Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
Affordable, stylish, and centrally located, but with some service gaps.
The 177-room, Art-Deco-inspired Galleria Park Hotel is an example of a boutique overhaul done -- mostly -- right. Built as the Hotel Sutter in 1911, the space was purchased by California boutique syndicate Joie de Vivre in 2005 and lovingly renovated in 2007. The lobby, bedecked with calla lilies, makes every effort to pay tribute to the building's history, with silvery textured walls, , and an oversize Art Nouveau fireplace. Even the framed artwork in the guest rooms spotlights art from the hotel's heyday.
Amenities are spartan: Valet and front desk personnel double as concierges (and the results are uneven); the fitness center currently has only three machines (new equipment is coming in 2013; and the business center is similarly small and rudimentary, with two desktop PCs and a printer. A free daily in the lobby, while not a particularly exciting scene, is a nice touch. And free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel is a significant perk.
One of the Galleria Park's nicer touches is the "urban garden" and "jogging track" on the 3rd floor terrace. In the midst of the skyscrapers of downtown, the terrace, ringed by flowering bushes, is truly an oasis -- a perfect perch for reading and relaxing, if weather permits. The hotel also provides running maps with smartphone directions using a QR code for the surrounding area.
The hotel serves free coffee and tea in the mornings, but there is no restaurant on-site. There are a few good dining options nearby. Both Bread & Cocoa, a casual sandwich shop convenient for a quick bite, and a tasty low-key French brasserie, Cafe Claude, are a block and a half away. HECHO, a tequila and sushi bar, is located just down the street from the hotel.
On a somewhat dreary commercial street surrounded by vacant storefronts and high-rises, the Galleria Park's location is hardly picturesque. Nonetheless, it's an ultra convenient few blocks' walk from the heart of the Union Square shopping district (and yet far enough removed that it's relatively quiet). Home to enormous outposts of Niketown, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany, Macy's, Louis Vuitton, and Neiman Marcus, among others, Union Square is to San Francisco what 5th Avenue is to New York. Locals don't hang out there much, but the square is great for people-watching nonetheless, and occasionally plays host to concerts, small festivals, and demonstrations. If shopping isn't your priority, you might prefer a hotel in a neighborhood closer to some of the biggest tourists attractions, like the Hyatt in Fisherman's Wharf.
Aside from a lovely collection of local art on display, rooms are a bit drab -- a fact which may change after a 2013 refresh to rooms and renovations to all bathrooms are completed. A cool color palate of light blues and greens keep the spaces feeling bright, while furnishings are sturdy and comfortable. Some rooms' unusual L-shaped layout breaks the spaces up into awkward segments and makes their alleged 300 square feet seem much smaller. A nondescript sitting area includes a couch, a flat-screen television, and an "honor bar" with the basics. The double bed, with Frette linens, is quite comfortable. Overall, the rooms are well-equipped and pleasant, if a bit boring.
A budget-friendly boutique hotel on a convenient but unstylish block off Union Square, the 177-room Galleria Park Hotel has nice touches like free Wi-Fi and an "urban garden" terrace. The hotel is currently undergoing soft renovations, but until those are complete standard rooms still feel a bit dreary, and amenities are basic. The comparable Hotel Triton has better amenities, but the Galleria Park wins on price.