We decided to stay at the Loews Regency because last year, around the same time , we stayed at the same location, but was called Mandarin Oriental. It was a great experience and I reviewed about it. When I was looking to book Mandarin Oriental to stay this time, I found out this hotel is the new Loews Regency. But we nevertheless decided to stay here because of the wonderful experience last year. Man, what a difference the two brands made.
It all started with the booking. I usually go to the Expedia first to get a transparent price - Expedia almost always tells you the price + other taxes. I then go to the hotel website to book the room. My experience was that such hotels usually offers pretty much the same prices as offered on internet. When I went to Loews Regency's website, it gives a more expensive price but did say that they were going to match the internet offer and gave a number to call. So I called, what I waste of time. I was told that the rooms offered on the internet were no longer available (seriously? I was on the website while I was calling), I did not press, it was not much different in price anyway. In addition, I was assured that the room I was booked over the phone would have a better view and a higher floor. Let me say this, I hate vendors being petty, especially when it comes about matching price. So it left a bit bad taste in my mouth with this booking experience.
Lack of attention to details is our general impression with this hotel. Over the phone, when I was asked for the purpose of the stay, I told the hotel reservation specialist that it was to celebrate my husband's birthday. So they asked my husband's name. However, at the check-in, everyone wished me happy birthday. Also at the check-in, when we were given the choices of newspaper to have in the morning, WSJ, NYTimes, or FT, we picked NYTimes. What delivered was WSJ. One of the bath towels in our bath had way over extended its life-cycle, looked just like a Motel 6 towel. As every other 5-star hotel provides gourmet coffee/tea options in the room, there is no such option at Lowes in San Francisco.
Everyone knows the quality of the hotel can be seen from the bathroom. Now look at this picture: The shower is shower over tub, not different from Marriott (honestly, I did not mind it much when it was Mandarin Oriental - it just tells you the bad impressions really added up), the toiletries looked really cheap and the hair dryer was very heavy, and the toilet was really made for dwarves.
The room that I was assured to have was sitting on the top floor, but right by the elevator. At six o'clock in the morning, I started hearing pings non-stop because there was only one elevator in operation to take all the Financial District visitors/business persons to work and to meetings. When I brought it up at the check out, the only explanation was that the hotel was upgrading the elevator system so basically, you just have to put up with it.
Let me say this, this hotel was no comparison to other 5 star hotels in San Francisco. Especially since the hotel is under renovation, at least make it clear on the website or at the time of booking or just do not call it a 5-star yet. In 2002, the Vltava river flooded the Four Seasons in Prague. When Four seasons reopened its door in late 2003, it first classified itself as a four-star hotel while there was still some construction and repair going on.
Maybe it's just because the hotel is in the FiDi and therefore there is no lack of supply of customers. But to build a brand, you need a sustained, consistent commitment to quality of service, which include but not limited to attention to details and product honesty - all of which should not be compromised by location or demand. Oh, by the way, for a business hotel, the WiFi is way too slow……
To be fair, the people working there are very friendly, I believe lots of them (I am sure of the SPA personnels) were previously employed by Mandarin Oriental. But something has definitely changed…...
There are so many choices for good hotels, honestly, I would not go back to Loews again.