Quirky design, good location, terrible service – Hotel Triton, San Francisco

The Hotel Triton was the third boutique hotel on our recent trip to San Francisco, the city I love. I was familiar with the great location of this former Kimpton Hotel and its quirky design. We got a good deal on hoteltonight (and I had credits from a previous booking), so we were looking forward to our stay – what could go wrong? A lot actually read my review of Hotel Triton to find out!

Location: Hotel Triton is located on Grant and Bush Street, in the heart of the city and at the Gate to Chinatown. This puts you 3 blocks from Union Square or about 10 minutes walk from Montgomery or Powell Street Stations. That’s a little further than a number of other hotels, but still ok. You have  easy access to Muni and Cable Car for access to the city and BART for all over the Bay Area. You can reach the airport in 45 minutes. Bush Street is very busy and you might get noise in the street facing rooms.

Service: Kimpton Hotels are known for their good service, but apparently the exit from Kimpton put an end to it at the Triton – service was very bad and led to a disappointing stay overall. It started well enough, the front desk agent was friendly and professional. The hotel has a concierge and bell staff, but we didn’t require either. Housekeeping did clean the room thoroughly and timely each, replacing towels as requested and refilling toiletries.
Unfortunately, they seemed to lack professionalism. On our check-out day, she walked into the room despite the “Do Not Disturb” sign while I was still in bed – that’s a double miss, as they shouldn’t enter any room before check out is confirmed, certainly not with a sign on the door! 
On our way out, a young guy stopped us in the hallway with a “what’s your room number?” – no introduction, no explanation. When I hesitated – I never give my room number to random people – he stated that he was a hotel employee (no badge though) and was looking for a guest? When I still didn’t give my room number, he was getting snappy with me – not really acceptable from anybody working in hospitality with even the most basic training. I’ve had my share of snooty staff at boutique hotels, but this was a bit much! A simple “Hello, I’m James from the front desk, looking for Mr. Smith” would have been easy and appropriate.

Room: We had booked a “Deluxe Room”, the standard room category via hoteltonight. HT guarantees any room to fit two people, but notified us after booking via the app, that the room assigned could have a full-size bed. And sure enough, our room did! Now, for at least 30 years, full-size beds don’t qualify as “fitting two people” anymore. Despite the nice mattress and sheet (and both of us being pretty slim), we did not have the most comfortable night of sleep.
It was especially puzzling because the room was (if barely) big enough for a queen bed! Equally puzzling is that when I confirmed at check in that the room has one, big bed, the staff didn’t say anything or used the opportunity to upsell us to a bigger bed – a lost opportunity for them and a bad experience for us!
In addition, there was a nice desk as well as a small, blue cupboard with the TV, mini fridge and an amenity basket (with snacks, a rubber ducky and condoms!). Oddly enough, there is no safe or coffee maker in the room, something I expect even at a budget hotel! The room has two small windows facing a wall with slatted shutters and an air conditioner. That makes the room quiet and cool, but pretty bright due to the lack of black-out blinds!
The decor was just as quirky as I expected it to be, with green wooden wall panels, a bright yellow (hard) headboard and a wall paper that seemed to spell out a novel! The desk had the legs of a work bench and a chalk board above it. The oversized ceiling lamp was a stylish touch.
If you are looking for an out-there design, the Triton delivers. For my taste, it was trying a little too hard. The Hotel Diva delivers better design without compromising functionality.
In the narrow hallway are two separate closets with plenty of space for your stuff. Across the hallway is the bathroom door. The bathroom continues the design theme with green walls and blue/white tiles. There is a shower-over-tub combination, with a curtain on a straight rod on the left, the small toilet in the center and the narrow sink on the right. The towels and toiletries are of good quality and a hairdryer is provided.

Restaurant/Amenities: At the ground floor is the Cafe de la Presse, a full service restaurant that used to be my favorite brunch place many years ago. We didn’t go this time, but it’s worth a visit.
The hotel also has a small workout room, with limited cardio and weight equipment for a basic workout.

Bottomline: We paid $152/night for a small room with quirky design in a good location – that’s pretty good value, as this hotel can cost you upwards of $300. But the lack of a safe and coffee maker, the small bed and the poor service made for a disappointing stay. With more than 800 hotels in San Francisco, including lots of boutique hotels, this is just not good enough to stay again or recommend the Triton. If you are looking for a boutique hotel, check the Hotel Diva instead!

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