Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Grand Hyatt San Francisco

31 Aug 2015 by Clement Huang


The Grand Hyatt San Francisco has been a feature of Union Square since it opened in 1972. Originally named the Hyatt on Union Square, the skyscraper hotel adopted its current name in 1990 when it moved from a mid-brand to a premium product. A $70 million (US$51.5 million) refurbishment was completed in 2013. 


Upon entering the hotel via the main entrance on Stockton Street, you will find yourself in a modest-sized lobby area. The reception area is on the right with four counters, including a dedicated priority line for top-tier members of the Hyatt Gold Passport programme. A fireplace breathes warm life into the small but cosy space. 


The hotel overlooks the public plaza of Union Square, a prominent commercial district that is home to one of the largest collections of department stores, upscale boutiques and full-service hotels in the downtown San Francisco area. Popular spots include Westfield shopping mall, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Accessibility to the hotel is easy thanks to both the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Muni Metro running through Powell Street station – a mere three-minute walk from the hotel. Travel time to the airport is about 35 minutes on BART and costs US$8.65 one way. There are also plenty of taxis.


The 659 guestrooms are spread between levels 3 to 34 and are available in four categories – Standard, View, Grand Club and Suite. I stayed in a Grand Club room.  It was simply and smartly furnished with a wooden floor, floor-to-ceiling windows and hardwood furniture. A 37-inch LCD TV dominated the front of the room and there was a sturdy, generously sized work desk next to it. For those wishing to link their laptops or mobile devices to the television, there is a media jack pack connectivity panel that accepts HDMI and PC/Video components. Complimentary wifi is available for all guests, while paid higher-speed connectivity is also offered. A king-size “Grand Bed” ensures travellers benefit from a healthy rest, and I particularly appreciated the plush pillows and thick, cosy blankets. The bathroom was small but adequate. There is a single bathtub with a showerhead, which is complemented by a June Jacobs Spa. I found the water pressure to be weak though, which made for a disappointing start to my day.


Grand Club Room guests have access to the Grand Club lounge on level 32, which offers sweeping views of San Francisco Bay and skyline. Three complementary food and beverage presentations are offered – continental breakfast in the mornings; mid-day refreshments at noon; and hors d’oeuvres with bar service in the evenings, although evening drinks do need to be paid for. I was impressed by the size of the Grand Club lounge, as there were plenty of tables and seats available. During the busy morning rush, however, all the best spots next to the floor-to-ceiling windows were already taken. The F&B spread was generous, with a mix of hot and cold dishes on offer. 


For casual dining, the One Up Restaurant and Lounge is the way to go. Featuring a warm and comfortable urban-style ambience, it offers authentic Northern California flavours developed by chef Kevin Villalovos. The San Francisco clam chowder (US$14) is always a crowd pleaser, while pork belly BLT (US$15) and all natural braised beef short ribs (US$28) are comfort food at its best. Cocktails, wines and spirits are also offered. Meanwhile, guests looking for a quick grab-and-go option need look no further than the Coffee Bar, which serves teas, fresh pastries, snacks and Starbucks coffee. Finally, those seeking to host exclusive dining events can opt for the One Up Private Dining Room.


The property offers 2,787 sqm of flexible event space. This includes a meeting area on the second floor, which allows plenty of natural light thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, plus another event space on the highest 36th floor, with unobstructed panoramic views of the city and bay area.


A modest-sized fitness centre on the 35th floor is open all day. Expect to find Life Fitness-branded treadmills, cross trainers and recumbent bikes here, along with strength training machines and yoga mats.


While the rooms and facilities felt slightly on the small side, the quality and service were superb. The property boasts an unbeatable location within San Francisco’s downtown area, and offers excellent business-friendly facilities. 



  • HOW MANY ROOMS? 659 guestrooms with four categories – Standard; View; Grand Club; and Suite – offering sweeping views of downtown San Francisco
  • HIGHLIGHTS Fast and free wifi, an excellent albeit busy executive club lounge and a high-quality bed
  • PRICE Rates for a Grand Club King room in mid-October start from US$644, excluding additional taxes or fees.
  • CONTACT Grand Hyatt San Francisco, 345 Stockton Street, San Francisco, California, US, 94108; tel: +1 415 398 1234;

Clement Huang

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