Home Away From Home: The Hotel Serrano

The Serrano Hotel may not be the poshest hotel in San Francisco, but it has great character, charm and comfort that can’t be beat in my books.

Walking in the front door I immediately feel at home.  The Serrano is housed in an older (I want to say Moorish style) building and the lobby has a clubby feel, which I find very welcoming.  It’s also the perfect place to grab a complimentary coffee in the morning or a glass of wine after work as part of their nightly, wine hour tastings.


My encounters with the staff were all very easy, friendly and helpful.  My first room was on the 11th floor, a corner queen deluxe with a connecting door for those people wishing adjoining rooms.  Unfortunately my neighbors were using this neighboring room as party central, but when I told the front desk they immediately moved me and sent up a bottle of wine for my troubles.   In a way I’m glad I had noisy neighbors because it meant that I got to experience room 1504.

Essentially the same room as I had left only with this wonderful long hallway.

The views from the 15th floor were spectacular, and I would highly recommend if you book a queen room at the Serrano you ask for a high floor “04” room.

The bed is the most  important part of any hotel room and this one was perfect as were the sheets – total heaven, it’s amazing to me that I ever got out of bed.I like that the hotel is old, but a few things you might want to take into consideration when looking for a hotel in San Francisco.  Union Square, which the Serrano is a few blocks from, is adjacent to the Tenderloin, which starts basically at Taylor where the Serrano is located, so the streets if you walk away from Union Square are filled with homeless and often drug addled or mentally ill people.  As a New Yorker this isn’t a problem for me, although I am amazed at how much worse it is in San Francisco and wonder what it is we did to clean up the streets here in NYC that they aren’t doing in SF. Anyway if this makes you queezy you are best to book a hotel like the top of the Mark or one of the fancy chains by the Embarcadero.  Also if you insist on everything being new and perfect, the Serrano might not be for you, as an older hotel, though it has been meticulously maintained, it has the wear of an older hotel.  Nonetheless, this was my third stay here; if I didn’t like it I would never have come back.  I find it to be a perfect mid range hotel in a convenient location that meets my needs and does a lot of nice things to make you feel welcomed, like the aforementioned wine and coffee and if you join the Kimpton In Touch program, free wi-fi (which was great in my first room but not so great in my second room, but easily fixed by the ethernet cable also provided).  Also for In Touch members they give a 10 buck raid the mini bar coupon, which I thought was a brilliant little perk.The big wonderful windows in my room, the entertainment center that contains the mini-bar and safe.Below is the work station where I did all my blogging while here for my 9 day stay.  And can I just say it wasn’t long enough.  Maybe it was just the phenomenally good weather I had or maybe it’s all the good food I ate, but San Francisco really is my favorite place next to New York.

Full disclosure:  the Kimpton folks were very kind to give me a media rate for my stay for which I was very grateful, but there was no obligation for me to write anything about the hotel or if I did what it was I should say.  Luckily I love this place and it’s easy to write about something you love.  The Serrano is a great home base for folks wanting to explore the bay area, with the Powell street Bart and Muni stations a few blocks away as are the historic trolley cars and the trams and buses of Market street and all over town.   I can’t wait to return.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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