For as long as I remember, I have been in love with the city of San Francisco. From its grand beauty to its acceptance of all types of people, the City by the Bay has always held a special place in my heart.
San Francisco was the first place I ever travel to on my own and a place that I continue to visit on a pretty regular basis. Even with its worsening homelessness issues, I continue to return.
I’ve stayed at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis before, but this is the first review that I have ever written about it. While not as luxurious as some of the other properties in San Francisco, its location and consistency are what keep me coming back.
San Francisco Marriott Marquis – Booking
As a Marriott loyalist that faced the complications that arose out of COVID, I was sitting on three Free Night Awards for a free night’s stay at any Marriott property as long as each night’s cost was 40,000 points or less.
These certificates were earned as an Annual Choice Benefit of reaching Titanium Elite status in each of the last three years.
Now, when I first looked at the SF Marriott Marquis, each night was priced at 50,000 Bonvoy points, which is the standard rate for a Category 6 property in the Marriott family. That meant I wouldn’t be able to use my certificates.
I had actually booked another hotel originally, until Marriott swooped in to save the day with their Week of Wonders promotion, allowing for stays before October 31, 2021 to be booked at off-peak rates.
Luckily, this meant that the San Francisco Marriott Marquis was within my reach again, and thus I booked the stay using my Free Night Awards after cancelling my other reservation.
I’ve previously written about the difficulty in securing suite upgrades using Suite Night Awards, so I wasn’t holding my breath when I applied three of my existing 10 Suite Night Awards.
To my surprise, my suite upgrade was confirmed the day before my stay.
What worried me the most was the term “No view” in the description of the suite upgrade confirmation. When I viewed the room pictures on the hotel’s website, it definitely looked like it was an interior room with window dressings covering up a faux-window.
Even so, I find myself caring a little less about the view from my hotel room nowadays, as I’ve realized that I typically don’t spend all that much time in the room, and I’m certainly not sitting in front of a window staring out when there is a city to explore.
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San Francisco Marriott Marquis – Location
The biggest benefit of the San Francisco Marriott Marquis is its location. Located steps away from the Powell Street BART Station, it is the breeziest location I can think of if you are looking for an easy one-step, no-transfer option from the San Francisco Airport (SFO) to your centrally located hotel.
To reach the SF Marriott Marquis from SFO, simply purchase a BART ticket for US$9.65 and jump on a Red or Yellow BART train to Powell Street Station. From there, walk two minutes to the front entrance of the hotel.
In terms of the hotel’s location relative to San Francisco’s attractions, you are located in Downtown San Francisco, a half block off Market Street, the most recognizable thoroughfare in the city centre. Here you will find buses, subways, and streetcars taking you to any tourist location that you are interested in.
Across the street from the Marriott Marquis is a Trader Joe’s, which is a godsend if you are looking for an alternative to eating out at San Francisco’s many fine but expensive eateries. Additionally, there is a Ross and Old Navy within spitting distance of the hotel, giving you ready access to some cheap clothes if you’ve forgotten to pack something.
One of the most logical questions to ask about the hotel’s location is, is it safe? Well, the answer to that question is, it depends.
I have been to San Francisco numerous times and have experienced some of the challenges presented by the homeless population, so my mindset might be different from those first experiencing San Francisco.
If you are looking for a hotel location that is completely devoid of homelessness, you should look elsewhere, perhaps to the Nob Hill (i.e., rich) areas of town.
That being said, I did not feel unsafe at all, though you should certainly keep your wits about you, especially at night. The hotel staff does a very good job of ensuring the security of the hotel, and once you are within the confines of the hotel, you have nothing to worry about.
Would I recommend the hotel to a first-timer to San Francisco? Absolutely, but it’s only fair to give you the full picture before you make your decision.
San Francisco Marriott Marquis – Check-in
Given the size of the hotel, the check-in area is a little larger than most. Thankfully, there is a priority check-in desk for elite members of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program (Silver Elite members and above).
One minor detail that worked in my favour was that the check-in agent advised me that I would be awarded 1,000 Bonvoy points for my stay; however, she neglected to give me the choice between the points or a US$10/stay food and beverage voucher.
This choice benefit is a guaranteed benefit for Platinum and above members. Failing to provide me with the choice between the two should result in cash compensation of US$100.
After settling into my room, I went back downstairs to claim my compensation. When I approached the manager to ask about my compensation, he kindly asked for the day to review the circumstances and asked for my phone number.
At the end of the day, I received a phone call advising me that my compensation was ready to be picked up. When I arrived back at the hotel at the end of the day, I approached the check-in desk and was provided with US$100 and an apology for the oversight.
San Francisco Marriott Marquis – Two Bay Suite
As mentioned above, I was upgraded to the Two Bay Suite as part of my Suite Night Award upgrade allocation, and while these quick 3 night stays don’t necessitate the need for a suite upgrade, it’s always nice to see your loyalty pay off.
While the Two Bay Suite is only the 6th best suite type in the Marriot Marquis, it is certainly nice to have a bit more space in a city where space comes at a premium. Boasting 670 square feet of room, the suite was quite large and fairly functional but as the room description aptly put it, there was no (pretty) view from the room.
What is nice to see is that the rooms have been updated since the last time I stayed there in 2017.
The suite is separated by a dresser that also serves as a TV stand and does a decent job of making the large room feel like two distinct spaces. There are two large TVs, one for the bedroom side and one for the living room side, great if you are travelling as a family and have different viewing needs, though because the TVs are basically back to back, the sound tends to wash together, making it a bit more difficult to make out the dialogue in your show.
The standard king bed in the suite was very comfortable and pretty standard when it comes to Marriott bedding. The bedside desks offered both standard and USB-A plugs for all of your charging needs.
While the rooms are separated from each other with the dresser, there certainly isn’t much privacy between the rooms.
The bathroom in the suite was very standard with nothing to write home about. The water pressure was a little bit weak but nothing egregious. The water temperature, however, was a bit suspect.
The first morning that I went to take a shower, there was no hot water. And this was at about 7am, so there should be no reason the hot water was used up at that hour.
When I called down to the front desk, they said they would send up engineering to address the issue, but before ending the call, the agent said “do me a favour and run the hot water at the sink for a couple of minutes and see if that fixes the issue”.
After trying this hotel “hack”, the hot water magically came on in the shower. Given that this was what amounts to a canned response for hot water issues the front desk faces, I have to assume that this is an ongoing issue that has a band-aid solution.
In the end, I just ran the hot water in the sink before my shower with no issues, but it certainly seemed wasteful.
With regards to the view from the room, I wouldn’t say it’s at all pretty, but it’s not as bad as overlooking a parking lot.
I believe that the SF Marriott Marquis sells this room as a “no view” room to temper expectations, rather than have it literally mean “no view” as in no windows.
The room’s windows let in plenty of sunlight, so it felt very open and airy, and besides, I was more interested in seeing what San Francisco had to offer in-person than from a hotel room.
San Francisco Marriott Marquis – Breakfast
Given that the hotel’s Executive Lounge was still closed during my visit in October 2021, we were presented with breakfast certificates to be used at the Mission Street Pantry, a small kiosk selling some basic food items for hotel guests.
Unfortunately, the continental breakfast allowance is very basic, including only pastries, yogurt, fruit, juice, and coffee or tea. After being disappointed by the limited breakfast selection the first day, we took a pass and found other breakfast spots in the area.
If you’re willing to have a croissant or muffin for breakfast, the Mission Street Pantry is fine. If you want more, look elsewhere.
San Francisco Marriott Marquis – Other Facilities
The San Francisco Marriott Marquis has a rooftop bar with impressive views of the city, aptly named The View Lounge. It tended to get pretty busy in the afternoons and evenings among both hotel guests and locals.
The San Francisco Marriott Marquis seems to function as the singular location of the COR Health + Fitness gym. As far as I can tell, this gym is open to both hotel guests as well as those with a gym membership or are willing to pay a drop-in fee.
The benefit of having a gym that isn’t solely dedicated to hotel guests is that the gym is able to bring in additional revenues and reinvest into newer and more gym equipment. This definitely seemed to be the case here, as both the cardio and strength training equipment seemed new and plentiful.
Spread over two floors, the lower level was focused on strength training and the upper level for cardio.
There’s no shortage of equipment, and even on the busiest day, you are more than likely going to find a piece of cardio equipment you can call your own.
After visiting San Francisco many times and reading Ricky’s review of the nearby JW Marriott, it was clear to me that what mattered most for me was access to a convenient location and reliability.
The San Francisco Marriott Marquis has that in spades and is certainly a hotel that I would recommend to others. Once they stop using COVID as an excuse and open up the Executive Lounge, this hotel is a surefire hit for those looking for value and convenience when staying in San Francisco.
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