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“Great Location. Invest in a "PROPER" Queen room if you plan on sleeping” 1 of 5 stars
Review of The Herbert Hotel

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The Herbert Hotel
161 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Union Square)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #89 of 233 Hotels in San Francisco
Sydney
Top Contributor
235 reviews 235 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 72 cities Reviews in 72 cities
155 helpful votes 155 helpful votes
“Great Location. Invest in a "PROPER" Queen room if you plan on sleeping”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

We stayed 4 nights and saw 3 rooms in that period of time. We booked a room with a hall bath/toilet because of budget constraints. Be aware San Fran is a very, very expensive town and even a room like this costs around US$125 incl. tax. On the point of hall bath/toilet - note the lack of plural - there really is just one unisex shower and unisex toilet on each floor. People using them can lose track of time, shall we say. OK. The first room we were given was on level five, and right outside there was a roaring ventilation shaft - air conditioning/restaurant, who knows what - but the noise was horrendous. We asked for another room. We got another room on level 5, but further along- the queen bed was a complete marshmallow - had some enormous fluffy type of mattress topper that had has both rolled into the middle of the bed and roasting all night. Not to mention this hotel was once like a Bachelor hotel - small rooms with paper thin walls that were OK back when people sat quietly and read books in the evening. Not so great when they turn on their big flat screen TVs and yap to each other at the top of their voices. Walls are so thin it is possible to join in next door's conversation by saying at a normal volume "Could you keep the noise down please" - and they hear you. OK - so that was night 1. We requested yet another room the following morning and were given a twin bedded room on a higher floor (7 I think). Excellent stuff - no noisy vent, no big squashy bed. No problems? No such luck. The hall bath/toilet rooms face the street. Each room adjoins a bathroom (which adjoins another room). If you pay $80 extra a night (so now we're up to $200 a night for a beautifully decorated "hostel"), then you get the key to 'your" bathroom. All sounds good until you just stick with your hall shower/toilet option - but the other room does use the bathroom. And they turn the bathroom light on and urinate at least 6 times in a night. The light around the bathroom door shone brightly into our room. There is so little sound insulation we could hear him undo his belt buckle. And pee. And flush. And chat to his wife, god help her, every single time. Fortunately we didn't have to hear number 2s. And so that saw us in the lobby AGAIN. We were so wrecked after two nights of rubbish sleep we were looking pretty rough by then and finally the desk staff put us into obviously the premium offering of this hotel. A proper queen size room with a chair and coffee table and a full bathroom with tub not adjoining any other room and not facing the street. I can only imagine what this room must cost - but if you are planning to stay here and sleep - this is the room to get (504 I think). So after what felt like a month, we had two nights of excellent, disturbance free sleep and finally got to enjoy being in San Francisco.

Positives about the hotel? Actually yes - A lot of effort has gone into making it fresh, clean and modern. Nice decorator palette. Fresh white sheets. Good (though not excellent) wifi. There is also a communal lounge with a microwave in the hotel, mainly populated by students, but handy if you fancy a microwave meal available from the Walgreens food store just downstairs. Obviously the location is also great - easy to access the cable cars, trams, walk to Union Square etc. Staff were helpful but obviously they are dealing with an old building, that no matter how pretty you decorate it was never intended for use as a modern hotel with TVs etc.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ParamountManagment, Manager at The Herbert Hotel, responded to this review, August 1, 2013
We do our best to place someone in the right room for them. If a guest does not like a room and we have others available we will make every effort to move them to a room of their preference. Most days we end up selling out which does leave our ability to move rooms sometimes limited but if not the day of arrival we will try to change your room the next day and so one. This is how someone could end up being in three different rooms. We do have one unisex toilet and one unisex shower per floor if you book the hallway bath rooms but we only have about 4 rooms per floor which do not have their own bathroom. The rest all have private bathrooms.
For our beds we pick the top quality available. We can make the bed more firm if needed. It was once a Bachelor Hotel but that was about from 1909- 1940's. The Hall baths/toilet rooms actually do not face the street, they are all at the interior of the hotel. You can see the street from some of them but none are on the street. Not every room adjoins another room, about three per floor. This for convenience and to help be accommodating for guests needs.

Please let us know in advance if you have any specific needs, we are happy to assist.
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516 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (101)
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English first
San Jose, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

This hotel was perfect for my 3-day stay in San Francisco. The hotel room inside was simple, w/ modern decor (Ikea-style, not super fancy, but nice, bright and clean). I had no issues at all checking in or receiving assistance from staff - they were friendly and helpful. The room was quiet, affordable, comfortable and pleasant. The hotel itself is old, but the rooms have a modern feel. I felt safe (traveling solo) and my things secure. This hotel does have the option of getting a room with shared bathroom, however I chose a private room and was very content.

This hotel was the perfect location for me to explore the city with super close access to everything - shopping, transportation, food, entertainment.

FOOD: The hotel is located right across from Starbucks, Chipotle (and within walking distance to a wide range of restaurants), the Walgreens right next door is open till midnight with a fantastic selection of most anything you might need/want late night- they have frozen yogurt/juice bar/expresso bar/grab-n-go fresh fruit/sandwiches/gourmet desserts etc all within the Walgreens).
LOCATION: The hotel is right next to the cable car, and within minutes from BART/MUNI and buses (i.e. easy access to get around the city and also get out of the city or pretty much a direct ride on BART to the SFO airport).
SHOPPING: The hotel is located right in heart of SF shopping; If you enjoy walking and don't mind some uphill walking, Chinatown/ Piers are within walking distance (or a quick hop on the cable car and you're there; Really, you can get to anywhere you need to go in or near SF quickly from this location.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lakewood, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

I booked a room on the 5th floor with a queen bed and my own bathroom. My friend and I stayed for 5 days. The room is nice and the hotel is in a good location. All the employees were very rude and not interested in helping out in anyway. When asked for directions to Union Square ( 1 block from hotel) the boy at the desk told us he was not from San Francisco and had no idea.????
On the second night we were cold and wanted more blankets and an extra pillow. Every employee we asked would say no they didnt have access to a closet where they were kept?? When given a hard time they would finally grab the key and go get them making you aware they were annoyed by your presence. The cleaning people did not replace our cups or wash clothes and when asked they were also annoyed. They did not remove garbage or clean room, only made the bed. Also don't expect any wifi at this hotel, we had to go to starbucks to use their wifi. I would never stay at this hotel again. For the price there are so many hotels in the city. Not to mention you pay upfront vs at the end of your stay which is just another odd thing. Anyways keep looking there are so many better hotels in San Francisco. Hospitality is key, i would rather stay in a hole in the wall that offers great service.

Room Tip: No wifi in this hotel.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Herbert4, Manager at The Herbert Hotel, responded to this review, July 17, 2013
First I want to say that I am so sorry that you did not have a good stay with us. It is very important to all of the staff that the guests have a good stay when visiting with the Herbert Hotel. All of our staff are also trained on the different areas in San Francisco and we also have an information board with custom directions to popular location available for the taking.
At night the Front Desk is available to access more towels and pillows. There are backups on every floor. Please ask and we will always accommodate this need.
Every day the rooms are cleaned thoroughly but we do not take shopping bags which may or may not be garbage as we do not want to dispose of guest items that might be hidden amongst packaging. Our wifi is brand new as of Feb. and the code for the wifi is free and available, we have had zero complaints so far but we do check it regularly to make sure.
We do charge up front, our hotel does not incur any charges during your stay like other hotels so there is not a reason to wait until the end of the stay. This makes check out quick for our guests.
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North Fork, California
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

Here's what we encountered after check-in. Thus informed, you can judge for yourself whether you think it's worth the price to stay at this hotel:
1. No seating in this very small room.
2. No bedside tables, except for a small metal wall shelf about 6" wide, and 12" long.
3. No bed frame wheel locks; therefore, trying to watch TV while sitting on bed and leaning against wall was challenging due to sliding.
4. Our shower and toilet were located outside of the room at the end of the hallway.
5. Paper towel dispenser in toilet room empty. Also, no sanitary toilet seat covers available.
6. No lobby, except for check-in counter.
7. No bath towels in room--had to call desk and ask for them, twice.
8. NO cancellations allowed within SEVEN days of reservation date.
9. NO valet parking available.
10. NO morning coffee or other perks offered.
11. Toilet in the adjacent room located within inches of our beds. Because of paper-thin walls, sounds easily intruded upon our privacy. EXAMPLE: during the early hours of the morning, our neighbor apparently returned drunk, waking us up. Before we were able to resume our sleep, we were forced to listen to her vomit violently, followed soon thereafter by obvious sounds diarrhea. Disgusting!

Room Tip: During booking process, make certain you determine if the shower and toilet are located within the r...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013

This is the most affordable hotel I can afford while searching downtown hotels in SFO... Didnt expect much as there's quite a lot of mixed review. However it was a pleasant surprise find for me. Clean (daily cleaning), very comfortable bed, good wifi, I choose the room with attached bathroom. The down point from me was the lack of a safe in the room. We stored the valuable in our luggage. It was also abit noisy at night but was not a big problem for me. Overall I would recommend this fuss free but very good location hotel. Near to Macy's, the various shopping areas as well as the BART and cable car!

Room Tip: Choose the highest floor to minimise the noise level from outside. I stay at the 7th floor (the high...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

When searching for hotels in San Francisco, we were frustrated by how expensive the city seemed to be. We are in our 20s and were looking for somewhere cheap and cheerful, essentially a roof over our head, as we weren't planning on staying indoors too much. The Herbert Hotel was located in downtown, in the heart of the city centre, right by the cable cars and other transport links. The rooms were basic but clean, and that is all we wanted, so was absolutely perfect. The shared bathroom was spotless, and there was no issue with queueing for a shower. Staff are helpful and friendly. If you're young and looking to explore the city for a few days then this is perfect.

You can get to the hotel by the BART, much cheaper than a taxi.

If you want to visit Alcatraz, book early or you will have a very early start one morning to get on-the-day tickets.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

Positive points: Nicely designed rooms, central location, friendly receptionist.
Negative points: Expensive, you couldn't find a noisier street to put a hotel, some of the lights didn't work and the reception rarely picked up when calling from the room.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms facing the street (unsure whether all rooms do)
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Herbert Hotel

Address: 161 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > Union Square
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
#7 Best Value Hotel in San Francisco
#67 Business Hotel in San Francisco
#69 Family Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 99
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Herbert Hotel is a small historic hotel located on the Powell Street Cable Car line at legendary Union Square, San Francisco, California. Newly designed and renovated, the hotel offers style, location and affordability unmatched in the city center. Conveniently located in the heart of the city, the Herbert is a short walk from San Francisco's many attractions. Restaurants, shops galleries and theaters are just outside our door. Moscone Center, Chinatown, the Museum of Modern Art and the world's most fabulous stores are a short walk away. Our 99 guest rooms are newly designed and renovated. All of our rooms come with high speed internet access. We offer suites and single rooms at affordable prices as well as double and triple connecting rooms that are ideal for families. Offering modern hotel amenities and a classic San Francisco hotel, The Herbert is ideal for families as as well as business and leisure travelers. Enjoy the comfort of clean and well-equipped accommodations at a fraction of the price of typical downtown San Francisco hotels. Make a reservation today! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Herbert Hotel San Francisco

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