Since the '60s, San Francisco has had a reputation for being offbeat and funky, so it is no surprise that it is home to some rather unusual hotels. Many of these hotels are of the boutique variety and are located in the densely populated downtown area, from where you can catch the cable car or one of the BART trains to check out other crazy city sights.
"Harper's Bazaar" calls Triton "a happening and unique escape from the mundane." The hotel's 141 individually designed rooms have a bit of flair, with touches like tomato soup-colored walls and rubber ducks for the bath. Celebrities like comedian Kathy Griffin and Grateful Dead musician Jerry Garcia have tried their hand at designing with the hotel's celebrity suites. The Haagen-Dazs Sweet Suite allows guests to indulge with cabinets full of ice cream bars and pints. The eco-friendly boutique not only has environmentally friendly practices, but also Earth-themed suites. The hotel is across from Chinatown's dragon gate entrance.
La Luna Inn
Located in the upscale Marina neighborhood of San Francisco, La Luna Inn breaks from its lodging neighbors with kitschy, 1960s-era motor inn design and decor. The hotel looks like a motel, but offers the services you would expect from a higher-end establishment, like limo service, excursion arrangements and spa and salon appointments. La Luna Inn is close to Presidio National Park and Golden Gate Bridge.
Just outside of the Tenderloin, one of San Francisco's grittiest neighborhoods, the Phoenix Hotel is all rock and roll. The classic 1950s-style boutique has seen the likes of Joan Jett, Little Richard and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. A mural lines the bottom of the hotel pool, statues fill the courtyard and all of the hotel rooms sport original artwork. The hotel provides guests with daily passes to Kabuki Springs and Spa and a staff-authored guide to the city's hidden gems. As part of the Joie de Vivre line of hotels, the Phoenix annually donates a minimum of $200 per guest room to a local charity.
Hotel des Arts
As its name suggests, Hotel des Arts is part hotel, part art gallery. Works by international artists line the walls of the hotel, including the guest rooms, and artists also have painted and decorated the rooms. With the hotel's Explorer Package, guests can stay for seven nights but pay for five. Continental breakfast is included in all room rates. The hotel is located downtown near Union Square, the financial district and Chinatown.
Each of the Hotel Bijou's 65 rooms is adorned with the name of a different San Francisco-based movie, and cinematic decor gives the jewel-toned guest rooms a theatrical feel. In the hotel lobby is the Petit Theater, which screens nightly double features of San Francisco-based movies; admission is free for guests. The hotel is in the heart of downtown, blocks from the Powell Street BART Station and Westfield Mall.
- building image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com