I needed a hotel in the San Francisco area for a one night stay on my visit to Northern California. I thought this would present a perfect opportunity to test out the new $200 Hotel credit from American Express Platinum Card. The lowest priced options were the Taj Campton Palace, and the Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, which is part of Marriott. The Taj seemed a bit dated, so I decided to try the Palace Hotel. I was also excited as it would be my 3rd Luxury Collection property after the US GRANT in San Diego and the Nines in Portland. I’ve had good experiences with the Luxury Collection, so I was ready to sample another one.
Including taxes and fees, the room was $360 for the one night Saturday stay. I booked the lowest room category, the Superior 1 King. The nice thing about booking through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts is that the rates are the same as the standard rates when booking directly with Marriott. Of course, there was the lowest priced pre-pay rate on the Marriott site which was about $30 cheaper, but I didn’t want a non-refundable rate anyway in case my plans changed, and I would lose out on the AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts benefits.
The Palace Hotel San Francisco is a Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy property- meaning it will cost you anywhere between 50,000 and 70,000 points depending on seasonality if you were to use your Bonvoy points.
AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts Benefits:
- Noon check-in when available
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- Daily breakfast credit of $60 for two guests.
- Guaranteed 4:00 pm late checkout
- $100 Food and Beverage credit
Fora Travel Benefits:
If you don’t have an AMEX Platinum Card and want added perks with your booking, I’d be more than happy to help you plan your trip. I started working with a travel agency, Fora Travel, and can assist in booking hotel stays. As a travel agent we are partnered with Virtuoso, Four Seasons Preferred Partners to name a few, and special perks when booking with us at this specific property are:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Complimentary full breakfast daily for 2 guests (excluding Sunday brunch)
- $100 USD Food and Beverage credit to be utilized during stay
- Early check-in/Late check-out, subject to availability
These are pretty similar to the AMEX FHR offering, and so if you are interested in getting these perks, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Location + Some Hotel History:
My friend and I took an Uber in from the Silicon Valley area, and the hotel is conveniently located on the corner of Market and New Montgomery, just walking distance to Union Square. You have access to the BART public transport just steps away as well. If you’re driving in, valet parking is available for $72 a day.
The Palace Hotel San Francisco is a famous historic hotel, with origins that date back to 1875. At the time it was proclaimed the largest hotel in the world and San Francisco’s first luxury hotel. It was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquakes and subsequent fires, and the structure we see today was completed in 1909. Super interesting to me!
We had to meet another friend for brunch in the city, and arrived at 11am. We were prepared to leave our bags and come back later if the room wasn’t ready for us, but thankfully the front desk agent said we could check in. It was nice to be able to quickly drop off the bags and freshen up. We wanted a room with 2 beds, and so we got a one-category upgrade from a Superior Room to a Deluxe Room with 2 Double Beds.
In heading to our room, I noticed there were only 3 elevators and they were all very quirky. One kept closing on people, and two of them were quite tiny. This was a pet peeve of mine that forced me to exercise a bit and take the stairs from the 6th floor on a few occasions. While we are on the pet peeves topic, the lights in the lobby kept flickering throughout our stay. It made it feel a bit haunted lol.
Our room was located on the 6th floor. The elevator landing was very elegant.
Our room was situated on the corner of the interior courtyard. It was nice as walking into the room; there was a ton of space due to the corner location. It did have a small window, however.
The beds were quite comfortable, and the Frette linens made for an excellent night’s sleep. Certainly five star bedding. I think the modern bed design was done tastefully while trying to still match the classic hotel vibe.
The view was quite bland and not too desirable, but at least it was quiet I guess?
One thing that was missing from the room was a tea/coffee maker. That took me a bit by surprise. There was a mini-fridge, and two bottles of water were provided which showcased a photo of the hotel as the background of the bottle. Cute!
Slippers and robes were also waiting in the closet.
The AC unit worked well, and with older hotels, the sound insulation was solid for a quiet stay.
The bathroom was on the smaller side, as was expected with a historic hotel. But it had enough counter space and was adequate. There was a rainfall showerhead and a wand, and both worked well.
Toiletries were provided by Byredo, with the Le Chemin scent. This is generally standard for the Luxury Collection, as I had this at the US Grant in San Diego, but not at the Nines in Portland. It is one of my favorite hotel toiletry lines so I was happy to see it.
Service was decent, with the housekeepers in the hallways being very friendly. I did request some extra items for the room via the Marriott app, and it did take over 30 minutes for them to arrive, so a bit slow there.
Currently, breakfast is served under the famous atrium of the Garden Court. Hours are 6:30 AM – 10:30 AM Monday through Saturday and 7:00 AM- 11:00 AM on Sundays. The signature tea service is offered every Saturday from 12pm to 2pm. Room service is also available at the hotel currently for breakfast only.
The Garden Court at the Palace Hotel is beautiful. The stained class, chandeliers, and historic architecture make it an amazing place to spend a breakfast. We made reservations weeks prior to the stay, and I recommend you do as well. I saw walk-ins at 9am being quoted a 45 minute wait for a table of 2.
When we were taken to our seat, the host told us we could use $30 towards the a la carte menu, or have the breakfast buffet which costs $35. But then when our waiter came, he said we got $30 and could apply it to either a la carte or to the buffet. That made sense, as the front desk at check-in stated it was a $30 credit per person. Since a la carte dishes were going for $28, we decided to pay the $5 extra to get the breakfast buffet. The breakfast buffet also comes with tea, coffee or juice, so it’s generally a better deal to get the buffet.
At the end, on the hotel bill only the tip portion showed up on my bill, and they didn’t charge for the difference between the buffet price and the $60 credit. Looks like the host who took us to our seat was right? Nice!
The buffet had a decent spread, with bacon, sausage, potatoes, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, an egg omelet in a cup, fruit, yogurt, cereals and pastries.
Overall, I enjoyed the ambiance of the breakfast. The buffet food itself was alright, nothing to rave about but also not a bad experience.
Currently, no restaurant or room service serves lunch at the property. So, we used the $100 food credit at Pied Piper for dinner. Pied Piper is open from 4pm-9:30pm for dinner everyday (drinks at the bar until 10:30pm). We used it on the day of checkout and it was quite simple, we just had to head back to the front desk to adjust the bill and it was all done very smoothly.
We got there at 5pm on a Sunday evening, and it had a good amount of people but no wait. No reservations are taken at Pied Piper at the moment (walk-ins only).
My friend and I just had a late brunch, so we just shared two items as we weren’t too hungry.
The portions were a good size, and I thought it was pretty tasty. I enjoyed the salad more than the steak. A solid experience to use the food credit.
Fitness Center and Pool:
I took a quick peek at the fitness center and pool, which are connected and both located on the fourth floor. The fitness center was a decent size, and the pool was right behind it. The pool was indoors and enclosed with a glass roof. A bit small, and since it was enclosed, it reeked of chlorine. When I went to check out the pool, there were about 2 families there, and that pretty much filled the pool as it was quite small.
The pool is open from 6am-10pm daily, and the fitness center is open 24 hours. At check-in, you will get a pool/fitness center key after showing your vaccination cards.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco. Comfortable beds, and the beautiful Garden Court are the highlight of the property. I think some work can be done on the elevators, and flickering lights in the lobby, but I will definitely consider staying here again on my future visits to San Francisco.
Have you stayed at the Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco before? How was your experience? Comment below!