Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
San Francisco's largest Marriott, and second largest hotel by room count, this multi-tower monster is as full of meeting rooms and business suits as it is guest quarters (there are a whopping 1,499 rooms and spread between two towers and 39 floors). The lobby feels like a business mixer more often than not -- corporate types swirl around the bar and lounge area with drinks in hand, while guests wheel their carry-ons toward the front desk. The latter is one of the only indications that this is a hotel, not a convention center.
As the city's business hotels go, this is one of the better options: Prices are reasonable, rooms are well-maintained, and the hotel's lobby and meeting spaces were renovated in 2009 -- though some will complain that the replacement of the old lobby with the new has left the hotel devoid of local character. This is a hotel that knows its customers and caters to them well. There are a range of restaurants and bars, a Starbucks in the lobby, a great gym and lap pool, and an on-site shop and car rental desk. On the other hand, the hotel lacks an extensive spa (services are available, but the facilities are an afterthought), the restaurants are blah, there's no room service in the middle of the day, and the rooms are just up to standard, without any perks like free Internet or particularly impressive bathrooms. But add in the hotel's location, wedged in between SoMa, Union Square, and the Financial District, and this becomes a solid choice against the competition, such as the Hilton, Westin, and W, and it's often cheaper.
High caliber of service despite crowds of guests and business-meeting attendees
Given the sheer volume of guests and long lines at peak hours, this isn't a hotel where you'd expect to get personalized service. But the staff is remarkably attentive and friendly; bell staffers actively welcome guests and assist with luggage, while the efficient front desk staff offers a warm welcome, even under the pressure of those long lines. The knowledgeable concierge desk keeps notably long hours and arms guests with maps, printouts of restaurant descriptions, and location information.
Central, safe SoMa location
The Marriott San Francisco is technically located in SoMa, a mixed neighborhood of warehouses, art spaces, loft apartments, and technology company headquarters. Its convenient location, right next to the financial district and one block from the Moscone Center, is nearly perfect for business travelers. While it's close to several of the city's best museums and to Union Square, it's far from many tourist attractions and there's next to no nightlife here.
On par with San Francisco's other business behemoths, but nothing about them stands out
Rooms here are fine for a midrange business hotel, but there's nothing particularly notable about them, from the simple, boring decor, to the average size to the condition -- last renovated in 2003, they're starting to show some wear. The biggest annoyance is the daly fee for in-room Internet, but that's fairly standard as well.
Meeting rooms, big and small, dominate the space of this hotel, while other amenities are clearly tailored for the business traveler's convenience. Along with 117,00 square feet of business space, the hotel does a good job providing essentials for those on the corporate dime, but not the perks and luxuries of a hotel tailored for tourists. There's a charge for Internet use (fine if you have a business account, but annoying otherwise), spa treatments are conducted in a small room off the hotel's fitness center (not in a luxurious spa), and the hotel's store seems to have a wider selection of toothpaste, razors, and replacement luggage tags than San Francisco souvenirs. The Hilton San Francisco offers equal or better amenities in all areas, and the W is a more stylish business-friendly option with a great spa. But if you can live without a spa or any kind of "cool" factor, this is a solid choice -- it's safe to go with the better price.
Not great for families
The location is safe for families, but rooms are fairly small (families would likely want to upgrade to a suite to be comfortable), and nothing about the atmosphere or amenities really caters to children.
Relatively new facilities are in good condition, but housekeeping is inconsistent.
Rooms are well-maintained (but haven't been renovated since 2003) and the lobby just received a major overhaul, so in general the hotel is in good condition. Inconsistent housekeeping, however, takes this hotel down a notch from where it could be: Clumps of dirt on the carpet and random bird feathers on one of the guestroom's desks indicated a sloppy cleanup job, and the bathrooms show more wear and tear.
The hotel's restaurants and room service are typically overpriced and nothing special. The highlight of the hotel's eating and drinking venues is The View, a top-floor bar and lounge on the hotel's 39th floor with stellar views of the city.
This 1,499-room business behemoth ideally straddles SoMa, the Financial District, and Union Square, and clearly caters to meeting attendees with its multiple restaurants, huge fitness center, and comfortable, if unexciting, quarters. The public spaces can get so overwhelmed by the suit-and-tie set, however, that it often feels more like a convention center than a hotel.