Two Urban B&Bs Come of Age in San FranciscoAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
Between high-rise condos and towering tech hubs (looking at you, Salesforce), it’s feeling increasingly difficult to find a quaint, old-school space in San Francisco that doesn’t feel, well, old. But in April, two sister hotels in the city’s historic Nob Hill neighborhood received major makeovers while retaining their original charm: White Swan Inn and Petite Auberge.
Both properties are known for their old-world vibes of European bed-and-breakfasts, but now they also offer the perks and comforts of modern boutique hotels. Each site featues 26 guest rooms; White Swan Inn is inspired by the intimate hotels of London with dark wood paneling, bold fabrics, and British pop-art inspired prints, while Petite Auberge’s whimsical, welcoming style is imbued with the spirit of a French cottage with eclectic global accents.
After a year and a half of design upgrades and renovation, the hotels finally unveiled their dramatic new looks in April, boasting new furnishings, upgraded bathrooms, additional outdoor spaces for outdoor dining and lounging, and an entirely redesigned, expansive Petite Suite at Petite Auberge. White Swan Inn’s parlor mixes traditional and contemporary design with dark wood paneling, vibrant butterfly- and houndstooth-patterned Christian Lacroix arm chairs, statement polka-dot carpets, and British pop-art inspired wall hangings and a colorful teapot collection. The new 350-square-foot Petite Suite at Petite Auberge is for serious romantic escapes, featuring a private entrance, deck with city views, fireplace, soaking tub, wet bar, and furnishings handpicked by designer Oren Bronstein. Both properties showcase a modern style, playfully mixing bold patterns, statement art pieces, and functional comfort throughout.
Location matters in a city like San Francisco, and Nob Hill is a tough one to beat. Steps from cable cars and sweeping views, the hotels offer a more personalized, residential feel than other properties, featuring spacious rooms, many with fireplaces and soaking tubs, for an average room size of 325-square-feet. The lively parlors offer a social atmosphere with a range of games and the intimate library at White Swan Inn offers a space for relaxation, working, and reading. The parlor also hosts a monthly speaker series led by the San Francisco Tour Guides Guild for guests looking for a deeper education on the local history and culture.
Food is another unifying feature at both The White Swan Inn and Petite Auberge. In the tradition of a bed-and-breakfast, guests enjoy a full breakfast buffet with a range of dishes including quiches, blueberry and ginger scones, baked French toast, and more. The parlors feature Equator coffee, Numi tea, hot chocolate, soda, and water available all day, freshly baked biscuits (cookies) ranging from cinnamon shortbread to oatmeal cranberry bars, and hors d’oeuvres and wines in the evenings. The reception features a rotating assortment of sweet and savory appetizers, all made on property (think: house-roasted nuts, salami and olives, cream fruit tarts, and more.