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“Great location, but another weird Hotwire experience”

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The Opal San Francisco
Ranked #102 of 230 Hotels in San Francisco
Reviewed April 2, 2009

I booked through Hotwire and then read the reviews on this site and tried unsuccessfully to get out of my reservation because of the bait and switch mentioned below. Additionally, though it's on Hotwire as a 3-star, it's on Expedia as a 2.5 star and La Quinta, which is what it was, is usually a 2-star, so I had serious doubts going in.

These doubts were increased when I called the Opal to make sure I could get a double/double room. Before I called, I looked the hotel up on Expedia and on their website to see if a room with double beds was available for our midweek stay. Both sites said that there was availability. However, when I called to request one of these double rooms I spoke with Bradley, who told me that he couldn't put me in a double room because it was a convention week and they were full and the only thing he had available was the single King bed room that I "had reserved". Well, I had reserved a room with enough beds for one adult and one child, but in common hotel parlance that doesn't usually mean one bed, it means two. I pointed out that I was travelling with my son, and that I needed two beds, and that Expedia showed that the hotel had them available. There was silence on the other end of the line, then Bradley said "OK, I've got you in a double room after moving some people around." Then he hung up.

I fully expected to have to fight with someone when I got there after all this. However, I checked in with Carlo, who was perfectly reasonable and friendly. The room was small, and had a brick-wall view, but it was clean and had two beds. No bathtub, just a shower. No bath products to speak of, just a bar of soap and a ketchup-packet sized shampoo and conditioner (for two people for a 4 night stay- better bring your own!)

The great thing about this hotel is that it is located at Geary and Van Ness. It's 2 blocks to Kintetsu Mall in Japantown, surrounded by good restaurants, 5 blocks to the end of the California street cable car line or the civic center. It is secure in an area that often isn't- the lobby doors can only be opened by someone with a room key or the desk staff. Our room was pretty quiet. The continental breakfast consisted of juice, coffee, toast or cereal and on at least one day the doors were closed before the advertised time of 9:30. Our in-room internet service didn't work (through a cat 5 cable) but I did see people using the wireless in the lobby.

I had no problems with the hotel after the reservation weirdness and it seemed to be filled with world travellers- I heard more German and Arabic and French spoken in the lobby than English, which was wonderful, and one of the reasons I visit San Fran. I would recommend it, but I wouldn't use Hotwire to stay there again. Their normal rates are cheap enough not to have to, and the benefits of cleanliness and a great location truly outweigh the aggravation.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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Thank madriax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 30, 2009

This place has a very decent location - about 4 blocks from a cable car and near many buslines. 3 buslines right outside door go up van ness ave (fisherman's wharf).

Service was a little weird. we booked a suite and got a very attractive room with a small living room separated by a french door. very nice! however, we weren't told that the door can only be opened from the bedroom side, and locked ourselves out. it took an hour for the first maintenance guy to come up and tell us he didnt have a key, and another 45 minutes for them to decide to break off the handle with a chisel and screwdriver. how does a hotel NOT have a key to one of their rooms?! in a suite?!

The room was great however, very clean with comfortable beds and the hotel had a very upscale atmosphere.

all in all, a decent place in the middle of the action. not a bad value for the quality of the hotel and the location.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with friends
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Thank Derek S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2009

Great value, great location, highly recommended! On arrival, I needed to change reservations from a king to double beds, high floor, QUIET room away from the street activity. Amelie at the front desk was very helpful with the room and informative about our other travel needs. The room (329) was a fair size for two people, TV, DSL internet, full bath, clean. There is also a small fitness room with four machines: elliptical, tread mill, stair master, bicycle. Coffee is self-serve all day in the lobby. The Opal Inn is four blocks from the California/Van Ness Cable Car, near all buses and streetcars, above Mel's Drive In for great American Diner food and next to the AMC movie theater. Many choices for food nearby. I recommend Swan's Oyster Depot, Post Street/ California Street: fresh seafood, friendly local restaurant, delicious. Enjoy San Francisco and get a good nights' sleep at the comfortable Opal Inn.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with friends
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1  Thank aliehssunday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2009

Stayed at the Opal as part of a fly drive holiday from the UK so cannot comment on value for money. As other reviewers have said, this is an older hotel and the rooms are accordingly not up to modern standards and the smallest we stayed at in the USA. The lifts are also very small. We had to use the car park which from memory cost about $28 a night in 2007. We had the breakfast which was adequate but did not really use any of the other facilities. There was a major problem for us - we are (very active) retired - with Mel's Diner which forms part of the ground floor of the hotel. We were there on a weekend and loud music played from Mel's Diner until 4.a.m. The hotel staff did ask for the music to be turned down at our request but it was not. Our room was on the second floor. Beware, unless you want to join in the fun. On the plus side the reception manager waived our car parking charges in view of our lack of sleep caused by the noise and the staff were all friendly enough.

Also on the plus side, the Opal is an easy bus ride from Fisherman's Wharf and other sights. You can buy a pass for SF buses and trams from another hotel across the road (reception advised us of this). There is also an old fashioned bar/diner across the road called Tommys Joynt which has an amazing choice of beers and very cheap, but good, food for those on a budget. We had no problems with walking in the immediate area and enjoyed our stay in SF despite the noise problem at the Opal.

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank olderuktraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2009

On business trips I choose a hotel that has a breakfast to save time.
The Opal advertises breakfast but when I arrived I was told they were out of milk, cereal, and that these things - which were the only options - would not be replenished as they only had so much each day.
So dont start your day here - go to MacDonalds!

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled on business
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Thank nobleperson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2009

The title says it all - the location is perfect to see a show at The Fillmore, the room we got was nice and big and clean, and the price was terrific. Be sure to show your AAA card!
Also, it's a nice place and they take dogs. The parking is convienent too.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank HappyTraveler421
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2009

The Opal is one of those places you hate to love. During Jan and Feb, it is possible to great some really great deals with AAA rates directly from the hotel's website (really great means <$50/night). I've stayed there a few times now, using the hotel as a place to camp for the night after a night out with friends in SF.

The rooms are adequate to nice (it looks like they refurbished some, but not all). The beds are comfortable enough and the bathrooms are fine (you might want to provide your own toiletries, but they do provide soap and shampoo). The rooms are fairly clean (the only exception seems to be an occasional stain on the carpet).

My only negative about the hotel is that the walls are thin as parchment. If your neighbors make any noise, you hear it. I don't care, except while I'm trying to sleep. If you're lucky and get quiet neighbors, then the hotel is great. If you get noisy neighbors, well... The windows are doubled so there is little street noise, it's just the room-to-room noise that bothers me.

The location is pretty good. Mel's diner next door (if you like that sort of food). Walking distance to the Civic Center (symphony hall, opera house, city hall, asian museum). You could walk to Union Square, too, but it's a bit of a hike through some marginal neighborhoods.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled solo
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1  Thank TrvlAdvntr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheOpalSF, General Manager at The Opal San Francisco, responded to this reviewResponded February 10, 2009

Thank you for your review.

We appreciate your honesty as reviews like yours, even with some negative comments, are important infomation the public should know.

We hope you will continue to use the hotel when you need accomodations in San Francisco and will share your thoughts on how we are doing in the future.

Sincerely,
Lee Hufford
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Opal San Francisco

Address: 1050 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94109-6934
Location: United States > California > San Francisco
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#21 Best Value Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range: $117 - $301 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Opal San Francisco 2.5*
Number of rooms: 167
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Opal San Francisco is in the heart of San Francisco, walking distance to Union Square, Chinatown, Civic Center, and more! This family-friendly hotel is close to Union Square and Lombard Street. Make yourself at home in one of the 167 air-conditioned rooms featuring LED televisions. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming is available for your entertainment. Private bathrooms with bathtubs or showers feature complimentary toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include desks and irons/ironing boards, as well as phones with free local calls. Take advantage of recreation opportunities such as a fitness center, or other amenities including complimentary wireless Internet access and concierge services. This hotel also features tour/ticket assistance and assistance with planning your day. Satisfy your appetite at the Mel's Diner, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or grab a snack at the many nearby restaurants. Featured amenities include limited onsite gated parking (for $41/tax per night), on-site ATM, ice machine, vending machines, and dry cleaning/laundry services. A shuttle from the hotel to the airport is provided for a surcharge (available on request). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Opal San Francisco Hotel San Francisco
Opal Hotel San Francisco
Opal San Francisco

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