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We were at the Sony Metreon Entertainment Center in the heart of
San Francisco’s South of Market Street (SOMA) district, and our
toddler couldn’t get enough of an indoor playground that brings to
life Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, “Where the Wild
Things Are.” He especially loved the funhouse of Wild Things, not
to mention the giant tree slide and the mirror maze.
Finally, my wife and I convinced him it was time to move on.
After all, there was the five-acre Yerba Buena Gardens playground
across the street.
Those who haven’t been to San Francisco in awhile might be
surprised to think of SOMA as a fun-for-all-ages family vacation
spot. But after staying at The Argent Hotel, just off Market
Street, I can’t imagine a better location.
Within easy walking distance of the Argent is the Metreon Center
(housing the Wild Things playground, a video arcade, multiplex
movie theater and shops and restaurants); the unique Yerba Buena
Gardens playground built on the roof of the Moscone Convention
Center (with a carousel, bowling alley and ice-skating rink); and
the Zeum (a hands-on art and technology center for kids). Also
nearby is the Museum of Modern Art and Union Square.
Walk just a bit farther or take advantage of the hotel’s
proximity to public transportation and your clients can take in a
baseball game at SBC Park or go for a stroll in Chinatown, North
Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf.
The weekend we were there, we took the MUNI train from
practically the front door of the Argent all the way across town to
the playground in Golden Gate Park. Not only did the train save us
time fighting traffic and money for parking, but our son loved
peering out the train windows.
And besides its ideal location, the Argent has much to offer
inside the hotel as well.
Managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, one of the largest
independent hospitality companies in the country, the Argent’s 667
rooms and suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows for a great
bird’s-eye-view of the city. (Ask for rooms above the 15th floor
for the best view.)
The Argent describes their decor as “metropolitan elegance,”
which translates to a crisp, clean modern feel, but with plenty of
warmth. Golds and blacks permeate, along with sophisticated stripes
and deep brown woods.
In-room amenities include Gilchrist & Soames Spa Line bath
products and feather comforters. There are meeting and banquet
facilities available in the hotel, as well as the swanky Jester’s
Restaurant and Lounge, with live jazz on Friday nights. The hotel
also has a spa and a small workout room that was jam-packed with
Conscious of its reputation as a business hotel, the Argent is
reaching out to weekenders, including families. On our stay, we
found everyone extremely accommodating to our needs.
In order to help agents experience the Argent for themselves,
the hotel is offering a special rate of $99 through the end of
One word of caution: If you do go with kids, have an exit
strategy ready before you hit the playground.
The Argent Hotel
50 Third St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Hits: Location. What’s not within walking
distance of the hotel is easily reached by MUNI or BART. Great
views. Very knowledgeable and friendly concierge staff. There’s a
small grocery store steps away from the hotel entrance, which made
getting kid-friendly necessities a breeze.
Misses: No pool or Jacuzzi. Not enough drawer
space. On Saturday morning, expect a bit of a wait at the concierge
desk. Parking for overnight hotel guests is a whopping $39 a
Be Aware: There’s a major construction site on
one side of the hotel, which might be something to ask about for
guests visiting during the week. The mini-bar has special weight
sensors, so it can’t be used to store food and drinks without
guests being charged. However, a second small refrigerator was
brought up quickly for use free of charge.
Plugging In: Could have used more electrical
outlets in the room. High-Speed Internet access is available for
$10 per day.
Rates: Rack rates are $350-$575 and $520-$2,000
for suites. But several affordable weekend packages are
Commission: 10 percent.