If there was one hotel opening of 2019 to which I was really looking forward, it was the Grand Hyatt at SFO. San Francisco has been without a true on-airport hotel for far too long, but the new Grand Hyatt has remedied this problem. Connected to the airport Air Train line and easily accessible, it is a fantastic part of the new airport development. Plus, they couldn’t have picked a better brand.
It’s rare that I get super excited about a new hotel, but the Grand Hyatt at SFO was one of the few I’ve tracked. Passing through SFO multiple times over the past year let me see the construction as it progressed. The hotel finally opened on October 1, 2019
Booking the Grand Hyatt at SFO
I booked the Grand Hyatt at SFO the day before my stay. It was a very last-minute decision, as I debated burning a free night for a Hilton property in downtown or at the airport instead. But when I saw that cash rates were cheap (at least relatively cheap…this is San Francisco), I decided to jump on the opportunity. I’m not sure when I’d ever see rates at the Grand Hyatt at SFO for just $179 per night.
After taxes, the price still rang in at less than $200, which is a steal for a domestic Grand Hyatt, for a nice San Francisco airport hotel, and especially for a brand new hotel.
I called Hyatt immediately after booking online to apply a club upgrade certificate. Sure, I could have gotten better value out of it for a multi-night stay, but they will expire in early 2021, and I will be a Globalist through then, which will make them basically moot. I’m just not quite there yet.
Arrival into SFO
The long flight from London touched down at San Francisco International at around 6:20 PM. With Global Entry I was able to breeze through immigration and customs, arriving at the Grand Hyatt at SFO right at 7:00 PM.
It’s easy to get to the Grand Hyatt at SFO from the International Terminal. Exit the baggage claim into the middle of the arrivals level, head left to the end of the terminal, continue around the corner, and then use the elevator to head up two levels to the AirTrain. The Grand Hyatt at SFO is two stops on the red line from the International Terminal A Station.
The station is directly attached to the hotel. You’ll see a welcome desk within the station as you head down the escalator.
There wasn’t anyone manning the desk when I arrived, but there was an attendant present when I departed the following afternoon. I’m not sure what the desk’s purpose is, other than to greet guests.
I arrived at night, but there is actually some cool stained glass on the side of the station that I didn’t notice until I was leaving.
You enter the actual hotel through a connecting hallway which takes you straight to the front desk.
Check In and First Impressions
The front desk staff were friendly and engaging, and seemed genuinely delighted to see each guest. I was greeted as an Explorist member (a mere 4 nights away from Globalist at this point), and the agent noted that they had been able to accommodate my request for an upgrade to a runway view room. This made my day. I’d left this in the notes section of the reservation, hoping that the low rate meant occupancy was low and it’d be easy to accommodate.
I do have to say that it’d be hard to work this front desk. I’d be constantly distracted by the awesome view. 😉
The rest of the fourth-floor lobby which is inviting and artfully designed. After checking out the following day, I hung out here for a little while longer before heading off. The lobby has a bar open from 10:00 AM til midnight.
There are a few other seating areas, including this area near the elevators. The style is tasteful and the lobby is inviting, if not overly large.
I enjoyed the art as well throughout the hotel. The pieces are predominantly San Francisco and aviation themed, very fitting for the airport hotel.
Rescuing a Service Issue
Before I’d concluded check-in, I’d run into one issue: there was no mention of a club upgrade award having been applied to the reservation. Post-check-in, the front desk agent couldn’t really do anything except offer the upgrade price of $75. Avoiding this was why I wanted to apply the certificate. Using 3,000 points would have been acceptable as well. But these were no longer options.
I thanked her, but declined the offer and headed up to my room. I’d take it up with Hyatt corporate, not sure if they could do anything. Turning to Twitter, I sent off a message, hoping they could sort things out.
I’d been in the room maybe five minutes when the rep responded and said they’d look into the issue. Minutes later, the situation was already being rectified.
The experience proved yet again to me how amazing the Hyatt Twitter team is. It took less than 10 minutes for them to locate the reservation, confirm that the upgrade had been attached, and have the manager give me a call and tell me they would run up new keys. Service issue entirely rescued. Actually, they went above and beyond, adding bonus points to my account. This is customer service that truly drives loyalty.
Grand Hyatt at SFO: Runway View Room
My runway view room was on the eleventh floor: room 1144. The Grand Hyatt at SFO has 351 rooms, all with floor to ceiling windows. Standard rooms are about 350 square feet.
I’d booked a king room, although you can also book a runway view room with two double beds as well. Some other rooms have two queens, but I did notice that this wasn’t an option for this type.
There is a nice table that doubles as the desk in the corner. This is where I camped out and worked for a few hours, splitting my time between the room and the Grand Club.
There is also a chair in the corner with a lamp positioned nicely overhead. I sat and watched the airport operations for a while the following day, turning the chair to have an even better vantage of the International Terminal.
There is an iHome next to the bed that will let you pair your phone to it via Bluetooth and a wireless charging pad. If I didn’t have a old iPhone 7, I could have used the latter. I did connect my phone and Pandora soon had Alison Krauss’ angelic voice filling the room.
The wall outlets next to the bed also offer power and USB plugs. Each side of the bed also has a very compact reading light.
One super cool feature: the lights under the bed are on sensors. They kick on if you swing your feet over the edge. These are also installed under the bathroom sink, so as soon as you enter the room, there is some light to see.
This is fantastic when you need to get up in the middle of the night, as it means you don’t have to fumble for any switches. I’d almost biffed it a few weeks prior at the Klaus K Hotel Helsinki, forgetting that the SkyLoft bed area is separated from the living area by a few steps.
Rooms at the Grand Hyatt at SFO also offer a nice in-room coffee maker and kettle for tea. I had a cup of coffee the next morning, and it was quite good for in-room coffee.
Moving on to the bathroom, I found that it is extremely nice as well, with a spacious counter and sink.
There is no tub, but the shower is excellent.
The bath toiletries are full-size and mounted to the wall. Hyatt is eliminating single-use toiletries globally. Even without that corporate decision, the State of California has banned them as well, but this doesn’t take effect until 2023.
I don’t think I’ve ever owned a pair of shoes that has needed to be shined, but if this is something you need, the Grand Hyatt has you covered!
Then there is the view. This is my favorite feature. The runway view room did not disappoint.
The windows offer plenty of sound dampening. I was never awakened during the night by departing aircraft. Grand Hyatt at SFO runway view rooms also come with a plane watching kit: binoculars and a spotting guide.
I almost asked if I could take a guide home, as the older of my boys would love it. It captures most of the main aircraft types you’ll see at SFO, especially the wide-body aircraft that you’ll see at International Terminal A.
I was able to enjoy the view for hours, watching several wide-body aircraft come and go. This is my favorite shot of the day:
Other room features include a mini fridge and safe. I actually found the safe by accident. I didn’t expect it to be in one of the drawers.
Finally, the closet holds the robes and ironing necessities. Basically the stuff I never touch. The Grand Hyatt at SFO also offers a mat in each room.
I have nothing but good things to say about the rooms at the Grand Hyatt at SFO. They are spacious, modern, clean and still have the new sheen of a hotel that is less than three months old. I was more than satisfied. Enjoying a cup of coffee overlooking San Francisco International was just the way to start a relaxed morning.
Grand Club – Evening
The Grand Club at SFO is on the third floor, downstairs from the lobby. Given the airport view, I’m a bit surprised they didn’t make it a top-floor. But it does occupy the corner past the restaurant with views of the terminal.
The Grand Club at the Grand Hyatt at SFO is inviting and beautifully designed space. I was immediately impressed.
The Grand Club also has an excellent view of International Terminal A. You feel a lot closer on just the third floor.
There are a number of board games available, if you are hanging out with friends or family and are staying a while. I loved the circular sofa area that the Club has.
The Grand Club has two business center workstations as well, if you need. There are also plenty of power outlets along the exteriors walls the edge near the small tables. I set up here in the morning to work for a while.
I made it just in time to enjoy the Grand Club for a while before the evening food and beverages were cleaned up. The lounge offers complimentary snacks and treats from 7:00 to 9:00. Hors d’oeurvres are available from 5:00 to 7:00. The lounge hours are actually readily available, as they are printed on the access keys.
There are a few beer options, two wine options consisting of a Merlot and a Sauvignon Blanc, and a selection of spirits.
The Grand Hyatt at SFO operates with an “honor bar” system. There is no attendant to pour your drinks. But you do need to note them on the card and leave it in the lounge, as the drinks aren’t complimentary. The prices are certainly reasonable.
There were only a couple other guests in the evening. I spent about an hour relaxing and enjoying the view of the terminal, admiring the Cathay Pacific A350, Fiji Airways A330, and Qantas 747.
I couldn’t get over how nice the space is. The Grand Hyatt at SFO has an excellent club, the nicest I’ve enjoyed at any domestic hotel.
Grand Club Breakfast
Breakfast is complimentary with Grand Club access as well. There are fewer offerings than the restaurant next door, but it’s still a nice spread. Everything is nicely arranged, with platters of pastries, cold cuts, and a handful of hot options including mini quiches, bacon and oatmeal.
I loved the design of the mugs at the coffee and tea station.
I finished up an enjoyable breakfast. Its rare that I am able to enjoy a smoked salmon bagel, so that’s what I made.
It hit me that the club windows were nicely cleaned, and there wasn’t any fog droplets which covered the room window on the 11th floor. It is likely less than 100 feet difference in elevation, yet the view was much better in the club. There wasn’t a lot going on at the International Terminal A at 7:30 AM, but I got to watch an EVA 777-300ER be driven to the gate.
One of the club attendants kept checking on me. She was probably surprised that I lingered so long after breakfast. I had brought my computer, so it wasn’t like I needed to head upstairs anytime soon.
After the breakfast was cleaned up, the club attendants brought out a tea kettle and instructions for brewing it. Tea, coffee, water and a couple soft drinks are available through the day. There are also cookies and other snacks.
If simply having a lounge with an awesome airport view isn’t enough to draw you, the rest of the features of the Grand Club make burning Club Access awards at the Grand Hyatt at SFO an excellent proposition. It’s a lovely space.
Other Property Features
The Grand Hyatt at SFO also has the Twin Crafts Market & Bar on the fourth floor where you can grab a coffee or purchase a sandwich to go. I found the market fairly pricey, with most food options over $10. Gotta remember you’re in San Francisco.
The Quail + Crane Restaurant is located on the third floor along with the Grand Club. I found it a bit odd that they placed them adjacent to each other, as you have to basically walk through the restaurant to get to the Club.
The restaurant looked inviting, and it also has views of International Terminal A.
There is a fitness center on the lower floor that includes gym equipment and Peloton bikes. The Grand Hyatt at SFO does not feature a pool, which is a bit of a bummer for family travel, but also not an unexpected choice for an airport hotel.
The internet speed is reasonably good. I was getting 8-12 Mbps download. It was the upload speed that impressed me. At 14 Mbps, I was easily able to upload my entire trip’s photos quickly to Dropbox.
Grand Hyatt at SFO: The Verdict
The Grand Hyatt at SFO is hands-down my favorite SFO airport hotel stay. I love the hotel. I’ll need to rework my list of SFO airport hotels and add it to the top.
With brand-new rooms that are spacious and clean, an inviting lobby and restaurant, excellent service and artful design, I’ll argue that it is the nicest domestic Hyatt property at which I’ve stayed. My only other domestic Grand Hyatt stay was at the one in downtown San Francisco, and I was not all that impressed. Other Hyatt Regency stays have been nice, but the Grand Hyatt at SFO tops them all.
From the service recovery regarding the room upgrade, to the awesome Grand Club lounge, to the modern room features and fantastic view of SFO International Terminal A, the hotel is wonderful. I had extremely high hopes heading into my stay, and the Grand Hyatt at SFO still left me thoroughly impressed. It’s a fantastic property.
However, with high rates and awards starting at 20,000 points, it’s a lot to fork over for an airport stay. I’m not sure I’ll ever see a rate as good as I did that matches my travel plans, so I decided to jump. It was a splurge, to be sure. I never pay $200 cash for a night, but it was worth the experience. However, given that I was staying one more day in the city, I was able to enjoy every minute at the Grand Hyatt at SFO.