Le Meridien San Francisco (333 Battery St., 415/296-2900, $350) stands tall in the Embarcadero Center, convenient to shopping, dining, and the streetcar and cable car lines to all the favorite downtown destinations. This expensive luxury hotel pampers guests with Frette sheets, plush robes, marble bathrooms, and stellar views. Expect nightly turndown service, free newspapers, and 24-hour room service.
The perennial business favorite, sitting right in the midst of the Embarcadero Center, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco (5 Embarcadero Center, 415/788-1234, www.sanfranciscoregency.hyatt.com , $270–355) has it all. A great location across the street from the Ferry Building , more than 800 rooms for easy bookings anytime, fabulous views, and every amenity the business (or pleasure) traveler needs. Guests enjoy the comforts provided with the Hyatt name, a café and bar in-house, and convenient access to Muni, BART, and cable car lines.
Hotel Vitale (8 Mission St., 888/890-8688, www.hotelvitale.com , $300–800) professes to restore guests’ vitality with its lovely guest rooms and exclusive spa, complete with rooftop hot soaking tubs and yoga studio. Many of the good-sized guest rooms also have private deep soaking tubs. If you happen to reside in the greater Bay Area (or you know someone who does), check out the deeply discounted “Sunday Locals Only” package.
The only problem with staying at the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco (222 Sansome St., 415/276-9888, www.mandarinoriental.com , $690) is that you may never leave your room. Redefining decadence, the Mandarin Oriental includes raised beds in all rooms so guests can enjoy the panoramic city and bay views while snuggling under the covers. In the swank corner rooms and suites, raised bathtubs let bathers enjoy stunning sights (such as the Transamerica Pyramid , Alcatraz , and the Golden Gate Bridge ) from the warmth of the bubbly water.
All rooms boast top amenities and Asian-inspired decor, and families are welcome. You can find the best room rates on the hotel’s website (the prices will make a budget-minded traveler’s eyes bleed), as well as various stay-and-play packages with an emphasis on golf and spa treatments.
The tall, proud Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco (757 Market St., 415/633-3000, www.fourseasons.com , $450) sits right on Market Street, convenient to SoMa , Union Square , and all of downtown San Francisco . Unlike many of the City’s other luxury hotels, the Four Seasons interiors sparkle with ultra-modern art and decor. Spacious guest rooms feature tasteful appointments, and many have picture windows with city and bay views. A large lobby, bar, and dining room provide guests with services day and night.
With specials occasionally ranging under the $250 mark, The W San Francisco (181 3rd St., 415/777-5300, www.starwoodhotels.com , $310) brings City luxury to an almost reasonable level. In the heart of SoMa , W guests can walk to the Yerba Buena Gardens or the SFMOMA . Inside the hotel, you’ll enjoy spa pampering, fine dining, and rooms with a view. Check out the Internet packages, which cater to everyone from businesspeople to Pride -goers.
For a unique San Francisco  hotel experience, book at room at the famous Hotel Palomar (12 Fourth St., 866/373-4941, www.hotelpalomar-sf.com , $260–575). You’ll find every amenity imaginable, from extra-long beds for taller guests to in-room spa services to temporary pet goldfish. The overall decorative motif evokes M. C. Escher, and whimsical colorful touches accent each room. Be sure to book reservations for dinner at the award-winning Fifth Floor restaurant during your stay. Check the website for special deals, some quite reasonably priced, that focus on shopping and spa-style relaxation. You can even book a spa package with your dog!
The Palace Hotel (2 New Montgomery St., 415/512-1111, www.sfpalace.com , $300–575) enjoys its reputation as the grande dame of all San Francisco  hotels. The original Palace was the dream of William Ralston, who bankrupted himself creating the immense hotel.
The rich history of the Palace began when its doors opened in 1875. It was gutted by fires following the 1906 earthquake, rebuilt and reopened in 1909, and refurbished for the new millennium over the years 1989–1991. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson negotiated terms of the Treaty of Versailles over lunch at the Garden Court.
Today, guests take pleasure in beautiful bedrooms, exercise and relax in the full-service spa and fitness center, and dine in the Palace’s three restaurants. If you’re staying at the Palace, having a meal in the exquisite Garden Court dining room is a must, though you may forget to eat as you gaze upward at the stained-glass domed ceiling.