This hotel has undergone significant renovations since our visit.
We will update our photos and review as soon as we can.
Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Large and impersonal, this Hilton is a busy business hotel.
With 1,908 rooms and 134,500 square feet of meeting space, including nine ballrooms, this Hilton is the quintessential business mega-hotel. The business services are indeed impressive: a business center that prints posters and an office to help with a PowerPoint presentation. But leisure travelers may feel crowded out. Even at 10 p.m., throngs of people fill the sea of maroon armchairs in the lobby. At any time of day or night, guests wait in line at the front desk and concierge station.
The hotel underwent impressive changes to half of its rooms, the lobby, and pool areas in 2012. More modern and stylish, rooms in Tower 3 are a notch above the rather basic rooms elsewhere on-site. The lobby and pool have each been outfitted with new furniture. Many of the hotel's already impressive meeting spaces have also received upgrades and expansions.
Every business service you'd need, but be willing to wait for personal help
While the breadth of business services is impressive -- the hotel can print posters to your specification and deliver them to your meeting room -- service breaks down when it comes to the basics. Service tends to be impersonal at any large hotel, especially one that deals with large groups on a daily basis. Here it's also slow. There's always a line at the front desk and the concierge.
Two blocks from shopping-centric Union Square
Hilton San Francisco, which takes up an entire block on O'Farrell Street between Taylor and Mason, is two short blocks southwest of Union Square, an area famous for its couture shops and not much else. Home to enormous outposts of Niketown, Saks, Tiffany, Macy's, Louis Vuitton, and Neiman Marcus, among others, Union Square is to San Francisco what 5th Avenue is to New York and Rodeo Drive is to L.A. Locals don't hang out here, but the square is great for people-watching nonetheless, and occasionally plays host to small festivals and demonstrations. Other business hotels abound in the Financial District, a 10-minute walk from Union Square.
Average amenities in smaller-than-average rooms
Everything about the room has a middle-of-the-road feel, from the beds that are comfortable but not luxurious to the out-of-date electronics (in some rooms). And the drab color scheme -- yellow, brown, and plum -- does nothing to make the room more inviting. This 40-year-old hotel renovates rooms gradually, and it really comes down to luck of the draw when staying here. The newly renovated rooms -- 550 of them completed in 2012 -- have updated furnishings, new flat-screen TVs, and some have stand-alone showers.
With nine ballrooms and more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space, the Hilton has the largest hotel conference facilities in San Francisco. So not surprisingly, the hotel has a feature for just about every business need: an extensive business center to prepare for all-day meetings, and a pool and large fitness center to unwind afterward. All that's missing is a good bar for sealing business deals after hours. For that, head next door to the Hotel Nikko's Rrazz Lounge, a popular cabaret that hosts famous acts.
Pet up to 75 pounds allowed
Pets that weigh as much as 75 pounds can stay at the hotel for a nonrefundable fee. Free beds and bowls are available, but they're in limited supply.
All the necessities are covered, but the hotel lacks a family vibe.
Families are not the primary market at this business-oriented hotel, but the Hilton nonetheless has many family-friendly features, including a pool. For more family friendly hotels, consider a hotel at Fisherman's Wharf, such as the Radisson, which has a scenic pool and direct access to Pier 39.
Clean enough, but some parts are fresher than others
With close to 2,000 rooms, this 40-year-old hotel renovates only small segments of the property at a time. At any given point, some rooms are older than others, waiting their turn for a renovation. The old Standard Rooms are clean and tidy, but show signs of wear, like the scuff marks on the wallpaper and bed posts. In 2012, 550 guest rooms and meeting spaces were renovated. All rooms are continually updated in between renovations with small changes, such as flat-screen TVs instead of flat-panel or tube TVs, and shower stalls instead of a tub with a showerhead.
Affordable, delicious food at Urban Tavern; expensive room service
The restaurant and bar Urban Tavern is at once cozy and slick, two adjectives that describe no other aspect of this hotel. Olive-green velvet chairs, a communal dining table, and centerpiece scrap-metal horse add a level of cool that is, frankly, surprising for this property. What's more surprising is its affordable prices, and its large portions won't leave you hungry.
With 1,908 rooms and meeting space galore, this is the largest hotel in town. Business features are impressive, the restaurant is surprisingly nice, and the gym is well equipped. But rooms vary from impressive to so-so. Crowds of convention goers and business travelers make it difficult to find peace and quiet, or to get help without waiting in a long line.
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