Hotel Union Square

, San Francisco, United States
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Hotel Union Square

, San Francisco
3 star

Rooms: 131

114 Poweel Street - San Francisco - California - 94102 - United States Hotel Website | | 4153973000
515 Traveller

Reviews - Hotel Union Square

You get what you pay for
Submitted by: Bel in 29/10/06
  • Age Group: 31 - 40
  • From: United States
  • Traveller type: Special Interest/Event
You get what you pay for....This hotel has a great location for the price and depending on the room you get it could be a wonderful or horrible experience...We had both during our visit so I'll tell you about both….Just be sure to bring some disinfecting wipes and some candles for the musty smell in the rooms

We originally booked a room with two double beds room through and since we had a discounted rate they gave away our room preference and we were stuck with a room with two twin beds on the first night. The manager Peter, who needs a lesson in hospitality and tact explained the policy of room availability to us in the most condescending tone imaginable when we asked why we were not getting the room we reserved. The rest of the hotel staff was wonderful, helpful and friendly.

First the unpleasant experience......

At first we were given a room that they already had given to someone else and it was an unpleasant surprise walking into a room that had someone else's belongings and seeing firsthand how relaxed their security was.

The first night we stayed in room 228... You could probably get a better room at one of the local hostels…at least it was not the haunted room (according to the rumors, it's 207). The room was extremely small and was part of the fire escape route so in the event of an emergency people would have to run through your room, but on the bright side you'd be the first one out….. The bathroom was extremely small (about 5x5 or comparable to an airplane bathroom with a tiny shower) and if you are any larger than a size 10 good luck getting into the shower. Also, the sink was so small that you could not place your toiletries on the sink. There is no air conditioning so when we turned on the ceiling fan it wiggled so much that it looked (the base of the fan and the arm holding the blades looked as if they were going to separate) and sounded (squeakiest fan ever) as though it were going to fall off the ceiling right on to your bed directly underneath it. If you want to leave the window open ...since the fan is so loud and risk having someone from the next room or someone coming in through the fire escape into your room....since we were two women leaving that window open was not a viable option. Also, this room has a door or half door since half of it is a window, which is covered with white paper and white blinds so at night the room is illuminated from the lights in the hallway....I would request this room if you are afraid of the dark!!

Now for a somewhat better experience......The second night we stayed in room 325. This room had two double beds and it was a huge improvement over the first room. The bathroom had a bathtub and the sink had enough counter space to accommodate your toiletries. The only complaints about this room is that the fan in the bathroom didn't work and they didn't do a good job of cleaning the bathroom floor, which still had small hairs on it but nothing that a few Clorox wipes couldn't take care of!
Nice but inconvenient
Submitted by: Elizabeth Brown in 27/05/05
  • Age Group: 26 - 30
  • From: United States
  • Traveller type: Business Traveller
The hotel was great but they didn't have internet connections in the room. They solicitated that they offered wireless internet in the lobby but it was down the entire time we were there. We found an Apple store close by and we'd download our emails from there.

Historical Traveller Reviews of Hotel Union Square

Used to be charming...

from TravelerNYNy
I stayed at this hotel during Easter, for three nights and I had been there before, in 2002 for one full week. The hotel has been renovated a few years ago, adding modernized features to the old building (new mirrors, furniture, carpeting, lighting). The entrance to the hotel is charming and looks spacious. The rooms are of a reasonable size. The bathroom is a bit old looking and rather small. I should mention that I asked for a non-smoking room facing Powell and none of my requests were granted.

The hotel itself is an average 3/2 star hotel. However, there are a few things that make this hotel outstanding (and, in fact, made me come back): first, location. Union Square is the place to be when visiting San Francisco. Surrounded by shops, there are plenty of cafes and bars where you could enjoy a nice jazz-live evening or a coffee. All the main attractions are at walking distance or very closely (Chinatown, the seaport...). Otherwise, the public transportation system works pretty well. In addition, there are plenty of rental car places just around the corner from the hotel.

Another advantage of staying at this hotel is that the cable car runs down Powell Street, just across the hotel. If you are able to get a room facing that street (numbers 1-10, starting with the hundreds, 101, 210, 304, for example), you will get all the charm of San Francisco and you will be able to hear the cable car coming down the street.

Finally, two years ago, the hotel used to serve fresh donuts and coffee on every floor... Although I was expecting that treat this time, the concierge told me that, for budget reasons, it is no longer the case... What a disappointment!

As regards to management, I have to say that I was charged 100 dollars on my AMEX from another hotel of the chain to which the Union Square Hotel belongs (I made a reservation through their website). Although I tried to contact the manager in several occasions, he was not responsive at all and right now, AMEX is dealing with the dispute.

Overall, I had enough "charming experiences" with this hotel... Next time, I will go to a better (obviously more expensive) charming hotel.

great location, service

from KathleenLisson
I just got back from a week in San Francisco. I stayed in room 304 at the Union Square Hotel. I highly recommend this hotel, the room was large and clean, furniture classy, large artwork of both Mission Dolores and a synagogue over the beds added to the ambiance. Full bath, plus vanity and sink outside of bathroom. Windows open about six inches, and there is a radiator to keep the foggy cold at bay. I liked the street noise, never too loud to sleep but you get to hear the cable car rings and occasional music from the street below. The nice extra was free coffee and tea on the 2d floor, perfect for stopping by before you leave and when you come back. The location cannot be better. 1 block from union square, BART powell station and the streetcars on Market and on the cable car line. For a quick meal, Tad's steakhouse is right next door, they serve huge steaks in an informal cafeteria setting. Of course there are lots of restaurants nearby, and great sourdough from Boudin. The visitors center by the BART station sells city passes for $40, you get museum tickets and unlimited cable car and streetcar rides. This is the best deal, you will thank youself for getting it.

Not Too Bad!:)

from Mona216
This was a cute little hotel distinguished not by the rooms which were a bit shabby but by the excellent helpful service from the staff. No wireless internet in rooms but there is free access in the small Business centre downstairs. The rooms, though a bit dated, were very well maintained daily, no complaints there! Location- absolutely prefect for shoppng and sightseeng near to the malls, good restaurants and just up the road from a cable car stop.

My only difficulty with this place was how THIN the walls were! I was able to hear my neighbours with embarassing clarity...that bit needs some work! Bring your earplugs or prepare to blush!

Overall a very plesant stay and I would definitely reccommend this place to the discriminating traveller on something of a budget.

Smokey Quaint Old Hotel in Grate Location

from A TripAdvisor Member
Just spent a weekend at this hotel right on union Square. Old, stylish structure and small, but nicely decorated rooms did not make up for the old cigarette smoke smell that permeates every hall and room. I guess 80 years of smoking cannot be removed by some fresh paint and I have come to expect a fresh-smelling room when I reserve a non-smoking room.

Electricity and Cable failed twice on Sunday, and the cable cars can be heard constantly on Powell Street as they go by from 6 AM to 12 midnite. If you go, request a room on the other side.
The hotel advertizes wireless internet, but be prepared to only access it in the lobby... it's not available in the rooms despite the insinuation it is.

I will not go back.

A little on the shabby side

from A TripAdvisor Member
We stayed at the Hotel Union Square early October 2004. Its position is second to none - great to be able to walk to all major shops or jump a cable car up the famour Hyde-Powell line.
We were however disappointed in our accommodation. Firstly they didn't have the room we booked over the internet and so we had to settle for a twin room that was TINY, i mean REALLY TINY. The room smelt very musty and the lightly was pretty dim.
We also found the staff quite abrasive and unfriendly and the concierge very unhelpful and narky at us because we had pre-book many things over the internet (really! we only had a couple of days and needed to be sure of being able to get in to particularly places or on tours - and besides it's not his right to tell us how to book or get narky at us - no tip for them!).
Put simply, I wouldn't stay again and wouldn't recommend it.

Will stay here again!

from A TripAdvisor Member
we got this hotel on a travel "deal" included in our trip and have NO complaints at all! the concierge was extremely helpfull and friendly, the counter staff were fine too!
YES it's old the bath chipped and the rooms not big, but we only slept there and the bed was better than the one we got in an upmarket hotel in Las vegas afer that
The DO have non smoking rooms, and the rooms at the back are quiet, no view but you are only there to sleep!
Location is absolutely the best there is

Great stay at Union Square Hotel

from A TripAdvisor Member
We were a little concerned about what to expect after having read some of the reviews on this site, but we were pleasantly surprised. Not only is the Hotel Union Square in a great location, it's clean and comfortable. Our room was small but it had everything we needed. We asked for a room at the back so it was not noisy at all. The atmosphere is pleasant and staff very friendly. I would not hesitate recommending this place to anyone, and I wouldn't think too much about some of the less favourable reviews - the place made it for our stay in San Francisco.

Dark and depressing

from A TripAdvisor Member
This hotel is what they call a "personality" hotel. I guess the personality of this one is dark and depressing. When you make reservations, make sure to ask if your room has windows that actually let sunlight in.

The room I got had two little cracks that opened up into a hole down the middle of the building. No light came in at all. The artificial lighting in the room didn't help much either (they were terribly low wattage). I had to have all the lights in the room on at the same time to keep myself from going into a major blue funk.

There's no AC in the rooms, but it never got uncomfortable (I'm used to hot weather, though, so your experience may vary). There was a little fan in the closet in case you need it, along with an iron and ironing board.

The staff was nice, and the concierge was very helpful. The location is right in the middle of Union Square, with lots of huge chain stores and restaurants. A half-hour walk up Powell street takes you to Fisherman's Wharf, where you can take tours to Alcatraz.

Parking was $33 a night right next door. It included in and out, and there was a valet. You can park on the street until 2:00 am, but you'll get towed after that.

Overall, my only problem was that I felt like I was inside a poorly lit closet. Unfortunately, this destroyed the whole experience for me.

Location does it for me

from Grazie
Basic hotel in a great location. If, unlike me, you don't like the clanking of the cable cars then book a room at the back. Otherwise get yourself a room at the front overlooking Powell, open the window and use the cable cars as your wake up call. Very atmospheric.

Excellent service

from A TripAdvisor Member
I've stayed here twice. Yes, it's an old building. Yes, it's on Powell Street and it's noisy at night. Yes, no A/C, but the windows open and the hotel never claimed to have A/C. The hotel is a bargain for it's location. But that isn't reason enough for a return visit. Here's the reason I will always choose the Union Square or one of its sister hotels when I stay in SF. When I stayed there last February, I went across the street for breakfast on my last morning in SF. On my way out of the restaurant, I fell down a flight of 17 stairs and broke my shoulder. I was travelling alone although I have friends in the city. From the ER I called my friend who contacted the hotel. The front desk made sure that my luggage was packed and had completed the check-out process so that I would not have to do this when I returned to the hotel. Additionally, the hotel front desk contacted my airline to arrange for a later flight. The entire front desk staff were incredibly helpful and solicitous.

Top Local Tips for San Francisco

The Tenderloin Be careful to stay out of the Tenderloin district. It is not a place for anyone that is even remotely unfamiliar with the city. There are plenty of restaurant & shopping options throughout the city, that there should be no reason to go there. It is packed with homeless and the dregs of society. Stay out of there!

Alcatraz trips. Book your tickets in advance online and go on the night time trip. It means you get to see the skyline at night and that there are less people on the island.

Buy a one day travel ticket for $11 USD you can buy a days travel ticket that can be used on the cable cars and buses, a great way to get across San Francisco as its too far to walk between the favourite spots. You can buy these once you get on the cable car or bus so you don't need a ticket before hand, despite what the signs say!


Other names for Hotel Union Square

  • union square san francisco
  • union square hotel
  • hotel union square
  • Address: 114 Poweel Street - San Francisco - California - 94102 - United States
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