|The Long Way to New York|
This rustic hotel in San Francisco’s financial district, on the cusp of Chinatown, was my first accommodation for my trip to the United States.
Hilton loyalists had a few options for staying in central San Francisco; you could opt for the Union Square where the Beatles stayed during their 1964 tour; or decide for the neighbouring Parc 55. I went for the Financial District mainly because I wanted to have a morning run along the bank of Oakland Bridge to Fisherman’s Wharf up north.
Upon landing in San Francisco airport with Qantas, I took a express bus 398 at Terminal 2 for US$2.25 after getting a Clipper card. This express bus is a cheaper alternative to the BART system people from San Francisco affectionally call, which stands at US$8.75.
I dropped off somewhere near Market Street and walked for about 20 minutes before I noticed an old structure looming over me.
It did seem grey and dull on the outside, not the most impressive of appearances.
Upon stepping in, I realised that the lobby was smaller than expected considering that this was a full-fledged Hilton property. Still, there were decent seating areas, both outdoor and indoor, as well as a lobby lounge area for all guests to relax in, with a large screen broadcasting news inside.
I asked for an early check-in at about 1230pm and thankfully was granted one. Being a Gold member, I was upgraded to a double bed room with a view of the San Francisco Bay Area, which typically retails at more than US$300. I was also awarded complimentary breakfast given to Gold members.
My room was located on the 15th floor, and this was the view I was greeted to upon stepping in.
Now, a closer view that left me astounded.
It was really quite spectacular. One can only imagine how amazing it would be too on the 27th floor, with Hilton boasting a view that will include Alcatraz Island too.
With 2 double beds and a sofa bed, this room could easily sleep 3 people. Here’s a closer look of the room.
After taking a short nap after a long flight, I decided to have a peek of the Executive Lounge on the 26th floor. As I was only a Gold member and wasn’t upgraded to a room with lounge access, I was elated when the staff inside brought me in when I mentioned it was for work purposes.
A closer look of the lounge.
Compared to the one I visited in Doubletree by Hilton JB, I felt this lounge was small and would feel suffocating if there was a crowd. I didn’t stay till dinner time, but as per policy, small refreshments will be served.
I then proceeded for a small workout at the Fitness Center on the 5th floor before looking for dinner around San Francisco. Personally, I thought it was a rather strange layout since you had to walk past all the rooms on the 5th floor to get to the fitness center with the size of a normal hotel room door. Here are some photos.
The next day, my friend from Berekley swung by to have breakfast. Breakfast was served on the lobby floor from 630am-1030am. This also happened to be one of the strangest breakfast policies I experienced.
Breakfast was segregated into the hot breakfast section and the cold breakfast section. I was only told then that Gold members were only given access to the cold breakfast section, and had to top up US$6 per person to access the hot breakfast section. Diamond members could access the hot breakfast section for free.
I was rather hungry after a morning run along the Bay but I was convinced by my friend to leave some room for allegedly the ‘best pizza’ in Berekley at the Cheeseboard Pizza, something I can vouch for after tasting it. Here are the offerings available.
I found the peach pastry and fruit plate to be the best options, the rest were average. The strawberries were fresh and my favourite. I can’t find them in my pictures but bagels, croissants and a wide selection of juices (cranberry, guava, orange, apple) were available to customers as well.
Now, this is what US$6 would have gotten me.
The Hilton San Francisco Financial District was a good opening to my time in the US. It showed its age, but its location is unbeatable. You could walk to Union Square or choose to have a morning jog along the Bay Area in under 15 minutes, both located either side of this property, a huge plus.
I felt the breakfast policy could be better communicated to guests but otherwise, it was a pleasant stay. I could not rave more about the view I got from my room which was stunning, huge thanks to the staff there that made it possible!
I highly recommend for all of you to pick this as your next accommodation in San Francisco and I look forward to be back when I visit the Bay Area again!