San Francisco Marriott Union Square Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Union Square, San Francisco, California

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • Fee for Wi-Fi
  • Pricey valet parking (no self-parking).
  • Middling on-site restaurant; better options nearby
  • No pool

Bottom Line

Near the designer shops and theaters in Union Square, the 400-room San Francisco Marriott reopened after renovations in 2009 to show off new guest rooms and a new fitness center. It can be a great deal, especially when it's compared to the two other Marriotts in Union Square, but unlike many mid-range hotels, there is a pesky fee for Wi-Fi.

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 Scene

One of three Marriott properties within three blocks of shopping-centric Union Square, this newly renovated hotel is just as modern as its neighbors -- and it's often the cheapest of the bunch.

The San Francisco Marriott Union Square
The San Francisco Marriott Union Square

After completing renovations, the 400-room San Francisco Marriott reopened in April 2009 to be the third Marriott within three blocks of Union Square, San Francisco's premier shopping and theater district. The 30-floor property has everything -- both good and bad -- that you'd expect from an urban Marriott, including comfortable beds, up-to-date electronics, an average restaurant, and a fee for Wi-Fi. Though its services don't quite match up to the standards at the JW Marriott and the Marriott Marquis, its rooms are in many ways similar, or even better than, the rooms at its often pricier sister hotels.

But the San Francisco Marriott has little to offer its guests outside the the guest rooms. The small fitness center is up to date, but it has just a handful of cardio and weight-training machines. Only two computers in an alcove off the lobby serve as the hotel's business center. While the in-house restaurant strives to serve higher-end cuisine -- such as clay pot salmon with ginger -- execution sometimes falls short of the kitchen's ambition.

Union Square, on the whole, is chockablock with hotel options. Guests looking for more personality might find the literary-themed Hotel Rex a more interesting choice in the price range, while the stylish decor at the Hotel Triton puts the cookie-cutter look of the Marriott to shame. On the other hand, the Marriott's new rooms outshine those of the Sir Francis Drake, across the street, in terms of both comfort and technology.

 Service

Efficient, midrange service

Guests at the Marriott shouldn't expect the white glove treatment, but common requests are met quickly. Doormen are happy to flag down cabs, and porters can assist with luggage the minute you arrive at the hotel. The well-staffed front desk manages to keep check-in lines short, even during peak times (though the convenient, self-serve, airport-style check-in kiosks deserve some of the credit).

  • Staffed concierge who can assist with tourist information and booking theater tickets
  • High fee (although pretty typical for San Francisco) for valet parking; no self-parking.

 Location

Just a block north of Union Square and its plentiful hotels, shops, and tourists

The Marriott is a block north of Union Square, in the heart of a neighborhood known for high-end shops and not much else. With enormous outposts of Niketown, Saks, Tiffany, Macy's, Louis Vuitton, and Neiman Marcus, among others, Union Square is to San Francisco what 5th Avenue and Rodeo Drive are to New York and L.A. Locals don't really hang out here, but the square is great for people-watching nonetheless, and occasionally plays host to small festivals and demonstrations. Still, if shopping isn't a priority, you might prefer a neighborhood closer to the city's biggest attractions, like Nob Hill or Fisherman's Wharf.

  • The Powell-Mason cable car runs right past the hotel, and it heads to the kid-friendly attractions at Fisherman's Wharf, or, with a transfer, to Lombard Street and the shops at Ghirardelli Square.
  • Not close to Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio, or Golden Gate Park and Haight-Ashbury.
  • Tip: For discount theater tickets, you can buy day-of seats for select shows at the Union Square ticket kiosk.
  • Tip: If you want to avoid high-end hotel food and chain restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory that surround Union Square, walk about 15 minutes toward Nob Hill where there is an abundance of excellent, locally owned restaurants.
  • 30-minute cab ride from San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

 Rooms

After 2009 renovations, the guest rooms are about on par with those at the more expensive JW Marriott.

A City View Guest Room
A City View Guest Room
  • Standard rooms at the Marriott range from 280 to 360 square feet and include either a king-size bed or two double-size beds.
  • Tip: request a larger room when booking.
  • Junior suites on the corners measure 450 square feet and have a king bed and sleeper sofa.
  • Comfortable beds: six pillows (both down and poly-fil); flexible-neck reading lamps; down comforter with a duvet cover; 100-percent cotton sheets
  • 32-inch flat-panel LG TV with 32 channels and pay-per-view
  • A media dock lets guests connect gadgets like iPods and laptops to the TV; the Marriott in Fisherman's Wharf and the nearby Parc 55 hotels have similar gizmos.
  • Fee for in-room Wi-Fi and wired Internet
  • Alarm clock radio also has an auxiliary jack for connecting MP3 devices.
  • Cup-at-a-time coffeemaker
  • Guests who book Club Level rooms get access to a 28th-floor lounge with terrific views, free breakfast, free snacks throughout the day, free drinks, and free business services Sunday through Thursday.

 Features

Just the basics: a fitness center and a couple computers, but no spa, pool, or fancy restaurant

  • Modern, 24-hour fitness center with six treadmills, three elipticals, two bikes, and a handful of weight machines and free weights
  • The "business center" is just an alcove off the lobby with two computers and a laser printer.
  • 10,000 square feet of meeting space divided into 14 rooms

 Family

Perfectly fine for families, though no specific kid-friendly amenities

While the Marriott doesn't go out of its way to court families, its relatively large rooms can sleep up to four in two double beds and the hotel is also close to teen-friendly activities like theaters and art galleries.

  • Standard rooms with two doubles sleep four; king bed rooms accommodate rollaways or cribs, both of which are free.
  • Kids' menu in bin480 restaurant

 Cleanliness

Renovated in 2009 and still spotless

There were no cleanliness issues in the rooms or bathrooms, and the lobby and other public spaces were similarly clean.

 Food

Mediocre on-site options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

A sandwich at bin480
A sandwich at bin480
  • The hotel's bar and restaurant, bin480, serves Californian cuisine such as black cod with miso sauce and rapini, flatbread pizzas, and Thai chili wings for lunch and dinner. Execution of dishes is sometimes off, however. In my case, while the braised pork sliders on brioche buns were excellent, a fancy grilled ham, brie, and fig sandwich was almost too greasy to eat.
  • The Restaurant has breakfast only, either a la carte or buffet-style, including an omelete station. It's open daily.
  • Room service from bin480 is available throughout the day

 Bottom Line

Near the designer shops and theaters in Union Square, the 400-room San Francisco Marriott reopened after renovations in 2009 to show off new guest rooms and a new fitness center. It can be a great deal, especially when it's compared to the two other Marriotts in Union Square, but unlike many mid-range hotels, there is a pesky fee for Wi-Fi.

Things You Should Know About San Francisco Marriott Union Square

Address

  • 480 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA, 94108

Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As

  • Crowne Plaza Union Square
  • Marriott San Francisco
  • San Francisco Marriott

Room Types

  • City or Bay View Guest Room
  • Club Level Guest Room
  • Junior Suite
  • Limited View Guest Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 400
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Union Square, San Francisco
Address: 480 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA, 94108
(See Map)
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