The Fairmont San Francisco

Old Oct 29, 02, 4:44 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA , USA
Posts: 102
Fairmont San Fran Help

I will be staying at the fairmont in San Fran, thanksgiving weekend, I am staying Friday night and Saturday night on a AA match one night stay one night coupon so i will be only paying for 1 night. I am a member of presidents club and have upgrade certificates, will I be allowed to use them even though im using the aa coupons. If yes has anyone stayed here and used an upgrade? How much of a better room is it, im in a regular room now. Also I have never stayed in this hotel, is it really nice? Thanks for all your imput
Zalmi is offline  
Old Nov 1, 02, 9:37 am
Join Date: May 2002
Location: London, U.K
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I can't help with your AA coupon question but I can tell you about my experience at the Fairmont.

Overall I was impressed. I booked a Bay View Room in the Tower which was large with a huge picture window showing a 180 degree view of San Francisco Bay. The rooms decor was olde worlde with a dubious colour scheme but was in good condition. The bathroom was big with plenty of marble and loads of the usual Fairmont toiletries.

The rest of the hotel was very nice as well. The foyer had been recently renovated so was looking very impressive.

The hotel restaurant was fine with prompt and helpful service but the dining piece d'resistance was The Tikka Room. This is in the basement and is a 'recreation' of a south pacific island complete with floating bandstand. It was as tacky as it sounds but brilliant fun and I would recommend you try it for a quick cocktail.

The Fairmont is expensive for San Francisco but with the 2 for 1 deal you are getting I would definitely recommend it.
hugoagogo is offline  
Old Nov 5, 02, 11:30 am
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I am a Ritz-carlton employee so have stayed t the RC around the corner from the Fairmont quite a few times.

The Fairmont is absolutely beautiful. Truly one of the top hotels in the City. (I would prefer to stay there but at $50/ night the RC can't be beat for me...BTW the RC in the City is fabulous, too.)Unfortunatetly I also do not know the rooms that well to advise. Why not post the question on the luxury hotel thread in this forum?

Have fun in our city (and for riding the cable car, ride the "California" Line down to Polk Street and then walk NORTH Northerly direction on Polk is arty, southerly is seedy unless you're a local. The California line is never full and the Fairmont is on the corner of California. Have fun!


p.s.Over all, hotels are waaay down in SF so good greats can often be had, unless something big is in town.

"Waiter? May I have another latté, please?"
GoodKarmaGuy is offline  
Old Nov 11, 02, 4:47 am
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: CA
Posts: 177
Not sure about using both coupons, but likely you can call them direct and ask.
Their concierge desk jumps through hoops for every call it seems

I have used an upgrade, from a standard view room in the 'old' building to a one upgrade.
They put use on the highest level, with a view room one shy of the corner suite. We could see from the Sunset/Golden Gate Park, past the GG, across the entire North Bay, Past Alcatraz and Angel Island, to the Richmond-SR bridge, and back down towards the Wharf and nearly to the Bay Bridge!!
If you are unfamiliar with this description, this is a 160 degree view from a flat window- WOW!!

Be aware that the view and non-view rooms are the difference of looking inward at the dirty roof of the old center courtyard or having a view of something interesting.
So, an upgrade from non-view might be to either an inside higher up or a lower outside- take the outside!

The breakfast service can be iffy in the main dining room, but plenty of alternatives are available and the concierge will be happy to recommend something that fits your tastes.

Yeah, the basement is quite the experience- you forgot to mention the every-20-minutes rainstorms, with torrents of water pouring over the edges of the palm-branch umbrellas into the central 'lagoon'! But, the food is pretty [email protected]#$ good They might also be serving an alternative Traditional American Thanksgiving menu here or upstairs, and those are pretty well done...

sdl is offline  
Old Nov 12, 02, 6:59 am
Join Date: Nov 2002
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My experience at Fairmonts varies. I think your outcome will depend on what happens at the check-in desk. I've had agents who go strictly by the book and others who are quite accommodating, sorry no pun intended! Once I got bumped up 3 room categories (at the Fairmont Banff Springs) even though the u/g certs are only good for 1.

Enjoy the SF Fairmont. It's gorgeous.
CanuckFlyer is offline  
Old Nov 12, 02, 2:03 pm
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: CA
Posts: 177
Re: the multi-bump-phenomenon.

I was curious about the 'why' when this happened at the Empress, and the clerk said they had discretion to use any one of the more-expensive rooms if all the rooms between your booking and there are taken.

This means that if you book reasonably high, but not TOO high a room, and they have a fair volume of better-quality bookings when you check in, you can end up in a really REALLY nice suite

At the Empress, my one-upgrade from the basic suite to a slightly bigger suite or slightly better view suite should have put us in a nice pair of rooms, with the kids on a fold-out couch.

Instead, we ended up in a 3rd floor 2 bd/ living room/ and private lobby (!) suite facing the Harbor AND on a corner- it was newly refurbished, which meant all the Edwardian furniture had been cleaned and repaired, the TVs were huge and in 3 rooms, the mattresses were brand new and high quality, the bathrooms were completely modernized, and there were all the conveniences tucked away in classy furniture. The living room alone was likely bigger than the 2-room suite I had booked!!!

There were so many window seats with a heated view that all 4 of us had our own private center-stage show when the storm roared the rest of the way in that night! =8-O!
I was convinced the original leaded windows were going to blow in, but my DH pointed out that since the WERE original they had already survived numerous storms just like this monster... well, he was right, they bowed and sang, but survived- half the modern signage and such in town wasn't so lucky.

Here's hoping you are lucky too
sdl is offline  
Old Nov 6, 04, 7:02 pm
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
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Exclamation The Fairmont San Francisco

Some reports on internet describe nightmarish scenarios, Fairmont says all is normal and they are only selling 50% of the hotel to make sure things are under control.
Altaflyer is offline  
Old Nov 7, 04, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by Altaflyer
Some reports on internet describe nightmarish scenarios, Fairmont says all is normal and they are only selling 50% of the hotel to make sure things are under control.
I was there the first night of the strike and it was pretty bad. *Very* noisy picketing outside from 6am to close to midnight. If you stay there, I'd insist on a high floor in the tower, otherwise you're going to get an early wake-up call. Hotel services were curtailed on that first day (no room service, breakfast buffet only) but not too bad overall, and I'd imagine they've improved since then.

I have been back to SF a couple of times and I'm avoiding the hotel, and the 13 other lockout hotels, until the labor dispute is over (I'd stayed there at least 10 times this year up to the start of the strike).
MikeBOS is offline  
Old Nov 7, 04, 11:46 am
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Staying in a Tower Suite so hopefully it will be okay. They said they had flown in a bunch of their management from other hotels to help out during the dispute. Hope they are not lying and that all will pan out. Its a bit late to make changes now as the stay is next week so I will stay put. Thanks for the hint re: high floor - will insist on that!
Altaflyer is offline  
Old Nov 7, 04, 6:37 pm
Join Date: Nov 2002
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Originally Posted by Altaflyer
Staying in a Tower Suite so hopefully it will be okay.
The Tower Suites are really nice...definitely the best rooms there if you care about the view. As long as you're on a high floor you should be OK (as long as you don't mind walking through the picket lines to get into the hotel). Apparently they're now rotating the pickets around the different hotels, so some days it should be quiet.
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Old Nov 17, 04, 7:39 pm
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Not bad

The experience was quite good. As we wanted to check in early, ie. 9am we took the suite that they could offer on the 4th floor and were not bothered by the noise of the strikers. Nice view of Alcatraz from the suite

Surprised to find no coffee makers. Thought ALL Fairmonts had this for us coffee addicts! Housekeeping brought in a coffee maker and 4 bags of complimentary coffee along with fresh cream ^ Housekeeping was up to par and no lapses apparent due to the strike. The strike actually meant we could enjoy a decent quality prime rib buffet dinner with tonnes of desserts for $22 each! Nicely covered with a single $50 certificate. Not much selection but good quality.

Only tarnish was the request for a 3pm check-out. This was met with a curt - not possible...sorry. Of course late check-out is guaranteed for Platinums which I reminded the agent of and was given the late checkout with a comment that the guest coming into the room would be told their room was not ready because a guest checked out late - not classy

Highly recommend the Hertz counter in the hotel. Very professional staff and efficient service with the car waiting in the garage; actually brought to you by the attendant. Small glitch after check-out as they charged me for a mini-bar item which I did not use (never use mini bars). I will wait to receive a bill as presumably they will send one and not assume that I know what the charge is for (agent told me that it was there when I called to question a $200 authorization to my CC when the stay was comp - no charge has come through and was advised it wont).

The strike is a tough predicament. Apparently hotels are currently paying about $600 per month per employee for health care costs with employees paying $10. In the next 5 years the cost is expected to climb to $1200 and hotels want staff to pay more, like $200 per month at the end of the 5 yrs. Seems reasonable as rising costs are not the employers fault. Glad I live in Canada

Overall, a decent stay ^
Altaflyer is offline  
Old Jun 16, 05, 2:50 am
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Exclamation The Fairmont San Francisco

8 nights at Easter 2005.

As a Fairmont Plat I though it was finally time to use some free night / suite upgrade vouchers, and thanks to very hepful and attentive service from the reservations manager, we had 8 nights booked in a Tower Suite (6 nights free and 2 at a knock down rate).

As I understand it the Tower Suites are the best that the hotel has to offer. We arrived and our reservation was properly recorded. We were shown to a fabulously positioned suite on the top (21st ?) floor of the Tower (the Regency Suite) with wonderful Bay views.

Furnishings in the bedroom were pleasant (no more) and the bathroom was small (a single basin) but with separate shower. The very large sitting room was spacious but very dully furnished. Plenty of room for my daughter's rollaway bed which arrived promptly.

After a long transatlantic flight arriving mid-afternoon, we decided to get an hour's sleep. Then the problems started. The bedroom appeared to be very noisy, with a constant sound of machinery and some other machinery that was going on and off intermittently, rather like a lift.
We could not sleep ! The thought of 8 nights of this was too much so I set off to investigate.

It turned out that the bedroom backed on to a large service area with lifts, a/c trunking and the like. This was obviously not going to work and the positon got worse. Whilst out of the suite investigating, a couple had checked into the room next door to our sitting room. There was a connecting door between the two and, although they did not speak loudly, every word that they said could be heard through the inadequate connecting door. This would mean that my daughter would not be able to sleep either.

Down to reception who were very helpful. They offered us a choice of other suites in the main section of the hotel, including the HKG and SIN suites. To describe these as drab, depressing and inadequate would be a gross understatement. In one the windows did not even shut proeprly and there was a holing draught. They were poorly decorated and furnished and oddly configured. We rejected them.

I then suggested the possibility of two inter-connecting Tower rooms in lieu of the suite. Reception were happy to offer this and pointed us to a pair of rooms on the 'wrong' side on the 8th floor of the Tower. The rooms were delightful. Bright, light, newly decoarated and furnished and more than adequate for our needs with great spacious and modern bathrooms. We were very happy in these rooms which turned out also to be very quiet. We experienced no disturbance at all from those around us, although the hotel was full on a couple of nights. Probably the 'quietest' stay anywhere in recent times.

Breakfast was more than adequate. A very fine buffet with friendly attentive and efficient service. The room (hall) in which the breakfast was served was a little dark and gloomy but I think that this is supposed to be part of the charm of the hotel.

We dined once in the Tonga room. what can one say ? It was an experience. Not unpleasant but not to be repeated .....

Generally service was efficient and friendly (save only when I was trying to check-out and was shoo'd away from the FPC line, presumably on the basis that I did not look like a member. The staff member looked slightly shocked when she discovered that I was Plat !).

I should have had complimentary internet access, but try as I might I could not get it to work properly in either of our 2 rooms. I spoke to tech support in Canada who talked me through alll the usual (clear cookies etc) but to no avail. I got intermittent access but it kept freezing up after about 5-10 mins use, which became very frustrating and the problem was never solved.

The hotel had an efficient Hertz desk which organised car pick-up at the hotel, although drop-off was not available there.

For anyone staying there, we discovered a wonderful neighbourhood Italian restaurant around the corner: the Nob Hill Cafe. A great find and a life-saver. We tried breakfast at the top of the Mark Hopkins: Extremely poor and a complete waste of money; not a patch on the Fairmont.

All in all a positive experience, although had I been paying rack rates, I think that I might have been rather less satisfied and would have been happier in the nearby Ritz Carlton or the very snappy new 4 Seasons. They both have a 'cleaner' more cared-for feel. The Fairmont, whilst not exactly shabby, does rather give the impression of trading on its former glory.

Last edited by Frequentflyer99; Jun 16, 05 at 3:00 am
Frequentflyer99 is offline  
Old Oct 28, 05, 8:52 pm
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 47
Fairmont-San Francisco

I stayed there for five days in August in the tower which is the newer section.The room had a great view. Otherwise it was very average.
The hotel has a good location but there was nothing special about it except the view from the Tower
The hotel feels old and doesn't seem to have much going for it except its history. The atmosphere was that of a three star large urban hotel.I had expected more.
In fairness, my only food experience was with room service and I had very little contact with the employees there. The ones I did meet were not rude but not particularly friendly or helpful.
I did get a good rate but would probably try another hotel if going back to the city.
ridgepath is offline  
Old Jul 20, 06, 3:17 pm
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,110
Fairmont SF: Poor "Are you a guest or not?" attitude

I have only had two experiences with the Fairmont San Francisco hotel (neither as a guest), but it's the second one (this morning) that leads me to post here.

The first experience was about a year ago. I did a very nice SFCityWalks tour, which ended at the Fairmont. Nobody was waiting at the concierge desk, so I walked over, said hello, and asked the concierge if he could recommend a lunch place. The first words out of his mouth were "Are you a guest in the hotel?" (Uh... hello, I'm fine, thank you for asking, and you?) I told him, no, I live locally and just did a walking tour. To which he replied "Then I can't help you. Concierge services are for guests only." It was partly what he said and partly how he said it that left a bad taste in my mouth.

Fine. Fast forward to today.

I attended an event at the hotel -- a corporate breakfast with close to 1000 attendees. A friend dropped me off at the hotel, and when he pulled up, he realized that he desperately needed to use a bathroom (he has a particular medical condition and this is an unfortunate side effect). He pulled into a free spot in the loading area, as not to block other cars going into the loading area. As he got out of the car, a bellman ran over and told him to move his car. Explanation of urgent need for bathroom had no effect. My friend said he would move his car to another empty space in the loading area and the bellman said no. (By this time, he could have gone to the bathroom and back... ). Eventually my friend ended up driving around the block until he found a place to pull in and use a bathroom at a store.

What bothers me about these events is that there seems to be a somewhat obnoxious attitude of "bugger off unless you're staying here." I don't normally see this type of attitude, even at very fancy hotels, and the fact that it's happened twice at the Fairmont really bothers me. While the hotel may not like non-guests sullying its gates, the reality is that if you are a fancy hotel in a big city, you may get walk-throughs, event attendees, and (gasp!) even tourists on your premises. Try to be a little nice to them. They may one day be making the decision to stay at your property or not.
KSinNYC is offline  
Old Mar 17, 08, 1:03 pm
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend and Moderator: Air Canada Aeroplan, Canada & Manufactured Spending
Join Date: May 2002
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I thought this thread was a review thread?

I'll bring it back on track by giving a quick very positive impression of the Fairmont SFO after 3 nights there 3-6 March. A local landmark as many Fairmont's are, getting up & down from Nob Hill is a mini-workout in and of itself so felt no need to go to the gym while there.

I was in a standard Fairmont room and while it was very much from a previous generation with high ceilings and a large walk-in closet, the update to the in-room hardware and furnishings feels classy without appearing "antique". The super deep tub was sure a difference from most modern hotels that I find quite shallow. The only knock I can report is I found the walls thin at times when the businessman in the next room was speaking quite loudy to someone on his phone, but that was no big deal and only happened twice in 3 nights. This room was on 8th floor and had almost no view as it looked out into the interior of the building and wasn't the scenic views you get if you pay lots more for the higher floor rooms in the new tower wing. But hey, I wasn't there for sitting in my hotel room looking at San Francisco, I was there to experience the city on my own which I did and very much enjoyed the holiday in what was beautiful 72 degree weather with zero rain. ^

The imposing, soaring lobby is a little intimidating as there's usually a conference or seminar going on with business folks in immaculate suits and ties and I'll admit to feeling somewhat underdressed at times in my jeans & Polo sightseeing comfort casual wear. The check in counters seem a little out of place in the lobby in these wooden boxes that also seem old but guess almost anything else would look even more out of place with the soaring marble columns looming large above you.

I may post a link here as I'll post a much longer and more detailed review with photo's on Trip Advisor one day soon. But safe to say on the whole the Fairmont San Francisco more than met my expectations.
tcook052 is offline  

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