Clift Hotel by Starck in San Francisco – a Hotel Review

During my stay in San Francisco, I also had the chance to stay in a boutique hotel, and this time it was at the Clift San Francisco. Located on Geary Street and just one and a half block away from Union Square, this hotel definitely had a great location for tourists keen to shop. Another highlight of this hotel is the design was by well known Philippe Starck.

Entrance Atrium
Entrance atrium to the Clift

While located in a heritage building, the design of the lobby is quirky with a large chair occupying the central dim-lit space. Around it are a mix of modern and old-world furnitures that truly shows the style of Starck. There was not a wait for check in since we arrived at night and I even managed to get a parking spot on the street for the night. The rate for one night here was around $170 per night.

Reception desk
Reception desk

Being a hotel housed in a historic building, the elevators was somewhat small, and I should note there is a club called Redwood Room located in the hotel thus the presence of bouncers outside the elevator lobby. Guests are fine as long as they show their room key.

Room No: 1025 Category: Standard Queen Room

For the first room, we were provided with a queen bedroom even though we had booked a room with a King sized bed. The room was a suite though with a separate lounge area from the bedroom. This living space was the first thing guests notice on entry.

Sofa and armchair
Sofa and armchair in the Starck designed suite

There is a 2 seater sofa, a plastic coffee table, an armchair and a flatscreen TV on top of a console. At the end of this room, there is a work desk with another chair. The window at the end provides a view of the back. Though I doubt this hotel has any good view to speak about due to the height of this building.

Work desk
Work desk by the window

The thing about Starck designed furniture is the abstract look since it felt like a mix and match of modern and historic, and just nothing seems to fit. I would also say the furniture are not in the least comfortable to use. Do not consider me a fan of his design.

Living room suite
Living room in the suite, looking towards the bedroom

The bedroom is located in its own area though there is no door between them. This small area was only able to fit a queen size bed and there was a wall mounted TV though it was a small one and not worth watching anything high definition on.

Queen bedroom
Queen bedroom

The bathroom is located beside the bedroom and it was again somewhat restrictive in size. Having stayed at numerous hotels, my experience with hotels housed within historical buildings was a smaller bathroom. That meant the bathroom fittings were a bathtub shower combination, a toilet and a single sink vanity.

Vanity counter
Vanity counter
Shower in the bathtub
Shower area in the bathtub

The toilet even had the exposed piping though I was glad they had white tiles to make the space bright. Amenities provided by the hotel was worth a mention too since they are by Malin + Goetz, and they are worth the while to bring with you for future travels.

Toiletries on the shelf
Toiletries on the shelf

We had decided to ask for a King room as stated in the reservation and did manage to get the receptionist to change our room. In fact a staff member came up with the new room keys.

Room No: 527 Category: Deluxe King Room

The second room we were assigned is closer to the elevators though it is located on a lower floor. The suite has similar furnishings throughout and the bathroom is the first one guests will pass by on the left.

Floor plan
Floor plan of the hotel

Even though the bathroom fittings are similar, it was a smaller footprint, and thus feels even more cramped. It did still have the same brand of toiletries.

Bathroom interior
Bathroom interior
Malin + Goetz Amenities
Malin + Goetz amenities

Moving to the living space that hd the same furniture set, it somehow did not feel that comfortable. The reason was the TV atop the console did not face the sofa correctly as the space in front of the sofa was taken by the work desk.

Deluxe King suite
Deluxe King suite

While the living and bathroom area was not as nice, the bedroom was vastly better. There was a long bench on the left side of the bedroom and a larger King bed in the middle. Another TV which is similar to the one on the living room is located above the console at the corner. The best thing was the wardrobe space with another luggage stand at the end of the room that provides more storage space for your luggage.

King bedroom
King bedroom

Thus the Deluxe King room certainly would be better and my choice over the Queen size bedroom. Though from the hotel’s website I did not notice a Queen bedroom so I do expect that guests booking from third party travel websites might be assigned the rooms with smaller beds if they are not aware of it. Being a boutique hotel, there was a lot of things that they charge like bottled water and shaving kits that was provided in the minibar and the vanity. They even charge for instant espresso found on the desk.

Guest lounge
Guest lounge

Breakfast was not included in the rate though I did not bother with the hotel’s breakfast which is served within the Velvet Room. I do suggest Blue Bottle Coffee located across from the Westfield San Francisco for great espressos and brewed coffees.

Fitness centre
Fitness centre

Other than the large lounge space in the lobby, the club and the restaurant space, the hotel also has a fitness centre on the 2nd floor. This facility is available to guests with room keys 24 hours daily and does have natural light but it is a somewhat small space with limited equipments. The hotel also has some bicycles for rent but it was not something we were made aware of unless we checked the website before hand. In any case, it was not something we did during our stay.

Fitness centre
Fitness centre

To cap it all, I would consider this more like a limited service hotel in the form of an aloft or a Four Points considering I did not value the design and theme of this hotel. I get the design was by the famous Philippe Starck but I am not a fan of his works, so that is of no value to me. Instead, the hotel seems to charge for many items like bottled water and the daily cup of coffee which I have expected to be for free in other chain hotels I stayed at. At this price point, I believe there was many other hotels including the Westin St Francis located across the Union Square which would make better value overall.

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