Smart Stay by

Hotel Zelos, San Franciso

by Laura Kiniry
Guest room
Guest room / Courtesy of Hotel Zelos
by Laura Kiniry
1 of 4
1 of 4
Lobby at Hotel Zelos
Lobby at Hotel Zelos / Courtesy of Hotel Zelos
by Laura Kiniry
2 of 4
2 of 4
Dirty Habit restaurant and bar
Dirty Habit restaurant and bar / Courtesy of Hotel Zelos
by Laura Kiniry
3 of 4
3 of 4
Hotel Zelos
Hotel Zelos / Courtesy of Hotel Zelos
by Laura Kiniry
4 of 4
4 of 4

Located in the heart of San Francisco's shopping district on the corner of Market and 4th, Hotel Zelos offers both convenience and comfort in a fun and fashionable space. The 202 guest rooms of this Viceroy property occupy floors five through nine of what began as an early 20th century office building.

The property attracts both savvy travelers and locals with Dirty Habit, a heated rooftop bar and restaurant featuring al fresco dining and a list of creative craft cocktails and shareable plates. Here's our take. 

It's All in the Details

What You Need to Know

The Look

Before its transformation into the Hotel Zelos in 2015, the easily recognizable green-tiled property was a Kimpton Palomar. Today, many of the hip, urban features associated with this former brand remain (think complimentary bike rentals and pet-friendly amenities). 

The lobby, with its 3-D print flooring and dark, sophisticated furnishings, is simply a portal to the guest rooms above — a range of rooms and suites (some newly renovated) in subtle gray tones, with occasional touches of bold color.

Dirty Habit, the heated outdoor rooftop bar and lounge, is really the courtyard of the building's fifth floor. It serving as a central hideaway for its patrons, who soak up the sultry atmosphere of the eatery's Noir-inspired interiors. If you're staying in a courtyard-facing room, don't fret: the bar closes at 11 p.m. to accommodate your sleeping habits.

The Vibe 

A fun mix of both casual and upscale, Hotel Zelos feels hip without being pretentious. With Dirty Habit as its centerpiece, it also boasts a local vibe not often found in hotel spaces. It's the kind of place where you might want to stay in for a night, rather than head out — though, if you do want to hit the town, there are plenty of bars and restaurants in the surrounding South of Market (or SoMa for short) neighborhood. The hotel is also close to several attractions like the San Francisco Museum of Art and the Yerba Buena Gardens, which often host to after-hour events. 

Who Will Love It

Hotel Zelos is the perfect stay for shoppers, since the city's premier shopping mall, Westfield San Francisco Centre, is just around the corner on Market Street. The retail stores surrounding Union Square are just a few blocks away.

The hotel caters to pet owners (it even provides mini beds, treats, a water bowl for staying pets on request) and is popular with business travelers, who appreciate the complimentary wifi, large in-room work desks, and easy access to Moscone Center, where many conventions take place. 

Who Might Not 

The surrounding area is not super touristy. For that, you'd be better off in Fisherman's Wharf or the Marina District. Additionally, older, more sophisticated travelers may prefer something a bit more traditional — Hotel Zelos definitely skews younger with its trendy decor and rooftop bar. 

Best Amenity 

A "Borrow Bar" at the lobby's front desk (ask for assistance), where you can pick up forgotten items like a hair straightener, work remote kits, or toothpaste. 

Money Matters

What's Included 

Wifi is complimentary for up to three devices. There's also free coffee and tea in the lobby each morning.

Fees and Costs You Should Know About 

Expect a mandatory $29 guest amenity charge (plus tax) that covers everything from the bike rentals, coffee and tea, and daytime access to a private hotel lounge and a $10 credit to use on-site. Hotel Zelos also offers onsite valet parking starting at $55 per day plus tax, but public transit is much more affordable and convenient. 

How to Get a Deal  

Book the property's "Bed & Breakfast" package, which includes daily breakfast for two at Dirty Habit. Also, be sure to check the offers page for seasonal deals and special promotions. Also, before you book, check to see if there is a big conference in town. The hotel's room prices fluctuate, and, if a conference overlaps with your stay, it can add hundreds of dollars to your room rate. 

Getting There

In the Neighborhood

On Market Street, right outside the hotel, you'll find MUNI trolley buses. They connect the hotel to nearly every neighborhood and attraction in the city, including Golden Gate Park, the Castro neighborhood, and Fisherman's Wharf, as well as MUNI and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train stations. BART goes to and from both SFO and Oakland International Airport, as well as cities like Berkeley, Livermore, and Walnut Creek. The hotel itself is located South of Market (SoMa), and an easy walk to Union Square. Nearby, there is plenty of shopping and several top-notch museums. 

Nearest Airport 

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is 12 miles from the hotel, and Oakland International Airport (OAK) is about 19 miles away. Both airports are easily reachable via BART ($9). A ride-sharing car like Uber or Lyft typically runs about $30 to $50 from SFO. 

The Bottom Line

Hotel Zelos is a savvy and sophisticated option for those who want to be in the hub of San Francisco. 

It's All in the Details