Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
In an effort to re-create an old, grande-dame-style hotel, the Omni hotel group gutted a 1926 bank building on a bustling corner of California and Montgomery Streets in the Financial District and opened the 362-room Omni San Francisco Hotel in 2002. In the spirit of other, more historic Omni hotels like the Parker House in Boston and the Shoreham in Washington D.C., the dramatic, roaring '20s-style lobby features impressive crystal chandeliers, Italian marble , and that recall the building's original use. The space received new, elegant furnishings in 2012, increasing its appeal.
In the large guest rooms, the look continues with baroque wallpaper, marble-tiled bathrooms, and beds with dramatic, dark-wood headboards. In 2012, all rooms received new linens and carpets, brightening the space and giving it a fresh feel while still maintainings its grand ambiance. Some furniture was also upgraded, most notably armoires and couches.
Of course, what some call classic, others might judge boring — the rooms aren't as sleek as those at Le Meridien or the InterContinental San Francisco -- but the Omni is a San Francisco favorite for more than its decor. Its top-notch service (awarded by Travel + Leisure, among others) is just as strong as what you'll find at more expensive hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton and Mandarin Oriental. Even locals frequent Bob's Steak & Chop House for their power breakfasts. Though the Omni lacks a club-level lounge for preferred guests (all available at the InterContinental), it does offer free in-room Wi-Fi to members of its Select Guest loyalty program (charged per day for everyone else) and significant meeting space — making it a popular choice for business travelers.
Even if you're not doing business in the area, there are reasons to consider the Omni. The California Street cable car runs right past the front door and can shuttle you to great restaurants in the swanky Nob Hill neighborhood as well as the kid-friendly attractions at Fisherman's Wharf (with a transfer). The hotel is only a 10-minute walk from the gourmet shops at the Ferry Building and the waterfront Embarcadero. And for families, the hotel's unique (for San Francisco, at least) "Kid's Fantasy Suite" comes stocked with toys, books, beanbag chairs, and even bunk beds that sleep two.
Exceptional, with 24-hour room service, helpful doormen and bellmen, and a concierge.
For the most part, the Omni's service is luxury-level. Doormen congregate at the, often greeting guests with a "Welcome back" and a knowing nod. Bellman are eager to show off rooms, fetch ice, and deliver luggage. The front desk staff can offer plenty of restaurant recommendations. When it comes to special requests -- such as a mouse pad for the work desk -- porters respond promptly to the rooms, and when they do they make an effort to both address guests by name and ask whether there is anything else they might need. However, with standards so high when oversights do occur, they standout.
In the heart of the Financial District, a bit removed from many of the city's biggest attractions.
The Financial District is one of those neighborhoods in which the name says it all. If you're a leisure traveler, it's not a bad place to be, but it's important to know that it's sleepy on weekends and positively dead at night. However, the Omni San Francisco is also only about a five- to 10-minute walk from the peak of Nob Hill, a primarily residential neighborhood with a few luxury hotels mixed in (the Mark Hopkins, the Fairmont, the Huntington, and the Ritz-Carlton, to name a few). And being close to the Embarcadero (to the east, along the waterfront) actually makes for an easier commute to Fisherman's Wharf than you'd have anywhere else except the wharf itself. You're also just seven short blocks to the Ferry Building, where you can eat like a world-class foodie and catch a ferry to Sausalito.
At 385 square feet, the standard room (called a Deluxe Room) is large for San Francisco. Though the standard room at the nearby and slightly cheaper Hyatt Regency offers just as much space, a room at the Omni looks a bit more elegant, especially when it comes to the bathroom's marble vanity. The trade-off, however, is that the technology isn't quite as nice -- the clock radio has MP3-player connectivity, but not a docking station to charge your iPod.
All rooms received new linens and carpets in 2012, freshening the spcae without detracting from the elegant furnishings. Some couches and armoires were also replaced with new, stylish pieces in the same dark woods and rich fabrics as the rest of the decor.
A useful fitness center, but no spa, no pool, and no club floor lounge.
The Omni has all the basic features you'd expect at a higher-end San Francisco business hotel, but nothing particularly special. The gym has modern equipment, on par with what you'd find at the fitness center at the similarly priced Le Meridien, a few blocks away. Considering the largely corporate clientele, the business center is surprisingly lackluster.
A good choice for families in the neighborhood, but the Financial District is not a popular spot for family vacations.
The neighborhood isn't exactly the most kid-friendly -- the Financial District has little more than office towers and coffee shops -- but the California Street cable car stops right in front of the hotel, making it easy to get to family-friendly attractions at Fisherman's Wharf or the shopping and theaters of Union Square with a transfer. Alternatively, you can eliminate the commute by just staying at a Fisherman's Wharf hotel, many of which have pools and kid-friendly extras.
Small pets allowed.
While the Omni does allow some pets, the Hotel Triton, four blocks away, might be a better choice in the neighborhood; it doesn't levy a charge for pets of any size and provides accessories like doggie beds and food bowls.
Clean rooms and public spaces.
Though the hotel hasn't been completely renovated since 2002, it is well maintained and kept prefectly clean.
The white tablecloth steakhouse is the only (expensive) on-site option, but the neighborhood has many restaurants.
The 362-room Omni has spacious standard rooms and terrific service that's on par with some of San Francisco's best (and most expensive) hotels. While the tasteful decor isn't as contemporary as you'd find at the nearby Le Meridien or InterContinental San Francisco, this hotel is still a solid Financial District pick, near Chinatown, Nob Hill, and public transportation.