Westin St Francis, San Francisco (California) - Master Thread

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by MSPeconomist, Mar 1, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MSPeconomist
    • Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    This historic hotel (it was the hotel shown in the American TV series "Hotel" and is famous for, among other things, having a staff member for many years who washes coins) is located in the center of San Francisco, on Union Square which could be considered the main shopping area. It is about four blocks uphill from a BART station and the cable car terminus.

    This is a very large hotel that caters to conventions and groups. It has extensive private function space and is close to other major convention hotels such as the San Francisco Hilton. The lobby and especially check in/out area (to the rear next to the carriage entrance) tend to be congested. The hotel has multiple restaurants, including a creative gourmet choice which has gotten very good reviews, but was closed during my recent visits. There is a business center (not free) in the hotel and some stations to print boarding passes (free). The hotel does not have a Club Lounge.

    Most rooms are located in a modern high-rise tower although the older part of the building contains some nice traditional suites. Some rooms have nice views. I've always had unexceptional rooms on high floors here which were two or three category upgrades but never even a junior suite as a SPG Plat. The hallways in the tower are dark; my impression is black carpet and very dark walls. There can be long waits for elevators.

    Pick this property for its location, but don't expect to see much of the iconic hotel, good service or upgrades.
    Kalboz likes this.
  2. RCyyz
    • Original Member

    RCyyz Silver Member

    I like the St. Francis for the location. The area around Union Square is safe and lively with good shopping. I far prefer the more modern tower rooms; I find the "Historic" rooms in the older building can be small and the walls are quite thin as well. Some rooms in the old building look into nothing but a brick wall.

    The St. Francis is a storied hotel with a lot of local history. Watching the hotel channel in your room will give you a good overview of that history.

    The health club is small and located at the end of a long and fairly public hallway. The equipment inside is decent though. I think the charge was $15 each time or $40 per stay with unlimited use.

    The hotel can be rather impersonal at times. Service is generally efficient but don't expect personal touches. Also, as a downtown hotel things can get expensive quickly. Last time I was there, valet parking was approaching $40 per day (unlimited in / out privileges). The buffet breakfast was $25 or so per person.

    Driving from the airport - take 101N to 80N (towards Bay Bridge). Take the 4th Street exit (last exit to San Francisco). Drive 1 block then take the first left (3rd Street). As you cross Market Street (crosses at a funny angle) immediately take a left turn onto Geary. After you pass Union Square (on your right) you'll see the parking entrance to the St. Francis on your right.
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  3. MSPeconomist
    • Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Now that I think of it, I don't think I've ever been in a regular room in the old building, only the suites, which I have liked.

    If you're flying into SFO and staying at the St Francis, it's better to avoid renting a car. If you don't have a lot of luggage, BART works well; it's just several blocks up the hill to the St Francis, follow the cable car tracks when you exit the BART station (Powell?). Otherwise, taxis would be less expensive than rental car + gas + parking, unless you need the car for extensive day trips out of the city.
    Kalboz likes this.
  4. Kalboz
    • Original Member

    Kalboz Gold Member

    • Original Member

    DYKWIA Silver Member

    I really like this hotel for its location, but after half-dozen stays, and even some prodding from my Ambassador, I find service very much lacking at this hotel. Detail kind of stuff, overall it's a sub-average to average Westin.
    Kalboz likes this.
  6. Bay Pisco Shark
    • Original Member

    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

    Actually, the Fairmont was "Hotel." A 2/3 (or so) scale model of the Fairmont lobby was the set. It was called The St. Gregory in the series.
    Kalboz likes this.
  7. We found the St. Francis to be disappointing ... Though in alignment with the comments above. I wanted to stay there as I had a romanticized image of it with the cable car out front, right on Union Square, etc. However, it was crowded and impersonal. The concierge we talked to one time was rather unfriendly. But what took the cake was check-in. We sent them two requests (ahead of our arrival): Room away from the elevator and some sort of a view if possible. (we had booked some type of an upgraded room and it was my birthday). When we checked in, there were two options: right by the clanky old elevator OR a room that looked straight into a brick wall on the low floor (the icing on the cake was that the room number was 666). Really? Some how they were unable to find another room for us, even though originally they said those were the last two rooms in the entire hotel. I guess I had higher expectations as a Gold and paying premium rates, nothing special, just maybe that they would actually consider my room request.
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  8. MSPeconomist
    • Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Back in the day, long before it was a Westin, this was an iconic property with good service. Now it seems like a not particularly good convention hotel built over the historic part. It's sad and I suspect many guests are disappointed.
    Kalboz likes this.
  9. chanp
    • Original Member

    chanp Silver Member

    Stayed here a week ago. Decent property, esp location. First time ever, they apologized they couldnt get me an upgrade and gave me breakfast vouchers for the Oak Room breakfast buffet. I thought it was a nice touch. When I got to my room, it was a corner room, so def an upgrade. Seems like they are getting better. Maybe breakfast for PLT's coming up is true??
    Kalboz likes this.
  10. spddemn
    • Original Member

    spddemn Active Member

    Have stayed there twice in the past year, if your one for the history and all that its a nice place to stay. Was recognized at Plat and received upgrades both times.
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  11. funtrainsf

    funtrainsf Silver Member

    I just had a phenomenal stay here.

    I am SPG Plat and got an email a few days before arrival from Cora Mo (Guest Service Manager) welcoming me and asking me if I needed anything. I did reply asking for an early check in (8am) since I was going to the 49ers football game and didn't want to leave my personal belongings (including electronic equipment) with the bell desk all day.

    Keep in mind this was during the America's Cup, peak season in SF, rooms were going for $600+ a night (thankfully I used points).

    We kept in touch and the day before my arrival she confirmed me able to check in at 8am and pre-arranged me into a Deluxe King in the Tower (ended up even better as it was a corner room with an amazing view). She said I would enjoy that room more than a suite in the lower building and I would agree. As a corner room, it was large enough for the wife and I and a panoramic view of the Bay.

    A few minutes are checking in, we were delivered a bottle of champagne, candy treats, and a hand-written card from Cora welcoming us and to enjoy the game.

    All this for just asking a favor to allow an early check in.

    Amazing customer service and this property is now my #1 option in SF.

    Later in the week I stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Union Square and didn't feel that much service (I am Hyatt Diamond too).

    So, until something else happens, Westin is #1.
    Kalboz likes this.
  12. DCole801

    DCole801 Member

    Cora is the best!!! Be seeing you again on Friday!

    - Don Coleman
    - United 1k
    - SPG Platinum
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