Marriott Marquis San Francisco – Review

Located a few blocks from Union Square, this hotel hits all the spots in terms of location.  However, due to the current Covid climate, it was impossible to get a feel for how the hotel would operate under normal circumstances.  Either due to San Francisco ordinances requiring vaccination proof in eateries or areas where people congregate, many amenities were closed or required special access.

Location

The hotel is about 45min – 1 hour BART ride from SFO.  Located right off the Powell St. metro stop, the hotel is easily accessed and via BART, bus, and even trolleys.  Across the street is the trolley stop that takes you over the hill and directly to Fisherman’s Warf.  About a 20min walk is the Ferry Building where you can enjoy small shops and eateries (whichever ones that are currently open).  Chinatown is also about a 15 min away so the location of the hotel is really central.  It’s also a very touristy part of town so restaurants and bars are plentiful. 

Within a block of the hotel, there’s a Trader Joe’s, Target, Walgreens, and even an IMAX theater. If you’re here for any type of extended stay, you won’t have to go very far for anything you need and if you run out of clothes, you can even go to the Ross at the end of the block.

If taking BART from SFO, you’ll need to purchase a BART card first. The card is $3 and then you can add as much as you want onto the card. The card acts as a debit card so the funds are automatically deducted when you exit. If you only use BART to get to/from the airport, you’ll need about $20 total for the fare ($10 each way).

Hotel

The main entrance to the hotel is a little unassuming since there isn’t any branding on the outside other than the small Marriott sign on the awning.  It’s located behind the Ross store so if you’re walking along Market St., just keep an eye out for that.  For some reason, the main entrance to the hotel was blocked off my 2nd night there.  I’m not sure if that was for Covid reasons but if so, it didn’t make much sense to have everyone enter and exit through the parking lot doors. 

As you enter the lobby, there is a row of check in desks to your left.  I don’t know if this was a particularly busy weekend or if there was some event going on but it was a bit unusual for me since I always get a king bed.  This time, I was offered 2 queens and was told there weren’t any rooms with a king bed available.  At that point, I didn’t even bother to ask if a suite upgrade was available.  I don’t know if I’ve just been extremely unlucky recently but it seems like the hotels I’ve stayed in don’t have suites available.  I don’t know if this has to do with staff shortages and having to prioritize resources to clean regular rooms vs. suites but I’ve been snake bitten a few times (first world problem, I know…but as a plat member, it’s nice when your loyalty is rewarded). 

Due to Covid (I’m assuming), the M Lounge was closed so I was automatically offered points instead of breakfast.  Oddly, it looked like I should have been offered some sort of coupon to go “shopping” at the store downstairs for a “continental” breakfast.  To be honest, I would have taken the points over that option anyways but it wasn’t mentioned when I checked in.  Also, the restaurant downstairs was open for breakfast from Friday to Sunday so not sure why I wouldn’t be offered that as an option either (my stay was from Saturday to Monday). 

Overall, it seemed like virtually everything at the hotel was closed.  The main atrium of the hotel was blocked off as well so the overall feel of the hotel was pretty much that of being shuttered.  The gym also required you to show your vaccination card at the front desk in order to get a special card to access it.  This wouldn’t have been an issue for me since I did have my card with me but I just didn’t feel like going downstairs to get a different pass to gain access.  It would have been nice if I’d been asked for it at check in (or somehow able to provide a copy of it when booking) so extra steps wouldn’t be necessary.  I can see how the city ordinance of showing proof of vaccination is both a blessing and curse here. 

*Side note to all this.  In San Francisco, you’ll need to provide proof of vaccination to access any public space where people congregate.  Restaurants will ask you before being seated to show proof of vaccination (your vaccination card) but know that a picture of it will suffice if you don’t want to carry your physical card with you.  If you aren’t vaccinated or don’t have proof, you’ll only be allowed to sit outside (if the establishment has outdoor seating). 

Room

I was given room 1293 which was a standard room with 2 queen beds facing 4th St.  The room had all the usual amenities like a safe, iron, coffee maker, and fridge.  It also had a seating area next to the window which was nice.  The room was actually a really efficient use of space in that it didn’t have anything that would take up unnecessary space ie the bathroom had a pocket door, the “closet” wasn’t built in, and the sliding door kept the coffee maker hidden and out of the way.  It was just efficient. It was everything you would expect to see in a standard hotel room and if you get a room on a high floor, it might be a pretty good view.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think the Marriott Marquis San Francisco was handcuffed from the start.  I’m going to give them a pass on many aspects since I think many of it was out of their control.  It was disappointing to be given a room with 2 queens and no upgrades.  Also, with the lounge being closed and breakfast not an option, it certainly wasn’t ideal.  I think they were doing the best they could with what they had available and I’d like to come back when everything has returned to normal.


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