I recently visited San Francisco and stayed at Hotel des Arts in the French Quarter (tucked between Union Square, the Financial District and the Chinatown Gate). Despite it’s not-so-artsy surroundings, the interior more than makes up for it. Although their website does give a description of what they’re all about, it lacks the true character this place has. The concept for the hotel (which really looks and functions more like a nice hostel) is to showcase work of artists from all over the world in every room and throughout the building. The result is an eclectic mix of eye candy from the minute you arrive at the front desk to when you tuck yourself into bed.
When you enter the building you have the choice to either walk upstairs to reception or take a ride in the retro fire engine red elevator with black gates. The space is clean and bright and does a good job of really putting the focus on the artists. I stayed in the room by Kate Durkin. The staff is friendly and helpful and there are free maps for the taking. Being that it does function more like a hostel, you run into the high likelihood of noisy neighbors, which I experienced. This is of no fault of the hotel, but just a warning to some of the type of people it attracts – young adults who act like they’re still in college. All in all though it definitely added to my SF experience. My friend and I stayed there together, and the vastly diverse amount of artwork was always a topic of discussion between us. If you’re a 20-40 something, appreciate a new experience, and neither need nor want the amenities and pampering of hotels, this is definitely the place to stay.