The best gay-friendly hotels in San Francisco

Long a trailblazer for gay rights and freedoms, San Francisco remains as liberal and forward-thinking as ever—with a vibrant and diverse LGBTQ community to match. It comes as little surprise then that gay San Francisco promises big-time thrills, whether it be in the rainbow-lined landmark that is The Castro or, really, anywhere across this queer-leaning mecca of self-expression. Ready to start planning your perfect gay San Francisco vacation? Mr Hudson is here to help with this curation of the best gay-friendly hotels in San Francisco.

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With ravishing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Cavallo Point easily tops any list of the best gay-friendly hotels in San Francisco

Photo: Natalie Chaney

Cavallo Point

With ravishing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Cavallo Point easily tops any list of the best gay-friendly hotels in San Francisco. Relish the iconic landmark over a sumptuous breakfast in bed, or get inspired by the natural beauty of the surrounding Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Design-wise, expect a delightful combination of early 20th-century colonial architecture and modern, eco-friendly luxury. In 2010, Cavallo Point was the recipient of the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification—details like organic linens, radiant heat flooring, farm-to-table dining, and solar panels showcase why. Don’t miss Cavallo Point’s first-rate spa and healing art center; a divine medley of acupuncture treatments, herbal consultations, yoga classes, and even a meditation pool promise a myriad of indulgent self-care opportunities. You’ll find Cavallo Point nestled in picturesque Sausalito (across the bay,) but a complimentary shuttle to downtown and the Sausalito Ferry Terminal keeps you within easy access of all the best gay things to do in San Fransico.

Cavallo Point | Photo: Kodiak Greenwood

St. Regis San Francisco

The St. Regis San Francisco is the epitome of timeless elegance. Think extravagantly appointed suites, personalized butler service (at an additional fee) and sweeping glass windows that give way to glittering downtown views. This quintessential gay-friendly San Francisco hotel is squirrelled away in the SoMa District, where top attractions like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts are just a few steps away. In keeping with its creative neighbours, thought-provoking art installations and sculptures are on display throughout the hotel, and the Museum of the African Diaspora can be accessed from the lobby.

Parker Guest House

Ideally located in the time-honoured gayborhood of The Castro, The Parker Guest House is a sunny, 21-room guesthouse that’s popular with discerning LGBTQ travellers for a reason. The canary-yellow building dates back to 1909, and though the rooms have been newly renovated, the friendly B&B still oozes with historic charm. Arresting stained glass windows, a wood-burning fireplace and storied family heirlooms are just a few of the notable touches. The rooms are spacious and cozy, but it’s the moody communal front parlor and library that has us swooning. And did we mention complimentary daily wine social hours on the leafy terrace? Easy access to the culinary delights of The Mission District, as well as the palm-dotted splendour of Dolores Park, further elevate this home-away-from-home experience.

Photo: Amogh Manjunath

Photo: Avi Naim

Hotel Taj Campton Place

For five-star luxury near to thrumming Union Square, it’s hard to beat the Hotel Taj Campton Place. Rooms are light and airy, primarily decorated in natural colour palettes to create a decidedly contemporary feel. Exercise lovers will appreciate the 9th-floor open-air fitness center, especially on a sunny San Fran day when the plastic tent covering is rolled back to reveal Union Square views. That said, the undeniable piece de resistance here is the hotel’s two Michelin star restaurant helmed by Chef Srijith Gopinathan. A feast for the senses, come for innovative Cali-Indian fusion best enjoyed via the seven-course tasting menu.

Axiom Hotel

Axiom is a tech-forward hotel proving travellers need not sacrifice history or nostalgia for the conveniences of a digital lifestyle. Located in an early-1900s San Fran building, original architectural details and vintage arcade games meet fiber optic Internet and state-of-the-art amenities. It’s a brilliant blend of both old and new that feels perfectly at home at its convenient Powell Street location (just steps from the iconic Powell-Hyde Cable Car.) Travelling to gay San Francisco with your furry friend? Axiom is pet-friendly and near to a heaping number of the city’s top pet-friendly attractions.

Photo: Avi Naim

Photo: Koushik Chowdavarapu

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Join in the high-life at Hotel Drisco, a gay-friendly San Francisco hotel that feels perfectly at home in its stylish surroundings

Hotel Drisco

Pacific Heights is famed for its posh boutiques, opulent mansions, and sparkling bay views, where well-heeled locals enjoy extravagant living. Join in the high-life at Hotel Drisco, a gay-friendly San Francisco hotel that feels perfectly at home in its stylish surroundings. From staff outfitted in gold waistcoats to afternoon wine receptions to black and white photographs of old San Francisco, everything about Hotel Drisco exudes refined grandeur. Rooms are equally distinctive with unique details such as bespoke pillows (accompanied by a pillow menu) and even sleep machines.

Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco

A serene retreat that belies its ultra-convenient location in the heart of downtown, The Four Seasons San Francisco lives up to the brand’s sophisticated reputation. The design skews towards contemporary with a serene colour palette that draws to mind the blues and greys of the surrounding landscape. Rooms are spacious and bathed in light, complete with cozy cushioned window seats and decadent marble bathrooms. Don’t leave home without your runners—included in your stay is unlimited access to Equinox, a splashy private health club that’s set across three floors. In addition to a melange of top-notch machines, come for the full-size basketball court, swimming pool and barre room. After burning all those calories, you’ll want to head straight to MKT, a market-to-table restaurant where simple, sustainable ingredients shine on the Californian-inspired menu.

Hotel Kabuki

Hotel Kabuki

Tucked away in the heart of Japantown yet within easy access to the highlights of our gay San Francisco travel guide is the lovely Hotel Kabuki. This gay-friendly hotel fuses the spirit of Japanese design and hospitality with eclectic artwork and contemporary amenities. The result is a captivating boutique hotel stay that feels more like a travel experience than merely a place to lay your head. End the perfect day of San Fran sightseeing at Kabuki’s brand-new lobby bar, a chic space that begs for long conversations over creative libations.

Hotel Kabuki

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Fairmont San Francisco

From its ideal perch atop swanky Nob Hill, the Fairmont San Francisco has been delighting travellers since it first opened its doors in 1907. Designed by the one and only Julia Morgan, the Fairmont feels palatial with its Beaux-Arts architectural details, iron lace balconies and grandiose pillars. Most rooms have a view, though the Signature Rooms clearly steal the show with their gobsmacking vistas stretching from the Golden Gate Bridge to Coit Tower. The only thing that perhaps feels out of home at this classic hotel is the kitschy Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar, a tiki-themed bar that’s flamboyantly fun in all the right ways.

Argonaut

Inspired by the band of Greek heroes by the same name, the Argonaut is a pet-friendly boutique hotel in the picturesque Fisherman’s Wharf. You’ll find it in a centuries-old building that has been spectacularly renovated to showcase charming original details like exposed red brick walls and rustic wooden plank floors. A nautical decor pays homage to the hotel’s waterfront location, with vintage steamer trunks, grey furnishings, and pops of sea blue defining the decor. The San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park museum is right next door with the many highlights of the Fisherman’s Wharf just past.

Photo: Francisco Delgado

Photo: Kae Ng

Bay Bridge | Photo: Jeff Fan

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