I spent a week's vacation at the Waterfront and used it as home base for sailing in Alameda and touring San Fran. The hotel would be a contender for the best I've ever stayed in if it weren't for a few annoyances, but first...
* LOVE the decor. Sophisticated and not sweet or kitschy. Great colors, and good sailing prints. Hope it doesn't change much!
* The room was very clean, and the views were great! Yes, you can hear the train, so I would highly recommend a water-view room.
* Comfy beds with pillows in a variety of firmnesses. Slept like a log, despite the train.
* Jack London Square has a ton of decent-to-great restaurants. Wish there was a 7-11 nearby, but otherwise it's a great location. BevMo withing stumbling distance.
* Check out Heinhold's "First & Last Chance" saloon. Relic of the Jack London era, and as authentic a dive as you'll find. Greet "Bob & Eileen" (mallard ducks) on the way in.
* BART is about a 15-minute walk away, and most of the walk is decent, although some parts may make less savvy travelers nervous.
* Crab market on Sunday!!
* The ferry to SF/Alameda is about 100 feet from the hotel door--for $6 you can get a great tour of the bay area and hit SF in about 30 minutes (BART is faster, tho).
* Staff friendly & helpful with the items below (as much as they could).
The Bad (most of these are annoyances, and can be easily polished up):
* No general "services" book (e.g. that faux-leather-bound binder most hotels have that explains how to order room service, shuttle hours, local guide/attractions, fitness club info, etc.)
* My room key kept de-magnetizing. The first time was b/c I had it in my purse w/my cel phone, but even after I separated them, it failed about 4 times. Especially annoying when you can get into the building but not into the room. Lots of schlepping.
* Ice machine on 4 didn't work. More schlepping.
* $11 for continental breakfast?!? Holy cow, what a rip-off!!! Go to the Chicken + Waffle place a few blocks away instead.
* One light was out in my bathroom room and never got fixed.
* My TV remote could change channels & volume, but couldn't turn the TV on or off. Arrrrgh.
* No shuttle service on weekends and limited cab availability. Staff was super-nice to drive me once when I was desperate, tho. (If there was a book in the room, I'd have known and been able to make other arrangements the night before.)
* Rooms on 4 & 5 can't be accessed from the front lobby elevator, and it's a schlep to the other elevator. Can't be helped, but if you've got limited mobility, request a room on 2 or 3.
* Wish there was more than basic cable, and would LOVE a fridge in the room.
* No room service, and no hotel restaurant (it's being renovated, to open in summer 2008). Hotel has made arrangements with local restaurants to cover the gap, tho.