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“Needs some TLC”

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Hotel Carlton, a Joie de Vivre hotel
Ranked #44 of 227 Hotels in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
60 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
“Needs some TLC”
Reviewed July 9, 2012

I stayed at and reviewed this hotel back in 2006 when I was last at this hotel. At the time I gave it 5 stars. Unfortunately for the Hotel Carlton it seems that times have changed. A once lovely and well maintained hotel has been left to crumble. Walking into the foyer was the same as last time, and as many other reviewers have noted the staff are very friendly. One of the staff, Edgar had a humor that was not to my taste and said a few things to me that were borderline offensive. It however did not detract from the front desk staff being very accommodating and helpful all of the time I was there.
The 2 lifts are very slow, particularly noticeable at busy times as they are also quite compact.
I had a room on the 5th floor and was told I had a view. I however could not work out what view I supposedly had other than the adjacent building's roof. What I did have that was unexpected was noise. A lot of it. There was street noise, neighboring guest noise (hearing a guest in the next room urinating is quite unpleasant, sorry gross I know but this is true) and a lot of hallway noise.
I also had two other guests come into my room on separate occasions when the front desk accidentally checked them into the same room as myself. Fortunately I had the chain on the door each time but it was still a bit awkward. I also had two instances over three days where my access card did not work in the room door. This was a nuisance to go in the slow lift to the lobby to explain the situation each time.
There was also a sniffer dog that came into the rooms on at least one day that I was there, apparently he was sniffing for drugs. Makes me wonder what kind of hotel this is!
Other than the noise and lack of air conditioning (there isn't any, just a ceiling fan) my biggest issue relates to the bathroom. There is a lack of space in the bathroom, there is no shelf to put your stuff on so all of my stuff had to go on the toilet cistern. Yuck.
The bathroom was also unclean. There was mould on the lamps above the mirror (likely as there is no ventilation) and the bath was FILTHY. I know the general manager reads these reviews so I will be attaching a photo of the bath with filth clearly visible. Hopefully she will address these issues.
The lovely smelling bath products of 2006 are gone and replaced by a dispenser in the shower. So impersonal and reminded me of the dispenser from a public restroom. An unexpected and unpleasant change.
The bathroom also had patches all over the wall and mould in between the wall tiles. The mirror above the basin had 3 lamps above it with lampshades covered in mould. Not a good look at all, extremely unhygienic and this urgently needs attention.
This hotel used to be a beautiful and great value hotel. Now it is a very sad shadow of its former self. This was such a disappointing experience. If it wasn't for the staff being as engaging and warm as they are, this property would be a 2 star property.
I sincerely hope the manager addresses these issues and brings this once lovely hotel back to its former glory.

Room Tip: The best room is at another hotel!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank vickietickietoria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotel M, Manager at Hotel Carlton, a Joie de Vivre hotel, responded to this review, July 17, 2012
Thank you for your review. I sincerely apologize for the inconveniences you went through while staying at the Hotel Carlton. We truly appreciate the time you took to provide your comments and suggestions. I can assure you our team will certainly see the comments regarding cleanliness and mold, and these matters will not go unresolved. We again apologize for anything that was said to you that may have made you uncomfortable, and the issues with your room being walked into will certainly be addressed with training to our entire team. It is heartbreaking to hear that a returning guest had such an unpleasant stay, and we look forward to the opportunity to prove that this is not the norm at the Hotel Carlton. Again, thank you for your comments and we hope that you'll join us again soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,646 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
180 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed July 8, 2012

We had no idea where to stay when we booked our trip to San Francisco. We had a tight budget and wanted to be close to Union Square.

Hotel Carlton seemed like a bit of a gamble based on the reviews, but it turned out to be a wonderful treat.

The staff are hilarious, the location is great (and not near as dodgy as other reviewers would have you believe). There is a great pizza place next door and best of all a free wine reception in the evening with live keyboard music.

The rooms are small but very clean, and while the hotel is old it is well maintained. If you get a good price, then I would highly recommend this one.

Room Tip: Request an upper floor room. We met other guests from lower floors who apparently had much more date...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DeanandTarra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 7, 2012

This was our first visit to San Francisco and we had no idea where we really wanted to be, we don't normally like tourist areas but in a City there is little other choice. We decided on the Carlton because on several review websites no one actually had anythig really bad to say about it, you will always find someeone who has a complaint about a Hotel, but the Carlton every one seemed to like or think as average at worst.
The Carlton is a great Hotel, the rooms are well decorated (prehaps a little diferent to what you may expect but clean and comfortable), the front desk staff could not be more helpful - nothing is too much trouble, sadly as we were only in San Francisco for 3 days we never got back for the wine reception in the afternoon (San Francisco in a facinating City), but the best thing about the Carlton is it's location - turn right out of the Hotel & just a few blocks down is Union Square (not being into shopping I didn't think I wanted to be near Union Square - but it is a great central point to the Cty and a very nice Square) but turn left out of the Hotel and two blocks down you have Polk Street and Polk Village full of boheimen bars and resturants really is a good loction. Can't recommend the Carlton highly enough for the price you will not be dissapointed either with the Hotel or the location.

Room Tip: Choose a high floor better views and less noise. Not theat noise is really an issue, given that this...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Yanna2311
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 4, 2012

We enjoyed our stay immensely. All the staff we came across greeted us with a massive welcoming smile. While they were eager to please, it was not in a manner that became intrusive on the privacy and independency you might want when on vacation.

Location was great with only a short stroll to the centre of town or the nightlife and eateries on Polk street.

The only reasons I could find to mark this hotel down were that while the room was very clean it did not have that crisp fresh clean smell and the sound of sirens was evident some nights from the room. However, having now stayed at multiple hotels across America these sounds weren't unique to this hotel. Would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Easytobook.com

Helpful?
1 Thank Clint V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 2012

a well-maintained hotel with free wine-tasting daily at 5.30pm and friendly staff. Rooms are beautifully furnished. Food served at the Saha restaurant downstairs (not owned by hotel) was lovely. Coffee is good too. (Very important in this land of awful coffee)

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Min L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
51 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 2012

Staff great, the glass of wine in the afternoon lovely, beds great, shower hot and had pressure. Really a nice hotel, as long as you don't want to sleep - very very noisy from street traffic, to connecting rooms, toilets flushing, elevator - could not get a quite nights sleep once in 6 nights!

Room Tip: i don't think any rooms are quiet - all have a draw back!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Btwo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose
Level Contributor
24 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 2012

We really liked our stay at the Carlton, and thoroughly enjoyed the friendliness of our hosts Marc and Theo. They were really friendly and helpful and went out of their way to make sure all guests were comfortable at the Hotel. The room was OK, good size, although we could hear everything from our neighboor's room, which was not nice at all, specially when they took late night showers! It seems we got a connecting room, so all the nice came in through the doors. Breakfast was not included so I cant comment on that, but WIFI was free and really appreciated. Unfortunately we could never arrived on time to the complimentary wine & cheese happy hour...but in general, things went well at the carlton.

Room Tip: Make sure you dont get a connecting room if you dont need one! We could hear everything from our nei...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank crpuravida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Carlton, a Joie de Vivre hotel

Property: Hotel Carlton, a Joie de Vivre hotel
Address: 1075 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109-5817
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Francisco
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Green Hotel in San Francisco
#36 Family Hotel in San Francisco
#41 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
#51 Business Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Carlton, a Joie de Vivre hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 161
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The historic Hotel Carlton offers an international ambiance paired with outstanding guest service. Built in 1927, this nine-story San Francisco hotel is 3 blocks from the California Street cable car line, 6 blocks from Union Square, 8 blocks from the main entrance to Chinatown and 9 blocks from Civic Center. Complimentary evening wine receptions are held in Hotel Carlton's lobby nightly and feature live music from local artists. In addition, Hotel Carlton provides complimentary wireless internet to all guests; upgraded bandwidth is also available (surcharge applies). Recently renovated, all 161 non-smoking guestrooms at Hotel Carlton feature remodeled bathrooms including decorative floor and wall tiling, new vanities and sinks. The public spaces showcase cross-cultural design that incorporates treasures from Africa, India, Nepal, Laos and Asia. Our restaurant Saha features award-winning Arabic Fusion cuisine. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Carlton Hotel San Francisco
Hotel Carlton San Francisco

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