Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A block from the bustling commercial thoroughfare of Market Street in the heart of the SoMa district, the 676-room Westin Market Street falls somewhere between the neighborhood's five-star luxury properties (like the St. Regis and the Four Seasons) and a high-volume behemoth like the Marriott. Unlike its sleek, lifestyle-driven Starwood sister, W, down the street, the Westin traffics in a more refined, subdued elegance: The grand, chandeliered lobby is adorned with lavish, orchid-strewn flower arrangements that are changed twice a week and perfumed with the Westin brand's signature white-tea-and-aloe fragrance (which also scents the hotel's exclusive line of toiletries).
But make no mistake: Despite the understated, upscale grandeur of the public spaces, this is not a high-end luxury hotel with polished service. Concierge service is slack: calls to inquire about the spa menu in rooms went unanswered twice (rather misleadingly, the spa is not on-site or even affiliated with the hotel). Room service, which is available 24 hours, arrived cold and sloppily presented.
Rooms are immaculate and acceptable in size (325 square feet) -- about the same as the Marriott, larger than the W, smaller than the more expensive St. Regis -- but have some flaws. The corner Premier Room, for instance, was irritatingly noisy. The city views were spectacular, but it was stuck next to the housekeeping closet. The Internet connection kept dropping off, requiring four separate log-ons and resulting in a series of inaccurate charges. And the 37-inch flat-screen TV took up almost the entirety of the work desk, leaving no space for a room service tray or even a laptop.
But still, the Westin has some definite perks. Its "Heavenly" bed, featuring a pillow-top mattress swathed in three layers of silky cotton sheets, a voluminous duvet, and four goose-down pillows, is exactly as advertised. The shower is similarly luxurious, with not one but two signature "Heavenly" showerheads providing an array of jets and sprays to suit anyone's taste. The 24-hour fitness center is huge, brightly lit, and outfitted with all new equipment. The hotel's plush Venetian restaurant Ducca has a knockout setting that trumps its food, and the restaurant's outdoor patio bar is a low-key hangout with a passel of heat lamps for cool evenings. Overall, the Westin is not a bad choice in this category, particularly if you want to be within walking distance of the convention center in a quieter atmosphere than the frenetic one found at the Marriott.
In central SoMa, close to museums, shopping, and the convention center
The Westin San Francisco Market Street is located in SoMa ("South of Market"), a diverse neighborhood of warehouses, nightspots, art spaces, loft apartments, and technology companies. Just south of Market Street, the hotel is close to several of the city's best museums, including SFMOMA and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, but it's a business-heavy neighborhood that's right next to the financial district, Union Square, and Moscone Center, making it best for business travelers. It's convenient to museums and the Embarcadero, but on the other hand it's far from several landmark tourist attractions.
You don't get the service you'd receive at high-end area competitors, but the Westin Market Street does offer immaculate quarters with super-comfortable beds, solid amenities, and a business-friendly location two blocks from the convention center. For travelers seeking a more subdued environment than the nearby mega-Marriott and who aren't up for paying St. Regis prices, this is an acceptable option.