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It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how a hotel attains iconic status. Certainly San Francisco, with its hilly peninsula setting and gorgeous bay views, has plenty of iconic hotels. Sitting in the midst of some of the city’s most-lauded hotels, the Grand Hyatt San Francisco enjoys a quieter reputation than many of its neighbors and, while it is beloved by regulars, it is somewhat unknown by everyone else. Fresh off of an impressive $70 million renovation, however, the Grand Hyatt San Francisco is well worth a closer look.
Grand Hyatt San Francisco’s prime Union Square location, just steps from San Francisco’s famed cable cars, offers immediate access to the city’s finest dining, shopping and entertainment. And while having a “room with a view” has become a near cliche in San Francisco’s luxury landscape, the Grand Hyatt’s location high atop Stockton Street puts it among the best of the best. In particular, travel agents should secure a Bay View room for their clients, as the hotel’s northern views are nearly unobstructed by other buildings. On a clear day, the views stretch from North Beach and the Coit Tower to Alcatraz Island, Napa, Richmond and beyond.
While the view alone is worth a stay, the renovated rooms provide a stylish retreat, featuring hardwood floors, plush bedding and a sleek, minimalist design. The room’s generous bench desk is perfect for today’s tech-hungry travelers, with plenty of electrical outlets and a “jack pack” multimedia hub, as well as high-speed wired and Wi-Fi Internet access. Other in-room technology includes 37-inch, flat-screen televisions, Bittel’s Uno Media phones with MP3/iPod docking capabilities, smart locks that sync the in-room safe and thermostat and floor-to-ceiling electronic blackout shades.
For allergy sufferers, the hotel’s Pure Rooms (hypoallergenic rooms), are specially treated to reduce airborne particles, including a state-of-the-art air purification system and special handling of all fabrics and surfaces in the room.
Frequent travelers should take advantage of the property’s Grand Club lounge, located on the 32nd floor. In addition to top-notch views of the San Francisco Bay and city skyline, the lounge offers three generous, complimentary food and beverage “presentations,” including continental breakfast, midday refreshments and evening hors d’oeuvres with cocktail service.
Much of the hotel’s renovations, which were competed in late 2012, occurred in the meetings area, with a particular emphasis on a technology upgrade. The Grand Hyatt San Francisco is one of the most tech-forward choices for event planners. The hotel’s Conference Theatre, the only facility of its kind in San Francisco, seats 70 to 90 and features Herman Miller ergonomic chairs and spacious desktops that include electrical outlets.
Unfortunately, the hotel’s renovations brought about the closing of the scenic Grandview Restaurant, located on the 32nd floor, which is now an event space.
Still, there is plenty to rave about at the new OneUp restaurant, located on the hotel’s mezzanine level, which features an open-kitchen restaurant and serves American bistro fare featuring locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. The adjacent OneUp lounge serves an extensive regional wine list, beer selections from local microbreweries and its own branded OneUp whiskey. The lounge is also the setting for live music and daily events. Plans are also in the works to take the hotel’s culinary offering on the road, with Grand Hyatt on Wheels the first hotel-branded food truck of its kind in San Francisco.
As much as Grand Hyatt San Francisco’s stellar views and renovations add to the experience, the hotel’s true secret weapon is its concierge staff, led by Joanna Husk, a Les Clef d’Or concierge. Part historian, part San Francisco cheerleader, Husk provided me with valuable assistance in booking San Francisco Ballet tickets, and even enquired about the performance, upon seeing me the following day.
Every Saturday at 7:30 a.m., Husk leads a free guided tour of Union Square for hotel guests. Guests enjoy a free cup of locally brewed coffee from the Bicycle Coffee Company while discovering some of the area’s insider secrets.
While Grand Hyatt San Francisco might not be the most famous kid on the block, it might just be San Francisco’s best-kept secret.