Luxury Hotel Review: W San Francisco, California

(4 reviews)
0.00 Grams
Current Stock:

In a vibrant city which is packed with style-driven and boutique hotels, the W San Francisco has been welcoming visitors for over 20 years and continues to impress. And the completion of a recent major revamp hasn’t hurt its enduring appeal.

  • Location: On the corner of Third and Howard Streets in SoMa (South of Market) and a half hour by taxi from San Francisco International Airport. 
  • Accommodations: The hotel has an impressive lineup of newly refurbished accommodations including 389 spacious guest rooms and 12 suites, with a bold new decor blending “Gold Fever” with tech, and custom graphic pillows and throws inspired by San Francisco’s rich heritage. Each renovated room has highlights including a signature W Hotels Bed with pillow-top mattress (some rooms have two), ergonomic work spaces, Wi-Fi access, bedside tech hookups, and W Mix Bar for a little play.
  • Dining options: There is 24-hour room service but only one restaurant and one bar on site which surprised me. The Living Room Bar is a hip space, however, with vibrant lights and music, and it’s ideal for a pre-dinner drink or a late night cocktail. For breakfast, lunch, dinner or brunch, TRACE offers fresh, locally-sourced California cuisine.
  • What else is there: We didn’t get time to use the gym but the woman on reception told us it was worth at least a look. Called FIT, it had a futuristic design, plenty of natural light from a skylight ceiling and a curious central seating arrangement with a self-serve bar and colour-changing lights. 
  • What’s nearby: Located in SoMa, one of San Francisco’s most famous neighbourhoods, the W is conveniently next door to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and across the street from the Moscone Convention Center. Also nearby are the Yerba Buena Gardens, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora and Union Square is a short walk.
  • Why go: Besides a terrific location, the W San Francisco is an uber cool hotel by day and hip social hub by night, ideally suited to those who like to travel fashionably. 

The Space

Just over 20 years ago, the first ever W to launch into the travel market was the W New York on Lexington Avenue, throwing open its doors in 1998. Hot on its heels, in May 1999 a San Francisco property followed, a 31 floor luxury boutique hotel nestled in the heart of the up-and-coming South of Market area. Two decades on, however, and this popular resting place for the hip and happening has undergone a serious makeover. It debuted new look guest rooms just recently, inspired by a bold combination of the Gold Rush of the late 1840s and San Francisco’s current era of tech innovation. The overall design has plenty of striking features; white surfaces with gold accents, gold flake throughout a grey graphic print, whimsical carpeting aiming to mimic the city’s famous skyline, and even wallpaper with subtle gold dust. There’s always been a lineup of good reasons to stay here, but these new good looks are another to add to the list. 

Where We Stayed

On a freezing cold night, after our inbound flight was delayed, we were happy to be upgraded to a King Mega Cool Corner Guest Room. Although it was a bit of a mouthful to say, it was worth it for our three night stay. Our only regret was that we hadn’t planned to be in our hotel much, with our stay in the City by the Bay only brief before going down the coast to Monterrey to visit friends for NYE. Brightly coloured with hot pink touches contrasting with the stark greys and whites, our huge corner room had bird’s eye views of the city skyline; they told us at reception on check-in it had a design embracing the work of gold miners carving out places to sleep, relax and live. Fanciful description aside, the room had a romantic couch which filled the corner from which to enjoy these views, and which were spectacular after dark. The room also a decent work space with easy WIFI access and power points should you need them, a super comfortable king-sized bed, and a neat bathroom with an easy-on-the-eye decor kitted out with Davines amenities and soft bathrobes. We also appreciated the in-room refreshment centre, especially the night we arrived, which had a nice selection of local wines and treats in a Munchie Box. Also essential for us to start the day, there as a Nespresso-style coffee maker with pods. The wall-mounted LED TV had all the usual cable TV channels including premium movie channels, and there was an iPod dock - it was a shame we didn’t have one with us. Loves 

  • The location which is ideal for visitors to enjoy the best of San Francisco’s sights, shopping and dining.
  • The bold, minimalist decor, and the jaw-dropping views from our corner room.
  • The gym, which was wonderfully high tech and futuristic.

Insider Tips  

  • If you’re in town for more than a couple of days and your budget can stretch to it, opt for one of the spacious suites which have spectacular San Francisco city views, and a separate living room with either one or two bathrooms. So keen the hotel was to impress, they showed us one before we checked out.

The Details

The W San Francisco is located at 181 Third Street, San Francisco, California,


Qantas will begin non-stop Boeing 787 flights between Brisbane San Francisco on February 9, 2020, complementing the airline's current Sydney and Melbourne services to the City by the Bay. 

To Book Your Next Holiday To San Francisco Visit Our Valued Travel Partners:

Callum Rogan


  • 4
    Fairmont Rules

    Posted by Marla Z on 28th Jan 2020

    We stayed at The Fairmont Heritage Place Ghirardelli Square, urban styling and lovely bay's a great tourist hub too and you can walk to North Beach, which is great for Italian food and proper coffee!

  • 3
    Okay But Can Do Better

    Posted by Leena on 28th Jan 2020

    Four Seasons instead...much better

  • 5
    So hotels

    Posted by Neal Perry on 28th Jan 2020

    So many choices for hotels, haven't stayed here but I will next time especially now it's been renovated! I love the theme behind the design....the rooms look great too and it has a great location. Thanks for sharing ultimate!

  • 5
    Finally Updated

    Posted by Tim O'Leary on 28th Jan 2020

    We stayed there last year after a visit about a decade ago....thought it needed updating, so great stuff