I’m not a fan of airport hotel stays. It’s hard to find value in a stay, either using cash or points, when the purpose is a late arrival, a sleep, and an early wake up for a morning flight. However, they are often a necessary part of travel plans, given our distance from a major airport, and at this point, we’ve stayed in a good number of SFO airport hotels.
San Francisco International Airport is the largest major gateway within a reasonable driving distance. It sees numerous fare sales, and it is often worth driving several hours for the savings. I prefer to stay on the arrival end of things, if at all possible. But we can’t always manage that. In any case, I’ve spent many a night at SFO airport hotels, and I figured I’d rank the top 10 at which I’ve stayed.
Ranking SFO Airport Hotels
Some of the hotels on the list are nice hotels, others are budget. They run the gamut. Most are not worth what they charge, at least in my opinion. But it is San Francisco after all, and things can be ridiculously expensive, depending on when you are visiting.
Here is my ranking of SFO airport hotels:
1 – Marriott SFO Waterfront
The San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront gets top marks from me, mainly because of the upgrade treatment and fantastic location. My older kids and I enjoyed a night at the hotel early last year, able to watch planes land on the runways and navigate Terminals A and 1 at the Bay Area’s busiest airport. If you can afford the night or burn the points, it’s a nice stay.
2 – Staybridge Suites San Bruno
This is my go-to hotel at SFO. I find it a perfectly acceptable use of an IHG free night certificate. With spacious rooms, essentially all of which are true suites with full kitchens, it’s hard not to fall in love with the Staybridge Suites SFO. The location is also ideal, as the BART station is within easy walking distance, saving us a shuttle ride and extra cost (departing SFO tacks on $$) if we’re coming or going on BART.
3 – DoubleTree Oyster Point
I’m fond of DoubleTree hotels. Most of our stays have been pleasant. They aren’t luxury by any means, but they are a great standard brand within the Hilton portfolio. This one is no different, and makes for a nice SFO airport stay.
4 – Hyatt Regency SFO
The Hyatt Regency is a recent addition to my list of SFO airport hotels. It hurts to burn 12,000 valuable Hyatt points for an airport night, but I finally did it on a recent trip. I wouldn’t call the hotel top-notch, but it is pleasant enough, and plenty nice if you’re a Hyatt loyalist. We’ll be back next year for a convention with our daughter.
5 – Holiday Inn SFO North
This hotel is pretty meh. There’s nothing special about it, but I didn’t find it to be a bad pick. In general, I find that Holiday Inn hotels are pretty hit or miss. Lately, mostly miss. My most recent handful of Holiday Inn stays have been in hotels that are well past their prime. Contrast this with some Holiday Inn Express hotels that might be the best of the brand.
6 – Crowne Plaza SFO
The Crowne Plaza SFO actually ended up being a better value than I expected. When other airport hotels were going for $200+ per night, I was able to snag it for right around $100. The rooms are small, and there isn’t free breakfast, but it is otherwise a fine hotel. The freeway is close, but the noise wasn’t noticeable. You’re also close to the flight path of jets landing, but this is far less noisy than takeoff.
7 – Four Points by Sheraton SFO
We stayed here during a weekend in the city, not for an airport stay. I didn’t have any IHG certificates for a stay at the Staybridge Suites, although this would have been nice, as we were there (partly) for a Points with a Crew miles and points meetup.
The hotel is a fairly typical Four Points, although a bit dated. The noise is a bit noticeable, too, with the hotel situated not too far from the path of jets departing from runway 28R and next to the freeway.
8 – Aloft SFO
Here is where we start to get into real complaint territory. The noise at the Aloft SFO was enough to really put a damper on our stay. It’s close to runways 1L and 1R, and the noise of departing jets is enough to prevent sleep. I’ve generally enjoyed my Aloft stays. Just not this one.
9 – Embassy Suites SFO
What I anticipated to be an excellent stay for our first Embassy Suites experience turned out to be anything but. For starters, I missed the memo that the hotel was under renovation at the time (which I have to assume has been completed, since it has been over a year). The second issue was that we had a very noisy room near us. Multiple calls down to the front desk did not help.
With six of us in the room (a plus of booking the Embassy Suites), we had a pretty miserable night. I complained to Hilton, and they ended up refunding me all the points.
10 – Ramada SFO
Not sure what I have to say, other than the fact that it is a totally budget hotel. Budget is relative, at the going rate was nearly $150. If all you need is a bed and empty carbs for breakfast, it’ll deliver. Keep expectations low.
There are obviously many other SFO airport hotels, including the Westin, the Hilton, and other budget and mid-scale options. Budget is relative, as the Ramada can hit $200 per night at times, which is outrageous.
The one I’m most excited to try next? The Grand Hyatt SFO, connected to the terminal. Although I’m not sure I’ll be able to fork over 20,000 Hyatt points for the experience.