Here’s What You Need to Know about the Westin St. Francis

The location puts you walking distance from many San Francisco sights.
San Francisco's Union Square and Westin St. Francis hotel
(Photo: Marriott)

Walking into the lobby of the Westin St. Francis is like taking a step back in time. The hotel has had a sophisticated presence on San Francisco’s Union Square since 1904 and still maintains its stately elegance. With rooms that match the beauty of the lobby and exterior, guests of all ages feel enveloped in the history and service of what is simply a grand hotel. But it’s also a welcoming atmosphere—there’s no pretension in the offerings or service at the Westin St. Francis.

Things to Know about The Westin St. Francis 

  • The Westin St. Francis is in the heart of San Francisco with easy access to all corners of the city. 
  • The hotel’s $25 destination fee sets you up for both travel and other benefits that are worth far beyond what you’ll pay, including a $25 food and beverage credit at the hotel and a wine flight tasting at the nearby Eno Wine Bar, as well as two (quite nice) stainless steel water bottles. [When Eno is closed, the Westin St. Francis offers credit at its own Clock Bar.]
  • The hotel property comprises two buildings: the Landmark Building (the historic one you’ve seen in photos and right on Union Square) and the Tower Building (set back but still facing the Square). 

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What Families Need to Know about The Westin St. Francis

Families will want to stay at the Westin St. Francis for several reasons, the first of which is: location, location, location. Of course it’s more than that, but the location is super central. You won’t need a car to explore the city (though the hotel does have paid parking if you do drive), and it feels like there’s a different transportation option for every day of the week. Walk or bike to the SFMOMA, take MUNI to the Exploratorium or Pier 39, ride the bus to the Cal Academy of Sciences or the DeYoung Museum, or ride the Cable Car to the Cable Car Museum (it’s worth a stop).

With many accommodations options, easy access to transportation, and a historic feel that you simply can’t find in many places, the Westin St. Francis is as much an experience as it is a hotel. Children will appreciate the fast and exciting Tower Building glass elevators that rocket you above the city, as well as a chance to hop on a cable car right outside the hotel lobby. Parents will be grateful for spacious rooms, a 24/7 gym, and plenty of dining options both in the hotel and just steps beyond the hotel doors.

What Couples Need to Know

The Westin St. Francis is, for sure, a romantic getaway for two. From the intimate Clock Bar to beautifully appointed rooms, this hotel is certainly suited for couples. Rooms have the brand’s trademark Westin Heavenly Bed, which makes sleeping in extra luxurious.

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The Westin St. Francis Reviews

The Westin St. Francis earns a rating of 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor based on more than 900 reviews, 8.6 out of 10 on based on over 2,100 reviews, 8.3 out of 10 on based on around 1,100 reviews, and 8.4 out of 10 on Kayak. Reviewers praise the central location; elegance, comfort and cleanliness; and generous and kind staff and service. 

Important Details about The Westin St. Francis 

view of the classic suite parlor at San Francisco's Westin St. Francis
The classic suite offers extra room for families (Photo: Marriott)


Prized for its location, the Westin is in the heart of San Francisco. Located on Union Square and just a few blocks from Market Street, you’ll find many classic San Francisco sites within walking distance, including Chinatown, Market Street, and Grace Cathedral.

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The hotel is just two blocks from the BART, MUNI (street-level rail cars), and buses. And if you’re looking to maintain that old world feel that the hotel evokes, you can also hop on the famous Cable Car right in front of the hotel to head up Nob Hill and across town to Ghirardelli Square. 

The Property

The Westin’s historic lobby entrance on Union Square takes you back in time and into the property’s Landmark Building. Travel through the lobby and head to the Tower Building, where the elegance is tinged with modernity (and awesome glass elevators—look out Willy Wonka). Rooms are well-appointed, updated, and spacious in both buildings; the Landmark Building rooms showcase the architecture of its time period with crown moldings, high ceilings, glass door knobs, and (updated) chandeliers. The more modern Tower Building rooms extend 31 stories, so guests might appreciate the quiet and extended views.


With 11 different room types and 10 different kinds of suites, you can pretty much design your own accommodations experience at the Westin St. Francis. The most basic rooms have courtyard or building views. The most spacious suites have panoramic views and multiple sitting and/or sleeping areas. While adjoining rooms cannot be guaranteed, there are suite configurations in which a suite is adjoining with another room, guaranteeing a sitting area, two bathrooms and two sleeping areas. Some suites were former residences (à la Eloise at The Plaza). Your best bet is to call the property if looking for a particular kind of room.


Beyond the food and beverage credit, your $25 destination fee includes two cable car tickets (currently $8 each) for rides that pick up right out in front of the hotel, plus two-hour bike rentals to destinations across the city.

During the holidays, the Westin is the place to be. On Union Square in winter, guests are treated to the city’s Christmas Tree and an outdoor ice rink, while inside, the hotel hosts a holiday pop-up Champagne Bar in the historic Colonnade room as well as Breakfast With Santa in the Tower Building’s 31st floor event space. The hotel’s famous pastry chef also dazzles guests with a sugar castle every winter. Come Spring, Union Square blossoms with its In Bloom event as well as a Mother’s Day Tea.


There are several dining options beyond the wide in-room offerings. Cafe Rito, in the heart of the lobby, offers coffee, snacks, and light meals/sandwich options throughout the day. Take your food to go or enjoy at the lovely hightop counters or table seating. The more formal Oak Room has dining options throughout the day, including selections from the Westin Eat Well Menu. For excellent adult beverage opportunities, the Chateau Montelena Tasting Room is the San Francisco outpost of this famed Napa Valley spot, which is one of the U.S.’s oldest wineries. And the Clock Bar mixes old style San Francisco elegance with a modern edge—the original grandfather clock still stands outside the bar, and its digital counterpart lines the pillars inside.


Guests are welcome to use the Fitness Studio and Cardio Room 24/7, and the hotel offers running maps and group runs through the concierge. 

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Nina Cohen
Nina Cohen is a teacher, parent, traveler, and writer. She’s lived around the world and is an expert on travel to France, Hawaii, and the Boston-DC corridor.