Union Square Hotels
Palihotel San Francisco
417 Stockton St., Union Square
If we were to dream up the ideal, minimalist urban loft, the Palihotel—nestled right by heart-of-the-action Union Square—is it. Worn white brick walls, low-to-the-ground beds with warm striped throws, stylish mid-century-style chairs, and copper light fixtures distinguish the roomy spaces, and, like its sister properties, this outpost is sympathetic to the existing neighborhood style with its imposing, Mission Revival-style façade. Inside, though, soft pastel colors, plenty of stripes, and vintage-looking floral patterns adorn the common areas (which feel made for the freelance traveler who needs to bust out emails but appreciates pretty surroundings and quick service). Foodwise, Fisher Loft on the second floor is the kind of spot you check out for breakfast and come back for dinner: the burgers, jammy eggs, frisée salad, and (if you’re feeling extra) caviar service are menu standouts.
55 5th St., Union Square
At over 100 guest rooms, Zetta is a pretty big operation (it's a member of the Viceroy family, so expect a certain level of sceney-ness), but thanks to so many welcoming touches and one-of-a-kind local art sprinkled throughout, it feels totally boutique. The guest rooms are particularly well equipped to accommodate business travelers with customizable desk spaces and high-tech gadgetry throughout.
The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel
495 Geary St., Union Square
This gem celebrated its 100th birthday a couple of years ago (it did receive a Philippe Starcke makeover in the interim) making it particularly good time to book a stay. In the famously ornate lobby you'll find furniture pieces by Ray and Charles Eames and Salvador Dali; the standard rooms while on the tight side make up for it in comfort and beautiful pastel-hued décor. Downstairs, the plush Redwood Room is perfect for drinks and snacks at the stretch bar which lent the local-approved lounge its name.
Four Seasons San Francisco
757 Market St., Union Square
This elegant and airy space right in the middle of downtown San Francisco is ideally situated for walking around the heart of the city. There are also the Yerba Buena gardens nearby and a stunning lap pool inside the hotel for when you need a break from sightseeing (there's also a full-on Equinox gym). It's definitely one of the city's best hotels (if not its best).