San Francisco Travel Guide

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This is Exactly What You Want to See From Your San Francisco Hotel Room

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  Site Where: 750 Kearny Street [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94108
March 26, 2015 at 11:30 AM | by | Comment (1)

Um, yes. Do we really need to say anything more? Ok, we'll say just a little bit more about this stunning view of Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay from the Hilton San Francisco Financial District.

This is the view from one of the Premium Bay View Rooms which are located on the 20th through 25th floors. There are city views on these floors as well that are just as interesting, especially since the hotel overlooks Chinatown ,but really, it's all about the bay here. Fingers crossed for a clear and sunny day!

All rooms at the Hilton SF FD feature 32" flat screen TVs, a long desk for working and tea and coffee makers. Best of all, you don't need Zuckerberg dollars to stay here as we found a bay view room for this weekend for just $239 a night.

[Photo: Juliana/HotelChatter]

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Hilton Huanying is Taking Off, Here's What Chinese Guests Can Expect

March 24, 2015 at 2:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

Back in 2011, Hilton Worldwide began welcoming the emerging class of Chinese travelers with their Hilton Huanying program, which itself means “Welcome” in Mandarin. In the nearly four years since it was introduced, the program has grown from 30 Hilton hotels to 113 in 32 countries and 65 cities. Hilton Huanying has also "huanyinged" over a million independent Chinese travelers at not just Hilton Hotels but also Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and DoubleTree by Hilton.

Because of this popularity, and the expected growth of Chinese travelers around the world (to about 200 million travelers by 2020), the offerings of the program are expanding as well.

When it first launched, Hilton Huanying gave Chinese guests a welcome letter in simplified Chinese at check-in, tea kettles ands slippers placed in the guest rooms, dedicated Mandarin channels on the TV, along with a few traditional Chinese breakfast offerings downstairs such as congee and dim sum.

Today, guests will still get all of the above but the breakfast offerings have expanded and more importantly, Hilton will offer 24-hour translation phone service in case a Mandarin-speaking Hilton team member is not on site.

Best of all, the program is at no extra cost to the Chinese traveler. Not a bad deal.

Below are some photos of what the Huanying presentation looks like at the Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront Hotel and the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, a property that sees around 800 Chinese guests within a specific three-week window, and many more throughout the year. This Hilton Hotel was also one of the first Hiltons to begin offering special services for Chinese guests in 2008. These services later made up some of the official components of the Hilton Huanying program.

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Here's The Latest Scam to Beware of When Staying at Hotels

March 19, 2015 at 11:46 AM | by | Comments (6)

Business travelers in San Francisco and other big cities, get off your phones and pay close attention when leaving your hotel.

The other day this editor had an early morning flight out of San Francisco that required me to leave the hotel at 6:30am. Thankfully, I had a car service set up so that I could get some extra sleep in the morning, rather than wake up even earlier to take public transportation.

Still, when I stepped out of the hotel that morning at 6:35am, I didn't feel entirely awake. Not helping the situation were three black cars idling in front of the Hilton San Francisco in Union Square. A driver of one of the town cars had his back to me and was on the phone while holding a sheet of paper. The bellman asked me which car service I had arranged. I mentioned the name, then he asked for my last name, and suddenly, the man on the phone piped up and said “Ah yes!” and then said into the phone, “I found the customer.” I apologized for being a few minutes late, and got into the car.

As I sat down, the hotel’s bellman said, “Are you sure this is the right car service?” I asked the driver if he had my name on the paper he was holding in his hand. He stalled in answering me. At that moment, a man in a sharp suit walked up to the car (my door was still open) and said my name. I said, “Yes?” and he said he was from the car service that was ordered. I was in the wrong car.

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The Park Central Hotel Has Taken Over The Westin Market Street in SF

February 26, 2015 at 5:47 PM | by | Comments (2)

The San Francisco hotel scene continues to be upgraded. The Westin Market Street hotel is no longer. Well, of course, the building and hotel still exist, however it is now going by the new name Park Central Hotel.

The change happened in late January when LaSalle Hotel Properties purchased the 681-room hotel and installed Highgate Hotel to manage it. The property will undergo only "modest renovations" and the restaurant MaSo will stay in place. The hotel will focus on bringing in some new programs and new partnerships with local affiliations.

As for the WiFi, which was free in the lobby and pay in the guest rooms under Westin, the Park Central plans on keeping it status quo.

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Peace Out Powell, Say Hello to The Axiom Hotel in San Francisco

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  Site Where: 28 Cyril Magnin St. [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94102
February 24, 2015 at 1:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

Change is definitely in the foggy air for San Francisco's hotel scene. Last week, we told you about a newcomer to Fisherman's Wharf, Hotel Zephyr, along with a few other changes like the Loews taking over Mandarin Oriental and a new hotel brand, Proper Hotels, launching later this summer.

Now, we have word that the Powell Hotel in Union Square will transform into The Axiom Hotel. Host Hotels & Resorts bought the hotel last year and closed it in December to begin renovations. When The Axiom debuts in the fall, it will have 152 rooms, managed by Kokua Hospitality.

Above is the sample layout for a guest room at Axiom and below is a look at some rough sketches of the hotel's new look, which is being created by prolific hotel designers, Stonehill + Taylor:

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Hotel Zephyr is Phasing Out The Radisson Fisherman's Wharf in San Fran

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  Site Where: 250 Beach Street [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94133
February 19, 2015 at 4:14 PM | by | Comments (2)

Fly away on my zephyr...

While seemingly every other city in the United States has been riding the hotel boom of the past few years, San Francisco has been lagging, with only a handful of new hotels to show off. But change is in the air. SF is now Hot AF.

We've just heard about the major rebranding of the Mandarin Oriental into a Loews Hotel. Before that, the founders of Viceroy Hotels announced their new brand, Proper Hotels, will open their first hotel in the mid-Market neighborhood by the end of the year.

Last summer, we also heard about Yotels plan for "chic capsule cabins" in SF and there is still an unnamed boutique hotel coming to the SOMA nabe near AT&T Park. (Virgin Hotels, maybe?)

There are also lots of re-brandings and transformations of several properties happening throughout the city, including this one.

The Radisson Fisherman's Wharf is undergoing a major "re-imagination" to emerge as the Hotel Zephyr, operated by Davidson Hotels & Resorts. Yes, it's totally a millennial hotel but we'd take that over a Radisson any day.

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Loews Hotels to Take Over the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco

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  Site Where: 222 Sansome Street [map], San Francisco, CA , United States, 94104
February 17, 2015 at 1:50 PM | by | Comment (1)

2015 is going swimmingly for Loews Hotels. The Loews Chicago is just a few weeks away from opening its doors while the crazysexycool OE Collection is coming together and now, Loews is keeping on with its growth spurt by purchasing the 158-room Mandarin Oriental San Francisco in the city's financial district.

The deal is expected to close in late March which means a name change will happen shortly after that. Given that the hotel was just renovated in 2012, we're not so sure an extensive renovation is needed but we suspect Loews will go through the property and touch up what they can.

We're sad to lose a Mandarin Oriental for the West Coast (the only other one now is in Las Vegas) but Loews is on an exciting trajectory so we'll have to put our faith in them. Besides, nothing can change this killer view from the guest rooms.

Looking for one last night with MOSF? Rates this weekend start at $359 a night with a $50 dining credit.

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What Did The Westin St. Francis Have That No One Else in America Had?

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  Site Where: 335 Powell Street [map], San Francisco, CA , United States, 94102
January 8, 2015 at 4:07 PM | by | Comments (0)

It might be hard to believe this but up until a few weeks ago, the Westin St. Francis in touristy Union Square in touristy San Francisco had something no one else in America had--a Goyard boutique.

If you're not familiar, Goyard is one of the oldest luxury "trunk maker" from Paris that's still in business. But today instead of trunks, they are most well-known for their pricey colorful tote bags in the signature Goyard print (monogramming is available too and recommended.)

While several high-end department stores like Neiman Marcus and Barney's in New York, Boston and Beverly Hills carry Goyard bags, the Goyard San Francisco store was the only actual Goyard boutique in America. That is, until the Maison Goyard in NYC opened quietly a few days after Christmas.

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This San Fran Hotel Package Gets You Behind the Scenes at Four Breweries

December 10, 2014 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Kimpton's Hotel Triton is known for its vibrant lobby

Interest in the American craft beer scene has never been higher, and a San Francisco hotel is looking to draw in the big drinkers this winter.

Kimpton’s Hotel Triton in Union Square has launched its Triton on Tap package that offers guests individual tours of four San Fran breweries: Magnolia Dogpatch Brewery, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, ThirstyBear Brewing Company, and Triple Voodoo Brewery and Tap Room.

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Hotel Tomo in San Francisco Trades 'Joy' for 'Karma'

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  Site Where: 1800 Sutter Street [map], San Francisco, CA , United States, 94115
September 24, 2014 at 3:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

And by that we mean, the Japanimation-inspired Hotel Tomo in San Fran's Japantown has gone from a Joie de Vivre Hotel to a Kimpton Hotel. (For those not in the know, JDV's loyalty program is called Joy of Life while Kimpton's is called Kimpton Karma.)

So far, it doesn't seem like anything has changed from the JDV days (except possibly the toiletries in the bathroom which were once Japanese but are now from LATHER.) Here's a more in-depth TripAdvisor review from a Kimpton Karma member who stayed there as the changeover was happening:

I was happy to learn at check-in that Hotel Tomo is now a Kimpton Hotel as I'm a huge fan of Kimpton.

The changeover literally took place the day we arrived so there are still many, many things that need to be ironed out before Hotel Tomo satisfies Kimpton's usual standards.

The staff were very friendly and accommodating. We were given an upgrade which was nice. The room was quite large, especially by San Francisco standards. The view from our room on the eighth floor was great.

What Hotel Tomo looked like in 2010 when HotelChatter visited

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Funky Friday: The Surrealistic Pillow Revisited at Hotel Triton

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  Site Where: 342 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94108
July 11, 2014 at 3:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to Funky Friday, a new segment we’re trying out which features one photo that we think singularly expresses a hotel’s inner psyche. We look for, and often find, a lot of wacky, wild and wondrous designs that seem to have one thing in common: a Type A personality. So why not have a bit of fun as we all wrap up our week by taking a quick look at some hotels that quite frankly, want our attention.

Free-spirited self-expression is alive and well in San Francisco—where it all began—and the Hotel Triton aims to keep it that way. Now a Kimpton hotel, Hotel Triton celebrates individuality and the creative spirit, certainly its own, and invites us along for the ride.

The hotel’s mission, and its interiors, draw inspiration from the city’s culturally rich and colorful past. One would not have to have lived in San Francisco to be affected by its free-mindedness, which spread around the world via icons of 60s and 70s pop culture. We like this hotel for its upbeat, fun looks but also for what it stands for, and find it most fitting for Funky Friday.

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Yotel is Bringing Its Chic Capsule Cabins to San Francisco

June 9, 2014 at 10:09 AM | by | Comments (0)

Yotels, the capsule hotel chain that's known for its in-room mood lighting and its Yobot, are making good on their promise from last fall to take the chain worldwide.

The historic Grant Building at Market and Seventh streets in San Francisco, will turn into a 200-room Yotel after undergoing some extreme renovations. No word on the pricing but with such small rooms, one has to expect some small, er, low, rates.

Capsule rooms aside, the news of a Yotel is excellent for San Fran. The city might be home to some of the world's top tech firms (Twitter, Google, etc.), but its hotel scene has been lacking as of late, especially when you compare it to other big cities like New York, Miami and Chicago, which are readying not just new and hip hotel brands (Ace, Virgin, Edition) but also stylish reincarnations of established brands like Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott.

Hopefully, the arrival of a Yotel will spur some other cool hotel brands to come in. Already, the mid-Market area is making way for a Hampton Inn and another 250-room hotel. Fingers crossed a Hotel Indigo or an Andaz Hotel is coming up next.

[Photo via SFist]