San Francisco is loaded with a variety of hotel options, but for visitors drawn to the waterfront the Argonaut’s seaside charm is smile inducing. The closest hotel to the bay in San Francisco, the views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz are postcard worthy. Just a block from Ghirardelli Square and Aquatic Park, the Argonaut is easy walking distance to popular attractions along Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39.
Though the property’s address is one of its biggest selling points, its history is noteworthy. The historic building was constructed in 1908 as a warehouse for the California Fruit Canners Association. Well-known Del Monte fruits and vegetables were stored here. Some of the bricks used to build the warehouse and neighboring cannery were recycled from the ruins of the 1906 earthquake.
More than a century later, the building’s exterior looks amazingly similar. Inside, things have changed, but the integrity and personality of the space has been preserved and protected in a fun, usable way. All of the 252 guest rooms (including 13 suites) and the hotel’s public areas are decorated with a maritime theme. The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park museum and visitor center is easily accessed from the hotel lobby, just steps from the front desk.
Accommodation options include suites and rooms with one king bed, one queen bed, or two queen beds. Interior view rooms are quieter, but exterior rooms come with views of some of San Francisco’s better known landmarks including Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, North Beach, and the Transamerica Pyramid. The Fisherman’s Wharf area tends to be lively at night, so guests in exterior rooms may hear festive street noise like music and the sound of a cable car bell. Mornings tend to be quiet.
The hotel’s maritime theme gives rooms a whimsical and inviting feel. Blue and grey furnishing pops nicely in contrast with the building’s exposed brick walls. Other walls are finished with colorful, textured wall paper. Windows, that actually open to allow fresh sea air in, are equipped with white wooden blinds, that successfully keep light out when sleeping is the goal. The beds are notably comfy and topped with soft and warm down comforters. Bedside tables and desks boast easy to access electrical outlets, that make plugging in easy.
Bathrooms are spacious by city standards. Full-size, refillable toiletry bottles have replaced small throw-away ones. White and beige, octopus patterned wallpaper helps the space stay true to the maritime theme.
Located just off the lobby, the Blue Mermaid Restaurant & Bar is known for seafood dishes. Meals are casual and fun to share. Traveling families will feel comfortable here. San Francisco’s mild Mediterranean climate makes the outdoor patio, located in the Cannery Courtyard, a popular spot to enjoy the restaurant’s award-winning Dungeness Crab & Corn Chowder. Splurge and order it in a bread bowl.
Guests in town over the weekend should take part in the complimentary Historic Waterfront Walking Tour. Led by a Park Ranger every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30am, the one-hour tour departs from the Argonaut lobby and explores the neighborhood. It’s loaded with great information. Have a camera handy. The walls of the Del Monte Hall, located just past the Argonaut’s front desk are also lined with historic photos and information.
Bay View Rooms with One King Bed, and exterior views including the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz typically range from $359 to $499. Rates for a One King Bed Room with an interior view are usually $259 to $399. The Argonaut charges a taxable $22 per day, per room, resort fee. Called an urban facility fee, it includes a $10 food & beverage credit, complimentary Wi-Fi, use of the fitness center, infused water and daily newspapers in the lobby, and the National Park Ranger led weekend tours. Valet parking is available for $59 per day. You can reserve your hotel online at the website or through a booking site such as Travelocity.
Review and photos by Dana Rebmann. Her stay was hosted by the Argonaut, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.