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The Westin St. Francis: 'Classic' Can Mean Weathered

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  Site Where: 335 Powell Street [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94102
May 19, 2008 at 3:01 PM | by | ()

We were very excited to stay in a grand dame hotel like The Westin St Francis on the south edge of Union Square. We don't always go for landmark hotels like this, but the occasion called for it and we went in with eager eyes. The other organ that immediately kicked into high gear were our stomachs. The St Francis is home to famous chef Michael Mina, yum!

Walking into the lobby struck another one of our senses and not in a good way. The place smelled old. As if we were stepping into a museum replete with that stale library scent. Sure, the lobby is impressionable--there's echoey marble everywhere--but this is not a strikingly modern, architecturally progressive hotel lobby like THOR.

Then again, we were thankful it wasn't a W Hotel lobby...er "living room". Blech!

Room Reaction
Once in our room which was on the 22nd floor, we were impressed with the overall size and looking out at Union Square was peaceful. It's our recommendation to stay in the tower building on a higher floor.

The decor was as to be expected. There was lots of tan tones, a king size white bed with nice pillows that actually was quite comfortable.

Bathroom Trouble
We really love our bathrooms and the bathroom here was where the letdown began. The tub was standard and the fixtures were ho-hum. We felt it was a very B- performance.

We love the feeling of getting to our room, settling down and then checking out the bathroom and immediately getting a "wow!" This did not happen here.

Fading Furniture
Upon closer inspection the room felt worn. The furniture had that look of inexpensive wood chipping. This is where we felt that being a landmark hotel is a blessing and a curse.

It's great if it can be maintained to museum quality standards, but when the landmark begins to crumble, it feels sad, like an old depressed man who once stood tall and proud, the years forming a hunch in his back.

Amenity Madness
For the most part we sat in our robes and loved the Heavenly Bed that is a signature component of any Westin hotel.  We watched our huge flat screen TV before having one of the best meals in our young lives at Michael Mina that night.

Bottom Line
In terms of the big picture, The St Francis will be forever popular because of its history and location and should be appreciated for that. The best part was the value of our stay. We found the best rate on their website and paid $165 a night while we were there which we rank as a value incroyable!

The room and overall service felt more like a $300/night stay, so that was appreciated. So go get an Irish Coffee at Fisherman's Wharf, ride a street car and spend a night at the St Francis, it's not glamorous, but it is famous.

[Photo: Http2007]

Archived Comments:

Re: The Westin St. Francis: 'Classic' Can Mean Wea

I have stayed at the Westin many times and I always have a great time.   We also have produced events there and its a union house which leads to some challenges but the staff is alwasy very very helpful.


Westin St. Francis: 'Classic' Can Mean Weathered

I posted a negative review of the St Francis almost three years ago on TripAdvisor.  See below.  Sorry that things haven't improved much!

The Westin St. Francis was a BIG disappointment. I am a Starwood Preferred Guest member, and have stayed at at least 10 Westins this year. This was one of the two worst.

First, the bad:

  1. The room, in the newer tower section, showed a lot of wear, especially the wood bathroom mirror frame, which was really water-damaged.

  2. The windows were FILTHY on the outside. A shame, as the view of Nob Hill and Coit Tower was quite beautiful.

  3. As a frequent business traveler, it galls me that most nice hotels charge at least $9.95 a night for internet access - and not wireless, at that. The Westin St. Francis has the nerve to charge $14.95 a night for something that should be free. Internet access is not a luxury to business travelers, and this hotel's fee is highway robbery. It is a way for them to advertise lower room rates, just like not including the tax like other nations require. My $229 rate was actually $270 with internet and tax included. Can you say BAIT and SWITCH? EGREGIOUS!

  4. There is no security at this hotel to stop tourists and whoever else from riding the scenic elevators. They can get off at any guest floor they want en route to the top floor. Not good.

  5. The doormen were surly and rude when asked for directions. I mean really rude and really surly.

What is this hotel's management thinking? Are they blind? Are they inept? Both? I am going to forward these points to Starwood's headquarters.

The good:

  1. Room was clean.
  2. Bed was comfortable.
  3. Concierges were knowledgeable and helpful.

Not enough good, though, to counter the bad. A real shame.