I have the privilege of inspecting and staying in many hotels each year. Many tick the accessibility and comfort boxes but individuality is sadly lacking. It’s rare to feel surprised and wowed by a hotel, which makes it all the more delightful when it does happen.
Virgin Hotel San Francisco certainly has a wow factor, not only because of its quirky on brand touches, but also thanks to the warm and engaging staff. A stay at Virgin Hotel San Francisco certainly is not bland, so if you’re looking for accessible accommodation in San Francisco with a rock star vibe, this hotel may be a good choice..
Virgin Hotel San Francisco – Accessible Accommodation San Francisco
A red planter box, red seats and an English telephone box out front signalled I’d arrived at a hotel trying to stand out from the crowd. I was clearly in for the Virgin experience which started before I’d even set foot in the hotel lobby.
Staff were on hand to assist with the heavy wooden entry doors and once inside easy access is provided with a ramp to an elevator which accesses accommodation and the Everdene Rooftop Bar (a spot you should be sure to visit).
VIRGIN HOTEL SAN FRANCISCO – ACCESSIBLE ACCOMMODATION
Virgin has reimagined rooms in this boutique hotel and refer to rooms as Chambers. The idea is to create two distinct areas within the space with privacy doors to close within the Chamber. A hallway, closet, bathroom and office nook in one area and a private area for sleeping.
This separation of areas may not be the best set up for guests needing good circulation space for wheelchair use. As always, I encourage potential travellers to read this review carefully, take a look at the video tour below, which gives a much clearer idea of the Chamber layouts, and ask more questions of the hotel if you’re unsure if this set-up will work for you.
I can honestly say the Virgin Hotel San Francisco bed is the most comfortable I’ve experienced, and on this trip alone I bed-hopped quite a bit with multiple hotel stays. The mattress is divinely cushy and after long days involving a lot of walking, it rejuvenated me each night so I could do it all again the next day. The bed height is 55cm and there’s a clearance of 116cm between the bed and the wall for those transferring from a wheelchair or walking frame.
Amenities within the room are at a lowered height but the location and size of the light and blind switch behind the beside table next to the bedhead would be awkward for someone with limited mobility.
Within the hallway, between the entry door and the bedroom, there’s an open closet with lowered hanging space, additional linen and yoga mat for those flexibly inclined. Alongside there’s a wheelchair accessible wash basin fitted with lever taps and a mirror above. I have to say this tricked me every time – I’d go into the bathroom to wash my hands only to find I’d walked right by the wash basin in the hallway.
Kettles are usually non-existent in US hotels and for this tea-loving gal it means my travel kettle is the first item I pack. No need at Virgin Hotel San Francisco, they provide a kettle.
The accessible Chamber, which was my home for two nights, had a lovely view over the city which was particularly pretty at sunrise.
A laptop sized safe is within easy reach and sits above the cute red SMEG mini fridge. Have you ever seen a better looking mini fridge in a hotel?
VIRGIN HOTEL – ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM WITH BATH
A sliding door with a clearance of 82cm provides easy access to the bathroom which is equipped with a bath, grab rails, height adjustable shower head and toilet.
I’ve discovered when travelling in the US that the ADA compliant (American’s with Disability Act) rooms have varying facilities. Some rooms have a bath (tub) with rails and these often come with a slide board which sits across the bath for transferring. This allows someone to use the hand-held shower while sitting over the bath. This is why it’s always important to specify the type of room you require if you need a roll-in shower.
As a family we always look for a room with a bath for BJ because he can do a standing transfer and isn’t a fan of showers, so this would suit his needs but obviously isn’t suitable for many with access requirements (See below for the roll-in shower option at Virgin Hotel San Francisco).
The bathroom is spacious with grab rails surrounding the toilet, a height to the toilet seat of 44cm and to the pan of 42cm. Automatic lights in the bathroom are great for safety for anyone getting up through the night.
VIRGIN HOTEL SAN FRANCISCO – ACCESSIBLE ACCOMMODATION WITH ROLL-IN SHOWER
While staying at the hotel I had the opportunity to quickly inspect an accessible Chamber with a roll-in shower. Like the accessible room I was staying in, the Chamber is divided into two areas. The bedroom had two queen sized beds making it suitable for families or someone travelling with support.
Someone travelling with a large wheelchair may need some of the smaller furniture removed from the room to increase circulation space.
The shower area is spacious and equipped with a bench seat, hand-held shower head (in a low position for once – yay!) and lever taps.
As with the bathroom in my room, this one has good space around the toilet and grab bars.
VIRGIN HOTEL – IN THE KNOW
Virgin like to get to know their guests and ensure they are welcomed into the hotel family. After booking my stay I joined The Know where I filled out a questionnaire which was so thorough it made me feel like I was looking for a date. The aim is to get the hotel in the know as to your likes and dislikes so they are best able to “pander to your every desire” and personalise your stay.
On arrival I found an ice bucket with my favourite drinks and my all time fave US chocolate, Baby Ruth chocolate bars. I was in heaven.
A personalised note ensured I felt welcome as soon as I put my bags down. And I can assure you it didn’t take me long to plough through a few of those chocolates.
Being a member of The Know also gave me access to The Spirit Hour.
A complimentary glass of bubbly was my choice and a good start to my evening.
You can read more about The Know benefits on the Virgin Hotel website.
WINING & DINING AT VIRGIN HOTEL SAN FRANCISCO
The Commons Club
Plush seating, chandeliers and darkened corners made me feel like there could be a celebrity dining right nearby and I’d never know. If there was, they were safe because my pumpkin gnocchi was so delicious it required my full attention to appreciate every mouthful.
As the sun sets and the moon rises the Everdene Rooftop bar is the place to be with a lively atmosphere and stunning views of the city.
My tip – try the fries, they are so good.
THE FUNNY LIBRARY COFFEE SHOP
The Funny Library is on the ground floor of the Virgin Hotel and is the perfect place to stop for a quick coffee, snack or light breakfast.
I say it’s a spot for a quick stop but with a range of books, games and a record player available for customers, it really begs guests to linger. If I lived in San Francisco I’d be encouraging my friends to make this our Central Perk-like hang out. I loved it.
Virgin Hotel San Francisco is located south of Market Street. It’s an easy walk or wheel to the main shopping area, Union Square and many sights in the city. I put a bit of a dint in my credit card while staying here because it was so close to so many great stores.
The quirky detail and sense of humour at every turn in Virgin Hotel San Francisco had me smiling unexpectedly throughout my stay. It’s rare to find so many chuckle-worthy elements in a hotel.
I loved the various slogans on the airport-style luggage trolleys and the surprise finds in the room, like opening the safe to find “Bling” emblazoned on the inside.
And if you have any concerns about dust bunnies or monsters in your room, Virgin have you covered with experts in the field ready to deal.
Bucking the rubber duck trend, which is so last decade, you’ll find a sheep in the bathroom to keep you company.
I love the Virgin designers think-outside-the-box approach to hotels and certainly look forward to seeking out more in the future. You can read more about Virgin Hotel San Francisco on their website.
I received a media rate for my stay but would return in a red heart beat. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and despite the cool vibe of the hotel, staff are warm and welcoming.