The Best San Francisco Hotels and Guest Suites for Your Marathon Trip

Like any major city, there are a lot of great hotel options in San Francisco. And it can be time-consuming to narrow down your options or find that one perfect option with the best mix of proximity and amenities.

That's why we tasked our Racertrips™ San Francisco Ambassadors with recommending lodging based on their own experiences, proximity to starting line, the overall ambiance of the hotel, the neighborhood it's in and the amenities.

While we have several recommendations near the starting line, we're also featuring hotels that are a little bit farther away. With public transportation and ride-sharing options, it's pretty easy to get to and from the starting line on race day. There's no need to stay right at the starting line unless you really want to!

While cost was also a consideration for our recommendations, we also know that the prices increased dramatically for marathon weekend. Do yourself a favor and book early!


(We only write about hotels, lodging, and accommodations that have been recommended by Racertrips™ Ambassadors. However, Racertrips LLC is a Booking.com affiliate and may earn commission on qualifying reservations.)

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Best San Francisco Hotels Near the Starting Line

Looking for a hotel situated as close to the starting line as you can get but that won't break the bank? Racertrip Ambassador Kim recommends the 1926 historic waterfront hotel Harbor Court. And while being close is a great feature when looking to reduce your stress on race day, this hotel offers more incentive for runners. With the in-house YMCA, guests can enjoy access to an indoor Olympic-size swimming pool, full gym and sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi to relax post-race. There is also a 24-hour cafe and daily wine hour to celebrate your 26.2! And best of all, same-day laundry service ensures you don't go home with a sweaty race kit.

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The San Francisco Marathon starts at Mission and Embarcadero Street, and Hotel Vitale is a quick two-block walk to the starting line. According to Racertrip Ambassador Megan, this hotel is one of the best because it features panoramic views of the Bay Bridge, is pet-friendly and has an in-house restaurant. Guests love that the hotel has its own penthouse-level spa, with deep soaking tubs set in a zen bamboo forest!

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Loews Regency San Francisco is an upscale, luxurious hotel centrally-located near the starting line that offers some great amenities for those looking for a high-end hotel. It comes recommended by Racertrips Ambassador Tricia. First, there are 155 rooms including seven suites, a 24-hour fitness center, a bar and restaurant inside the hotel, a sky deck feature towering views of the city and complimentary wifi. All of this in the hotel with some of the best and highest views in the city. Valet parking is offered at an additional rate, and pets are allowed with an additional nightly fee as well.

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It's harder to get closer to the starting line than this, according to Racertrip Ambassador Derek. The Hyatt Regency San Francisco is a luxury choice steps from the starting line with sweeping views of San Francisco Bay and the Embarcadero and is a recommendation from Racertrips Ambassadors and Co-Founders Angi and Chip. The rooms are contemporary and include free wifi. Traveling with your pet? Ask the hotel about their pet-friendly policies. There's an on-site lounge and restaurant, as well as 24-hour fitness center and a spacious lobby with tons of cool spaces and comfy furniture to meet up with other runners before or after the race. The room rates during the marathon can be steep, so we recommending booking early, looking for special deals or using your rewards points! Parking is available for an additional fee.

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Best Hotels for the Budget

Want to stay in the heart of San Francisco but don't want to break the bank? Racertrips Ambassador Dereke says The Bartlett Hotel and Guesthouse is perfect for the adventurous traveler who doesn't mind a smaller space for a better location. On-site, you'll find Bartlett Hall for food and drinks with the locals. You'll be steps from Union Square, where you can shop your heart out and still be close to public transportation (MUNI and cable cars) to explore outside your neighborhood. You'll also be a relatively quick MUNI train ride from the start and finish lines.

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The San Remo Hotel is a cozy, budget-friendly option with a European feel in the North Beach neighborhood. The rooms are furnished with antiques and decorated with Victorian heirlooms and historic photos. Each room includes a pedestal sink, and there are shared bathrooms on each floor. The rooms include free wifi, and guests are provided with ear plugs to block out any noise (like creaky floorboards). Fior d'Italia restaurant is located on the first floor of the hotel and is one of the oldest Italian restaurants in the country.

To get to the starting line on race day morning, you are better off taking an Uber/Lyft as opposed to public transportation. The closest public transportation is the F train, which is the old streetcars and is very fun to take. However, race morning they only start at 6:10 am and are very slow, so you will not make it to the starting line by 6:30 am.

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If you want a budget-friendly option and don't mind staying across the Bay, Racertrips Ambassadors (and Co-Founders) suggest the Four Points by Sheraton in Emeryville, CA. It's just off the Bay Bridge and offers many amenities that runners may find helpful. The rooms are a standard configuration (e.g., two queen beds with a desk and a big-screen TV) and are a good size if you're traveling with kids or other runners. Each room comes with a fridge, microwave, coffee maker and safe. There's also an onsite breakfast cafe, bar, outdoor pool and hot tub, the latter of which is open until 10 pm. Guests also enjoy free wifi and free parking, the latter of which is unheard of in San Francisco. The only downside (aside from distance to the start line) is that the bathroom is a little small.

On race morning, you'll need to drive into the city, take Uber/Lyft or head to the nearby BART station to catch a race shuttle. (See all our details on How to Get to the Starting Line.)

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Another budget-conscious option across the Bay is the Hyatt Place Emeryville. This hotel is slightly more contemporary than the Four Points by Sheraton but has different amenities, according to Racertrips Ambassadors and Co-Founders Angi and Chip. The rooms are spacious and include two queen beds, an L-shaped sofa (which may fold out into another bed) and a desk. There's also an in-room coffee maker, which you could use to heat up water for oatmeal on race morning. Although you probably cannot take advantage of it on race day, breakfast is included for all guests. You'll find it's one of the better breakfast spreads as far as hotels go. There's a chef on-site who's very friendly and prides himself on serving fresh food vs. DIY waffle mix. Some of his options include cheesy potatoes, biscuits with sausage gravy, buttery cage-free scrambled eggs, Greek yogurt and fruit compote, and fresh fruit salad. The coffee is good, too. The trade-off for the free breakfast is that parking is available on site or in the garage next door for $15 per day. And on race morning, you'll need to drive into the city, take Uber/Lyft or head to the nearby BART station to catch a race shuttle. <a href="https://racertrips.com/san-francisco-marathon-racecation-travel-guide/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">(See all our details on How to Get to the Starting Line.) Book Now

Best Hotels for Families and Friends

If you're traveling with family, you'll likely be the happiest near Fisherman's Wharf, says Racertrips Ambassador Derek. At Hotel Zoe, you'll find endless attractions and things to keep the kids happy and entertained. The hotel is beautifully furnished, has a delicious restaurant on-site and is within steps of Pier 39, Ripley's Believe It Or Not, Madame Tussauds and more. Grab a cable car to Union Square to do some shopping.

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Best Luxury Hotel Accommodations

Those looking for the ultimate in luxury should book a stay at the Fairmont San Francisco. The historic 5-star hotel is situated at the top of Nob Hill and offers amenities such as a rooftop bar, in-room nanny service, two restaurants, and two lounges. Racertrip Ambassador Luda thinks it's the perfect way to treat yourself after the race for a job well done!

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The iconic Four Seasons Hotel is a reasonable 20-minute walk down Market Street from the San Francisco Marathon starting line and is recommended by Racertrips Ambassador Kim. What better way to unwind post-race than with a De-Stress Massage and Exfoliation at their award-winning spa, followed by a celebratory glass of champagne on the Veranda Terrace overlooking the stunning San Francisco skyline? The morning after, be sure to check out Equinox Sports Club, San Francisco's most luxurious fitness center, located in the building. Take the time to foam roll, stretch out or visit their sauna and steam room. You will not be disappointed.

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Best Neighborhood Accommodations

The Inn at the Presidio is an historic hotel located in the middle of the Presidio. This former U.S. Army post, fort and park is recommended by Racertrips Ambassador Luda. Formerly an elegant home for bachelor officers, the lodge features 22 guest accommodations, 17 of which are suites with fireplaces. Step outside, and you have access to more than 24 miles of running and hiking trails, which are perfect for athletes looking to warm up and practice running those tough San Francisco hills during the marathon. There is a nightly wine and cheese happy hour, and the hotel is close to both the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. There are plenty of bus lines nearby to get to downtown San Francisco.

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For a fun, neighborhood experience, consider The Monte Cristo Inn. It is a fun, historic bed-and-breakfast hotel built in 1875, which survived the devastating 1906 earthquake and subsequent fires. Located in the Presidio Heights neighborhood, this two-story, 14-room hotel features traditional rooms, small suites and larger condo-style rooms for longer stays. Each room includes a flat-screen TV, complimentary breakfast and complimentary wifi, making this a perfect hotel for those who don't want to have to spend extra for these features.

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Golden Gate Hotel is focused on making you feel like you're at home, says Racertrips Ambassador Tricia. It might be the old-world charm and European-style of their vintage building, complete with bird-cage elevator and antique furnishing. Or perhaps it's the warm welcome from Pip the house cat as well, as their friendly pet policy that brings all the amenities of home. Either way, this hotel is decently priced, is in a great central location and is close to transportation. It's one of San Francisco's hidden gems.

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Racertrips Ambassadors Angi and Chip recommend the Marriott Fisherman's Wharf if you prefer to stay in a well-known hotel chain and want be close to Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square and other attractions. The lobby and hotel rooms feature contemporary furnishings, glass accents instead of wood, and modern bathrooms with glass shower doors instead of the ever-white shower curtain. The blackout shades are a nice amenity for anyone who needs pure darkness while they sleep.

The king rooms are a decent size for 1-2 adults. But if you're traveling with a child, the hotel will have to bring in a foldaway bed, which takes up a lot of the available space. Wifi is free for Marriott members and about $15 per day for non-members. Like many hotels in San Francisco, onsite valet parking is pretty pricey - upwards of $50. Angi and Chip used Spot Hero to find a garage spot a few blocks away for about half the price. (They say that if they could have done without the car for the rest of their trip, they would have preferred not to have a car in the city.)

To get to the starting line on race day morning, you are better off taking an Uber/Lyft as opposed to public transportation. The closest public transportation is the F train, which is the old streetcars and is very fun to take. However, race morning they only start at 6:10 am and are very slow, so you will not make it to the starting line by 6:30 am.

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The Inn at Union Square is a centrally located, unique and high-end hotel in Union Square, which is close to mass transit, shopping, restaurants and fun activities. Recommended by Racertrips Ambassador Tricia, this boutique hotel is walkable to Westfield Mall, the cable cars and even the starting line if you don't mind a 35-minute walk or so. Some of the hotel's amenities include complimentary breakfast, room service from Morton's Steakhouse, a complimentary cheese and wine evening reception, access to a nearby health club (for additional fee), valet parking, and a complimentary in-room KEYPR tablet (which allows you to request amenities, enter your room using your cell phone, and use your own entertainment apps like Netflix, Spotify and others on the go). It's also a non-smoking property.

This hotel is not recommended for families, though, because there's only one bed in each of the rooms. (This would if you have a baby with a travel bed or are planning to get the kids their own room—and they don't mind sharing a bed.)

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Meet our San Francisco Ambassadors

Kim Suarez
Kim Suarez has been trail running in the Bay Area for most of her life, growing up in the East Bay at the foothills of Mt. Diablo. After being a mostly short and mid-distance runner her whole life...
Luda Berdnyk
Luda is a running enthusiast and frequent fun run participant. She has spent the last few years in a volunteer shirt for marathons and triathlons all throughout California, including the San Francisco Marathon and Santa Rosa Ironman.
Derek Brookmeyer
Derek ran his first 5k 10 years ago and immediately became hooked on racing. His favorite distance is the half marathon and he's run them in Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland.
Megan Greene
Megan began running at an early age and spent several years as a very competitive runner. When she won her first-ever triathlon in high school, she was hooked. Since then, she has made most of her life decisions based on nearby running and biking trails.
Tricia Piper-Bennett
Tricia Piper-Bennett is a Chicago native who recently relocated to Oakland after 8 years in the United Kingdom and Tanzania. During business hours, Tricia is a Campaign Associate...
Lyman (Chip) Welch
Chip is a half-marathoner, triathlete and co-founder of Racertrips LLC. He's completed the Chicago Triathlon seven times, and he's run several half marathons...
Angi Semler Welch
Angi is a co-founder of Racertrips LLC and has completed four marathons and numerous half marathons. She's now training to run the 2019 Paris Marathon...
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