By Betty Yu


SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — After years of very little supply, San Francisco has hundreds of new hotel rooms and more on the way as soaring tourism numbers have pushed occupancy and room rates to record levels.

The long-awaited 12-story Virgin Hotels San Francisco on 4th Street in SoMa has been in the works for more than 10 years. The 194-room location features a swanky restaurant — Commons Club — multiple meeting and event spaces and, soon, a rooftop lounge.

“I think it was a great location just being in the heart of the city. So walking distance to Moscone, Union Square, Financial District, and you have the artistic feel of SoMa,” said General Manager Michel Notten.

Rooms start at $350 dollars a night.

The opening is happening at a time when destination marketing organization San Francisco Travel is forecasting a record number of visitors. It projected about 26 million visitors in 2018, up nearly 3 percent from the year before.

Already this year, 1.2 million room nights have been booked at hotels in the area.

Part of the draw at Virgin Hotels are the tech-friendly amenities.

“We have the Lucy app that you can control from your own phone. You can use it for controlling your temperature in the room, to ordering in-room dining,” said Notten. “But there’s also a lot of personality in the hotel. It’s not only about technology. Innovation also comes in different forms.”

The mid-Market area may also get an increase in hotel visitors. Yotel recently opened it’s first West Coast hotel on Market Street after five years of development and construction. The micro-room hotel focuses of hyper-efficiency.

Rooms average around $230 a night. Yotel offers co-working spaces. A rooftop bar and restaurant will open this summer.

“The brand itself is all about providing the traveler with what they need, but not providing them with what they don’t need. And so we feel that with the level of technology that we provide, we can be a little more minimalist,” said Yotel General Manager Isabelle Matter.

For example, the beds are adjustable to create more space.

Across the city, more hotel projects are in the pipeline. The SOMA Mission Bay hotel owned by the Marriott is expected to open in the summer of 2020.

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