Posted by Ric Garrido

The W Hotel San Francisco is a 31-story hotel with 404 guestrooms. Historically this hotel is expensive. A low rate for the W SF is $159 to $179 per night. Rates most frequently hover around $219 to $249. San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center across the street frequently pushes rates into the $350 to $450 per night range.  

 

 

W Hotel San Francisco

W Hotel San Francisco

Currently there is a Fantastic Suite promotion for a 700 square feet room with 2 full baths. Lower floor suites are $500 per night and upper floor suites are $575. The clause in the booking rate states:

“No parties or meetings allowed!”

That just sounds whiny.

Arrival:

The parking entrance is located on one-way Howard Street just past the fire station.  This is downtown San Francisco and the blare of sirens comes gratis with the territory. A Howard Street facing room will guarantee more siren noise.

I pulled in to Wheels. Valet attendants promptly surrounded our car. The hotel front desk had at least 8 separate guests and couples waiting for check-in.  I joked with the parking attendant that I would be leaving the hotel to park and probably get back to the hotel before Kelley could reach the front desk.

W Hotel Wheels

W Hotel Wheels

The cost of parking is the primary complaint I see in W San Francisco hotel reviews. Parking is $45 + 14% city tax; over $51 for the night. Hybrid cars get 50% parking rates. San Francisco hotels have outrageous parking fees. As always, my advice for parking with the Starwood Hotels in this area: W Hotel, St. Regis, Westin Market Street, and The Palace Hotel is to park at the Hearst Garage on Third Street and Stevenson. Hearst Garage charges a flat rate $20 for 24-hour parking, but no in-and-out privileges. The W Hotel is the farthest Starwood Hotel in SoMa district from the garage at about 250 yards up Third Street. In other words, Hearst Parking is centrally located to these four Starwood Hotels, Marriott San Francisco, and Four Seasons. 

 

 

Hearst Parking Center at Third Street and Stevenson

Hearst Parking Center at Third Street and Stevenson

Back at the hotel, Kelley was waiting and the line was down to one guest. She was surprised at how slowly the line had moved and the fact that a second staff person did not appear until people had been waiting for about ten minutes. We still waited five more minutes while the one guest at the counter had an extraordinarily long check-in time. The second staffer had already departed.

 

 

W San Francisco front desk backdrop

W San Francisco front desk backdrop

My reservation using a free weekend night was upgraded from a 300 square feet Wonderful Room on a lower floor to a 400 square feet (or so they claim) Fabulous Corner Room on the 26th floor. Our luggage was already stacked on a hotel cart and sitting in the lobby.  There were no staffers in the lobby to assist with the luggage after receiving the room key. I pulled the cart to the elevator myself and headed to our 26th floor room.

 

W Hotel San Francisco elevator

W Hotel San Francisco elevator

Hotel Lobby Ambience:

W Hotels are a sensory experience. Colorful lighting, aural ambience, and tactile entertainment are the trademarks of a W Hotel stay. The elevator ride has color, smells from fragrant sticks in the corner, and music.

W San Francisco lobby

W San Francisco lobby

Music is a constant at the W Hotel. Music in the lobby, music in the elevators, music in the guest room hallway, and we kept the music playing in the room for much of our stay.

 

XYZ Bar, W San Francisco

XYZ Bar, W San Francisco

 

You either go with music or the noise can get irritating when you are on a low floor and XYZ Bar is in rave mode.

 

W San Francisco lobby

W San Francisco lobby

A Pacman video game and assorted board games and books are placed around the lobby.

 

 

Board game, W San Francisco lobby

Board game, W San Francisco lobby

The lobby has high ceilings and several couches and chairs for guests. I read in some other hotel reviews that internet is free access in the lobby but not free in the rooms. I will have to test out lobby internet wifi on a future trip.

 

 

W San Francisco Entrance at corner of Howard and Third Street

W San Francisco Entrance at corner of Howard and Third Street

The Room:

San Francisco is my frequent hotel stop and I still get a thrill from the W Hotel room city views. The location across from Yerba Buena Gardens and Moscone Convention Center means about half the rooms have an open view across the southern and westerly city landscape where few high-rise buildings block the view. Our “Fabulous” corner room at 2609 had windows with views from the northeast to the southwest. Seating benches in front of each of the three windows maximized the utility of the room’s high rise urban setting.

W San Francisco Room 2609

W San Francisco Room 2609

The room was incredibly bright on a clear sky day with abnormally high temperatures in the 90s throughout the entire city. We had driven through the city from Golden Gate Park where hundreds of shirtless guys and bikini-top clad women were heading to the first day of the three day Outside Lands Music festival. Parading bare skin is not unusual in San Francisco where nudity is tolerated to a large degree at public events, but walking around near bare due to the hot weather is a truly rare site for the regularly windy and fog-enveloped city of San Francisco.

The heat or exhibitionist behavior placed a naked guy in our line of sight for an inordinate amount of time early Friday evening before dinner.

Attention guests of St. Regis and W Hotels. Anyone with working far-sighted vision can see the 120 yards from building to building. Standing naked in your room with blinds open is not too discreet. 

 

 

W San Francisco bathroom

W San Francisco bathroom

The true W Hotel room test would be Wind. Could we get the AC to keep the room cool? The W wind machine worked like a charm.

 

 

W Hotel San Francisco 2609 bedroom

W Hotel San Francisco 2609 bedroom

The furniture in the room exuded an IKEA feel to me. The pieces were bright, functional, and plain. 

 

 

W Hotel San Francisco nightstand

W Hotel San Francisco nightstand

One of the features I did not like about the room is the sliding bathroom door with a glass panel. Turning on the light in the bathroom reflected too much light into the bedroom at night.

 

 

w-hotel-san-francisco-bathroom-door

Bathroom is functional with stool and lighted mirror.

W San Francisco 2609 bathroom sink

W San Francisco 2609 bathroom sink

 

 

Little touches in the W tend to make me smile.

Toilet Paper bag for the spare in closet, W San Francisco

Toilet Paper bag for the spare in closet, W San Francisco

The room has more Asian design features than I recall from previous stays. Pieces like origami wall art in the bathroom and an Asian figurine on the desk, and room lucky numbers on the doorsign. 

 

 

Origami butterfly

Origami butterfly

A Buddha light on the shelf changed colors and provided nightlight. It wasn’t until I looked at my hotel room photos the next morning that I realized there was a switch to turn the light off.

 

 

w-hotel-san-francisco-buddha

The wall mounted 32-inch flat screen TV had some HDTV channels. Reading material is always a nice touch for a hotel room.

w-hotel-san-francisco-32-in-hdtv

The W San Francisco Hotel Guide was placed on the desk top. Hotel guides with information about the hotel have been absent in many rooms I’ve stayed in lately.

w-hotel-san-francisco-desk

The bathroom had Bliss bath products. Oddly there was only one robe in the room.

w-hotel-san-francisco-bliss-products

Bed lamps had adjustable lighting.

w-hotel-san-francisco-bed-lamp

My impression over the years is the W San Francisco hotel rooms are a bit small. On this stay I pulled out the measuring tape and found the room to be significantly smaller than the 400 square feet advertised on the website for a Fabulous room. If the room had been a linear shaped rectangle the measurements would be 14 ft. x 26 ft. for a 364 square feet room. Those were the longest coordinates in the room and the room design ate into some of that space.

W San Francisco Room 2609 entry hall deep window ledge facing St. Regis Hotel

W San Francisco Room 2609 entry hall deep window ledge facing St. Regis Hotel

The room was so far off the stated measurement that I wrote a note to the hotel General Manager stating my measurements for 2609 do not come anywhere near the 400 square feet listed for Fabulous Rooms on the website. Actually the room is much closer to 300 square feet. Ceilings at 8 ft in most of the room provided more spaciousness than a typical hotel room.

 

 

st-regis-sf-checkers

 

The Views

W San Francisco view of St. Regis left and Palace Hotel (low story building in center)

W San Francisco view of St. Regis left and Palace Hotel (low story building in center)

W San Francisco view of Westin Market Street (center) and Four Seasons (left)

W San Francisco view of Westin Market Street (center) and Four Seasons (left)

W San Francisco Room 2609 view west of InterContinental Hotel San Francisco

W San Francisco Room 2609 view west of InterContinental Hotel San Francisco

w-hotel-sf-2609-view-north

Room 2609 views 

W San Francisco 2609 view over Yerba Buena Gardens

W San Francisco 2609 view over Yerba Buena Gardens

 

W San Francisco 2609 view west at night

W San Francisco 2609 view west at night

 

W San Francisco 2609 sunrise view west

W San Francisco 2609 sunrise view west

W San Francisco room 2609 hotel row at night

W San Francisco room 2609 hotel row at night

W San Francisco 2609 view of city at dusk

W San Francisco 2609 view of city at dusk

 

Pool and Fitness Room:

The hotel fitness room and pool state they are open 24 hours. I was up at 3:30am for the pool test. There is nothing like trying to swim at 3:30am to see if a pool really operates 24 hours.

W San Francisco Sweat

W San Francisco Sweat

I had a pleasant swim and the two staffers who came by and walked through the pool area did not inhibit my swimming at all.  The pool was so cool, literally when I entered, and figuratively as I settled into the groove of good music playing loudly over the stereo system in the pool area in the early morning hours. 

 

 

W San Francisco 24-Hour Wet Pool

W San Francisco 24-Hour Wet Pool

Good to know someone was watching in case I had an unfortunate swimming mishap. Technically the rules state swimming alone is not allowed, but who actually reads the fine print on the wall.

 

I noticed the rule after swimming, located about 5 or 6 rules down on the long list of posted pool rules on the wall.

 

 

W San Francisco Spa Tub in 4th floor pool area

W San Francisco Spa Tub in 4th floor pool area

A cool design feature is the symmetry of the spa tub when sitting and looking up. The spa pool is centered with the W building. The glass roof of the pool showed pink light illuminating the side of the W building.

W San Francisco pool seating

W San Francisco pool seating

 

The W San Francisco Building

W San Francisco

W San Francisco

W San Francisco cornerstone

W San Francisco cornerstone

W San Francisco seen from Yerba Buena Gardens

W San Francisco seen from Yerba Buena Gardens

W San Francisco (right) and St. Regis Hotel (left)

W San Francisco (right) and St. Regis Hotel (left)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses

  1. I am testing free internet in the lobby of the W Hotel. It works.

    Two more quick comments about W Hotel. The beds are comfortable and the bed pillows fine. I really enjoy a malleable feather pillow feel.

    XYZ Bar on Saturday night was hopping. DJ in the lobby kept the discs spinning and the crowd and music filled the street level lobby and the 2nd floor bar.

    The W Hotel definitely has a popular scene if being around lots of people is your scenic entertainment style.

  2. […] W San Francisco in HD (Sep 4, 2009) – Loads of photos […]

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