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“Reasonable Budget Union Square Hotel”
Review of Hotel Bijou

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Hotel Bijou
Ranked #125 of 230 Hotels in San Francisco
Reviewed February 5, 2013

Recently spent 5 nights at the Hotel Bijou, before I get into my actual review I think a few background comments regarding: my travel style, why I chose the Bijou, my experiences re: SF hotels, etc. are worthwhile.

a) In general I look for bargains and/or budget hotels (I’d rather spend my money on other things). That’s not to say the quality of the hotel doesn’t matter, but that more often I’ll go with a good 3 (maybe 2?) star hotel rather than a 4 or 5 star hotel (unless I get a great rate). I’m more concerned with adequate, clean accommodations than I am the room/lobby decor, a pool or fitness center, restaurant/bar, big fancy TV, etc.

b) I have stayed at a handful of budget Union Square area hotels in SF and these are generally the yardstick against which I measured the Bijou.

c) I specifically picked the Bijou for this trip for 2 main reasons. First, proximity to the seminars I would be attending. The Bijou was only a block away and the hotels I have experience with (and others I considered) were not as close (some only 3 or 4 blocks, but others as many as 8-10 blocks). The reason I put a premium on proximity was the seminars started as early as 7:45 am and I’m not a morning person; saving even a few minutes of walking translated into additional sleep/wake-up time. Second, I got a pretty fantastic rate at the Bijou (well under $100/night *including* SF’s ~15% tax). Another (minor) reason was to gain personal experience with another budget Union Square hotel for future reference.

Overall I was happy with my stay at the Bijou. Check-in was quick & efficient and my room was available when I showed up ~2 hours before “official” check-in time (which was appreciated as I’d been traveling for ~9 hours). I was able to drop my bags, freshen up and then head out to enjoy my first afternoon in SF. They gave me a room in the back (based on my longer stay?), which meant that noise from the street and/or the bar next door (mentioned in some other reviews) was not an issue for me at all. Also, the convenience of just over a (short) block walk from the Powell Street MUNI/BART station was great for my arrival & departure.

As for the room, it was a little worn, but not bad and was clean. It was on the small side and a bit cramped, but that was somewhat expected (after all it is a budget hotel). I did have a single large bed, not the twins or (two doubles?) that some rooms have and these might be a little more spacious. The closet was as large or larger than even those found at nicer hotels, so I was able to keep all of my stuff “out of the room” which helped. Bathroom was adequate and clearly some of the fixtures were newer. Window opened into a light “tunnel” on the rear of the building so it was easy to get fresh air. Plenty of lighting options in the room and pillows on the bed. Room also included an iron/ironing board & hairdryer. My complaints? The bed was softer than I like and the blankets were on the light side. I might have been in trouble if my wife had been there (she likes to sleep “cold” and without enough blankets I can get uncomfortable while sleeping). I didn’t see any extra blankets in the room, but I suppose you could ask for some (but I didn’t so don’t want to say for certain you’d get them).

As for non-room aspects of the hotel. The rest of the hotel was also a little worn, but not bad. The lobby has a small seating area and there is the “theatre” as well. (I never did attend any of the movie “showing.”) Also, I never had the breakfast they offer (in a room off the back of the lobby?), but did partake of the free coffee located in the theatre most morning. I believe some reviewers have found the (SF) movie theme tacky, I didn’t. Now, some of the movies associated with the rooms are less than “stellar” and I’m not sure I would consider them “SF movies” in the truest sense (in that the city isn’t showcased), but let’s face it that’s a non-issue. Lastly, I did have some difficulty with using my room key to enter the lobby late at night, but this was probably more me than any inherent problem, the staff at the desk came to my “rescue” and didn’t have a problem (I think I wasn’t “swiping” it fast enough).

Moving to the outside. While not formally/significantly any closer to the “dreaded” Tenderloin than many of the nearby (more upscale) hotels (the Hilton and Nikko are just a block away), it is closer to Market Street. In this area that translates into a (slightly?) increased presence of street people. Also, it seemed that the bar next door tended to draw them at night (to try to bum smokes from bar patrons?) and in the morning (having sheltered under the bar’s marquee?). I spent many years in SF’s Civic Center area so I am experienced with this sort of thing and it didn’t cause me a problem, but I can see how it would disturb others. I will say that of the budget hotels I’ve stayed at in SF, the Bijou had the most consistent & greatest street person presence outside.

Bottom Line: I would consider the Bijou again, but all things equal it would not be my first choice of budget Union Square hotels. All things, however, are rarely equal and it could move up on my list based on a better rate, proximity to other things and, of course, just plain availability. Also, my very good rating is based at least somewhat on the great rate I got; had I paid more I would be more likely to have rated the Bijou as average.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank huntlawoffice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBijou111, General Manager at Hotel Bijou, responded to this reviewResponded February 7, 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for takign the time to write a review. Thank you for point out all the great items that you appreciate about the Bijou, and the not so great. Regarding blankets, normally we have a spare and on the off chance that it was not there, we woud have provided you with an additional one. We do hope that you will think of us again in the future.

Kind Regards

Blanca

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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287 - 293 of 815 reviews

Reviewed January 23, 2013

The neighborhood is kind of rough, but I felt very safe inside the hotel. Very close to the Powell Street BART subway station and Westfield San Francisco shopping center. Wonderful staff. Movie theme rooms were a fun plus. The Union Square Sports Bar next door also has really nice servers and lower priced drinks, but some of the other customers might be a little scary.

Room Tip: 2nd floor was too close to the street (the windows need to be upgraded, sound proofing) and the door...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank Jean K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBijou111, General Manager at Hotel Bijou, responded to this reviewResponded February 7, 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the time to write a review, and for giving our guests good tips, such as to reduce noise ask for a quiet room or higher up room. I look forward to seeing you at the Bijou.

Blanca Rivera
Hotel Bijou
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Upon arriving at the Hotel we were greeted by RJ (front desk clerk). He was amazing!! He helped us with so much information on our holiday in San Francisco. With recommendations to restaurants, pubs and how to use the transit system more efficiently.
A few days into our stay and we were introduced to Warren (front desk clerk). He was fantastic!!! He also made our stay at the Hotel Bijou a memorable one.
The hotel is a cute and quaint hotel. It is located in the heart of downtown San Francisco. It was a little noisy but we got there when The Giants won the World Series. I would recommend staying in a higher up floor. The noise is not so bad. If you want a bigger bathroom ask for a room with a tub. We switched the next day and there was no problem at all.
Everything was so close to the hotel. We had an amazing holiday!!!

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a bath tub to get a bigger bathroom. If you don't then the bathroom is very...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Kellie J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBijou111, General Manager at Hotel Bijou, responded to this reviewResponded February 7, 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for mentioning two of my many wonderful employee's, I will be sure to let them know they made a difference in your stay. Please think of us for your return visit to San Francisco.

Kind Regards

Blanca Rivera

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013

If you scroll through my reiviews, you'll find I used to stay at Hotel Bijou quite frequently, but gave it up because of a combination of unsafe environment and high pricing. I was stuck booking late for a conference and neded up giving the hotel another try.

Several other reviews have mentioned noise from the Union Square Sports Bar adjacent to the hotel, but I haven't seen them mention the benefit: The bar has an open front and a bouncer who always has eyes on the street. That bouncer obviously makes a huge difference. The omnipresent San Fran street people out front are not combatitive, rude, or even very persistent. The half block where the hotel and bar are located were the only part of San Fran where I wasn't panhandled -- aside from in front of the Westin St. Francis.

The room is not large, but it has a table, a real closet, and a chest of drawers. That's more than some other botiwue spots near Union Square. The bathroom was reasonably roomy, though still suffering from a dearth of places to put personal items.

I asked for a room at the back, and was given one. Aside from the whine of the elevator pump -- which can be heard everywhere -- this was THE quietest room I have ever had in the Union Square/Mosconi vicinity.

The only problem with the room, and why this is 4 stars instead of 5, is it was COLD. The heat worked fine, but it blew on the bed so that was out for leaving on all night. Also, the fan was either on or off manually - so when the heat kicked off you got cold air blown on you. The unit in my room sometimes did not seal completely, creating a VERY loud whistling noise. I called the front desk about it, and the desk person was at my room in 90 seconds and showed me how to stop it on my own. (Yes, 90 seconds!).

I solved the cold problem by requesting a couple of blankets and running up the heat before I went to bed. Combined with the quiet, I slept better than in any other hotel I've stayed at in the Union Square/Mosconi area.

If you can handle San Fran's ubiquitous panhandlers, there is no reason to avoid this hotel for safety reasons -- at least as long as the bar downstairs continues to employ bouncers.

Room Tip: Ask for a "quiet one in the back"
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank Exp_Biz_Traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBijou111, General Manager at Hotel Bijou, responded to this reviewResponded February 7, 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the time to write a review and we are happy to hear that we were able to gain your business back again. We look forward to a return visit.


kind Regards

Blanca
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2013

Old Movie themed accommodation.

Checkin staff very friendly, very professional.

Checked in early to our room but it hadn’t been serviced. Bed was unmade and stuff everywhere.
Not sure if the room had even been vacated. Got out of there smartly and got another room.
Thought we would have got an upgrade for the inconvenience but no.
Next room was pleasant enough, a bit cramped between the end of the bed and the dresser. Heaps of free space everywhere else though.
Disturbed sleep as you could hear the noisy elevator going up and down all night.
Lots of pictures on the walls throughout the hotel of old famous movie stars.
Has a small movie theatre downstairs off the reception area, perc coffee included at all hours for guests.
Just a few minutes walk to Powell St BART which we caught in and back from the International Airport.
Very close to the Powell/Market terminal for the Cable Car.

Would stay here again, suited our budget.

Room Tip: Probably go and look at them first.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Alan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBijou111, General Manager at Hotel Bijou, responded to this reviewResponded January 16, 2013

Dear Allan

Thank you for the review. I am sorry that your first room was not ready for rent. We have all standard rooms at the hotel so there is not much in the form of an upgrade. We hope that you will visit us again as our location is convenient, and seems to have worked well for you.

Kind Regards
Blanca

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Reviewed December 29, 2012

My son and his friends had tickets to see a concert at the Warfield Theater. After speaking with the Hotel Manager Bianca, she stated she has involved her kids in the Scouts too. She stated that the Boys (4 of them) would be safe in the hotel even though it is on the border of a 'seedy' area of the tenderloin. My son stated this morning that the hotel was nice and the staff was very friendly and helpful. Grateful to stumble upon this hotel! Close to everything, will use again.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank mobayrt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBijou111, General Manager at Hotel Bijou, responded to this reviewResponded January 4, 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. The Hotel Bijou has a wonderful location close to the Warfield. I am glad that it worked out for the boys and they did not have to walk far. I look forward to seeing them here for the next concert.

Kind Regards
Blanca

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Reviewed December 10, 2012

I arrived way before check in time expecting to just leave off my bags. However they had a room available for me. The staff was consistently pleasant and helpful.

The theme of the hotel is, as you might guess, movies. Each room is named for a movie. Mine was The Graduate. No Mrs. Robinson, alas. Just her picture. Hehe.

The location is good. Close to Union Square.

The room was clean. It was small. Hey, you're in San Francisco. You gonna sit in your room?

Room Tip: My room was away from the street, so it was very quite. If you are concerned about noise, ask for th...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Thank Gomerel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBijou111, General Manager at Hotel Bijou, responded to this reviewResponded December 26, 2012

Dear Guest

Great Point, who comes to San Francisco, to sit around and lounge at the hotel, okay maybe in the evening it might be okay to sit and relax. But, during the day one should defenetly enjoy all of S.F, thank you for pointing out our great location, we are just minutes away from the cable car turn around, san francisco shopping center, union square, great theater shows. It is great to hear that you enjoyed your stay here, i look forward to your return.

Warm Regards

Blanca
G.M.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Bijou

Address: 111 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102-2713
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > Union Square
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #125 of 230 Hotels in San Francisco
Price Range: $121 - $380 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Bijou 3*
Number of rooms: 65
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Bijou is the most unique of all the Bay Area boutique hotels in downtown San Francisco. Inspired by San Francisco's rich cinematic history, our San Francisco Union Square hotel is adorned with classic movie palace designs and dramatic Hollywood portraits. Each of our 65 comfortable guest rooms in our Union Square hotel in San Francisco is named after a motion picture shot here in the city. Using the original movie stills as decorative accents, Hotel Bijou provides our guests with the most interesting downtown San Francisco hotel rooms while simultaneously keeping you centrally located to everything this exciting city has to offer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bijou Hotel San Francisco
Hotel Bijou San Francisco
Bijou San Francisco

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