Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Financial District, San Francisco, California

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • All rooms and common areas renovated in 2012
  • Large, chic rooms all have stunning high-rise views
  • Big bathrooms, most with deep soaking tubs and walk-in showers
  • High-end services such as free in-room welcome tea upon check-in
  • Modern gym; cardio machines have individual TVs
  • Lovely, tranquil spa with sophisticated decor

Cons

  • Fee for Internet access
  • Fee for parking

Bottom Line

With astounding views from elegant, spacious rooms high up in a Financial District skyscraper and the best in pampering service, this Mandarin Oriental lives up to its luxury reputation. The downtown location makes it best for business travelers, but the spa and fitness center are a draw for others as well. And the rooms and services are hard to beat.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Astounding rooms and first-rate service in the Financial District

The hotel's views are hard to beat
The hotel's views are hard to beat

Chances are your ears will pop as the elevator whisks you from the ground-level lobby to your room at the Mandarin Oriental. From the top 11 floors of San Francisco's third tallest building, the 158 rooms and suites soar over the city, letting guests take in breathtaking vistas of the city and San Francisco Bay, even without the help of the binoculars the hotel provides. Though other hotels have great views -- the Four Seasons is also on the top of a skyscraper -- none of them can compare to the Mandarin's.

Views take center stage here, but the Mandarin Oriental does more to deserve its place as one of the city's best luxury hotels. The rooms -- all renovated in 2012 -- are some of the city's most spacious and best appointed, with luxury details from featherbeds to marble bathrooms with separate showers and large tubs. High-quality services, including free welcome tea, free overnight shoeshines, and evening turndowns, help cement the Mandarin's luxury reputation.

When it comes to features, the Mandarin meets the luxury standards set by its competitors. The hotel opened an excellent new spa and fitness center in 2012, and the business center is adequate. The brasserie, however -- though good -- isn't a major city dining destination, unlike Ame at the St. Regis. But it does draw a business crowd for power breakfasts and after-work drinks.

The hotel itself is unobtrusive, and could be mistaken for an office building. It's one of the top choices in the city for business travelers, but luxury leisure travelers will also find plenty to appreciate.

 Location

Central Financial District location is great for business travelers.

Located in the Financial District, the Mandarin Oriental sits amid city blocks packed with skyscrapers and other office buildings. There's little to do or see right around the hotel -- it's not an area where locals hang out. The area is far from many of the city's most popular attractions (Golden Gate Park, the Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge, Haight-Ashbury). But Chinatown, Union Square, and SoMa are nearby, and it's only a 10-minute walk to the scenic waterfront walkway along the Embarcadero, as well as the Ferry Building (where you can take a ferry to Sausalito and eat like a true Californian gourmet).

  • 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 high-end hotels
  • A 10-minute walk to both Union Square and the Ferry Building, where you can take a ferry to Sausalito or eat at a number of gourmet food shops and restaurants
  • 10-minute walk to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum
  • Great transportation access: Cabs are easy to come by, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit -- the trains that serve the greater bay area, including the airport) stops two blocks away, buses are close by, and California cable car line runs right next to the hotel
  • 30-minute taxi from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) airport (or the BART, which also takes 30 minutes, but costs much less)
  • Three miles from Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz ferries

 Rooms

High-design and city views from the 38th to 48th floors make these some of the city's best rooms.

The views from the rooms, which begin on the 38th floor of the city's third tallest building, are so captivating that it may take guests a moment to start noticing the details inside. And that is very much by design: The hotel styled the chic rooms so as not to compete with the views, decorating them in soothing shades of white, beige, and blue.

Once guests do notice the interiors, they'll find rooms that are among San Francisco's best. Not only are they big by San Francisco standards, but they have luxurious amenities such as pillow-top beds and iPod docks.

  • Generously sized rooms range from 350 to 575 square feet (large by city standards); suites are 800 to 2,000 square feet
  • Pillow-top beds have Egyptian cotton sheets made for Mandarin Oriental, plus down comforters; almost all have King beds, but there is a Queen Room; Executive Suites have option of two double beds
  • Big bathrooms with marble tile; most have deep tubs and separate walk-in showers
  • Bathrooms have Molton & Brown toiletries, small personal care sets (shower cap, nail files, cotton swabs), and two bathrobe types: lightweight waffled cotton or terryclotth
  • 32-inch flat-screen LG television and a DVD player have 45 channels plus pay-per-view
  • Geneva sound systems with iPod docking stations and MP3 hookup
  • Daily fee for high speed wired Internet or Wi-Fi
  • Minibars are stocked with a good selection of drinks and snacks
  • Bushnell binoculars provided for guests to spy on the city below
  • Soundproof windows can be opened up to six inches for fresh air, but no farther for safety seasons

 Features

Lovely tranquil spa and a modern fitness center

The Mandarin Oriental's lobby business center and pleasant lobby bar are standard for San Francisco hotels. The Mandarin's lovely spa and modern fitness center -- covering a combined 8,000 square feet -- are standouts.

  • The spa and fitness center opened in 2012 on the third floor. The spa features four treatment rooms, a couple's room, and a tea lounge, while the gym offers Technogym equipment and Precor Machines. Cardio machines have individual TVs.
  • Small, unstaffed business center open from Monday to Friday, with a couple of pay-for-use computers.
  • Daily fee for Wi-Fi in rooms and lobby.

 Family

Large, quiet rooms and great service, but families can find better options

It's hard to imagine who the luxurious, spacious rooms here wouldn't be good for, but the hotel's Financial District setting isn't San Francisco's best for families. Families could be comfortable here, but among luxury hotels the Ritz-Carlton offers better services and amenities for kids. The Argonaut, though less luxurious, is a great kid-friendly hotel in Fisherman's Wharf, an area popular with families.

  • Kids' menus on room service and restaurant menus
  • Rollaway beds are charged per night (fit in all but Superior and Bay View Rooms); fee waived for kids under 12.
  • Cribs are free.
  • Financial District location offers very little for kids.

 Cleanliness

Extremely clean

If cleanliness is a virtue, the Mandarin Oriental is a saint. The hotel shines thanks twice-daily housekeeping.

 Food

Brasserie S&P draws a business crowd.

The Financial District isn't exactly a foodie destination, but the hotel's restaurant Brasserie S&P serves gourmet cuisine using fresh California produce. It's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and draws a primarily business crowd.

  • Brasserie S&P is helmed by executive chef Adam Mali, and serves California cusine in a modern but casual setting. The restaurant features an open dining area with floor-to-cieling windows, and a prime first-floor location at Sansome and Pine streets (hence the S&P).
  • Mandarin Lounge offers guests free tea and coffee every afternoon; cocktails and light fare are available throughout the day and most evenings.
  • 24-hour room service

 Services

First-rate service and lots of thoughtful details

The Mandarin Oriental delivers the same kind of luxury service -- doormen, a separate concierge, twice-daily housekeeping, nightly turndown, around-the-clock room service -- that you'll find at a Ritz or Four Seasons. But small touches, such as water bottles provided by the doormen and free in-room tea upon check-in, elevate the experience from luxurious to exceptional.

  • Concierge desk open throughout the day
  • Daily Wall Street Journal delivery to room
  • Twice-daily housekeeping, including nightly turndown service with bottled water and slippers
  • Free welcome tea upon check-in
  • Free overnight shoeshines
  • Free car service during certain hours
  • 24-hour room service
  • Valet parking is a steep nightly fee

 Bottom Line

With astounding views from elegant, spacious rooms high up in a Financial District skyscraper and the best in pampering service, this Mandarin Oriental lives up to its luxury reputation. The downtown location makes it best for business travelers, but the spa and fitness center are a draw for others as well. And the rooms and services are hard to beat.

Things You Should Know About Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco

Address

  • 222 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA, US

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Mandarin Oriental
  • Mandarin Oriental San Francisco
  • Mandarin San Francisco
  • San Francisco Mandarin
  • San Francisco Mandarin Oriental

Room Types

  • Deluxe Bay View Room
  • Deluxe City View Room
  • Dynasty Suite
  • Lotus Suite
  • Mandarin Bay Bridge Room
  • Mandarin Golden Gate Room
  • Oriental Suite
  • Perfect Pair- Two Bedroom
  • Premier Bridge to Bridge Room
  • Superior Bay View Room
  • Superior City View Room
  • Taipan Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 158
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Financial District, San Francisco
Address: 222 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA, US
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