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“Great Service, Good Rooms, Good Location. Breakfast?”
Review of The Donatello

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The Donatello
Ranked #44 of 230 Hotels in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed May 10, 2009

This was the last leg of a 2 week vacation, a three night say in early May. This was our first time in SF, so I cannot compare to other places.

The room (King, standard) was of sufficient size (400 sf) which I hear is a rarity in the city. The location is downtown amid the tall buildings. It is very close to Union Square and all methods of public transit.

I chose the deal that included parking. I highly recommend this unless you are familiar with SF and know "where" to park already. Otherwise, Donatello is part of a property network that offers comps if you to listen to their sales pitch for an hour. Parking was one of the comps. We didn't do it, since I had parking in the deal already.

In a city of this size, night time noise is expected and SF does not disappoint. We were 10th floor though I'm sure we could have been 1000th floor and it wouldn't have mattered. No biggie for me, I hope I didn't disturb the street life with my snoring.

The city is busy and safety was of no real concern until dusk and later. When the throngs of people with permanent residences thin out, things looked a little tough a couple of times. There are some begging homeless, but I found them no more of a nuisance than the people that hand out girl cards in Las Vegas. Don't make eye contact and keep moving. In their defense, I saw a number of them giving directions. This is a characteristic of the city - not the hotel. I did not see anyone "living" near the hotel at night.

You want service? You got it! We were immediately checked in and dished off to the concierge for a warm welcome and some useful information. Special mention of Ed (It's always Monday at the Donatello) at the desk, Sarah the concierge, and Joe the bellman. I'm sorry I don't remember the valet, but top notch there, too. Sarah was spot on with restaurant recommendations two out of three times (Fino's downtown and Alioto's on the wharf). Even the third was good - just not "San Francisco" good.

The room also included a complimentary continental breakfast, available from 7:00 to 9:30. We were 0-2 on finding anything other than a muffin or a banana / apple. This was a bit of a disappointment (which I have also seen in other reviews). Sheesh, get a big fridge, have some cereals, pastries, jams, jellies, fruits, bagels, cream cheese - you know, the standards - and have enough to last the entire 2 1/2 hours. A little more attention to this and there will be precious little negative to say about the Donatello.

I'm glad I stayed and look forward to a return visit.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Bowlweb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,969 - 1,975 of 2,652 reviews

Reviewed May 10, 2009

This was our first overnight stay in San Francisco, so although we have been there before on day trips, I have no other hotel experiences in SF to compare it to. That being said, we travel frequently as a family so I am familiar with similar such options in general.

The valet parking package for an extra $20 a day is simply unbeatable in THIS city and there were no issues in that regard. I found other places charging $30-$50+ per night, so as "locals" making the trip from Monterey, we really had no options other than bring the car and were pleasantly surprised with it.

The room itself was fairly spacious, but the layout a bit inefficient. This may have been due to being next to the elevator, but for the amount of space, separate living and sleeping areas would have been nice. The sofabed was located in the same room as the bed, so no luck in being able to put the kids to sleep at a different time. The furnishings are in a modern blue and tan decor, and the tv was nice so we still enjoyed the room and found it a pretty good value. Free wireless internet was also included and worked without issue. A small fridge and microwave were also included.

We stayed on the sixth floor on a Friday -Sunday on Mother's Day weekend and found outside/street noise to be very prevalent at night with Saturday noise levels being enough to disturb sleep repeatedly. This may be common for hotels at Union Square as there are several night clubs in the area. I don't blame the hotel for this, but may be a consideration for travelers. Within hotel noise was not really an issue, even by the elevator, with only a rare loud grouping passing by.

Other than the night noise, everything about this hotel was pleasant. Staff was friendly and attentive, the property clean, and the value for the space is outstanding. I would definitely come back if it was just my wife and myself, but might look for the quieter financial district when bringing children or perhaps insist on a higher floor to see if that alleviates the issue.

Finally, a few notes about the trip itself to help others.

First, skip the cable cars. Yes, I know that they sound like a romantic experience but the reality is long lines and packed cars, so you are far more likely to be viewing another rider's behind than parts of the city. For the same price ($5 a person) you can get a limo from Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf. If you absolutely must get on one, you will likely need to get on at either end of the line as we saw people repeatedly be told no room at each stop.

Second, go to touristy spots early. We went to Pier 39 at opening (10 AM) and without the crowds, is actually a great place for sightseeing and to take the kids. By 1-3, the crowds are there and expect waits for a lot of stuff. Same goes for the Exploratorium. We got there at 10 on a free day expecting the worst, and again, not too bad for the first hour or two. Then the crowds commence. From a practical standpoint, we found 2-3 hours sufficient to view each.

We also did the 1 hour Bay Cruise and found that enjoyable. Bring your jacket though.

All in all, a very nice stay-cation and well worth the weekend. Thanks SF!

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank PinballSeeker68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2009

We stayed for four days/five nights near the end of April 2009. The location is very good, only one block from Union Square with good restaurants all around. The service is efficient, the rooms are very comfortable and spacious and cost us £128 a night. However, the breakfasts are a little disappointing and the amount of room (located on the top floor) available to eat them is very limited. On our last day (a Sunday), they actually ran out of food (pastries and cookies) leaving some guests without. The hotel overall is very clean but the windows leading out onto the street, especially the attached Zingari restaurant (located on the second floor) were in desperate need of cleaning and this made the hotel look very shabby from the street. This can very easily resolved however. Our room was on the 6th floor and looked onto Post Street, there was some noise from the street below which occasionally disturbed us.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Thank tom42n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2009

Only 1 block from Union Square and very near the Powell Street Tram terminal and BART/Muni station, this was an ideal location for our holiday.
The rooms were a very good size with a sofabed if required and well maintained. Guest services responded very quickly when required. All the staff were very polite, coutious and efficient.
The only downside was the breakfast was only a small selection of muffins, pastries and apples. The breakfast room was small with few tables so it can be difficult getting a table to sit at.
Overall a very good hotel and well priced.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank AndersonB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2009

- Like: price, room size, location, staff, .
- Dislike: Breakfast (only sweets), Internet (extremely slow), room furniture (not new and small workdesk) and bathroom (outdated), noisy airco's outside.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank dennisvandenhoek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2009

Stayed here as part of a sister's weekend package. It was exactly what we were hoping for and more. Wine glasses, plates, cutlery, etc. all at the ready for the wine and cheese brought back in the evening. Close to publice transportation if you choose to use it. Walking distance to many things. I would definitely stay here again. The staff is superb. I couldn't get the TV to work and called the front desk only to realize that I had the DVD player remote after I hung up the phone! I called them back to let them know my mistake but within 2 minutes a maintenance person was there to correct the problem. This is representative of all the service.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank The_Rock_Lady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2009

The Donatello is a delightful place to stay one block from Union Square in San Francisco. It is central to almost anything you want to see or do in San Francisco. Recently I stayed one week and thoroughly enjoyed being pampered. Everything was perfect and the customer service was excellent. The beds, the Club Room, the front desk and concierge assistance could not have been better. The only negative was the noise from the nightclub from Mason St at 12 and 2 AM, but what do you expect from popular downtown San Francisco? I plan to return soon. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank vpvlabod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Donatello

Address: 501 Post Street, cross street - Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-1228
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > Union Square
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#25 Family Hotel in San Francisco
#29 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
#31 Green Hotel in San Francisco
#54 Business Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range: $164 - $482 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Donatello 3.5*
Number of rooms: 94
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
FIVE-TIME WINNER OF THE CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE! Located in the heart of San Francisco's fashionable shopping and theater district by Union Square is the spacious Donatello. Settle into tastefully appointed rooms and enjoy the top floor fitness center, with a whirlpool spa and private saunas, which provides the perfect retreat after a day exploring the city. You can take a cable car up and down San Francisco 's colorful neighborhoods or explore the many streets of Chinatown. And when you work up an appetite in a city know for its cuisine, the Zingari Ristorante, located onsite, is a Northern Italian feast for the taste buds. Fully experience fine dining, theater and shopping in San Francisco at our luxurious retreat in the exciting City by the Bay-a San Francisco getaway perfect for romance, leisure and business travel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Donatello Hotel San Francisco
Donatello San Francisco

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