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Review: Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony Suite

I stayed at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco back in 2013, which was a pleasant experience. At the time, I remarked that the hotel could benefit from a renovation. That sentiment was reaffirmed during my most recent stay, when the place was practically falling apart. I had booked two rooms: One using a Points + Cash award that I upgraded to a Balcony Suite with a Diamond upgrade certificate, and a standard room using 15,000 points. I didn’t need anything other than a standard room, but since those were not available on Points + Cash, I had the option of either booking a standard room for another 15,000 points or a suite for 7,500 points + $100 and a Diamond suite upgrade. Booking a suite seemed like a good option.

The hotel has a great location on Embarcadero and Market Street, within walking distance of pretty much everything. The last time I was here, I was proactively upgraded to a suite. While the view was nice, the suite was pretty worn down and the sliding door made the most earth shatteringly loud screeching sound I’ve ever heard. 

This time, there was a great deal of confusion at check-in. The agent checking me in spent about 15 minutes talking to a manager about my reservation. The issue? They were flabbergasted that I had made the booking an hour before arrival and thus they hadn’t planned on having a guest stay in that suite. It wasn’t ready and neither was the adjoining room – which, by the way, was a King Room and not a double like I had requested. However, I could keep the room and request a roll-away. Later on, they tried to charge me $25 for the rollaway, which was a minor annoyance I had to deal with.

In any case, they sent us up to the Regency Club Lounge until the room was prepared, without giving us a key to get up there. I had to go back for the key, then headed to the luggage area to drop off a few bags. The bell hope was having a crappy day and let me know with his surly attitude. I received a call an hour later that the room was ready, so I headed downstairs to check it out.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony Suite

The Balcony Suite and adjoining room were in a corner close to the elevator. Neither room was in the best shape, with carpet stains and knicked furniture. Not to mention the tile in the entryway had a lot of grime around the corners.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony Suite Entrance

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony Suite Entrance

The living room cabinet was stocked with a generic coffee maker and a Nespresso machine – which had a broken piece and fell apart further when I tried to use it. I called housekeeping for a new machine, but they instead sent an engineer who showed up an hour later and was baffled about why he’d been sent up when all I had requested was a new machine. I gave up. Not that I couldn’t find a convenient place to plug the thing in anyway. The only two outlets in the living room were unusable – every time I plugged the Nespresso machine in, the plug fell back out.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony Suite Living Room

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony Suite Living Room

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony Suite Living Room

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony Suite Living Room

The bedroom was no better, with just one outlet in the far corner by the world’s tiniest chair. It matched the size of the room I guess.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony Suite Bedroom

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony Suite Bedroom

What I found odd was that in addition to the full bathroom, there was also a half bath in the hallway. I thought this was a waste of space and could have served better as an extension of the bedroom, which was tiny. However, I changed my tune when the hair dryer inside the larger bathroom stopped working seconds after I turned it on. The half bath served its purpose by providing an extra hair dryer.

The smaller bathroom

The smaller bathroom

Speaking of the larger bathroom, it was straight out of the 80’s, all black, with an extra small shower. There was a tiny shelf with barely enough room for the shampoo, conditioner, and soap – which kept slipping off once the water started running.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco, Balcony Suite bathroom

Hyatt Regency San Francisco, Balcony Suite bathroom

Both the living room and bedroom had direct access to the balcony, which was just all around badly maintained. Why anybody would want a balcony right above loud street traffic and so close to the vile smell that emanates from Market Street on a Sunday is beyond me. But it was there and I guess a lot of guests used it because it was in bad shape, with holes everywhere and dusty old furniture. 

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Balcony

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Standard King Room

The adjoining King room was pretty odd. The room itself was larger than the bedroom of the suite and had more outlets. It was also far too close to the suite to be sold as a separate room. The walls are thin and the rooms are too close together. When I  turned on the coffee machine in the suite living room, the noise could be heard in the King room next door. The same goes for the tv – you better like what your neighbor is watching because you’ll be listening to it too.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Standard King Room

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Standard King Room

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Regency Club Lounge

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco’s club lounge offers stunning views of the bay, which never gets old. Like the rest of the hotel, the place needs a scrub down or a makeover. At one point, I did see a manager cleaning the windows with Windex, but the majority of the grime is on the outside – and judging by the looks of things, it will stay there until someone finally gets tired of looking at it. Don’t hold your breath for that day to come.

Around noon, they put out cookies. Drinks are always available. The lattes from the machine are actually very good.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco club lounge drink selection

Hyatt Regency San Francisco club lounge drink selection

In the afternoon, they put out a variety of appetizers: Pizza, a potato dish, cheese, a variety of hummus and dips, veggies, and calamari. There’s also a huge selection of alcohol, which some of the tourists took full advantage of.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Club Lounge Appetizers

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Club Lounge Appetizers

The Regency Club Lounge was unattended for the most part. I was pretty horrified when a woman walked right up to the spread, grabbed the spoon from the ranch bowl, smelled it, then licked the spoon! I told the lounge attendant after finally tracking him down and he took it very seriously. He grabbed the bowl, called the manager, and they both marched over and reprimanded her. She claimed she had only smelled the ranch, but two other people had seen her taste it. I was glad they removed the bowl and dealt with it quickly.

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco’s club lounge also has a work area with computers and a printer. This area is separated by a curtain, which doesn’t do anything to drown out noise, but it does mean you don’t have to see other people while you work (Side note: I once worked in a building where people put up curtains around their cubicles to discourage social interaction, so I guess it’s not all that weird…)

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Club Lounge work area

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Club Lounge work area

Beyond that, there are also a couple of massage chairs that guests are free to use. 

Hyatt Regency San Francisco club lounge massage chairs

Hyatt Regency San Francisco club lounge massage chairs

The Service

The service at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco has deteriorated somewhat and dealing with the front desk staff was always a bit of a hassle. On the first day, I called to ask how late the lounge was serving breakfast. The agent told me 11:30 AM. The next morning we were in for a surprise because they stopped serving breakfast at 9:00 AM. Who is up at that ungodly hour? 

I was pretty agitated about the constant misinformation and called the front desk. The agent agreed to cover breakfast at Eclipse “as a one time courtesy” like she was doing me a favor. I informed her I wouldn’t be asking for this if I hadn’t been misinformed by her colleague and missed breakfast as a result. She told me to come down and she’d give me a breakfast voucher “for one.” I had two rooms and for Diamond members, breakfast is covered for all registered guests. She finally relented, but it bothered me that I had to badger her for it.

The voucher was good for buffet breakfast only, which at $23.95 per person was way overpriced for the quality. There were a few hot luke warm dishes, fruits, and cheese. The corned beef hash was 99% potatoes and the chicken sausage tasted funky. I enjoyed the breakfast spread at the Hyatt Place LAX much more. 

Breakfast at Eclipse - the best of what the buffet had to offer.

Breakfast at Eclipse – the best of what the buffet had to offer.

When I sat down I noticed two of the glasses on the table were dirty (covered in fingerprints and dust). The server took them both without saying a word and when he brought two new glasses, muttered loudly “ayayai.” Ayayai is right, buddy.

Overall Impressions

Overall, my stay at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco wasn’t as smooth as it could have been. The hotel does need a renovation. As my sister said, “Exposed brick is charming. Exposed cement is not” – especially when it’s covered in holes. Unless this building was under siege during a civil war, it really shouldn’t look the way it does. The service also could have been better.

When I was promised late checkout, I knew I was going to have problems with my keycard not working. When I was told to email them my e-gift card and they would put it towards by bill, I followed up only to be told e-vouchers had to be presented “in person.” It would have been nice if the employees had been more proactive and helpful, but that may be an empowerment issue. In any case, I’m looking forward to trying out the Grand Hyatt or Intercontinental on my next visit to San Francisco.

View from the Regency Club Lounge at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco

View from the Regency Club Lounge at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco

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Ariana Arghandewal

8 Comments

  1. Wow, Ariana! That Hyatt is an insult to the Hyatt brand! I’d email Hyatt with everything in this review and ask for my Hyatt points back,if I were you. To treat a Diamond like that is inexcusable, IMO. I have no status with them, but I’m Gold in SPG and Hilton and I was seriously considering getting the Hyatt Visa, now, I guess I’ll just wait and get a Personal and Business SWA Visas, when they go to 50K SWA Rapid reward points, probably in Jan 2015!

    • Sadly, I can’t imagine they treat anyone better than this. When they send me a survey to complete, I’ll definitely mention all of this.

  2. Wow, sounds horrible. Thanks for the review (and “taking one for the team”). I can confirm that the Grand Hyatt is a much better experience. I only stayed there for one night a few months ago, but the hotel in general and my room in particular were fresh and well maintained. The service was also good.

    • I actually tried to book the Grand Hyatt but it was sold out on that day. I will definitely try to get there next time so I can compare the two.

        • Was it 540/541? When they send me a survey I’ll definitely mention all of the issues. I’m not really looking to get points back, but most of these are maintenance issues the hotel has needed to address for a while. Hopefully if enough people complain, they’ll make those necessary changes.

          • I was actually in 1140. Roomed looked the same, but everyone was broken in the room. The jet tub was broken and the suite was dirty. Plus, they promised me a ocean view but I received a city view… in the end I got 15K back 🙂

          • Well they definitely need a renovation if you can’t tell two grimy rooms apart. It’s a good thing you got your points though!

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