Hotel Zetta in San Francisco: Bold Design to Captivate Kids

At first glance, Hotel Zetta is not a hotel that screams “kids,” yet it captivates them like a candy store. Kids can’t figure out what to do first. Should they investigate the floor-to-ceiling Plinko game, sit in the pod-shaped chairs suspended from the ceiling or check out the metal dog sculpture at the entrance? Mine chose the chairs first and Plinko next.

Kids rush to play the floor-to-ceiling Plinko game
Kids rush to play the floor-to-ceiling Plinko game

Hotel Zetta fills the lodging void found by many families staying in urban hotels looking for something to do other than watching TV at the end of the sightseeing day. The hotel, part of the Viceroy Hotel Group, combines design with pop culture and San Francisco history to create a unique space that welcomes everyone. For families traveling to San Francisco with school-age kids, Hotel Zetta is an unexpected kid-friendly lodging option.

Hotel Zetta Family-Friendly Hotel Review

Alcatraz inmate photos create a lobby mural
Alcatraz inmate photos create a lobby mural

Sophisticated Friendly Ambiance

Hotel Zetta is a gathering spot for locals and visitors. The lobby is open, bright and welcoming. It’s a perfect hangout for a drink after work though families won’t feel uncomfortable because the public areas are cleverly designed so that everyone has their own space.

The design elements keep guests and kids guessing and wondering what they’ll find next. My 12-year-old was the first to spot the San Francisco-influence.  “Do you see what’s on the wall behind the sofa?” he asked us. “It’s a collage of Alcatraz inmates’ pictures.” And a closer look revealed exactly that. My 9-year-old daughter discovered a print of her favorite band, The Beatles, hung above a suspended love seat tethered to the ceiling by large ropes. While this interested them, it’s the Playroom that bridges the gap and brings family-friendliness into the hotel.

A rare quiet moment at 7am before the kids descend upon the Playroom
A rare quiet moment at 7am before the kids descend upon the Playroom

The Playroom

For kids, the Playroom is the pièce de résistance of the hotel. Likely originally intended for the after-work crowd, the games have great appeal for elementary-age kids, tweens and teens. Located on the floor above the lobby, the loft-like area has ping-pong, stand up shuffleboard, a pool table, giant Jenga, TVs and a Wii.  The area has cozy nooks so kids and adults can enjoy separate spaces.

The Playroom is filled with kids early in the morning before they go out for the day and later in the afternoon and evening when they’re finished sightseeing. My kids wanted to spend every moment that we were in the hotel in the Playroom and they easily found new friends.

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Modern guest rooms are quiet in the middle of the city
Modern guest rooms are quiet in the middle of the city


Hotel Zetta has 116 rooms and suites including connecting options for families. The rooms are modern in tones of black, grey and white with two sets of double-paned windows so the city noise doesn’t make its way into the rooms. Our room was set along busy 5th Street and I rarely heard a muffled car horn.

The Cavalier's decor entertains kids
The Cavalier’s decor entertains kids


The S&R Lounge is located in the lobby area and offers appetizers, snacks and lighter fare. It’s where you’ll find kid-friendly options like chicken nuggets, cheese curds or a burger though there are more varied options for adults. The Cavalier, an upscale British pub,  is adjacent to the hotel and nirvana for kids that like play I-spy. It’s casual and easy for breakfast in the morning.


Conveniently located in SoMa (South of Market Street), Hotel Zetta is surrounded by shops and more restaurants that anyone could try on a vacation. Union Square and Yerba Buena Gardens are a 10-minute walk away, the Ferry Building and Embarcadero about 25 minutes. It’s a central location and across the street is Mint Plaza which has room for kids to throw a ball or run around.

Regardless of the guest’s age, Hotel Zetta manages to create the same feeling in adults as it does in kids. It’s a place where you want to hang out, where you want to return at the end of the day and where you can all play together.

Want Help Planning a Family Vacation to San Francisco?

Need more comprehensive guidance? CB! Vacation Consultants specialize in helping families book travel to top destinations around the world. Our expert consultants do everything from recommending and booking accommodations (including a qualified options not featured on Ciao Bambino) to developing comprehensive multi-stop itineraries. For more information and/or to request assistance, go to the CB! Vacation Consultants page.

Relevant Links:

Best Family Hotels and Things to do in San Francisco

Things to Do in the Presidio with Kids

Must-see Stops on a Central Coast California Road Trip

Family Road Trips Offer Year-Round Fun in California

Editor’s Note: Kristi received a media rate at Hotel Zetta in order to review the property. As always, our  opinions art Ciao Bambino are our own.

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