A 1,500-acre park on a former military post, San Francisco’s Presidio is an icon of the city and a great green expanse that’s also home to several acclaimed restaurants, museums, activities—and even two spectacular hotels. Both hotels, the Lodge at the Presidio and the Inn at the Presidio, are run by the Presidio Trust and offer similar amenities. And both offer guests the best of both worlds: easy access to the city’s main attractions, but plenty of peace and quiet for a restful stay.
The Lodge at the Presidio is the newest hotel, but it offers plenty of history. Located right next to the Walt Disney Family Museum on the Presidio’s Main Post, it’s set in the former Building 105 of the Montgomery Street Barracks, which was built in 1895 to house soldiers and artillery.The newly renovated LEED-certified building retains its exterior but has a fully modernized interior—with some preserved touches of the past. For example, the lobby features two beautiful dark wood staircases that were refurbished to their original state, and on the third floor, an exposed brick wall still displays an original stenciled sign that declares: “Maximum Occupancy Five Men.” Throughout, there’s a color palette of blue, grey, black and white, and dozens of black-and-white photos from the late 1800s through early 1900s.
The hotel’s 42 rooms, while nodding to their former lives, are thoroughly modern, with Samsung smart TVs, minibars and Cuisinart coffee makers, free wifi, high-quality EO bath products, custom-made pillow-top mattresses, air conditioning and (a rare perk I personally love) windows you can actually open. My room, a King View room had nearly 400 square feet of space, a view of the Golden Gate Bridge (covered in fog), a King Bed .and a beautiful marble and tile bathroom the size of some San Francisco apartment living rooms. I especially appreciated the little design nods to the hotel’s former life: the headboard reminiscent of a canvas tent, or the small ottoman at the end of the bed that resembled a soldier’s cot.
Outside of the room, I loved the hotel’s modern-but-classic style and casual elegance, with leather sofas, wood rocking chairs on the porch, and an inviting fire pit in the back with another bridge view. Each morning, the hotel offers a light continental breakfast and every evening, there’s wine, cheese, and charcuterie.
Across the Main Post lawn, the Inn at the Presidio offers a historic look at life at Pershing Hall, formerly a home for unmarried officers when the Presidio was a U.S. Army post. The 22-room inn is spread over two buildings (the Main Building, which contains the lobby and reception, and the four-room Funston House) and includes 17 suites with gas fireplaces. Like its sister hotel, it offers complimentary breakfast and evening wine hour served in the communal “mess hall.” The Inn also has an outdoor fire pit, this time with views of the surrounding forest.
Rooms in the Inn are a bit more modest, though still comfortable and stylish. My room, a Classic King located on the third floor of the Main Building, was quite spacious, with 530 square feet spread across a large separate sitting room with a queen pull-out sofa and a gas fireplace, plus a bedroom with sumptuous King bed (a “Heavenly Enchanted EuroTop” by Restonic). There was a flat screen television, radio docking station, mini-fridge, mini-bar, coffee maker, work desk, and a cozy tiled bathroom with shower and tub.
Both hotels offer a great location surrounded by nature but close to the bustle of the city as well as excellent perks like free breakfast and evening wine and cheese. Both invite guests to linger, whether its on the rocking chairs on the porch, in front of a fire pit, or in the stylish, cozy rooms. While the newer Lodge is, of course, a bit more modern and stylish, the Inn is equally charming and inviting. In short, travelers looking for comfort, style, location, and great service—with a bit of history thrown in—really can’t go wrong with either option.
If you go:
Both the Inn at the Presidio and the Lodge at the Presidio offer in-room massages with advance booking. Overnight parking is $9 and the hotels are pet-friendly with a $40 fee. Room rates include complimentary continental breakfast, wifi, and evening wine and cheese.