Back in May, I was alerted to a $25 mistake rate at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District. The rate was featured on a German travel site, valid between July 15-17. I booked it, half expecting the reservation to be cancelled. Two nights before my stay, I tried to add the reservation to my HHonors account. When the reservation wasn’t found, I thought for sure it had been cancelled. So I called Hilton and a rep explained the reservation was still valid, though it could not be added to my account because the rate was not eligible for elite benefits. Fair enough. Off I went to San Francisco, with the main purpose being to load up on Vanilla Reloads.
The hotel’s name is a bit misleading. It’s actually right at the edge of Chinatown, a few blocks from the financial district. It’s still in a decent location, surrounded by about half a dozen drug stores, making it super easy to load up on points.
If you’re taking BART, you’ll want to get off on Market Street. The hotel is about half a mile away, but the steep roads make it quite a work out.
Based on the rate I had paid, I half expected to be told off at check in. Instead the agent was very friendly and welcoming. I wasn’t expecting any elite benefits, since the HHonors rep had previously informed me I wasn’t eligible. However, the agent asked for my membership information anyway. I handed it over, thinking the system would prompt him to deny me my benefits. Not so. I was given an upgrade to a club level room with a view and invited to use the lounge. When I got to my room, I was pretty pleased, especially with the view:
The room was very nice, clean, and well kept. Overall, very comfortable.
There was some kind of corporate retreat or golf tournament happening. Guys in suits, carrying golf bags everywhere. When I checked the nightly rate on the hotel site, I was pretty stunned to see this:
I had paid roughly 95% less than the standard rate. I almost felt bad.
Imagine my surprise a few days later when I discovered I had received elite credit and over 6,000 points for the stay. I assume the points were calculated based on the standard rate, because at $25 per night I should have ended up with less than 1,000 points for the two-night stay.
The only disappointing thing about this hotel was the Club Lounge. I’d go as far as to say the one at the Hyatt Regency was better. During breakfast, the kitchen area was constantly crowded, with people scrambling to get their hands on food. The only hot options were bacon and hard broiled eggs. I don’t eat either, so I had to make do with toast, jam, and butter. Not exactly a third world meal, but it would have been nice to have better hot options.
The Lounge was open 24/7, though if you get there after 8:00 PM, the appetizers will be gone. You might have some cookies and fruits to choose from. There is a fridge that contains sodas and water, which is nice and will save you a buck or two at the vending machine.
I would definitely recommend the Hilton San Francisco – not because of how awesomely I was treated, but because it’s in a good location, sort of away from the busy streets of the financial district, right by Chinatown, and surrounded by drug stores. I would go a step further and recommend this place above the Hyatt Regency SF. One negative thing both properties have in common is their outrages $60 nightly parking fee. You can park across the street for around $25 overnight.
If you’re going to take a trip to this area, I’d try to make it to the food trucks on 1st & Market. There are three food trucks squished together in an alley, with a long lineup of yuppies during lunch hour. I wish I could remember the name of the truck I ordered from, but it was a Vietnamese truck that had some of the best garlic noodles I’ve ever had. Definitely worth the trek. Plus, all the trucks take credit cards.
A room upgrade, great food, and a hotel in the middle of a points & miles goldmine. I declare this outing a success.
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