The Fairmont San Francisco - Poplar Travels
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Jan 27 2016

The Fairmont San Francisco

The Fairmont greets guests with an impressive lobby that almost forces you to stop and look around – and up – to take in all the detail. Grand couches are arranged into intimate seating areas in the middle under surrounding a massive vase. To the left, signs guide guests to a hair salon and gift shop; to the right, check in behind a stately counter. The impressive building with 592 guest rooms has several dining options, lounges and stunning event spaces.


Poplar Travels Fairmont

The History

The Fairmont is centrally located atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill. In that location, it managed to (mostly) survive the horrible 1906 earthquake and fire that destroyed a majority of the city. The hotel then passed through the hands of several owners and skilled architects. The hotel fell out of its original popularity and social influence during the Great Depression, but made a comeback after hosting the conference that birthed the United Nations. Since then, the Fairmont has undergone several redecorations and restorations and has been the San Francisco home to many presidents and celebrities.

Poplar Travels Fairmont

The Bar

Of The Fairmont’s several dining and lounge options, the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar is the most exciting. This elaborate tiki bar is hidden in the basement of The Fairmont. A popular spot for guests as well as outside patrons, the bar serves tropical drinks and asian cuisine. Standing room by the bar looks out over the dancefloor fashioned from an old ship deck and made into a new one that blends into the bar. Past the dance floor, a ship floats in the middle of a blue “ocean” just large enough for a lively band. Guests seated for dinner are under huts with thatched roofs and have a hard time staying in their seats, resisting the call of the dance floor.


We couldn’t help but smile watching families with small children, bachelor parties and friends dance with hurricanes in hand. Before we left, we were even treated to a brief thunderstorm as the band took a break. Water streamed from the ceiling into the ocean accompanied by thunder and lightening.

The Room

Our room was well laid out with a large bathroom with two sinks. A small detail, but there were several empty towel bars which made the two towels we were given feel extra skimpy. A big detail, the water glasses by the sink were filthy. The closet was the largest I’ve ever seen in a hotel room. There was enough room for our suitcases (although there were no luggage racks) with several hangers provided to get a little organized during our two night stay. The bedroom was very tastefully decorated with a reading chair and a desk. The pillow top king bed was incredibly comfortable with nice soft linens. We had a nice view of the historic building across the street from our room.


Don’t be shy with your “do not disturb” sign. Housekeeping knocked both mornings at 8:30 a.m. to get into our rooms. We were up and heading out for the day, but if you’re planning to sleep in it seems you’ll be one of few guests so make it known.


Our stay at The Fairmont was a nice way to wrap up our visit to San Francisco. We enjoyed the location and made our way to various areas of the city with ease. The reputation of The Fairmont San Francisco gave us high expectations for our stay and most of them were met. Despite the memorable disappointment that was the dirty glasses in the bathroom, we would stay here again.

Poplar Travels Fairmont

Poplar Travels Fairmont

Poplar Travels Fairmont


Quick Tips:

  • Great for leisure travelers and business travelers in a central location close to the Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown and downtown
  • Give yourself time to explore the dining options in the hotel as well as the decor in the lobby and main restaurant
  • Don’t miss the Tonga room downstairs! Stay long enough to catch a rainstorm
  • To learn more about The Fairmont San Francisco and to make a reservation, visit their website
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Evanne Allen

Evanne co-founded Poplar Travels after quitting her job in Washington, D.C. She got itchy feet at a young age and has never lost the urge to explore the planet. A previous museum employee, she is apt to drag travel partners into several cultural institutions anywhere she goes. She wishes she could speak every language and loves meeting new people.

  • Carrie

    Wow! That lobby is beautiful.. Great blog!

    January 27, 2016 at 10:32 pm
  • Greg

    I just booked a room! We are excited for our visit to the Fairmont, this will be our first tip to San Francisco Thanks for the great tips! We are looking forward to your next travel guide!

    January 28, 2016 at 2:31 pm
  • John

    Such an amazing historic property. A true icon of San Francisco. I try to stay here everytime I visit the area. You have wonderful photos that seem to truly capture the elegance of the hotel.

    February 4, 2016 at 10:54 am
  • The bar area seems like a really unique experience. Fairmont really does go above and beyond for their customers!

    February 26, 2016 at 10:04 pm
  • Jen Morrow

    Beautiful hotel! Love the photos and it is such a good location. Gotta check it out on my next visit to SF.

    April 19, 2016 at 2:58 pm

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