I was on a mini staycation last weekend while Josh and the kids were out of town. (Do you ever do that? It was great. So easy and fun!)
My friend Hottie and I ran through the rainy streets of San Francisco all day on Saturday, enjoying the city and catching up over coffee and lunch and shopping and dinner. To extend our day, we had booked the Argonaut Hotel for the night through TravelPony. The Argonaut is a boutique hotel, plus it’s a Kimpton property, so I admit that I had pretty high expectations.
The hotel is located right on the edge of Fisherman’s Wharf and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. It’s a nice spot, because it’s very central without being in the exact middle of the crowds and noise. On our rainy day, the neighborhood was actually very quiet.
A big, beautiful grassy field across the street leads to Ghirardelli Square.
The hotel really is right across the street from the water.
And it’s a couple of blocks away from a cable car turnaround, so you can easily walk over for a ride.
Our check-in process was easy and the folks at the front desk were friendly. Usually I find that the staff at Kimpton properties goes out of their way to make a personal connection, but I didn’t feel like that this time. However, the staff was perfectly friendly and everything went as smoothly as could be.
The interior of the hotel is very dark and cavernous. The hotel is in the historic Haslett Warehouse, which was built in 1907. Exposed brick and Douglas Fir beams are major features throughout the property, which contributes to the “dark” feeling.
It almost felt like being on a ship at sea. Maybe that was the point? The hallways were very dim, and illuminated by nautically inspired lights.
The lights gave off a faint blue glow, which layered on an “underwater” vibe.
Our room was a regular “Queen Queen” room. It was also very dimly lit.
It wasn’t a very large room, but I think it felt smaller than it was because of the exposed brick and beams.
There was a small work space and a TV.
The bathroom was basic and featured a shower-over-tub.
Perks and extras
Since I am a Kimpton Inner Circle member, I always look forward to getting a welcome amenity in my room. The goodies can be pretty lavish, but what I like most about them is that they are always personal. However, this time it seemed like they just grabbed a couple of random things from a handy minibar and called it a day.
The first room we got smelled like cigarette smoke, so we called down and asked to move to another available room. The front desk agent we spoke to was friendly and efficient, and sent a bellman up with new keys.
Our second room had a bottle of wine meant for another guest on the counter, along with a nice note. When we pointed it out to the bellman, he told us to keep it, which was a classy Kimpton touch.
Those little classy touches, plus the attention to detail that normally is part of a Kimpton stay, are the main reason that I am such a Kimpton fan.
The nightly hosted wine reception is yet another classy tradition. The reception at the Argonaut featured Hot Toddies – a perfect choice for a rainy San Francisco evening!
There was also the usual selection of beer and wine.
Instead of perching on the edge of someone else’s spot, we ended up taking our drinks back up to our room. This was fine with us, but be aware that if you want to sit and enjoy a glass of wine in the lobby, you should plan to get there early.
Unfortunately, the hotel has very thin walls. If you are a light sleeper, you might want to pack earplugs. We could hear TVs and conversations from all sides. Thankfully, no one was super loud or was up early or late.
The beds were incredibly comfortable.
It was Sunday morning and we didn’t feel like getting dressed, so we threw on our Kimpton animal-print robes, grabbed the complimentary Sunday copy of the New York Times (another nice perk), and went downstairs to the Mermaid Cafe. We got a few giggles from other guests who told us they wished they had done the same!
Because we are Kimpton InTouch members, we got free continental breakfast in the Mermaid Cafe as part of our stay. Included were coffee, juice, a pastry, and fruit. We also ordered bacon and it was covered as part of the “raid the minibar” perk ($10 credit to enjoy a craft cocktail at one of their restaurant bars, a treat from your mini bar, or a credit at the restaurant).
Breakfast was delicious and the Mermaid Cafe was cute.
Would I stay here again?
Maybe. I think the Argonaut is a good choice for someone who wanted to have a stay infused with San Francisco flavor. The fact that it is so central to a lot of fun touristy attractions could be a huge bonus for many.
However, given the price point, unless you can find a great deal, I would say that this property is not quite up to the usual incredible Kimpton standard. While everything was fine, it just wasn’t noteworthy or memorable.
All in all, we enjoyed our stay.
Which San Francisco hotels would you recommend (and which would you stay away from)? Have you been to the Argonaut before? What did you think?