The Lodge at the Presidio: San Francisco’s Best Kept Hospitality Secret

Lodge at The Presidio. Photo by Ben Davidson

Surrounded by treasured open space and featuring panoramic Golden Gate Bridge views, the Lodge at the Presidio provides its guests a different sort of San Francisco experience. Removed from the downtown crowds, traffic, and Union Square frenzy, this luxurious yet approachable hotel option is located within 1,500 acres of some of the most beautiful real estate in the nation. 

Home to miles of hiking and biking trails, breathtaking views, playgrounds, a golf course, museums, and popular restaurants, yet close enough to the city action that San Francisco visitors crave, the Presidio and its gradual transformation over the years from military grounds to world-class visitor destination is revelatory. 

The closest San Francisco hotel option to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Lodge at the Presidio (honored as an Historic Hotel of America) takes full advantage of its proximity to the orange icon. Several of its 42 rooms directly overlook the span, and a fire-pit heated courtyard sits in its shadow. Combining historic elements with contemporary luxury, the Lodge gratifies a variety of guest interests. History buffs appreciate the authentic architecture and the location’s significant past; art aficionados enjoy the vast collection of museum quality watercolors, mixed-media pieces, and photographs; luxury seekers enjoy the beautiful furnishings and linens; gourmands relish the complimentary evening wine and cheese and the bountiful European style breakfast. And environmentalists value the Lodge’s LEED gold certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.) 

Lodge at the Presidio Lobby. Photo by Paul Dyer
Lobby lounge. Photo by Paul Dyer

In high-ceilinged rooms, large casement windows allow guests to enjoy the area’s eucalyptus-scented bay breezes. Furnishings and fabrics include canvas ottomans and headboards and posh wool throw blankets to ward-off the chill of coastal fog. Well-stocked mini bars include wine, beer, deluxe sized spirits, and Equator coffee. Outside, a capacious veranda runs the length of the building and features shaker style rockers that overlook the Main Parade Ground’s grass expanse. 

King view room. Photo by Paul Dyer
Family suite. Photo by Paul Dyer

Beyond the Lodge, The Presidio Trust has transformed the other Presidio buildings in its efforts to preserve the area as a natural, cultural, scenic, and recreational resource. Building 563, for instance, formerly a 1903 enlisted men’s barracks filled with double-tiered soldier bunks, is home to the Presidio Social Club Exchange, a popular and convivial retro-chic restaurant known for crafted cocktails and hearty comfort-food, now open Thursday through Sunday for lunch, brunch, dinner, and classic Sunday supper, all served al fresco on its newly expanded, twinkle-lit patio. Beer lovers will want to check-out the more than 100 selections at Sessions at the Presidio, where a large outdoor veranda overlooks Letterman Digital Arts Center’s park-like setting.

Presidio Social Club Exchange patio. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

A plethora of recreational activities for all ages includes the newly reopened Presidio Bowl where a full menu of salads, sandwiches, and pizza plus 45 beers, ciders and seltzers, 19 wines by the glass, and a full bar stand ready to satiate. Reopened facilities at Crissy Field include indoor trampoline park House of AirBatter’s Box SF batting cages, swim school La Petite BaleenPlanet Granite climbing gym, the bike store that has everything, Roaring Mouse Cycles and outdoor gear specialists Sports Basement, for rentals or purchases. The historic Presidio Golf Course, with its Presidio Café, is also a great spot to while away 18 holes or grab a bite. Disneyphiles won’t want to miss the Walt Disney Family Museum, where Disney’s life is illuminated through innovative and interactive galleries. 

Visitors to this unique region of San Francisco can find more in-depth resources at the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center or the recently reopened Park Store at Crissy Field’s West Bluff, all within walking distance of the Lodge. The Welcome Center, located in the visitor plaza at the bridge’s southern end, is an interesting opportunity to learn about the bridge through special exhibits and remnants from the construction in the 1930s. It’s also a place to pick up park gifts and bridge merchandise. 

Lodge at the Presidio firepit. Photo by Paul Dyer

Whether enjoying the activities within the Presidio, or exploring further reaches of San Francisco, the natural beauty of this region and the luxe hospitality of the Lodge at the Presidio make this one of the City by the Bay’s best kept hotel secrets.

Don't miss the Presidio Trust’s My Park Moment photo show opening September 1 and presented in collaboration with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the National Park Service, and New York based non-profit Photoville. The show features people from all backgrounds across the country enjoying their favorite parks. From the 7,000 submissions received, 400 images were selected for the show by a distinguished panel of creators and community leaders. They capture the beauty of the great outdoors and the joy that time in nature can bring. The show is situated in four locations around the Presidio Tunnel Tops. Free, open 7 days a week, 24/7.

Fran Endicott Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is a luxury focused freelance feature and travel writer for a variety of lifestyle publications and websites, editor-at-large for, senior contributor to Napa Valley Life Magazine, and a California editor for luxury travel concierge service Essentialist, specializing in the Napa Valley. Prior to her journalism career she held positions in the fields of politics, te...(Read More)

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