The Palace Hotel invited my family to visit as part of their summer family fun program. All opinions are those of my children and family. In short, we had a blast!
The elegant and historic Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco is all about making summers magical for families. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Palace Hotel offers family-friendly amenities including Prince and Princess Tea, dive-in movies, and free frozen treats.
SF Palace Hotel is Magical for Families
From the months of June through August, kids can live it up and dine like royalty while parents take a break from being full-time attendants at the Palace Hotel. Best of all, the Palace Hotel also offers childcare services so you can enjoy some true me time (this service must be reserved in advance with the Hotel Concierge)!
Freezie Fridays: Each Friday in June, the hotel provides free frozen treats poolside all afternoon. Though we missed this, we’ve heard it’s a big favorite for the little ones.
Dive-in Movies: Poolside movie night on Saturday was a favorite with my kids. Our lucky ones got to watch Encanto for the umpteenth time, and they stayed up well past their bedtime to finish this flick from the waters. Show times start at 8 pm.
As expected, the pool is full of kids and the chairs are full of adults – some even getting work done on laptops (kudos to drowning out the noise!). But it didn’t feel overcrowded as many families were going in and out. The hotel also provides fun inflatables for kids to lounge on. Overall, it’s a really cute concept, and seeing the joy on their faces was well worth going off schedule for the night.
Prince and Princess Tea: Having high tea at the Palace is definitely a special and elegant experience. You do need to reserve in advance. The quiet setting and fancy ambiance really make you forget that a bustling city is right outside those Palace doors.
For a family of four (2 adults, 2 children), expect to spend just under $300 for this experience. Since we were staying in town with no airfare…we splurged! For adults, there are a few options to choose from. My green tea was done just right, the finger foods were really tasty, and the few desserts my husband left me were quite delicious, too.
The children certainly enjoyed feeling fancy, as the hotel provided them with a crown, and a long twisty lollipop (that they pretended were wands). The children also get hot chocolate, PB & Js, miniature ham & cheese sandwiches, and a small tower of pastries. We also saw some kids dressed in princess outfits with their own tiaras. Why not really go for it?
What to Expect Staying at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco
As you enter The Palace doors of this 1875 hotel, you can instantly feel the history spanning a few centuries back. The high ceilings, marble columns, glass domes, and chandeliers all come together with a touch of modern flair. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and were instantly greeted by a friendly face at the entrance. By 3 pm, our rooms were ready.
We enjoyed playing at the Palace Hotel, but we also really loved staying there.
All about the rooms
Rooms and suites are spacious: I was surprised that a hotel in Downtown SF can feel so roomy. The kids thoroughly enjoyed running around the open space, jumping on the bed, and looking out the window up at the high-rise buildings and down at the street action.
Rooms have a mini-fridge but no microwave. Free water bottles are provided and the very friendly housekeepers always make sure your water and shower essentials are fully stocked. To add to the royal ambiance of staying at the Palace, the bathroom “throne” also features a seat warmer and bidet.
Now for the beds. When it comes to hotels, I usually do not sleep well. But the cushiony beds with snuggly linens and pillows gave me two nights of the most comfortable sleep. This is a pretty eventful city so occasionally you will hear sirens or yelling from the streets, but for the most part, it was quiet through the night.
Service and Amenities at the Palace Hotel
If you want just one reason to visit the Palace, do it for the pool! It’s one of the very few indoor pools in SF and the only one in a beautiful atrium. While many indoor pools feel stuffy, the windows in this grand dome make it more open and airy along with a pretty view. The deepest end of the pool is 4.5 feet, and the natural light hitting the water makes it the ideal spot to relax. The pool is heated but there is also a small hot tub. Pool hours are from 5 am-10 pm (we made multiple trips to the pool throughout the day). The fitness center is open 24 hours with glass windows that face the pool so that you can keep an eye on your kids if they can swim solo.
The Concierge desk is a great resource. They are available to answer questions and make recommendations for family-friendly activities. Overall service from the staff was always friendly and attentive.
Dining with kids at the Palace Hotel: To keep things easy, we stayed on site for dining. The first morning, we made reservations for a sit-down breakfast in the beautiful Garden Court. A breakfast buffet or Grab and Go are also available. If possible, make reservations as we saw a long line forming by 8:30 am. Lunch is served in the afternoon at the Garden Court, along with the afternoon tea on Saturdays. For dinner, we checked out Pied Piper. With a full bar and a game on TV, I was surprised at how quiet it was. It was another unique setting amidst wooden panels and classic artwork. We did not need reservations for dinner. Room service is also available, just give yourself a half-hour window during peak times.
ProTip: Parking can get costly (plus who wants to drive in the City?). If possible, try taking any means of public transportation instead. Even if you want to explore the City, you can walk or easily catch mass transit a few steps from the hotel.
Things to Do With Kids Near the San Francisco Palace Hotel
The Palace Hotel is centrally located in downtown with plenty of places to shop, learn, and explore with the kids. During our weekend getaway, we walked over to the Ferry Building where we had all kinds of sugary treats, relaxed by the waters, and walked the Farmer’s Market.
The next day we walked over to Yerba Buena Gardens and visited the Children’s Creativity Museum. We then came back to indulge at the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop located right next to the Palace Hotel.
Other nearby things you can do with children are riding the cable cars, visiting SF MOMA or the Exploratorium, heading to the Giants game, or checking out Chase Center.
Bottom Line on a Palace Hotel Getaway
If you missed the memo for camp sign-ups (like we did), and park swings just aren’t cutting it anymore, splurging as a Bay Area tourist is always fun as summer rolls along. Our two-night getaway at one of San Francisco’s historic landmarks certainly made us feel like we were far away from the Bay. Most importantly, it kept the kiddos entertained to the fullest. Just remember, it’s still San Francisco so pack warm!
Plan your visit to the Palace Hotel
Location: Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco near Montgomery Street BART
Phone: (415) 512-1111
Browse accommodations for the Palace Hotel here. I recommend calling to see if they have packages tailored for families.
Check out our Bay Area Staycation Guide for more places to explore.
2 thoughts on “A Royal Staycation at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco”
This looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing!
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your website. You put a lot of work and research into it and you’ve provided me and my son plenty of opportunities to try new things.
This one in particular was particularly successful. You should visit the Palace Hotel with your children at least once. The pool is truly amazing. We visited in winter when it was rainy outside, but I can imagine it would be great in summer too. The little whirlpool next to the pool is also a great addition. The fitness right next to the pool is also very nice.
If you’re travelling from the East Bay, come without your car. Bart station is literally 300 feet from the Palace Hotel. Besides, keep in mind the Palace Hotel charges about $72 per day for your car to sit in a parking lot. You can definitely ditch your car and rely on Bart and the bus. Bus will take you to the piers in a few minutes if you take line F. Again, the bus stop is in front of the hotel. Without your car you will save hundreds of dollars and also the “fun” of driving in SF which is legendarily terrible.
The Palace is awesome. Thanks for posting this adventure. We did it and concur, everything in this review is true.