Basic hotel, great location, good value – Hotel Union Square San Francisco

For our most recent visit to San Francisco, the city I love, we picked three boutique hotels to try out. I found the Hotel Union Square on sale on TravelZoo and it seemed like a good deal: It’s located right at Powell Street station in the heart of the city, offered stylish rooms and was less than $200 on a summer weekday. Read my detailed review to find out how we liked it!

Location: The location of Hotel Union Square couldn’t be better: It’s on Powell Street one block from the Bart, Muni and Cable Car station on side and 1 block from Union Square on the other. That gives you access to the airport in 40 minutes and all over the city on public transport. You can walk to all the shopping in the city center, the convention center as well as to countless restaurants. Despite having traffic and cable cars passing the hotel, we did not have any noise issues, despite facing the road!

Service: The front desk had me checked in quickly ahead of the official check-in time and was friendly. She provided me with information on the hotel happy hour, a nice touch. The hotel charges a“facilities” fee – just like resort fees are trickery I don’t appreciate. My TravelZoo reservation included a waiver of the fee, but it was on my check-in confirmation. She waived it without issue when I pointed out the error! The Union Square Hotel also has a concierge and bell staff. While I didn’t need help myself, I noticed them giving advice to other guests – they were friendly and attentive. Housekeeping cleaned the room thoroughly and timely, replenishing supplies properly and refreshing towels as requested.

Room: We had booked a Petite Queen room, their standard category, and the room was indeed small. It was nicely designed, just in the web site photos, with a off-white soft, tufted headboard, dark wood furniture and a padded blue chair in the corner.
The room is well equipped with a large, wall mounted TV, small fridge, small safe and coffee maker – all of it was in working condition.
There is a small closet for your clothes, but not a lot of room to place your luggage.
What was missing was an air conditioner. It was hot during our visit and the room was very warm despite the ceiling fan. Because the room faced Powell Street, we had a choice at night between a fresh breeze and noise or a warm, quiet room. The bedroom looked renovated and was in good condition. Deluxe rooms have a/c or fan and only Premium rooms and suites are guaranteed to have a/c.
The bathroom looked a little old in comparison. It has a small shower in the corner. The curtain is awkwardly attached to the rod, hanging right in the middle where you’d want to enter the shower. On the right is the small toilet and on the left the sink with limited space for your toiletries. It’s all pretty basic, but the towels were nice and thick and the Pure toiletries of good quality!

Restaurant/Amenities: Hotel Union Square has a wine happy hour from 5-6pm every day for hotel guests. It’s a nice touch, even though I didn’t get to try it!
The hotel has no restaurant, but offers a “breakfast package” in partnership with Tad’s on Union Square. There is no gym either, so a walk/run it is…

Bottomline: We got a small, basic room, good service and a great location for a rate of $174/night. That’s good value for a summer weekday in the city, where rates for most chain hotels were over $300 during our stay and even the Days Inn San Francisco can be $200! If you are planning to be out all day and don’t mind the lack of a/c, you’ll be quite happy here and pay a lot less than at the big chains!
Yet we got even better value at Hotel Diva which has nicer rooms, air conditioning and even better service just a block away for even less money! So check rates of both hotels before booking and take the Diva if it’s similarly priced!


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