I needed a place to stay for a weekend around the San Francisco airport. After opening up the SPG app on my phone the Westin San Francisco airport popped up with a decent rate under $200 for a night there. I haven’t been to the Westin and decided to give it a shot. Just a few weeks ago I was staying at the Aloft right behind the Westin, which is as well an SPG property.
I booked with the SPG app on my phone the night before and when I checked the next morning, rates were already up again.
I arrived with the complimentary shuttle bus from the San Francisco airport and after grabbing my bags I headed inside to check in. It was just me on the shuttle bus getting off at the Westin. Everyone else went to either parking or Aloft.
Checking in was no problem. They had all my details with my reservation already in their system and only needed to see my credit card and an ID. I asked if there are any upgrades available to a suite. The agent told me that she already upgraded me to a more quiet room. Because I booked the hotel just a day before I wasn’t able to use any of my SPG suite nights. I think it was better that way. The room was great and I didn’t really need a suite for only a few days.
Westin Renewal King Room (Room 738)
As I mentioned this was supposed to be an upgrade to a better room. Maybe it got remodeled, but not recently as far as I can tell. The room was facing away from the bay and towards the highway. Supposedly these rooms are quieter than the others, according to the front desk. I mean she was right. It was quiet in the room, but I would prefer a room with bay-view to watch the planes land at SFO.
Overall the room was the way I expected it to be. The actual room was spacious and had lots of ways for me to store my luggage. Adjacent from the bed was the office desk and a closet with the TV on top of it. The closet under the TV houses the in-room refrigerator. They also have a glass-top office desk, which I am not a big fan off because you can’t use your computer’s mouse on it without a mousepad. I always carry one, but I am sure not every traveler has one. Maybe not that many people use a mouse anymore either. I know the desks look nice but are unpractical.
The bed had a nightstand mounted to the headboard on either side with enough power outlets to charge your phone and plug in a laptop if you have to. Next to the window is a sofa chair with a footrest.
The bathroom is off to the left when you enter the room. Just before you go into the bathroom there is a wall closet to your left with the in-room safe. The size of the bathroom was normal and gives you easy access to the sink and shower without dancing around the doors or other obstacles. I love the mirrors which have lighting all the way around, no matter what shape they are.
The hotel has a big lobby with dimmed lighting. Perfect to hang out with friends and co-workers or when you are waiting for the shuttle bus. There are desks with power outlets to get some last-minute work done as well.
If you are in need of a collaboration space, use the on-site Tangent conference room. They even have video-conferencing equipment installed there. Right outside visitors to the hotel can pay for their parking passes. The actual business center with two workstations and printer is a little bit hidden. You can find it behind the little market which is located next to the front desk. Right outside of the business center is an ATM just in case you need some cash.
Sixt rent a car has an on-site office which has to be accessed from the outside of the hotel. The cars are parked in a separate parking lot behind the hotel. Just follow the signs for SIXT. Get there first to check out the available vehicles and then check the prices online. If you are getting Platinum Status from a credit card, this gives you a good idea what to book to get a free upgrade. This helps definitely to save some money. I almost rented from them but there was no car available I was interested in and I have a good relationship with Avis so far.
To stay fit use the Westin fitness center located on the second floor. It’s well sized and has plenty of workout equipment, no matter what you try to train. Westin is a great hotel for runners. The hotel schedules a run every now and then. Just check with the front desk and join their running group or they can also provide you with maps to venture off on your own. This is great if you travel solo for business or pleasure. Another great service of Westin is that they rent you shoes and athletic wear for just $5.
Undoubtfully one of their best amenities on-site is their amazing pool and hot-tub. The pool is huge and is kinda off-centered T-shaped. In one corner is the hot-tub and there are plenty of pool loungers around the pool. The pool is indoor and heated which lets you use it year-round. You can even order from the in-room dining menu and have it delivered to your pool lounge chair. What a service!
The Westin and the Aloft (Review) behind the Westin have a reciprocal signing agreement. Means you can use their services and do room charge to your room at the hotel. Why would you go to the Aloft? They also have a nice and heated indoor pool, which might be less crowded than the one at the Westin. The lobby has a pool table and on some days they have live music in the lobby/bar as well. The same goes the other way around. If you stay at the Aloft, you can dine at the Westin and have your room charged for it.
The best benefit is probably the location. The Westin is right across from Bayfront Park. From there you can take a stroll along the Bay Trail or sit down and watch the planes. Bayfront Park is a great spot for plane spotting. This sounds probably like a secret tip and it maybe is. You can actually loan a bicycle from the hotel to get around. This is great for cycling the Bay Trail up and down. The bicycles are stored right off to the right side in front of the main entrance. Just ask the bellman out front about borrowing a bicycle.
Besides the complimentary bicycles, the Westin has the “Red Carpet Trolley” which will bring you to downtown Millbrae. From there you can take BART to get to the city or Calltrains if you plan on traveling further away. You can take the Caltrain to San Jose or even further. Millbrae offers a lot of shopping and dining opportunities as well. This shuttle service is complimentary as well. There is usually a sign at the main entrance telling you about the next trolley going to Millbrae. In doubt just ask the concierge and they are more than happy to help you out.
For the once of you, who don’t know what to do or need help making arrangements the hotel has a concierge service in the lobby which can help you with that.
There is an on-site restaurant called Grill & Vine. This is also the place where you get your breakfast. For breakfast, you can order a la carte or decide to go with the breakfast buffet. Because I selected breakfast to be my SPG Platinum benefit, I was entitled to the buffet every morning. The buffet was not bad, it had a good selection of breakfast items but on the other side looked more like a Holiday Inn Express continental breakfast. The Westin brand is one of the better hotels in the SPG portfolio and I expected a bit more. For me, the best breakfast buffet was at the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport. Don’t worry the breakfast is not bad, I might just set my expectations too high.
For lunch and dinner, the menu is pretty small and doesn’t have a lot of variety. I went two times for dinner here and the food was good but nothing special. You can visit the restaurant and have self-parking at the hotel validated by the restaurant for up to two hours.
For the busy people amongst us, there is the Runway Café. They serve Starbucks coffee there and it’s basically like a mini Starbuck with some other snack items you won’t find at a Starbucks.
You can also buy some small snacks and beverages at the market next to the check-in counter. Of course, there is in-room dining as well at the Westin.
The Westin San Francisco Airport is definitely a good place to stay. Even tho I prefer the Hyatt Regency just down the road a bit more. This is just because as a World of Hyatt Globalist I get Club access without having to buy the room with included club access. If you are an SPG fan, this hotel is for sure a good place to stay and weekend prices can be pretty cheap here. However, during the week, it’s probably one of the most expensive hotels around this area. The hotel has to work on their service at the restaurant a bit. I dined there twice and the waiter wasn’t very attentive even tho it was not packed. Maybe just bad luck on my side but two nights in a row. Other than that I can’t complain about the service or staff. There was a little bit of construction going on on my floor right in front of the elevators. Noise level was pretty low so not a big deal either.
- Close to the Airport
- Free Airport Shuttle
- Free Red Carpet Trolley to Downtown Millbrae
- Big Indoor Swimming Pool
- Bay Views available
- Service at the Restaurant for dinner
- Parking Fees for self parking and valet parking
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.