Advertiser disclosure: This post may include affiliate links (including sidebar banners) in which this site may receive compensation if a purchase is successfully made (at no extra cost to you) after being redirected from here. Thank you for your support!
Review: The Westin St. Francis San Francisco (2023)
|Quaint historic feel at the lobby
|Rooms feel outdated
|Good breakfast at Oak Room
|Downgraded bath amenities (North 39 instead of Westin White Tea
|Amex Bonvoy Business/Corporate rate cancels Destination Fee
|Destination Fee charged on standard rates
|Good view of Union Square on Landmark Building
|Cool elevators on Tower Building
After checking out of the Ritz-Carlton, I moved to the Westin St. Francis for the last night of a weekend city break in San Francisco as it was cheaper. Also, I was curious on the “bad” reviews it has on Marriott’s site with the average score of 3.8 from more than 4000 submissions. I just had to see for myself.
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco- Booking
I booked a cash rate of $234 a night including taxes and destination fee while also taking advantage of an Amex Offer from my Marriott Bonvoy Business Card that gave me a further 20% discount up to $50. The hotel unfortunately charges a $25 destination fee on top of your regular rate.
For Marriott Bonvoy points redemption, expect to pay at a range of 44-63k points per night. This hotel would make a bad redemption for Marriott Bonvoy points, and I’d suggest saving them for a more valuable stay in the future.
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco- Check-in
I arrived at the hotel around 4pm where it was only less than 10 minutes walk from the Ritz-Carlton. As I entered the hotel, I was greeted with a historic hall with a big hanging clock in the middle. The lobby’s atmosphere is really nice. Elegant but very approachable.
Check-in process was smooth, and I was proactively upgraded to the Grand Deluxe Room at the Landmark Building, but sadly did not get upgraded to a suite even though there were plenty of them showing on the app.
At a Westin, you can choose either 1000 points or free breakfast as welcome gift. I chose the breakfast, and the voucher given can be used at Cafe Rito for to-go style breakfast, or at the Oak Room for a traditional breakfast buffet. 4pm late checkout was granted with no issues despite the convention status of this hotel that does not guarantee 4pm late checkout. I was also given 2 free water bottles to bring to the room.
The front desk agent did not metnion anything about the destination fee to my confusion. So I head back to them after settling in my room, and to my surprise, the Amex Biz Rate counted as a “Special Corp Rate” on my folio, and that avoids the destination fee. This ended up saving me $25 and reduced the bill down to $205. I’m not sure if this works only for this hotel, or maybe it’s a hidden benefit from the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card?
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco- Grand Deluxe Room, Landmark Building
I was assigned to the 11th floor of the Landmark Building.
The Westin St. Francis has 2 sections:
- Landmark Building is the original building that gives a good view of the Union Square for many of its rooms. As it’s the older of the two, the rooms and amenities are less modern.
- Tower Building is the towering block right behind the Landmark Building. It’s newer and gives a better city view of San Francisco. The coolest thing about the Tower Building is the high-speed glass elevator that can go up to 30+ floors and that you’ll be able to see the skyline of the city while riding them. Sadly, I forgot to try this out.
The Grand Deluxe Room of the Landmark Building is positioned at the very front of the building, and it’ll give you one of the best views of Union Square!
Moving on to the room, it is showing its age as expected. It’s also quite small with around 344 sqft in size despite its name Grand Deluxe. The bed is a bit on the soft side, but I felt that it was too soft for me that I had issues sleeping at first.
Unfortunately, there were no bedside power outlets and they’re only found at the desk and by the TV. The chandelier is positioned right on top of the bed, and it did made me nervous considering how prone California is to earthquakes. From a style standpoint, it’s quite nice.
The chairs are facing the opposite of the window, so standing is the only way to enjoy the view.
The closet contains a safe and a luggage rack. The door would not stay put though, indicating the deteriorating quality of the room.
The bathroom definitely looks more modern than the room itself.
Shower pressure was decent on the rain shower head, but the wand will provide stronger pressure.
It was quite disappointing to not see Westin White Tea bath amenities in this hotel. North 39 Degrees is what you’d see at a Courtyard. They’re not bad, but definitely a downgrade from White Tea. The only White Tea amenity given is the 1oz body lotion by the sink. Mounted bath amenities are not my favorites either, but they’re to be expected from hotels nowadays.
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco- Breakfast at Oak Room
The breakfast buffet at the Oak Room is located at the lobby floor to the farthest right side of the building.
The food was quite enjoyable, and I especially loved the coffee. But, I couldn’t indulge too much since I had lunch plans that day. Overall, the quality was better than I thought!
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco- Fitness Center
Just across the Oak Room is the fitness center. The location is very convenient to get your first meal of the day right after a workout! The gym is jam-packed with strength and cardio machines.
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco- Dining Facilities
The hotel has 3 other dining facilities other than the Oak Room. I didn’t try them but can give a brief overview of what they offer.
Cafe Rito across the front desk offers quick and easy food and beverages. You can also eat Neapolitan pizza here. Breakfast vouchers can be used here if you need to head out early, but I’d always recommend going to the Oak Room is you’re not in a hurry.
Outside of that, the items on the open air coolers are greatly overpriced. I’m talking about $6 for a can of soda and $13 for a packaged croissant sandwich. Grocery stores are steps away from the hotel and you can at least store things in the mini fridge of your room.
The next establishment is the Clock Bar, the main bar of the hotel located just to the right when you enter the hotel.
Across the Clock Bar is a wine tasting room by Chateau Montelena where you can taste wines from Napa Valley.
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco is definitely showing its age. Room showed wears and tears and lack bedside power outlets. The bathroom amenities were inconsistent with the Westin brand which was disappointing since the White Tea became one of my favorite bath amenities. The items at Cafe Rito were laughably overpriced that I’m glad that I was not charged the $25 destination fee thanks to the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card’s special rate.
Despite all of those problems, my stay was fine. It was nothing spectacular, but I did enjoy the beautiful view of the Union Square from the room, and the breakfast was very solid that I wish I could’ve indulged in more. I wouldn’t be excited to return, however.
The problem with this hotel is that the price is competitive with nearby Marriott brands like the Marriott Marquis which looks more modern which would reduce the value of the Westin quite a bit. The nearby Palace Hotel also gives a historic vibe like the Westin, and that belongs to Marriott’s Luxury Collection with rates not too far off from the Westin. Plus, it participates in the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program that can bring you more value for your stay than the Westin.