Kongo often reads with a high degree of admiration the hostel reviews written by brave travelers in exotic destinations. This isn’t one of those reviews. Kongo just doesn’t do hostels, frankly, and his idea of roughing it are defined by other parameters. But Kongo does realize that there are all types of travelers and many different ideas about what constitutes acceptable lodging. The Grand Hyatt in San Francisco is (in Kongo’s humble opinion) one of those places that qualifies as very acceptable lodging.
Located in the financial district at Union Square, the Grand Hyatt is at the center of most things on a visitor’s “must see” list: Union Square, Chinatown, cable cars, Market Street shopping, Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, Russian Hill, and Nob Hill are all within walking distance or a short cable car ride.
Kongo is a very frequent guest at Hyatt and has reached stratospheric point levels so this trip actually didn’t cost him anything. Prices for a comparable room, an Executive Suite, are $520 a night not counting parking at $50 per day, 14.5% occupancy tax, 7.5% sales tax. Internet fees are extra. The executive suite room also came with access to the newly remodeled Club Lounge on the 34th floor that offers an excellent breakfast of egg dishes, fruit, pastries, juices, coffee. The Club Lounge is also open for cocktails in the evening starting at 5 PM with a very well stocked honors bar ($4 per cocktail), followed by a desert service at 7 PM. The views from the Club Lounge are spectacular either looking out over the financial district or across
Coit Tower to the Bay. Service in the Grand Lounge is superb and there are plenty of window tables to catch the view. San Francisco is one of those cities where watching the sunset from a high perch should be on your “must do” list.
The hotel is in the final stages of a major renovation but the Hyatt has done such a good job in hiding any construction that if they hadn’t apologized for the “mess” Kongo would never have known anything was going on at all.
The Executive Suite room has a large lounge area and separate bedroom with two full baths, two large screen televisions, stereo plug-ins for your MP3 players or Apple music player. Luxury suites are available.
All the Hyatt rooms are hypo-allergenic and undergo a special process to remove irritants. While Kongo is not allergic to much, the rooms do smell very good. Especially the pillows.
There are some other nearby hotels, the St. Francis for example, that offer big hotel amenities and comparative prices but they really don’t compare, in Kongo’s mind, to the Grand Hyatt. Kongo has stayed at the St. Francis before (it boasts that almost every U.S. president has stayed there along with numerous other heads of state and even the Queen) but it always struck him as a bit tired, despite a great bar in the Compass Rose or the magnificent clock in the lobby. There are plenty of boutique hotels in the area and Kongo has stayed at a few, such as the Inn on Union Square. They all have their charms but don’t measure up to the Hyatt, as long as cost is not your major concern. Kongo has also stayed at the Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf on many occasions and while it is nice, it’s not grand.
On departure Mrs. Kongo said, “I think this is my new favorite hotel…”
Wherever you stay in San Francisco, the most impressive sights and things to do are always going to be outside your hotel but after a long day of scampering up and down hills, and sight-seeing, it’s nice to come back to something and just be able to say, “ahhhh.”
Travel safe. Have fun.