Photo: Hyatt Regency San Francisco

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco Offers A Slice Of Luxury And A Chance To Explore the City

San Francisco Epic Stays
by Hannah Padilla Sep 25, 2023

When I arrived at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco from the Ferry Building trying to find the entrance, I underestimated how large it was. I got lost looking for the lobby to check in, and it turned out that it was two floors above street level. I pressed the elevator button, which transported me to one of the largest and most futuristic lobbies I’ve ever seen.

The lobby alone has a front desk, gym, mini market, restaurant, lounging areas, and a 35-foot-high art installation. Even with these amenities, it doesn’t feel crowded thanks to a wealth of open space in between. My room matched the spaciousness: At 589 square feet, the suite felt bigger and more open than my 670 square feet apartment, and includes two bathrooms with a shower stall in the bedroom.

Amenities and rooms at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco

balcony in room at hyatt regency san francisco

Photo: Hannah Padilla

The biggest draw of the suite was the super-spacious balcony. Even better were the sweeping views, with the Transamerica Pyramid on one side, and the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge on the other.

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco is just across the street from the Ferry Building, a terminal where the ferries drop off passengers across the San Francisco Bay. It’s renowned for its shops, eateries, and farmers market.

This year, the hotel is celebrating its 50th anniversary by offering the Golden Anniversary Escape Package, which includes a room upgrade, free access to the Regency Club, two vouchers for cocktails at Eclipse Kitchen and Bar upon check-in, two tickets to the Cable Car (which stops just right outside the hotel), and a custom-designed postcard by John Portman (the late hotel architect).

eclipse art work in lobby of hyadd regency san francisco

Photo: Hannah Padilla

Touring the property, I learned more about the features from associate director of sales Scott Panco. That 35-foot-high spherical art piece, named Eclipse, was designed by the late sculptor Charles O. Perry and uses 1,400 curved pieces of aluminum tubes to create pentagons as negative space.

I’m not the only one impressed by the expanse of the lobby. Scott told me that the Hyatt Regency San Francisco was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the largest hotel lobby in the world at 42,000 square feet and 170 feet high. I wasn’t surprised, as I’d never seen a hotel lobby that looked and felt like a mall. There are 15 floors in the hotel with aerial views of the lobby, making the people walking by look like ants.

The next day, I had breakfast at the Regency Club, an exclusive lounge for select Hyatt members. The lounge is located on the hotel’s top floor, with 360-degree views of San Francisco and incredible views of the Bay Bridge. It’s not surprising to see guests pull up a chair closer to the bridge and the deep blue bay waters.

The Regency Club offers complimentary breakfast, a happy hour, and dinner for its members. Their breakfast buffet had standard fare such as eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, pastries, bagels, and fruit. I loaded up on watermelon, scrambled eggs, a bagel, and coffee, and took a seat at the booth facing the Bay Bridge, admiring the morning views and the boats docking at the ferry terminal.

Later, I marched down to the lobby to work out at Stay Fit, the hotel’s 24/7 fitness center. The size and the amount of equipment is impressive for a hotel gym. There are rows of treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes, including a small corner with a row of Peloton bikes. Stay Fit also has dumbbells and kettlebells of all sizes, and extra equipment such as the TRX suspension trainers, yoga mats, foam rollers, stability balls, and a ballet barre. Since my husband and I signed up for a gym membership close to home, I’ve been making it a habit to work out regularly. While there were a few fellow gymgoers at Stay Fit, I loved how I did not have to fight for a set of dumbbells and a bench, unlike at our home gym.

Exploring San Francisco through the cable cars

It can be tempting not to leave the property since you have all the amenities at your fingertips, but a stop for one of San Francisco’s world-famous cable car lines is right outside the hotel. The cable cars take you to some of the city’s most iconic attractions such as Chinatown, North Beach, Nob Hill, Lombard Street, and Ghirardelli Square. This makes exploring much easier, especially if this is your first time in San Francisco. Driving in the city is difficult if you’re not used to driving up abrupt, steep hills, and the lack of parking spots is pretty frustrating. Not to mention, parking in metered areas and garages is outrageously expensive.

After my gym session, I showered, dressed up, and got ready to explore. I met my husband Cecilio outside the hotel near the valet parking area and we headed out to the cable car station.

When you enter the cable car, you can sit in the enclosed area or on the open-air seats facing the views. You can also stand while you hold the rails which adds to the thrill of riding, you just need to be careful and hold on for dear life. Cecilio and I decided to stop at Nob Hill and walk a few blocks to Lombard Street, the most crooked street in the world with eight hairpin turns. It also attracts many tourists trying to take photos of the street overlooking Coit Tower. You can also walk down the sidewalks to see Lombard Street from a different angle and see how crooked the turns are.

You can either walk or take another cable car line to Ghirardelli Square, a popular attraction filled with shops, restaurants, and an outdoor square where you can relax and people-watch. It’s also famous for the Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience, a shop where you can buy Ghirardelli chocolates, gifts, baking goods, and souvenirs. You can order a different variety of hot chocolates and sundaes as well.

From Ghirardelli Square, you can walk a few blocks to Pier 39, San Francisco’s most popular attraction. There, you can window shop, eat clam chowder on a bread bowl from Boudin Bakery, San Francisco’s oldest continually operating business or sit on the pier and watch the sea lions in the harbor.

Where to eat in Hyatt Regency San Francisco

hotel bed with mimosa

Photo: Hannah Padilla

The hotel has two main places to eat. The Market is a grab-and-go shop offering sandwiches, salads, parfait, cookies, coffee, tea, and juice. Breakfast includes omelets, breakfast burritos, waffles, and egg sandwiches, while the lunch menu consists of wings, pizza, steak tacos, a Korean chicken bowl, and quesadillas.

Right next to the Market is the Eclipse Kitchen and Bar, the hotel’s restaurant. The ambiance matches the restaurant name, with dim, dramatic lighting and a huge moon installation hanging over the bar. After a full day of exploring the city, I went straight to Eclipse during happy hour for an espresso martini. After I downed it, Cecilio and I headed back to our suite to freshen up and change for dinner at Eclipse.

The dinner menu focuses on New American cuisine, with appetizers like Brussels sprouts with a yuzu swee chile marinade and perfectly crispy chicken pot stickers. My main entree, a seven-ounce, medium-rare filet seared in garlic brown butter, melted in my mouth and bursted with flavors. Cecilio’s burger was a good standard restaurant-style burger made with grass-fed beef and topped with aged white cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions on a brioche bun with a side of shoestring fries. An extensive wine menu includes options from wineries all over Northern California, and there are also cocktails featuring San Francisco-themed drinks such as the Gold Rush (tequila, cognac, cranberry, and lime), SF Sour (bourbon, zinfandel, egg white, lemon, and simple syrup), and Cable Car (rum, orange liquor, lemon juice, with a cinnamon sugar rim).

Make sure to save room for dessert. We decided on the fresh fruit tart — a vanilla custard layered on a buttery crust topped with berries that’s tart, light, and sweet (but not sickeningly so). It was like a hybrid of a creme brulee and a pie, and it was the highlight of our dinner.

Is Hyatt Regency San Francisco worth the cost?

Our stay was a once-in-a-lifetime experience thanks to top-notch customer service, spacious rooms, amenities, and dining options. And even with all of the benefits from staying on the property, it’s location makes it easy to explore the Ferry Building and other parts of the city by foot and cable car. This all comes with a price, however.

I’m not going to beat around the bush: a luxurious hotel in a prime location like Hyatt Regency San Francisco comes with a hefty price tag. Our stay in the balcony suite in July cost about $800 a night. During the off-season, the prices go down to $630 a night on average. If you have the means to afford it, by all means, treat yourself. Or you could also sign up for the World of Hyatt Loyalty Program, where you can earn points from staying at different Hyatt hotels and eventually rack up enough points to stay in the San Francisco location for free.

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.