We’ve stayed in almost all of the Marriott hotels in San Francisco as well as a few others outside of that hotel group, and the W remains our favorite. At the W San Francisco, location meets style for a perfect stay.
Location is key
First of all the W San Francisco is in a prime location. It’s in the SOMA district, but just by a couple of city blocks away from Union Square. It’s a half-mile walk northwest through Union Square to the Chinatown gate. A half-mile southwest through the Yerba Buena Gardens to Westfield Mall or the cable car stop at Market and Powell. A flat 1-mile walk northeast down Mission (or Market St, but I prefer Mission) to the wonders of the Ferry Building. Across the street from the Moscone Convention Center and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and a block away from the Metreon, the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Museum of the African Diaspora. And if that doesn’t give you enough to do, it’s adjacent to one of my favorite places in the city, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In fact, if you don’t have the time to give the SFMOMA a proper visit, please walk down the Howard Street side of the hotel to gaze upon Diego Rivera’s enormous Pan American Unity Mural. You can enter for free during museum hours and sit on one of the benches offered in the museum to take it in.
That’s a lot, but that’s the point. I love being able to walk to any number of tasty restaurants and bars and world-class attractions that San Francisco has to offer.
Style for miles with cool comfort
The W hotel chain was designed to be, well, to be strongly designed. To offer guests an experience that felt modern and vital, basically the antithesis of the grand dame hotel and business hotel models. Strong design can appear dated over time, but the sleek modular furniture, hot pink accents, and pink and blue lighting of the W San Francisco is still very pertinent there in the the tech-savvy SOMA area of San Francisco. It’s another way that location meets style to provide a very cool San Francisco vibe.
A few conceits that are either fun or corny depending on our sense of humor; the rooms are labelled “Wonderful,” “Spectacular,” “Fabulous,” “Fantastic,” and “Extreme WOW.” The main floor bar and lounge area is called the “Living Room.” To my mind, it’s all fun and part of what makes W feel like a happy experience.
Design and fun-factor aside, I look for a comfortable bed, clean room, and safe environment as the basic must-haves. As far as safety goes, you need a key card to access upper floors in the elevator. That’s a big checkmark. I’ve had three stays post-Covid at this particular W, and each time, each room was spotless. The carpet appeared to be newish and none of the upholstery was worn at all. Mini refrigerators were quiet. Bathrooms are gleaming white and chrome with European-style shower heads.
A robe is provided in the room, and we received a second one upon request. Importantly, all the built-in USB chargers functioned: two on each side of the king bed and two on the desk near the coffee maker, And the beds are so ridiculously comfortable that, speaking from experience, you probably want to set a second alarm if you don’t want to miss your first appointment of the day!
In fact, the beds are so comfortable that we are now the proud owners of a W Hotel Pillow Top. Sweet dreams every night at our house W San Francisco style.
Great staff and customer service
In all my multi-day stays here, three of them just in the past year and a half, I’ve never had a bad experience with anyone on the W San Francisco team. The valets are professional and courteous, always offering a bottle of water and directions upon departure. Front-desk staff are always pleasant and take an extra few moments to answer any questions. Requests for extra towels and robes are handled promptly.
It’s the Living Room Bar team I really want to call out here. Clay, William, Jeremy, and the servers we’ve had actually do make the place feel like a bar in my living room. The atmosphere is so great and the food so delicious that, despite being smack dab in a city full of world-class eateries, we generally spend an evening hanging out right there in our own W Living Room Bar.
We definitely recommend the W San Francisco for comfort and customer service in a place where location meets style.
W San Francisco
181 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94103