Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco Rating: 4.5 Pearls
SoMa, San Francisco, California

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Large, well-outfitted rooms among city's best
  • Soundproof windows, quiet rooms
  • Twice daily housekeeping; nightly turndown
  • 24-hour concierge
  • Convenient SoMa location

Cons

  • Daily fee for Wi-Fi or wired Internet
  • Fitness center/spa outsourced to Sports Club/LA; not 24 hours
  • No spa; treatments given at fitness center

Bottom Line

The Four Seasons' huge, well-outfitted rooms and attentive service are among the city's best, but the 277-room property falls a bit short of expectations. Its pool and fitness center are outsourced, and its business-centric SoMa location lacks the prestige of Nob Hill, where some if its strongest competitors reside.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

The Four Seasons has beautiful rooms on the 5th to 17th floors of a SoMa skyscraper, along with top-level service, but it falls short of expectations for a San Francisco luxury hotel.

Fifth-floor Seasons has beautiful city views.
Fifth-floor Seasons has beautiful city views.

Opened in 2001, the Four Seasons San Francisco evokes oohs and aahs for its unusual real estate and beautiful rooms, even landing it on the Conde Nast Gold List of places to stay multiple years in a row. It sits on the 5th to 17th floors of a SoMa skyscraper, its elevators acting as discreet portals leading from busy downtown Market Street to an urban oasis. Its comfortable, well-furnished rooms, complete with marble bathrooms and 42-inch, flat-screen TVs, are among the city's best, and service meets gold standards with a 24-hour concierge and twice-daily housekeeping. But in features, the Four Seasons is, frankly, at the bottom of its class: Guests have access to the Sports Club/LA and its pool and spa in the same building, but it's owned and operated separately from the hotel, so it lacks the Four Seasons' level of service and décor.

The Four Seasons brand signals the epitome of luxury, and the rooms here are undoubtedly some of the best in the city, but on the whole, it's hard to recommend staying here when you can do much better. The Mandarin Oriental packs a bigger punch when it comes to views, with excellent rooms on the top floors of the city's third tallest building. And the service at the St. Regis -- which includes 24-hour butlers -- beats both the Mandarin and the Four Seasons.

 Service

Formal service, but no fireworks

The front desk
The front desk

The Four Seasons boasts professional, attentive service from front door to restaurant, with a 24-hour concierge, room service, automatic turndown, and bellmen waiting at the hotel's two entrances to escort guests to the 5th-floor lobby. You can't fault it. But if we get down to brass tacks -- and at this price level, we should -- the Four Seasons doesn't extend itself to impress guests the way you'd expect. Its competitors, for instance, offer extras like 24-hour butlers and afternoon tea service, and have on-site spa and fitness services, rather than outsourcing it to a local operator as the Four Seasons does.

  • 24-hour concierge
  • Automatic nightly turndown service
  • Free overnight shoeshine service
  • Daily newspaper delivery (guests can request any paper)
  • 24-hour room service

 Location

In Central SoMa, close to convention centers and museums

Though its website boasts a location in the "Yerba Buena cultural district," this is really SoMa, and the hotel is located right on Market Street, a busy artery that cuts through downtown. It's close to several of the city's best museums, including SFMOMA and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, but it's a business-heavy neighborhood that's right next to the Financial District, Union Square, and the Moscone Center, making it best for business travelers. It's convenient to museums, Union Square, and the Embarcadero, but on the other hand, it's far from several landmark tourist attractions.

  • Safe (though vagrancy and panhandling are common, as throughout San Francisco)
  • Far from the Presidio, the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, and Haight-Ashbury but then, so are other neighborhoods with nonbudget accommodations
  • Just three blocks from Union Square, known for high-end shopping
  • Within two blocks of some of the city's best contemporary art at SFMOMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum
  • Great transportation access: Cabs are easy to come by, a BART station (electric trains serving the Bay Area) is a block away, and buses and cable cars are also within walking distance.
  • 30-minute taxi from San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

 Rooms

Among the city's biggest and best-furnished rooms

Pillow-top beds with 300-thread-count sheets
Pillow-top beds with 300-thread-count sheets

It's hard to fault the Four Seasons' 277 rooms and suites, which are among the city's best for size, amenities, and pristine condition. Even the hotel's most basic Deluxe Rooms start at a hefty 460 square feet, with impressive marble bathrooms, separate deep tubs, huge flat-screen TVs, and plush beds. To complain about the rooms would be to nitpick, but there are hotels that go further to impress us with their digs: The Mandarin Oriental's rooms offer better city views since they're higher up (and all rooms have impressive views, where only some of the Four Seasons' do), and the St. Regis pulls off its modern decor much more successfully. The Four Seasons' rooms have oddly retro-modern updates like metallic fabric headboards and geometric patterns that are a disappointing departure from a simpler, traditional style.

  • Rooms give a modern twist to traditional Four Seasons style: Metallic fabrics and geometric patterns are clearly meant to give the rooms a modern touch, but miss the mark for contemporary style.
  • Pillow-top beds with down comforters and pillows, and 300-thread-count Rivolta Carmignan sheets
  • Hypoallergenic pillows available upon request
  • Marble bathrooms have separate, deep-soaking tubs and glass-encased standing showers, with L'Occitane toiletries
  • 42-inch LG flat-screen televisions and DVD players, with about 60 cable channels including HBO and Bravo, as well as pay-per-view digital movies
  • Daily fee for wired Internet or Wi-Fi, with an unreliable in-room signal
  • Smoking and nonsmoking floors available
  • Soundproof windows and well-insulated walls make these rooms feel like recording studios compared to many of San Francisco's noisy old buildings.

 Features

Enough features, although some are outsourced

Guests have direct access to Sports Club/LA.
Guests have direct access to Sports Club/LA.

If you're not interested in pumping iron and/or printing out faxes at the business center, there's not much more to do here. A 24-hour business center provides nearly every business service imaginable, and gym rats have direct access to the Sports Club/LA on the building's 4th floor, but features aren't at the forefront of this hotel.

  • Free access to the building's independent Sports Club/LA, a two-story fitness complex with a junior Olympic lap pool; guests get headphones, water, and towels; not available 24 hours
  • The spa is part of the Sports Club/LA, and offers a full menu of services but doesn't achieve the Four Seasons' aesthetic and level of service.
  • 24-hour business center is staffed during limited hours, but can be accessed by key card around the clock.
  • House car service provides transportation within a three-mile radius of the hotel.
  • Daily fee for wired Internet or Wi-Fi access, with an unreliable signal in rooms

 Family

Good for families

Huge, quiet rooms are ideal for families, and the central, relatively flat location makes getting around with kids easy. The hotel makes a good effort to accommodate kids, offering kids' menus, free cribs and rollaways, and little extras like milk and cookies on arrival. Overall, however, this is a business-focused hotel.

  • Free cookies and milk on arrival
  • Children's and babies' toiletries and kid-size robes available
  • Kids' menus available at restaurants and for room service
  • Free cribs and rollaways
  • Sports Club/LA fitness center, pool, and spa are only open for guests 16 and older
  • Babysitting can be arranged through concierge with 24 hours' notice
  • Rooms can be childproofed prior to arrival, upon request

 Cleanliness

Feels brand new and spotless

This Four Seasons opened in 2001, but it's so well maintained, it feels like they just peeled the plastic off the furniture. You could hardly make a mess even if you wanted to, given the efficient, twice-daily housekeeping that arranges guests' toiletries neatly on the bathroom counter.

 Food

A steakhouse with beautiful views

Fancy breakfast fare at Seasons
Fancy breakfast fare at Seasons
  • The fifth-floor Seasons Restaurant features scenic city views. It will reveal a new name and concept in early June 2013, introducing a freh look and bar-centric atmosphere to the space.
  • 24-hour room service, a truncated version of the menu served at Seasons Restaurant

 Bottom Line

The Four Seasons' huge, well-outfitted rooms and attentive service are among the city's best, but the 277-room property falls a bit short of expectations. Its pool and fitness center are outsourced, and its business-centric SoMa location lacks the prestige of Nob Hill, where some if its strongest competitors reside.

Things You Should Know About Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco

Address

  • 757 Market Street, San Francisco, CA, 94103, US

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • San Francisco Four Seasons

Room Types

  • Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite
  • Deluxe Room
  • Deluxe-View Room
  • Four Seasons Executive Suite
  • One-Bedroom Suite
  • Premier One-Bedroom Suite
  • Premier Room
  • Specialty One-Bedroom Suite
  • Superior Four Seasons Executive Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 277
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: SoMa, San Francisco
Address: 757 Market Street, San Francisco, CA, 94103, US
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