The Long Way to New York

⇒Hotel Review: Hilton San Francisco Financial District (Double Double Executive Room with Bayview)

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.

Check-In

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.

 

upon entering the lobby

 

a long queue for check-in.

 

cosy sofas at the lobby.

 

Lounge Lobby: The Cloud

Room

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.

 

sofa bed.

 

amenities provided.

 

bath tub with shower head

Facilities

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.

 

Peanuts and energy bars in jars at the entrance

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.

 

view while running on the treadmill

Breakfast

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.

different muffins/tarts/scones 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.

Let’s just say I was glad I didn’t pay that extra US$6, and I got that extra slice at Cheeseboard.

Conclusion

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!


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