With its unassailable location on Union Square, snazzy public spaces, Michael Mina restaurant (and the signature 1907 grandfather clock in the Powell Street lobby), the St. Francis commands attention and is a favorite of high-powered conventions and conferences. It first went up in 1904 (then much of it came down in the 1906 earthquake and fire) and has had many expansions and face-lifts. The oldest part includes 653 rooms and suites; the modern tower, 601 more units. Rates begin at $289 in high season and drop to as low as $199 when occupancy falls. Info: (800) 937-8461; http://www.westinstfrancis.com.
Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times
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