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This review forms part a trip I took with Joanna to Las Vegas and San Francisco (introduction and full details of the trip are here).
Other posts in this series include:
- Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5 Review
- Dublin Airport Executive Lounge Review
- British Airways A319 Club Europe vs Euro Traveller Review
- British Airways First Class 747 (LHR-LAS) – Part 1
- British Airways First Class 747 (LHR-LAS) – Part 2
- Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas Review
- The Club at LAS Terminal 3 Review
- Virgin America First Class (LAS-SFO) Review
- Grand Hyatt San Francisco – Executive Suite Review
- Grand Hyatt San Francisco – Grand Club Lounge Review
- Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco (SFO) Review
- British Airways First Class Lounge San Francisco (SFO) Review
- British Airways A380 First Class (SFO-LHR) – Part 1
- British Airways A380 First Class (SFO-LHR) – Part 2
There were two things that were never in much doubt about our visit to San Francisco – we would be staying at a Hyatt property and we’d be staying at least 4 nights. The reason I was keen for us to stay at a Hyatt was because I wanted to use one of my Diamond Suite upgrades that comes with my Hyatt status and the reason for staying at least 4 nights was because I wanted to make use of the “4th night free” benefit that comes with my Citi Prestige credit card.
Grand Hyatt San Francisco – Location
Hyatt has three properties in San Francisco and, as I knew that I didn’t particularly want us to stay in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, the Hyatt Centric property was ruled out leaving the Grand Hyatt and the Hyatt Regency.
Both properties had suites available when I went to book so the decision to go for the Grand Hyatt was based on 4 things:
- The Grand Hyatt was $99/night cheaper
- The Grand Hyatt got more positive feedback for the Club Lounge and the quality of suites on Flyertalk.
- The Grand Hyatt was a little more centrally located
- The Hyatt Regency is in the Financial District of the city and that can get pretty quiet on weekends when a lot of cafes/shops close due to the lack of passing trade.
The Grand Hyatt sits no more than a hundred yards from Union Square (a major central point of the city) and, as long as you’re not incapacitated in any way, is walking distance to a lot of popular sights like the Embarcadero, Ferry Buildings, Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown (which is two blocks away).
For us the location was perfect.
I decided to book us in to the Grand Hyatt for 5 nights to make sure we could enjoy the city at a leisurely pace and not feel as if we were going on enforced marches every day just to make sure we didn’t miss out on anything.
As I wanted to make use of the 4th night free from my Citi credit card I called up the Citi Concierge service who put me through to the travel agency that arranges all the bookings (Carlson Wagonlit).
The agent was very helpful, took down details of my request and my Hyatt GP number and, after I explained that I wanted the reservation expedited to avoid missing out on the suite upgrade, told me to expect an email within a couple of hours…..which is exactly what I got:
The reservation information from Carlson Wagonlit comes with confirmation of the refund that will post to the Citi Prestige card after the stay. You may also note that I had no issues booking an AARP rate for the 5 nights while still getting the 4th night fee benefit.
As soon as I got the email confirmation I called up the Hyatt Gold Passport line to request the Diamond suite upgrade which was confirmed within a few minutes.
Arrival & Check In
After having good experiences with Uber in Las Vegas we decided to continue with the ride sharing service in San Francisco.
The wait for a car was around 10 minutes (although the Uber app had quoted 5….but that’s not exactly a big issue) and the journey from the airport to the Grand Hyatt took 25 minutes and cost $29.57 – I don’t know how much a standard taxi would have cost but I bet it would have been a lot more than that! For reference, our return trip took 37 minutes and cost $37.10.
(If you’re not already signed up with Uber you can do so via my referral link here – you’ll get credit towards your first ride and I’ll get credit towards a future ride).
The Grand Hyatt doesn’t look like much from the outside (just a very tall building in the center of the city) but the lobby area looks pretty nice:
There was quite a bit of seating to be found….
…and considering the weather that Sn Francisco gets (it was cold in July!) I’m guessing that the fires are a welcome amenity for guests most of the year round:
The decor was comfortable (almost homely)…but modern….and I liked the furniture the hotel has used….
….although I’m not too sure about some of the art:
We got lucky at check-in because, although there wasn’t a dedicated Elite line (strange), there was no one waiting in line ahead of us so we were soon attended to. 5 minutes later there were about 20 people in line and I wouldn’t have been impressed with the lack of an elite line had I been at the back of that!
Check-in took about 5 minutes and we were soon off up to the 17th floor to our Executive Suite.
Grand Hyatt San Francisco – Executive Suite
There are 36 floors in the Grand Hyatt San Francisco and with meeting rooms taking up the top floor and the Gym taking up most of the 35th floor our suite was basically half way up the hotel.
As we entered the room there was a bathroom on the right (more on that later) and then the room opened up into a sitting area with chair, a desk that faced away from the window and large flat screen TV on the wall…..
….a sofa, coffee table and a second chair…..
There was a coffee maker on the side…..
…a traditional in-room safe in one of the cabinets….
…and an empty mini-refrigerator in the second cabinet:
I love hotels that provide empty refrigerators – I’m never going to pay for anything from a mini-bar but I’m almost always going to want somewhere to chill water/drinks (especially if I plan on doing a lot of walking) so this was something I really appreciated.
Alongside the desk was a strip of AV connectors, a USB point and two power sockets so the hotel scores points for not leaving me hunting for power outlets for my laptop 🙂
Adjoining this sitting area was the bedroom complete with king-size bed……..
……a chaise longue up against the window….
….a large flat screen TV on a cabinet……
….and, through to one side….
,,,,a wardrobe with drawers….
….which faced the en suite bathroom.
The suite came with two bathrooms (one as you walk in to the room and one en suite) and the primary difference is the shower.
In the en suite there was a large single sink on a vanity unit…..
…and a large walk-in shower cubicle:
The suite’s second bathroom had the same sink/vanity arrangement….
….but offered a bath with a shower instead of the walk-in shower cubicle:
Back in the bedroom the hotel hasn’t made the mistake of leaving guests under-powered around the bedside tables (I charge my phone by the bed so I expect a power port by the bed.)
Both sides of the bed had two power ports and one side had an additional USB port…perfect!
Both sides of the bed were also well equipped to handle all of the suite’s lights and the electronic window shades:
The view out of the room wasn’t exactly stunning……
….but it was a lot better than looking out at a car park or a set of air conditioning units.
There was one thing in particular that I found in the room and that I really liked (I’m assuming all rooms get this) and it came in the form of this card (click to enlarge in a new window):
It’s a list of all the things that the hotel will happily supply for free should a guest need them…like toiletries, shaving kits, various make-up related items etc…. and things that the hotel is happy to lend a guest for their stay…like charging cables, humidifiers, power adapters and even a set of free weights!
A great idea that can make guests feel like the hotel will go a little bit further to makes sure their stay is good and costs the hotel very little to provide.
Overall the suite was a nice size and the bed was very comfortable. The two negatives I would point out are that the water pressure in the showers was, at best, average and I found the wood/faux-wood that dominated both parts of the suite more than a little dated in style and showing signs of wear and tear.
Grand Hyatt San Francisco – Dining
As I have Hyatt Diamond status we had access to the Club Lounge on the 37th floor and, as that deserves a whole review of its own, I’m going to be discussing that in a post tomorrow.
Because the hotel offers a Club Lounge there is no option to take the Diamond breakfast benefit in the hotel’s restaurant or as room service – not an issue for us but I thought I’d mention it as I know some people will want to know.
As we had lounge access we had no need to try out the hotel’s restaurant, OneUp…..
….but I did take a photo of the breakfast menu (click to enlarge in a new window)…..
….and I noticed a dinner menu at the Concierge’s desk so I took the opportunity to photograph that too (click to enlarge in a new window):
Even had we not had lounge access I’m pretty sure we would not have been eating breakfast in OneUp – $25 for the buffet isn’t too bad but $18 for a Croque Madame and $6 for a side of bacon or sausage is unnecessary when visiting a foodie city like San Francisco.
The same goes for dinner – a Frisee Salad starter for $16 and a half-chicken for $28 (for example) is unnecessarily expensive when there are numerous better food options at those price levels all around the city…and plenty of cheaper ones too.
For those who wanted to catch a coffee and snack on the go the hotel provides a pop-up coffee bar in the lobby area opposite the concierge’s desk…..
….but with plenty of good independent coffee shops in SF and a Starbucks on the opposite side of the road (where you can spend gift cards purchased at Staples while earning 5 points/$) there are plenty of other options around.
Grand Hyatt San Francisco – Gym
Considering the amount of walking Joanna and I did during our stay the gym was one of the furthest things on our minds….but I thought I’d check it out anyway.
The Gym is a very good size and takes up a good portion of the 35th floor…..
…and it comes very well equipped. There was a row of treadmills looking out over the city….
…and the views on offer were fantastic…despite the San Francisco weather!
There were barbells….
….various torture devices masquerading as weight machines:
There was a yoga/stretching area….
…and towels and training balls at one end:
And, very importantly, a big water cooler for when you’ve finished your exercises and you’re trying to remember why you do this to yourself:
All-in-all a very impressive hotel gym and one that should keep even the more ardent fitness fanatics happy during their stay.
As I mentioned, I’ll be reviewing the Club Lounge tomorrow in a separate full length review so I’ll just focus on summing up the rest of the hotel experience.
The location is fantastic for those wanting to explore San Francisco. It’s close to the shopping area and easily within walking distance of a lot of eateries and sights you’ll probably want to see.
We didn’t really have that much interaction with the staff outside of the Club Lounge but those that we did speak to were friendly and helpful.
The lack of a dedicated elite check-in line would be annoying during busy times and, while the staff clearly do whatever they can to process guests quickly, this is something I think the hotel should address sooner rather than later.
The suite was a good size if not as big as the Andaz suite in WeHo. The bed was comfortable, there were plenty of power ports to charge electronic devices and the bathrooms were nice. On the negative side the showers need more water pressure and the decor is a little tired.
Overall this was a very nice stay and I’m happy with the Hyatt that I chose for our trip. At $261 + tax per night this was a very good value stay for San Francisco and, when you add into that the fact that I got a free night thrown in as well, I think we did ok 🙂