Tried & Tested

Hotel check: The Stanford Court, A Renaissance Hotel

11 Jun 2009 by Sara Turner

The Stanford Court, a Renaissance hotelWHAT’S IT LIKE? The Stanford Court, a Renaissance hotel in San Francisco is a grand block perched on top of the very steep Nob Hill, one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in the city. The property underwent a US$35 million refurbishment, which was completed in November last year, and delivers standards you would expect from the Marriott brand.

Arriving by car takes you off Powell Street and down into a forecourt beneath the hotel to a side entrance where a valet will take your vehicle and park it (US$51 a day). Entering this way brings you to the reception, which feels quite tucked away, being on a level slightly lower than the street. The main entrance is off California Street and has a large, open foyer.

There is a concierge desk and a PC for guests’ use, with free internet, in the lobby by the front desk, with the Aurea restaurant leading off it and a bank of lifts at the end. The property has a family-friendly feel, with welcoming staff and cheerful modern design elements, such as Marriott’s typical brightly coloured patterned carpets in the rooms and corridors.

WHERE IS IT? On the corner of Powell and California Street on Nob Hill, with its cable cars trundling up and down and views of the bay. San Francisco airport is 22.5km away – about 40 minutes’ drive. (The hotel does not offer a shuttle service. Taxis cost around US$45.) Union Square, the Financial District, Chinatown and the Embarcadero are all The Stanford Court, a Renaissance hotelwithin walking distance.  

ROOM FACILITIES The newly renovated rooms are all non-smoking and feature wired and wireless internet access (US$9.95 for 24 hours), safes, bathrobes and hairdryers, 37-inch LCD televisions, air conditioning, in-room dining from 6am to 11pm, iron and ironing boards, and plump bedding.

My Deluxe room looked down on to the street, and had high ceilings, two large ochre-coloured armchairs, a dark wood workdesk with an ethernet port, tea and coffee-making facilities (but no minibar), bottled mineral water and a CD/radio/alarm clock. In the morning, I noticed that the room was not very well sound-proofed as I could clearly hear music coming from the next room. The bathroom was fairly compact with a low ceiling, and had a combined bath and shower, plus a rail for hanging clothes.

The Stanford Court, a Renaissance hotelLittle added extras included free shoe-shine and turndown service on request from 6pm to 9pm, and complimentary teaorcoffee with morning wake-up call between 4.30am and 10am (just call the operator to arrange it in the evening). It’s also worth noting that Deluxe View Rooms have views of the bay so you may want to book one of these.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS Aurea on the lobby level is a casual restaurant and lounge open for California-style breakfast lunch and dinner. (Brunch is also served at the weekend between 11am and 2pm.) Above it is a Tiffany-style glass atrium, while the venue itself is fitted with neutral furnishings, the odd flatscreen TV and a small terrace outside with pot plants.

Breakfast is served 6.30am to 11am and options include a buffet plus à la carte options such as the lemon soufflé pancakes (US$17), which came highly recommended, and egg-white omelette with spinach, tomato, feta, home-fried potatoes and, toast, a bagel or a muffin (US$16).

MEETING AND BUSINESS FACILITIES The computer in the lobby is handy for free printing and internet access, although when I wanted to use it there was a bit of a queue. However, wifi (at a charge) is available in the public areas as well as in the meeting rooms. There are 12 meeting spaces in total covering 1,115 sqm, with the Stanford ballroom on the lower-lobby level being the largest, seating up to 600 delegates. The Conservatory, also on the lower level, can accommodate 80 people for a reception, while the Nob Hill room on the lobby level, can seat 80 people for a banquet.

LEISURE FACILITIES Although there is no spa or pool here, there is a decent fitness centre on the first floor with Life Fitness machines, free weights, two workout benches and lots of windows looking out onto nearby buildings.

VERDICT After a US$35 million facelift the hotel is looking fresh and smart, and with its excellent location and comprehensive meeting facilities, it is a decent option for any corporate executive.

Fact file

HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 367 rooms and 26 suites over eight floors.

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS Very soft bedding, fresh décor, and free hot drink with wake-up call.

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in July started from US$149 for a Deluxe room.

CONTACT The Stanford Court, a Renaissance hotel, California Street 905, Nob Hill; +1 415 989 3500;

Jenny Southan

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