Grand Hyatt San Francisco: A Large Modern Hotel With a Small Hotel Feel

This past Monday I reviewed the Hyatt Regency San Francisco down on the Embarcadero. It’s a large atrium-style hotel that feels busy though I quite liked it (even though they failed to honor my confirmed suite upgrade). If I wanted to be in that part of the city I’d gladly stay there again.

During the past week I made another trip to San Francisco and stayed at the Grand Hyatt.

The Hyatt Regency is about 800 rooms, the Grand Hyatt about 660 so still a very large property but it feels much smaller. That’s mostly, I think, because the Grand is a much taller building with smaller individual floors and also a smaller lobby area. So you don’t feel the size of the property, since you aren’t walking around a ton, and you also aren’t looking at a sea of people. The Grand Hyatt felt to me almost like a boutique property despite its size. And it’s been recently renovated, it feels modern and fresh. I really quite liked it.

The Grand Hyatt is a Union Square property, so a different location, and another hotel I would be happy to return to if I needed to be nearby.

I arrived at the hotel around 12:45pm and there was no problem getting a room. You walk into the hotel and there’s no traditional check-in desk, they have check-in agents each at their own table area.

The lobby also features a coffee bar and a living room with several distinct sitting areas for informal gathering.

The gentleman checking me in acknowledged my Diamond status, asked me if I wanted turndown service and late checkout, and gave me an insert into my key packet detailing the hotel’s club lounge hours.

The checkin process was quick, and I was on my way to the 32nd floor which is also the club floor.

My room was nice and modern, though a bit on the small side.

It had a great view over the city, and a view of the Bay to the left off in the distance. There was a blackout curtain (electronically controlled from the bedside) and also movable shades, very much necessary because the sun shines straight in and not only heats up the room but also makes it tough to read a computer screen otherwise while sitting at a desk. Even with the shades pulled over the windows there’s quite a bit of light coming in when the sun shines directly through the windows.

The bathroom was modern as well, there was a shower but no tub which I personally like, I prefer to walk into a shower cabin rather than step up into a tub. And there was a great shower head to boot.

The hotel featured June Jacobs bath amenities. That’s the new brand standard for Grand Hyatts, which I’ve experienced for awhile at Grand Hyatt properties in Asia. I definitely like them compared to the Portico White Ginger, the green tea and cucumber is a pleasant aroma, although I wonder if I’m the only one that finds the bath gel aroma gets into my nose and lungs and burns a bit? So I use the shampoo and the soap but tend to avoid the bath gel.

While the Grand Hyatt’s club lounge doesn’t offer the amazing views of the lounge at the Hyatt Regency — which has a 360 degree view from what’s their former top floor restaurant, and unobstructed views over the Bay — the views are still quite impressive from 32 floors above the city.

And the offerings are impressive as well. There’s separate breakfast, evening appetizers, and finally a dessert presentation.

The seating is comfortable, and while the lounge isn’t especially large it also didn’t seem busy — in contrast to the Hyatt Regency where it was always packed while I was there (though the Regency was also sold out during my stay).

Breakfast offered coffee, a cappuccino machine, pastries, cheeses, smoked salmon, and even a couple of hot items including a chorizo egg frittata dish that was quite good. I’m a big fan of lounges that offer at least one interesting hot item with breakfast and not just cold offerings (and I do think that cold offerings need to include at least smoked salmon or its equivalent).

At the end of the night I stopped in for a bit of sweet.

Bottom-line for me was a nice, modern hotel with a well-provisioned club lounge. It was cheaper the night I stayed than he Hyatt Regency was, and located in the area I needed to be. That’s pretty much all I ask for. Plus it was a one-night stay that I could help jump start my Gold Passport Diamond requalification with. And it felt much more small and boutique-y than I would have expected from it large size, due to its relatively small floor plate. Definitely a place I’ll return to in San Francisco.

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, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. I’m staying here right now. Great suite. Lounge has great views. I hate the sink… a definite design miss. Someone commented that it looked like a baby bath and I agree.

  2. I’m also staying here right now. The suite is very nice. I’m a bit disappointed with the bathroom, if only because they have two standard sized bathrooms with their own showers when I would prefer they move a wall to expand the main bathroom and add a separate tub. Maybe this just wasn’t possible during renovations. Otherwise, my favorite domestic Grand Hyatt.

  3. I’ve liked this property for 20 years (or more). I used to be known by name at the Front Desk I stayed so often. My last visit was post-renovation and I will be back in August for a three day stay – suite upgrade confirmed. I love the location and the new Grand Club is excellent.

  4. This is a great property. I much prefer it over the Hyatt Regency. Yes, it has the good feel of a boutique hotel, although it is anything but. Will stay there 3-4 times in 2013.

Comments are closed.