When I started looking for family friendly hotels in San Francisco, I was looking for something central, well priced and would allow us options to utilise public transport to get around. We only had two full days in San Francisco and I wanted to ensure I used them wisely by choosing one of the great hotels in San Francisco with kids.
I already had riding the Golden Gate Bridge with Blazing Saddles booked for one day and a visit to Alcatraz on the other so that left me with only one other full day for sightseeing. I actually found hotels in San Francisco to be quite expensive so when I came across the Hotel Union Square I was keen to book it for our stay. The Hotel Union Square is over 100 years old and has been recently renovated and they are continually upgrading the facilities to improve the hotel.
Hotel Union Square is located on Powell St and not actually in Union Square, although Union Square is only a block and a half away. I felt it was the perfect location for what I needed as we had the famous San Francisco Cable Car right outside our door and only one block up we had access to various public transport options including the F Tram which takes you straight to Fishermans Wharf and good access to the public bus system which we used to get to the Painted Ladies and Lombard St.
Craig has an inbuilt sense of direction like nothing I have ever seen before. He can just look at a map and know exactly where to go. I on the other hand often find I get lost on the way out of the hotel. So when it comes to anything with directions, I let him take the lead.
We had a twin room on the 3rd floor overlooking Powell St, at times we would get a bit of noise from Powell St but nothing too bad. San Fransisco is currently experiencing a high rate of homelessness and on one particular night you could hear people shouting in the street this however could happen in any city. It was lovely to check in and head to our room and the first thing we saw out the window was the iconic San Francisco Cable Cars.
Our room was relatively basic but clean and tidy. We managed with the two queen beds even though they offered to provide a roll away bed if we felt we needed it. There was quite a bit of space in the room and we could have easily fitted it in. We had a small bar fridge which was great as we purchased a few things from Walgreens across the road and placed them in the fridge. There was also a safe in the wardrobe along with an ironing board (not that I know what people use them for!!).
The bathroom was small as you would expect for a building that is over one hundred years old. The shower was over the bath tub and the toilet next to the bath tub. I think this was the original bathroom and they were unable to make many changes due to the structure of the hotel. They had added a sink and wash room outside the bathroom with mirror and area to get dressed. I didn’t mind this arrangement as I was then able to have one child in the shower and one child out getting dressed and organised. The girls are getting older now and need their privacy away from their pesky little brother.
The Hotel Union Square did not have much in the way of traditional facilities. They have a room service option which they get from the restaurant next door. Between 5pm-6pm of the evening was a meet and greet where guests would join in the lobby for complimentary happy hours drinks. The lobby has a nice sitting area and is was nicely dressed for the holiday season which was really welcoming.
The concierge was very helpful and knowledgable. He was able to provide us with maps of San Francisco and point us in the right direction for public transport. He was able to provide tour information but as we are pretty independent travellers we only had minimal questions for him.
The hotel does have a car park in the rear. This was very handy when Craig went to collect the hire car, he was able to park here and I brought out the kids and luggage which meant I didn’t have to meet him in a side street or something similar. This doesn’t sound like a big plus but when you are driving a car for the first time, seated on the wrong side of the car and on the wrong side of the road, in a strange city being able to stop somewhere safe and familiarise yourself with the vehicle was awesome. This allowed us to pack the luggage in and take some photos of Dad in the wrong seat!! The kids thought that was pretty exciting.
There was an ATM located inside the hotel which was comforting to know there was somewhere safe to withdraw cash.
Interestingly, American hotels appear to have ice machines of each floor. As stated above we also had a fridge but the ice got drinks colder quicker which was really handy especially when Craig wanted a beer.
For current prices for the Hotel Union Square put your dates in the search box below. I have found Hotels Combined to be the best third party booking site for hotels in the USA.
We loved the hotel location, it didn’t have all the bells and whistles but who needs that when you are going to be out and about most of the time. The hotel was clean and functional and central and the kids loved the fire escape being on the outside of the building ‘like in all the movies’!
If we were going back to San Fransisco I would happily stay here again. I loved that we were in the thick of it all and right in the middle of town. You couldn’t ask for a better location, we were close to the shopping district and Union Square, Fishermans Wharf was only a short tram ride away and we had Walgreens right across the street from us. We got snacks and drinks from Walgreens before heading out to Alcatraz and on our ride over the Golden Gate Bridge which helped to keep costs down.
If you are looking for a clean and tidy room, central location and good access to public transport at a very reasonable price then this is a great choice. The option to have five in the room is a considerable saving for the families also. We found this to be one of the best family friendly hotels in San Francisco.
Sally, Craig & Our3kids.
Disclaimer: I had a mutually beneficial arrangement with Hotel Union Square, as always my opinion is my own.