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Review: W San Francisco

The W San Francisco, located in the South of Market District (SoMa), is steps away from great museums, Union Square and offers awesome views of the Financial District and San Francisco Bay.  The hotel offers a convenient location near the main sights of San Francisco and would be a great option for your next trip here, but I can't fully recommend the hotel right now - read more to see what to expect and the reasoning behind my current recommendation.
If you're not familiar with the W hotel as a brand, it is positioned as the trendy younger sibling of the St. Regis and Luxury Collection brands.  W Hotels is a design-led, contemporary lifestyle brand with styling and decor that is chic with vibrant colors and designs that may appeal to more of a younger demographic.  But that doesn't mean families or people of all ages would enjoy a stay at a W hotel.

The 404-room W San Francisco sits in the SoMa art district of San Francisco, with the Museum of Modern Art next door and the Moscone Convention Center across the street. The Yerba Buena Gardens are located a block away as well.

As you walk into the main lobby, you'll be greeted by a 27-foot tall light sculpture, Lumina, that spans the first three floors of the hotel.

The main lobby area is designed to be more of a living room space for lounging around and enjoying a drink at the bar.  It's meant to be an informal gathering space that turns into a social hangout in the evening.

There are two main entrances for the hotel; one from the corner of Third and Howard streets or through the porte-cochere located on Howard Street.  The valet entrance is easy to miss - more on this later in the article.

The rooms at the W San Francisco are compact, colorful and feature upholstered window seats, perfect for lounging around on.  Room categories here start with 'Wonderful', 'Spectacular', and 'Fabulous' being the better rooms, before upgrades to Corner rooms or Suites.

For our most recent stay, we were upgraded to a 'Fabulous Room' on the 25th floor with two double beds featuring views of the bay bridge and the new Salesforce Tower.

The TV is perched in a hidden mirrored nook, backed by splashes of primary colors.

The upper floors of the hotel boast excellent views of SF MOMA, Yerba Buena Gardens, SalesForce Tower and the Bay Bridge.

The bathrooms feature green-glass counters and shiny steel sinks.

Most rooms feature a bathtub/shower combination, with bath amenities by Bliss, which feature in all W hotels.

The hotel has two bars and one restaurant, with the Living Room Bar featured in the main lobby area of the hotel.

The second mezzanine level features more seating and an Upstairs Bar.

The main restaurant, Trace, is open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. The space features modern decor, but was offering limited service during our stay - more on that later.

The fourth floor of the hotel features the hotel’s FIT gym, open 24 hours a day and offers a good selection of workout equipment.

Our Experience:
We stayed at the hotel over a weekend in October and happened to be in San Francisco during the on-going strike by a large percentage of Marriott/Starwood employees (ranging from housekeeping, restaurant, and other hotel staff).

All hotels under the Marriott brand had strikes/protests going on outside and when we arrived, we were greeted by a large group of protesters outside banging drums and chanting pretty much all day.  This also made it hard to see where we could enter the hotel or drive up to the port-cochere.  Inside the hotel, there was only a brief mention of the labor dispute/protest going on and a letter indicating that services at the hotel were limited, including housekeeping service, restaurant closure and limited valet/bell staff.

I don't agree or disagree with either side, but with the current status of the strikes going on and limited service being offered, I'm not sure I can recommend staying here right now.  In addition to the protests going on, most of the windows and doors are blocked off and having to pay a decent price for the W San Francisco with limited service, as well as the loud and sometimes obnoxious protesting going on, won't make for a comfortable stay right now.

The hotel’s lobby area and restaurant spaces are nice and chic, but the guest rooms are could be updated, as they are showing a bit of wear and tear.  There is a room renovation going on through June 28, 2019, so once the current situation calms down and the room renovations are complete, I would feel better about recommending the W San Francisco for your next trip to the city.

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