Hotels – Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Hilton San Francisco Union Square

First Impressions:

Why is there a huge open bar in the middle of the building when you walk in?  It’s so loud, and there are so many people, where do I go now?

Thank god I didn’t think we were going to make it to the room.  Interesting sliding doors on the bathroom.  Nice view out the window – wow we’re quite high, I don’t need to look out there.  Room is pretty nice.



5-minute later impressions:

Why is this bed so hard?  It’s not even fun to sit on let alone lay down.  These blinds don’t seem to work very well, it’s hard to pull them down to keep the sun out of my face.  Now that we’re here, we need to eat something, is there anything to eat – omg this room service menu is insane, $9 for a hot dog?


Must Haves:

k5562158[1]Air Conditioning:  Quite good for a tower.  Initially the room was sooo hot, like 78F I think, or something like that.  I tried to turn on the cool, but it wouldn’t go under 72F, who sets their AC that high?  Crazy Americans.  I called down and they turned off the limit so I could set it as low as I wanted.  I set it to 66, most of the day it hovered around 72, but managed to cool off at night when the sun went down.

Water Pressure:  Not great, not awful.  It had one of those super low flow heads that only has a handful of streams and they’re tiny so it looks like the pressure is good, but it still takes 5 minutes to rinse even my hair.  I don’t know how Katie manages.  At least the water temperature was easy to set and there was plenty of hot to go around.IMG_4222

Bed Quality:  Worst bed ever.  Way too hard for both of us.  Now that could be because we’re soft and therefore need a soft bed.  If you like ultra firm mattresses this will be great for you.  I couldn’t lay still long enough to get any sleep, kept waking up to turn over and get in a position where my body didn’t ache so much.  I was totally exhausted, still and sore every day, it was brutal.

Bathroom Coziness:  NIce bathroom. Mostly well appointed.  Comfortable enough, though the toilet paper roll was quite far back and awkward to reach.

Wifi:  Great Wifi, no problems with streaming, gaming, surfing on multiple devices.  The hotel wifi does not reach in to the conference areas, so you’ll constantly be losing connection.  Oh – it’s not free, you have to join their club –  which is free and just costs some setup time.

Parking: It’s always a struggle in a new city, downtown to find parking.  It’s even worse when your hotel barely has 2 slots to pull up in to, on a street that has taxi/bus only lanes covering that side of the street and so much traffic that you’re already panicked.  Going around the block was problematic with all the short blocks and one way streets I had no idea where to go.  The second time around the block there was still no way to pull up in front, so I ended up at the public parking down the street.  I hate carrying luggage down a packed street, struggling to not drop the 5 bags you’re holding and hoping you’re heading for the right door.


I did find out the hotel has parking in the rear (the hotel takes up a whole block apparently).  It’s $45-50something they weren’t specific. The garage I was parked in was $35/day so I just left the car there determined not to drive while we were staying downtown.

Once I had located the parking, staked out the streets and knew how to pull around, getting there wasn’t difficult, but having some signs on the street to direct those of us staying at the hotel would have been really helpful.   They do have a nice Valet and self parking area, though I never went in to their lots.  I just had a bellman bring everything down to the valet area and pulled our car around to pick it up.  He kept asking if I wanted him to take it out front on the street or something and I was like ‘hell no after not finding any way to park there when we were trying to check in’.


Luxury Needs:


Refrigerator:  We had one, it was fairly small and located inside a cabinet.  Inside the cabinet was always really hot, which is probably not good for the fridge, but hey it’s not mine so if they want to burn it out, whatever.  It cooled stuff, which is basically it’s only job.

Toiletries:  Decent stuff, nothing special.  I only used them one day because they all smelled like tea and I didn’t particularly like that.  The soap also looked like some kind of torture implement, which kind of freaked me out.  My wife thinks I’m silly, but if you didn’t know it was soap, you’d  think it was for nefarious purposes too.

Desk coziness:  Not the best, I only sat in it one day and left it for Katie and her computer stuff since she was stuck in the room more often.  She says the chair was uncomfortable, designed to look nice, but not made for long term sitting.IMG_4223

Breakfast:  Not provided, $50 per day for the buffet.  I heard a lot of people complaining about the “continental” that was included, or purchased in advance for some extra.  Apparently you got a small styrofoam container you could fill from the first level of the buffet and take back to your room to eat.

Katie went one day, they quoted her $27 for the continental buffet and indicated where that was – including some scrambled eggs, fruit, cereal, grains – she said it was pretty expansive.  $34(?) got you the full buffet, eggs to order, etc etc.  She was surprised when she went to pay having to pay for the full buffet because even though bacon was in her zone indicated it wasn’t included.  They also automatically put on an 18% gratuity, and a service charge that brought the total to $45ish.

She wasn’t the only one shocked and surprised by the prices.  I talked to many people at the buffet who couldn’t afford to eat there every morning because they didn’t have the money to front before returning home and turning in their receipts.

Lighting:  Lots of lamps, well placed, not really any complaints. Easy to find stuff to turn on or off.


Ice:  Luckily located on our floor, down the hall and around a corner.  Not located on every floor though, so that could have been a pain if we were on another floor.

Overall Stay:

I did not enjoy my stay.  The hotel was nice enough, but I’m not a bar person and the huge open noisy bar in the lobby made every time I had to enter and leave the hotel a chore.  And I had to enter and leave a lot because the only food was insanely overpriced.  I felt preyed upon by the hotel, sticking it to people there attending conferences by having the only easily obtainable food and drinks.  “Room service” was just a carry out menu for the overpriced convenience store downstairs.

The room was mostly nice and well kept – one of the nightstand drawers was broken and difficult to use.  Closing the blinds was always a difficult process required multiple attempts and adjustments.  The bed was very uncomfortable and that kind of set the tone for the stay, when you’re tired, sore and stiff and aren’t getting any sleep everything else looks bad too.  The couch in the room was awkward, shallow and also uncomfortable, a nice armchair would have been much more appreciated.

I would have left after the first night if the conference I was attending hadn’t been held here.  I won’t be staying again.