Arrival: I arrived early and pulled up in the porte-cochère (fancy, huh?). No one was immediately available to provide assistance. Valet parking is the only option at the hotel and it costs $64, plus taxes, a night. There is a parking garage down the block though (down the hill).
Check-in: I was pleasantly surprised that a room was available when I checked-in (a huge plus!). Elite status affords complimentary internet access (a savings of $14.95 per 24 hour period). Check-in took no more than a couple of minutes and I was on my way to my room.
Room: My room was on the same floor as the lobby – there are floors above and below the lobby because the hotel is built on a hill. There is no view to really speak of other than other buildings. There is a lack of privacy if you leave the windows drapes open because you can clearly see into the other windows in the buildings across the street. The room was wonderfully ordinary (there's no "WOW" factor) with signs of normal wear and tear such as a stained chair, pillows, etc. (rooms were last renovated in 2006). The one TV was rather small. There is a DVD player (a small selection of DVDs are available at the Front Desk to rent). You can make your own coffee/tea in your room, too (complimentary). Closet space is sufficient. Lighting is sufficient. My room afforded a great deal of natural light in the morning when the drapes are open. BTW, the blackout drapes did great keeping light out if you want to sleep in, if you can get over the ambient street noise that trickles to your room. Oh, did I mention the windows actually open? Because they do. The A/C is very robust and very much appreciated.
Bathroom: The bathroom was nicely appointed with double sinks, a combination shower/tub, and a separately enclosed toilet. The shower amenities are branded “The Ritz Carlton”. No complaints here, although I wonder why the hotel isn’t using a well known brand like Bvlgari (maybe in their more expensive rooms, perhaps?).
Food: There is an okay selection of food on the room service menu. Room service was quick and the food prices are on par with any comparable hotel. An American breakfast through room service is $38 per person. The customary room service fees are as follow: $5 delivery charge, sales tax, and a 21% service charge. My dinner food I ordered was mediocre at best – my fries were stale and tepid when it arrived. Food at the hotel’s restaurant (Parallel 37) was much better. Breakfast was delicious and the prices were comparable, minus all room service fees.
Check-out: On the informational invoice the hotel slipped under my door the day of check-out (who does that?) there was some billing issues. This was resolved quickly, but much like everywhere else, check your bill to make sure you’re getting your package amenities and any elite level benefits you’re entitled too taken off your bill.
Service: In one word, underwhelming. For what the room lacked (“WOW” factor), I had hoped the hotel would excel in the service department. Let me preface this by saying that staff were in no way rude or anything, just only, uh, nice. I guess I didn’t get the impression that the service was commensurate with a luxury hotel. I almost felt like I was wasting the concierge’s time when I asked him a question, we boxed our own food at the hotel’s restaurant when we had leftovers, and it was a hit or miss if the doorman opened the front door (I can open my own door, but I know the Four Seasons SF always has a doorman or two at each of their two main entrances to open doors for their guests)… small details, I suppose. However, I was most impressed with the housekeeping staff – they were always super friendly. Years ago, I stayed on the Club Level and the experience was awesome! I wish I would have stayed on the Club Level again this time around.
Miscellaneous: For leisure travelers, try booking a package. I booked the Bed and Breakfast package that included breakfast ($60 credit, food only) and valet parking. The hotel has an on-site gym (but I didn’t check it out). The hotel is close to Union Square for shopping and Chinatown.
Overall: All else equal, rate per night wise, I probably will stay at the Four Seasons or St Regis when I return to San Francisco. I wanted to rate the hotel 3.5 stars but gave it 4 because I can overlook the lack of finesse of some of the hotel’s staff because I paid such a great rate!
Try asking for the highest room possible to avoid street noise (hopefully it’s better up there).
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.