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The 18 Essential San Francisco Hotels, March '14

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Behold, the third edition of the Hotel 18 map. The reasoning? To answer the ultimate question: "Where should I stay in San Francisco?" Only the very best and most awesome hotels have made the cut, and some tough choices were made to bring you the best of the best. For this update, we add San Francisco's newest hotel (hotels must be open at least six months for eligibility). And keep in mind, this list is presented in no particular order.

The curated collection includes historical stunners like the Palace and the Fairmont, the ritz and glitz of the Intercontinental and Sir Francis Drake, the contemporary coolness at the Clift, and also lesser known and kitschy locations like the Ocean Park Motel and the Hotel Phoenix. Want to stay in San Francisco but not feel like you're in the middle of a major metropolitan area? Do check out the Inn at the Presidio, which is smack-dab in the middle of a federal park.

We'll be updating the map again in due time, so if you have a favorite that wasn't included, please mention it in the comments or drop a suggestion to the tipline.

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Palace Hotel

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This grand dame is one of San Francisco's most iconic hotels. From sipping afternoon tea while gazing up at the Garden Court's stained glass dome to the property tours to better familiarize yourself with this Beaux-Arts gem, this is hotel is rich with history and is consistently ranked as one of the top luxury hotels in the world.

Huntington Hotel

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Perched atop Nob Hill with up close and personal views of neighboring Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park, Huntington Hotel blends classic hospitality with modern luxury. It houses the iconic Big Four restaurant as well as Nob Hill Spa, where locals and tourists flock for a chance to wade in the infinity pool or sunbathe on the spa's terrace.

Hotel Vitale

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Hotel Vitale is known for its swank aesthetic and luxurious amenities. Hotel highlights include Spa Vitale's outdoor soaking tubs, and culinary delights served up by executive chef Kory Stewart at Americano, the hotel's restaurant and lounge.

Inn at the Presidio

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This is the place to stay if you want to escape the city without actually leaving the city. It's located at Perish Hall in the heart of the Presidio, and used to house unmarried U.S. Army officers. Built in 1903, the Georgian Revival-style building completed a historic rehabilitation in 2011.

W San Francisco

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Where locals and tourists alike come to play, the W San Francisco is the perfect place if you're looking to party while having every need met·no matter how ridiculous. The hotel regularly attracts a healthy mix of young tech folk and out-of-towners looking to get wild in the hotel bar or pool, with plenty of time spent relaxing and recharging at Bliss Spa.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

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For well-heeled families and business travelers, this hotel should top your list if opulent luxury and amenities galore are a requirement. The hotel, which opened in 1991, is housed in a 140-year-old building at the top of Downtown. If money's not a problem, stay Club Level on the top two floors. It grants guests access to a 24-hour concierge as well as a social area stocked with fresh food and drinks for the taking.

Intercontinental Mark Hopkins

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This hotel has stood the test of time and continues to be one of San Francisco's greatest destinations. The 19-story hotel's architecture is a combination of French chateau and Spanish Renaissance. Be sure to visit the Top of the Mark bar, where breathtaking views of the entire city can be seen from nearly every seat.

Hotel Adagio

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This recently revamped boutique hotel pairs architectural historic details with contemporary design, and features the largest hotel rooms in the Downtown area. It's now part of the Marriot Autograph Collection, which makes it a great option if you want your Marriot preferred points but don't want the stuffiness of the brand's otherwise traditionally bland hotels.

Ocean Park Motel

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Ocean Park Motel in the Outer Parkside was built in 1936 and looks every bit the part. The motel was honored by the Art Deco Society in 1987 for "preservation of this Streamline Moderne beauty." Rooms are cozy, and guests are especially fond of the outdoor hot tub. This location offers up the cheapest lodging on this map.

Hotel Del Sol

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This hotel was built as a motor lodge in the mid 1950's and was fully renovated in 2013. The main attraction is the hotel's inner courtyard that features an outdoor heated pool. While the pool is what attracts many of the hotel's visitors, other perks include palm trees with hammocks and one of 10 hotels certified by the SF Green Business Program.

The Fairmont San Francisco

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Built in 1907, the hotel underwent an $85M restoration to return it to its original turn-of-the-century glory. Fun facts: Tony Bennett first sang "I Left my Heart in San Francisco" in the Venetian Room, and delegates from countries around the world met in the historic Garden Room in 1945 to draft the Charter for the United Nations.

Hotel Tomo

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The moderately priced Hotel Tomo "fuses modern design with Japanese pop culture," meaning there's sleek furnishings but also anime murals. The "Players Suites" offer up bean bags, 6-foot LCD project screens, and every gaming system available.

Hotel Monaco

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This recently renovated boutique hotel offers up contemporary guest rooms and suites paired with grand common areas like the hotel's living room, which is more than 20 feet tall and has a 10 foot tall fireplace. The adjacent Grand Cafe is a must. If you've got an extra hour or two get pampered in the spa on the lower level.

Clift Hotel

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Clift's the go-to spot for the design-oriented young and posh set, especially since the interiors are designed by the world-famous Philippe Starck. With highlights like the very glamorous Redwood Room and frequent celebrity spottings, this is the place to be if your scene is being seen.

Phoenix Hotel

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The Phoenix Hotel is a riff on a classic 1950s beach motel. The main attraction is the courtyard, which features an azure blue-tile pool and sculpture garden. Not surprisingly, it was named one of America's coolest hipster hotels in 2012.

Sir Francis Drake

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This beautifully restored landmark boutique hotel is half a block from Union Square and steps from Chinatown. Be sure to spend your evening partying at the legendary Starlight Room, which is a 1930s-style nightclub on the 21st floor.

The St. Regis

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The Museum of the African Diaspora is located within the hotel and the SFMOMA is right next door. An appointment at Remède Spa should be required, as should dining at the hotel's restaurant Ame. The fitness center has private yoga and pilates studios as well as a heated indoor lap pool.

Hotel Zetta

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This 116-room hotel opened just last year, and it's quickly become the go-to spot for vacationers looking to party in style and posh locals who want to spend an evening dining at the adjacent Cavalier.

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Palace Hotel

This grand dame is one of San Francisco's most iconic hotels. From sipping afternoon tea while gazing up at the Garden Court's stained glass dome to the property tours to better familiarize yourself with this Beaux-Arts gem, this is hotel is rich with history and is consistently ranked as one of the top luxury hotels in the world.

Huntington Hotel

Perched atop Nob Hill with up close and personal views of neighboring Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park, Huntington Hotel blends classic hospitality with modern luxury. It houses the iconic Big Four restaurant as well as Nob Hill Spa, where locals and tourists flock for a chance to wade in the infinity pool or sunbathe on the spa's terrace.

Hotel Vitale

Hotel Vitale is known for its swank aesthetic and luxurious amenities. Hotel highlights include Spa Vitale's outdoor soaking tubs, and culinary delights served up by executive chef Kory Stewart at Americano, the hotel's restaurant and lounge.

Inn at the Presidio

This is the place to stay if you want to escape the city without actually leaving the city. It's located at Perish Hall in the heart of the Presidio, and used to house unmarried U.S. Army officers. Built in 1903, the Georgian Revival-style building completed a historic rehabilitation in 2011.

W San Francisco

Where locals and tourists alike come to play, the W San Francisco is the perfect place if you're looking to party while having every need met·no matter how ridiculous. The hotel regularly attracts a healthy mix of young tech folk and out-of-towners looking to get wild in the hotel bar or pool, with plenty of time spent relaxing and recharging at Bliss Spa.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

For well-heeled families and business travelers, this hotel should top your list if opulent luxury and amenities galore are a requirement. The hotel, which opened in 1991, is housed in a 140-year-old building at the top of Downtown. If money's not a problem, stay Club Level on the top two floors. It grants guests access to a 24-hour concierge as well as a social area stocked with fresh food and drinks for the taking.

Intercontinental Mark Hopkins

This hotel has stood the test of time and continues to be one of San Francisco's greatest destinations. The 19-story hotel's architecture is a combination of French chateau and Spanish Renaissance. Be sure to visit the Top of the Mark bar, where breathtaking views of the entire city can be seen from nearly every seat.

Hotel Adagio

This recently revamped boutique hotel pairs architectural historic details with contemporary design, and features the largest hotel rooms in the Downtown area. It's now part of the Marriot Autograph Collection, which makes it a great option if you want your Marriot preferred points but don't want the stuffiness of the brand's otherwise traditionally bland hotels.

Ocean Park Motel

Ocean Park Motel in the Outer Parkside was built in 1936 and looks every bit the part. The motel was honored by the Art Deco Society in 1987 for "preservation of this Streamline Moderne beauty." Rooms are cozy, and guests are especially fond of the outdoor hot tub. This location offers up the cheapest lodging on this map.

Hotel Del Sol

This hotel was built as a motor lodge in the mid 1950's and was fully renovated in 2013. The main attraction is the hotel's inner courtyard that features an outdoor heated pool. While the pool is what attracts many of the hotel's visitors, other perks include palm trees with hammocks and one of 10 hotels certified by the SF Green Business Program.

The Fairmont San Francisco

Built in 1907, the hotel underwent an $85M restoration to return it to its original turn-of-the-century glory. Fun facts: Tony Bennett first sang "I Left my Heart in San Francisco" in the Venetian Room, and delegates from countries around the world met in the historic Garden Room in 1945 to draft the Charter for the United Nations.

Hotel Tomo

The moderately priced Hotel Tomo "fuses modern design with Japanese pop culture," meaning there's sleek furnishings but also anime murals. The "Players Suites" offer up bean bags, 6-foot LCD project screens, and every gaming system available.

Hotel Monaco

This recently renovated boutique hotel offers up contemporary guest rooms and suites paired with grand common areas like the hotel's living room, which is more than 20 feet tall and has a 10 foot tall fireplace. The adjacent Grand Cafe is a must. If you've got an extra hour or two get pampered in the spa on the lower level.

Clift Hotel

Clift's the go-to spot for the design-oriented young and posh set, especially since the interiors are designed by the world-famous Philippe Starck. With highlights like the very glamorous Redwood Room and frequent celebrity spottings, this is the place to be if your scene is being seen.

Phoenix Hotel

The Phoenix Hotel is a riff on a classic 1950s beach motel. The main attraction is the courtyard, which features an azure blue-tile pool and sculpture garden. Not surprisingly, it was named one of America's coolest hipster hotels in 2012.

Sir Francis Drake

This beautifully restored landmark boutique hotel is half a block from Union Square and steps from Chinatown. Be sure to spend your evening partying at the legendary Starlight Room, which is a 1930s-style nightclub on the 21st floor.

The St. Regis

The Museum of the African Diaspora is located within the hotel and the SFMOMA is right next door. An appointment at Remède Spa should be required, as should dining at the hotel's restaurant Ame. The fitness center has private yoga and pilates studios as well as a heated indoor lap pool.

Hotel Zetta

This 116-room hotel opened just last year, and it's quickly become the go-to spot for vacationers looking to party in style and posh locals who want to spend an evening dining at the adjacent Cavalier.