurant that takes advantage of the fact that it’s mere feet from one of the country’s best farmers markets.

Set the scene The location could not be better. The hotel is on the corner of Mission Street, which slices diagonally through the city, and the Embarcadero, which hugs the waterfront from the Bay Bridge west to Fisherman’s Wharf. And it’s right across the street from the iconic Ferry Building, which, while still an active ferry terminal, has morphed into foodie paradise with outposts of places like Hog Island Oyster and Gott's Roadside and a thrice-weekly farmers market spoken about by locals with near religious zeal. If you’ve been to any of the other six 1 Hotels around the globe, you will recognize some through lines here. For starters, the design in the public spaces. The first floor, which houses the check in area as well as a spacious, multi-room lobby with lots of reclaimed wood, low-slung leather and upholstered couches and woven chairs clustered around coffee tables; it's low lit with a color palette that doubles down on neutrals—plenty of cream, sand, and gray. Then there’s the 1 Hotel distinct scent—delicious and woodsy without overpowering—and of course the plants; there are potted plants and living walls everywhere. The overall impact of the mellow lighting, the color scheme, the organic design, and natural materials is tremendously soothing. I was visiting on the hotel’s opening day, so the public spaces were not as bustling as they will certainly be in the near future. But this first floor lobby is made for lingering and I can imagine that guests will happily meet up here before dinner or park it here for an hour and crank out work emails. The guests that I do see are smartly dressed, hip but casual. Maybe on the creative side of tech. And the overall vibe–from guests and staff–is joyful; people are thrilled to be out and about, traveling and working again.

The backstory The 1 Hotel has taken over what was formerly the Hotel Vitale, which always had fabulous bones (lots of windows, spacious guest rooms) but had been feeling a little frayed for the last few years of its existence. 1 Hotel San Francisco is the brand’s seventh property and its second in California (the West Hollywood outpost opened in 2019). 1 Hotels is known for its mission-driven hospitality; for really walking the sustainability walk and showing that luxury and eco-awareness can truly go hand-in-hand.

The rooms While the lobby and the hallways are on the moody side of lighting, the 186 rooms and 14 suites, are bright and sunny. My king room looked out toward the Ferry Building and over the Bay, with the Bay Bridge off in the distance. (For even more insane waterfront views, the panoramic suite—630 square feet with sweeping Bay vistas—is the room to book). Like the public spaces, my room is a case study in neutrals and naturals: nubby cream throw pillows and a chunky woven blanket on the bed, a leather headboard, reclaimed wood on the walls, and several potted plants. There are thoughtful, lovely touches throughout: a wall-mounted coat rack and a little low table when you enter the room to hang your jacket and toss your purse onto, a hand-painted rock that says “Not Now” that you place on a little shelf outside your door instead of the usual plastic “Do Not Disturb” doorknob tag. And my favorite, a little wooden plaque that explains the brand’s 1 Less Thing program: in short, if you’ve overpacked (or gone shopping and have no space in your suitcase) you simply leave what you can’t fit or don’t need behind with the plaque on top. The hotel, in partnership with a local charity, will get the goods to someone in need. Rates from $355 per night.

Food and drink One of the best things about San Francisco is its access to amazing produce and proximity to ethically-run ranches and dairies. Just about everything grows and thrives in this NorCal climate, and the hotel’s bar and restaurant Terrene leans into this. The dinner menu spotlights the local bounty and skews Mediterranean with standouts such as the laffa (a chewier pita) with baba ganoush or a spicy carrot harissa dip and lamb sliders with mango jam and shallot pickle. And the cocktail menu is just as considered and full of insanely creative drinks, like the gin based, citrus-heavy Tiny Sea Monster, and the Napa Dreaming—which, with a Cabernet float, might be the most beautiful cocktail I’ve ever had. The breakfast menu is solid, with great coffee, a strong smoothie list, and things like overnight oats and an elevated take on an egg and cheese. The restaurant and bar are open to hotel guests and walk-ins for now, but it will begin taking reservations later this summer. Bonus—there’s a large, water-facing outdoor patio that will open soon.

The spa It wasn’t open when I visited, but when the spa does arrive, it will be a treasure located on the top floor, with three treatment rooms (one double room) and views of the water and the city. The real treat though, is the patio area off of the spa that has two huge outdoor soaking tubs (surrounded by privacy screens). It will be an experience to soak in a rooftop tub after a massage and look out at the skyline. The hotel also has a gym with Peloton bikes, treadmills, and weights.

The neighborhood/area As mentioned, the location is excellent. In addition to being on the water and across the street from the Ferry Building, the Embarcadero walking path and the beloved restaurant Boulevard (newly renovated by designer Ken Fulk), the hotel is about a 15-minute stroll from so many highlights, like Mister Jiu’s restaurant in Chinatown, SFMOMA in the SoMa district, City Lights bookstore in North Beach, and Coit Tower in Telegraph Hill. Most everything else you’d want to check out during a visit—Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, Ocean Beach—is an easy 25-minute car ride. (The hotel has a house car that will drop you within a certain radius, as well as an Audi e-tron that guests can take out for a test drive.)

The service High-level but casual. The staff is friendly and helpful but not overly formal.

For families It’s not designed for families, per se—even though it has a casual, low fuss energy, it’s still a sophisticated hotel in terms of vibe and design—but families would be comfortable here. There are a number of connecting rooms that combine a king room with a two-queen room, which would be ideal for a family with (non-toddler) kids.

Eco effort It would be easier to say what isn’t part of the hotel's eco effort than to list what is. Nearly every aspect of the guest experience (to say nothing of the back of the house) has an eco component. Materials are ethically sourced and natural, from the repurposed wood (much of the redwood that you see was salvaged from historic barns and industrial buildings and, even cooler, from the original Bay Bridge) to the hand-loomed wool rugs. There are water filling stations on every floor, and water bottles and glass carafes in every room. There’s no plastic packaging in any of the minibar offerings (and many are from local Bay Area companies like chocolate from 9th and Larkin and granola bars from Nana Joes). The hotel even has a rooftop beehive as well as a garden where it grows many of the herbs and some of the produce used in the restaurant. Zero waste is taken seriously, to the point where a single cocktail may use the juice of the lemon, a dehydrated lemon rind, as well as a glass-rimming ash made from leftover dehydrated rinds. The hotel car is electric. Room keys are made from wood…and I could keep going. All to say, the hotel’s eco effort is strong and brand defining.

Accessibility ADA standards are met and there are elevators and ramps in place.

Availability Calendar

  Available   Not Available
June 2024
02 03 04 05 06 07 08
09 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
July 2024
 01 02 03 04 05 06
07 08 09 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31    
August 2024
    01 02 03
04 05 06 07 08 09 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Select a Check-in and Check-out Date