A Lovely Stay NOT in a Suite at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco

I posted about downgrade experience at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco and about getting compensation at check-in.

It turned out to be a pretty get stay, though, with an excellent club lounge. And the points I was given for the hotel not honoring my confirmed suite upgrade were worth more, to me, than the suite would have been. So I don’t hold a grudge at all. I just wish it had been a smoother, more proactive process on the part of the hotel instead of having to argue.

Instead of a suite I had a ‘club floor’ room with a balcony. Not bad. I’m not sure the difference between a club floor room and a regular room, club rooms are not on the same floor as the club lounge. But you need your key card to access them, slip the key into the elevator and your flight lights automatically.

There was a lot of dead space in the entry way and then a nice-sized bedroom:

The sink area of the bathroom is off to the right of the entryway to the room, not separated by a door so there’s a shade of sorts to make it a little more private.

It’s still neat to see a television in the mirror in the bathroom, I’m not sure how useful it is but it’s cool. I probably prefer just a small television if I wanted to watch the news while getting ready in the morning though even that’s hardly necessary. Still… impressive.

The toilet and shower area was closed off by a door, of course. The room was small, but I liked the shower because not only was there a curved shower rod (who first thought of this? I recall Westin being the first chain to roll this out broadly and it makes a difference in terms of spaciousness) but also a soft, natural light in the shower itself and not just the shower/toilet room which made it much brighter.

This was my first stay with the new Hyatt Regency toiletries, KenetMD.

I have to say — I like them. Almost anything would smell better than the old Portico White Ginger I think but the Portico did have one saving grace — the bar of soap sure lathered well. KenetMD still has the ‘bumps’ on the bar of soap for the shower, and lathered nicely, but not as impressively than the old stuff did. Still, I’ll take this new choice in a heartbeat!

The room had a small balcony with a view through buildings out over the bay.

The hotel itself is atrium-style, like the pioneering Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

And like many atrium hotels, the elevators are exposed on the interior and offer glass views.

It makes for an impressive effect, it may not be the most modern style but I still like it.

The real highlight of the property, though, was the club lounge. It’s the former top floor restaurant, and it’s accessible only via two of the elevators. The easiest way to get there is to call those elevators from the ground floor, but I found that if I was on my guest room floor and hit the ‘up’ button those elevators were likely to be called. (Those elevators served guest floors as well.)

It’s a circular space with glass window views throughout, and impressive ones at that. Most impressive was sunrise over the bay.

The food spreads were generous, breakfast wasn’t just bread and cheese and fruit but also smoked salmon, and the coffee machine made a good cup of cappuccino.

The evening spread was substantive, one night they had tacos and nachos and another night hey had meatballs and orzo and of course standards like cheeses and meats. The dessert display was also tasty.

The hotel is only about three blocks from what used to be my favorite dim sum place, Yank Sing (Spear Street location). I know there are plenty of partisans who prefer other spots, and there is certainly cheaper dim sum in the city. But it’s so close I did go back, and I was a bit disappointed, it just wasn’t as good as it used to be.

Still, better than most, and anywhere I can get soup dumplings I’m happy.

Meanwhile I also had time to visit the opening of an exhibit at the Harvey Milk Photography Center (nowhere near the Hyatt!), Black Power | Flower Power which was an amazing exploration into the everyday life of the Haight-Ashbury and of the Black Panthers, two iconic communities in the Bay Area living close together and telling stories unique to the region. Listening to some of the leaders of the Black Panther movement was enlightening to say the least, though I’ll leave those stories for another time.

Overall, a recommended hotel for the area. I’m looking forward to an upcoming stay at the Grand Hyatt, so I can compare.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Surprisingly tight review. No references to how the property looked 15 years ago or restaurants you frequented in 1978. Bravo.

    Good tight effort.

  2. The Regency Club is definitely awesome at this property. Nice relaxing views of the bay. Also, its not the end of the world if you don’t get a suite. People are starving out there while we are complaining about first world problems about not getting upgraded to a suite or first class flight.

  3. I did not find it the end of the world at all! I wrote the post about handling the downgrade of a confirmed suite in hopes it would be helpful to others if they find themselves in the same situation, not to rant or complain (the issue was, in any case, already quite favorably resolved!)

  4. This Hyatt has my favorite lounge out of any I’ve stayed at, for all the reasons you mentioned, plus massage chairs.

  5. Bummed. I’m staying at the Grand Hyatt in a few days. Now I wish I stayed here instead because it was much less expensive.

  6. How are the Xiao Long Bao at Yank Sing? You’re DC based, correct? The best I’ve had in the Mid Atlantic is incidentally in Philadelphia, next to the bus station.. very dodgy looking place… Dim SUm Garden I believe…but they are solid.. I’m a fan of Din Tai Fung; unfortunately they only have US branches in Arcadia CA and Bellevue WA

  7. What a treat, this review was! The Hyatt Regency San Francisco was the first atrium hotel I stayed in, and the glass elevators and sharply angled modern design were a marvel to a 13 year old boy in 1973 🙂 (BTW – the hotel was featured in the Mel Brooks movie, High Anxiety.)

    On a side note: Yank Sing was my favorite, too. I’m so sorry to hear it has gone downhill. Are there others you like better in SF?

  8. The difference between the room you received and the suite you wanted is Infinitesimal — mostly due to the fact that the suites have been not been remodeled, are dated, and instead of the chaise lounge, you get a ratty sofa.

    With the 45K points you received, you made out like a bandit!

  9. Best part about this hotel is its proximity to public transit and the ferry building. Skip the lounge and have breakfast at the Ferry Building instead. You’ll be glad you did.

  10. @ Ti – the Grand Hyatt is beautiful & recently renovated. Way better than the Regency, IMO. Except for the lounge.

  11. The HR SF has some of the largest standard rooms in SF @ 385 sq ft (they call it “Deluxe”) – that “dead space” comes in handy with the 2 dbl. bed configuration.

  12. Actually – the Grand Hyatt was renovated last year – rooms are very nice – although it’s a bit hard to find the plugs next to the bed – and the sink looks like a baby bathtub. The Hyatt Regency Embarcadero is a slightly newer remodel – having been started a few months after the Grand Hyatt was completed.

    All in all they are both great hotels, and both locations are pretty fantastic. (I have stayed at both – rooms and suites).

  13. The location of the Regency Embarcadero and the club beat the Grand Hyatt and day of the week.

  14. FlyingDoctorWu: I lived in Philly and went to school downtown. Ocean Harbor is the best in Philly and the best dim sum I’ve had. BTW: best sushi “in Philly” is Sagami in Collingswood, NJ across the bridge.

    Gary: I thought the post was very helpful. You are an inspiring negotiator.

  15. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency just last month. I had a regular room on the 5th.

    Your room is almost identical to mine, except that mine didn’t have the chair at the end of the bed, had no balcony, and had 2 or 3 leather chairs instead of the sofa. I also still had the Portico amenities.

  16. For some reasons, your pictures are not showing up in either my Google Chrome browser or my IE browser.

    Is this just me? Any ideas on how to fix this?

    Love the site!

  17. Having the bathroom sink and dressing area in the room and not separated by a door is a BIG downside at this hotel and puts it at the level of MUCH lower priced hotels/motels. If two people are staying in the room, it’s nearly impossible for one to get up and get dressed without waking the other.

    Location wise, each hotel has it’s own advantages. The HR San Francisco is good for those wanting to be in the financial district or near the Ferry Building. The Grand Hyatt is in the center of the city at Union Square and is good for those wanting to be close to shopping, Chinatown, and the two primary cable car lines.

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