The Boring W Hotel San Francisco, Hotel Review

There are a lot of luxury hotels in the world, but not that many are luxurious AND can be considered a party hotel at the same time. The W hotel (by Westin/Starwood) typically has the distinction of being a fancier, upscale hotel with a great nightlife vibe. We’ve stayed at the W in New York, Beverly Hills, Atlanta, Seattle, Barcelona, and more… but the W San Francisco was hands down the most boring and worst W hotel that we’ve ever stayed at.

From the outside, the hotel could be any other hotel or office building. There was really nothing exciting or different about the hotel that set it apart. Once you checked in to the lobby, that feeling continued. Yes, there were low levels of lighting and a very slight thumpy thumpy music going on in the background, but otherwise nothing worth noting.

The room was booked for us was a 2 double bed room and when I asked about upgrades at the front desk I was told there were no other rooms available. This was, as it is usually, a lie, as there were plenty of rooms left to be booked on their website. She did point out that if we wanted to change rooms tomorrow that we could do so, giving us a suite for the one night and a normal room for the first night.

Not in much of a fighting mood, as we were tired from the journey, we accepted and went up to our room.

Our boring room

Once you open the door to a hotel room, that property has literally seconds to make a first impression. We opened the door expecting bright colors and interesting shaped furniture. What we found could have been just as easily confused with a Sheraton Airport Hotel in Anytown, USA.

W Hotel San Fran Double Beds

Sure, there was a funky sofa on the wall and two random odd cutout shaped mirrors above the bed… but that’s it. Nothing else made this property stand out.

W Hotel San Fran Funky Sofa

The bathroom was an afterthought. The beige tones screamed “I’m boring” which matched perfectly with all the other parts of the room!

W Hotel San Fran Bathroom

The TV/Desk/Dresser/Minibar/Mirror/Office/Charging Station was so clumsy and cluttered that it just looked dirty. Ya know when you’ve got TOO much going on in a space that it all just mushes together and no destinct design can be found? Yup, that’s here.

W Hotel San Fran Desk

Second Room

The second night we were upgraded to a suite. While the room was more spacious, the bathroom was another fail. It was the same boring bathroom that I would expect from any motel, not a $400/night luxury brand in downtown San Francisco.

W Hotel San Fran Bathroom

The minibar had no rhyme/reason

W Hotel San Fran Minibar

But, at least there was a well defined office/desk space and seating area.

W Hotel San Fran Suite


We did decide to check out the gym and spa areas just to get an idea. The spa was closed (at 6pm?!) but the gym was pretty amazing. THIS is what I expect a W hotel to bring.

W Hotel San Fran Spa

W Hotel San Fran Closed

Set on the 4th floor, the ceiling is glass to allow natural light in. All the exercise equipment is set around the outside of the round room with weights on one corner and a large relaxation/stretching area in the middle. One of the coolest gyms I’ve seen, and, coincidentally, one of the busiest!

W Hotel San Fran Gym

The Verdict

Is this hotel worth $400 a night? HELL NO. With that said, is any hotel in San Francisco during the week worth that much? Probably not. It does seem that the W is riding on the hopes that you’ll come there thinking that you’re going to get a good experience and maybe a neat nightclub vibe, but with only a small lobby bar and no real identity, the W hotel lacks what it’s big brothers in other cities have in spades.

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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  1. Wow. You’re entitled to your opinion, but I often stay at the W and StR just a block away and really like the W. Its lobby “Living Room” is one of the best W lobby bars in the chain, and is a very lively after work and evening hotel bars. Not boring at all. Perhaps it’s you, not the hotel?

    The room decor is pretty standard for most Ws, too–so if you think it boring, you’re off-brand! The layouts of the rooms can be unusual, since it was going to be apartments originally, but the rooms are spacious and have nice amenities to me.

    The W location is fabulous, too. The StR a block away. The FS a few blocks. The Palace Luxury Collection about 2 blocks. The Park Central (former Westin) is another block or two. Union Square is just a 10-15 min walk.

    That the W San Francisco cost $400 shouldn’t shock you…since the Park Central (former Westin) just down the street can also cost $350-400. That isn’t about the W brand but about San Francisco! You obviously don’t know the rates in this city run VERY high…and especially high since there isn’t nearly the hotel room supply to meet the high demand.

    Perhaps you should look elsewhere for what you want more in a hotel.

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    • Point by point. I’ll take the W Midtown Atlanta bar any day .. the nights I was in SF it was raucous and impossible to have conversation, no need to call me boring, Bill. I think most people who know me won’t call me boring at all. I’m not sure which W hotels you’ve been in, but the decor was definitely a step down from most hip and cool W hotels I’ve been at. I didn’t mention anything about it’s location, as I would agree that it’s very central, but I don’t see what having other hotels close by has anything to do with it. I know that rates run very high in the city but just because you are in a city that has high hotel prices doesn’t mean I can’t expect a high level of service or quality for that price. And if it wasn’t clear from the post, I definitely will not stay at this hotel again.

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    • Last year we spent 108 nights in Starwood Hotels not to mention Hilton and Marriott. That gives us enough of a baseline to know what to expect from a hotel / chain.

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  2. 1. You were not upgraded to a suite; you were upgraded to a corner room, which even SPG Gold members are entitled to
    2. I don’t understand the concept of “not being in a fighting mood” when you know you’re being lied to. If the rooms are being sold and are showing as available on the website/app, then why not push?
    3. W Hotels all over the US are notorious for not willingly giving suite upgrades, the W in SF no exception as I’ve stayed there many times and have experienced constant lying about suite availability.

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  3. I guess you didn’t like my previous comment?

    Post a Reply
    • No. I liked it just fine. But I didn’t moderate it because I’m slow 🙂

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