With 585 rooms spread over two buildings, this mid-range Holiday Inn is certainly one of the bigger -- and less charming -- hotels in the area. The property, however, is clean and well-maintained, and its excellent location is just one to two blocks from the Fisherman's Wharf waterfront. Guest rooms won't wow, but amenities include 42-inch TVs and espresso machines -- just try to avoid noisy street-facing units. Features include a small pool, a bar and grill, and a Denny's. There are better options nearby in this price range, including the Hyatt, with its superior restaurant and fitness center, and the Argonaut, with its trendy, nautical-themed decor.
Large, unfussy redbrick chain hotel spread over two buildings
This unusually large Holiday Inn has a redbrick and wood-slat facade, and 585 rooms spread over two buildings. The annex is a block closer to the wharf, but farther away from the hotel's main facilities, including the swimming pool and primary restaurant -- both of which are in the main building. Renovations completed in 2014 did spruce up both blocks inside and out, and lobby areas are bright and airy with contemporary furnishings and the occasional maritime touch. Despite these updates, though, the hotel has less character than most nearby competing properties -- the Hyatt Centric, Argonaut, and Hotel Zephyr all have fewer rooms and more style. The Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf is of a similar size and has some flaws -- limited closet space, finicky AC units, no mini-fridges, and a fee for in-room Wi-Fi, steep parking fees -- but the look has a bit more polish, and the fitness center is much nicer.
Typical of the Holiday Inn chain, the atmosphere here is friendly and unpretentious, attracting the usual mix of vacationing couples, families with kids, and -- to a lesser extent -- business guests.
Fisherman's Wharf setting, a 10-minute walk from Pier 39
The hotel is located one or two blocks from the Fisherman's Wharf waterfront (depending on which building you stay in) and surrounded by seafood restaurants, bars, and other hotels. The tourist hot spot of Pier 39 -- with two tiers of shopping, dining, and attractions -- is around 10 minutes away on foot, and next to the docks where ferries leave for Alcatraz, Sausalito, and Tiburon. The hotel is also a block away from the terminus of the Powell-Mason cable car line, which connects to the farther reaches of the city, like Union Square and Nob Hill. A Walgreens is across the street, for those who need to buy pharmacy items or snacks. North Beach (San Francisco's Little Italy) is a 10-minute walk up the hill, while the Golden Gate Bridge is 10 minutes by car. San Francisco International Airport is around half an hour's drive away.
Bland rooms, some rooms prone to street noise; suites come with kitchenettes
Despite renovations in 2014, rooms still look bland and a bit dated, with striped bed skirts, beige wall to wall carpeting, and simple dark-wood furniture. But they are reasonably well-maintained and in-room amenities are decent enough: espresso machines, free Wi-Fi, and 42-inch flat-screen TVs with HBO and pay movies, but no minibars or mini-fridges. Some larger rooms do add mini-fridges and microwaves; select units and Junior Suites also have sofa beds. (Mini-fridges and microwaves can be requested for a fee in rooms where they aren't standard). Rooms have two double or a single king-size bed. Bathrooms are functional and clean, if small, with wall-mounted hairdryers, basic toiletries, and shower/tub combos, though they could use a refresh in places. Poor soundproofing means many rooms are also prone to noise from traffic and nearby bars.
Free express breakfast bar and outdoor pool with loungers
The hotel provides a free express breakfast bar each morning, comprising a decent range of hot and cold items including eggs, bacon, and sausages. The on-site Bristol bar & Grill restaurant also offers a breakfast buffet with cooked-to-order eggs, plus pancakes, waffles, and deli meats and cheeses. Denny's Restaurant can also be found in the annex building serving Americans classics around the clock. A small outdoor pool is available in the main building, which is just long enough for a few strokes and surrounded by loungers, tables, and chairs -- though overlooking the parking lot. There are also a gift shop, small, dated gym, a business center, and game room with pool table.
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