San Francisco, California
September 2-4, 2016
This review is based on a complimentary stay that was won through a contest. As such, no rating is given for this property for this stay.
Some time ago, my dog Marshall won a two night stay at the Hotel Nikko San Francisco through a contest on Instagram. As a former resident of the Bay Area, I’m always looking for an excuse to head out west to see some friends.Jump to the Takeaway
Brian and I decided to avail of our stay during Labor Day weekend, since I was due for my annual visit. We landed in SFO late Friday night,catching the last flight out of JFK. We got to the Hotel Nikko San Francisco at about 11pm,
Thanks to the hills of San Francisco, the lobby is one level above the entrance (whether pulling up by car in the side entrance or by foot in the front entrance). The lobby can be accessed by stairs, elevator, or escalator.
For those who might not be as familiar, the Hotel Nikko San Francisco is a very dog friendly property – they even have their own Canine Operating Officer (COO), Buster, who maintains his own Instagram account. As I had coordinated my stay specifically through the Marketing Manager, the front desk was aware of our arrival, and welcomed us very warmly. We were assigned to a room on the Imperial Floor (equivalent to say, the Club Floors at a Sheraton) and given a gift bag along with our room key.
We made our way up to our room, 2220 on the 22nd floor. The elevators are in the middle of the building, and when exiting the elevator bank, there really is no wrong way to get to your room. The elevator banks (with exits on both sides) lead to the floor hallways, which form a square – so after enough walking around you’ll be sure to find your room.
The set up was fairly standard – king sized bed, flat screen TV, desk, and sitting area.
Upon entering the room, there was a small minibar set up to the right with wines, waters, sodas, and snacks.
In addition to the standard minibar items, I found some Voss sparkling water (a favorite of mine!) and – a selfie stick. YES. I don’t use selfie sticks myself, but I did find the availability of one to be hilarious (and pretty great). Do note the customized cartoon on the box. Love the small details.
As we were settling in, I went through the pet swag bag the front desk provided us at check in – loved all the goodies – Marsh was sure to sport his Hotel Nikko tank top while we were on the property. The extend-o-leash was my favorite piece we received though – the cord was very long and great for Marsh to use while we spent time in San Francisco’s many parks on our trip.
Hotel Nikko San Francisco pet swag
On the desk, i noticed a sign with information on texting guest services if needed. While I’m a fan of checking out in person, this is definitely helpful for small one-offs.
The bathroom, was about 1/3 the size of the bedroom – large and spacious. The bathroom offered a separate shower and tub, which I always appreciate. The tub is particularly handy when traveling with a dog – if your dog is anything like mine, he’ll manage to get into some dirt, and you’re going to have to give him a bath. Tubs with handheld shower head are a godsend when a dirty dog comes into the equation.
We fortunately didn’t have to throw Marsh into the tub on this trip, but the option was very much appreciated. The shower had a standard shower head and a handheld option, which I always enjoy. The water pressure was strong, and the water didn’t leak out of the stall when the water was running.
The sink area had plenty of space for me to unpack – another thing I appreciate. The counter area was mostly clutter-free, with the glasses, hairdryer, and extra towels tucked away in shelves.
Bathroom products are provided by Lather, an aromatherapy, cruelty-free skincare line made from natural ingredients. Full-sized products can be purchased directly from their website.
As I was unpacking, I found a (worn down) remote and realized it was meant to be for a screen above the sink. The didn’t power it on – I couldn’t tell if it was due to age or due to a dead battery, but I wasn’t curious enough to call the front desk to find out, unfortunately.
As I settled in for the night, I found a couple of outlets by the bed to plug my phone in. I usually struggle to get all the lights off right before bed (I hate rooms that don’t have light switches for all lights right by the bed), but fortunately, there was a lights off button right behind one of the nightstands.
The next morning, I got up early to grab a bite before heading out for the day. I went up to the lounge, which is located on the 23rd floor of the building. From my room, the lounge was accessible through the elevator or stairs. Your keycard was required to open the lounge door.
Though the hotel is dog friendly, areas where food is served are not, so Marshall had to hang back with Brian while I picked up some food.
The lounge was fairly busy as I walked in, with about 3 or 4 families sitting down to breakfast. The lounge was staffed with one attendant, who came by often to offer guests made to order hot beverages.
The Club Lounge came equipped with a few computers as well, with access to a printer.
The food served at the lounge was the standard continental breakfast, plus some fruit, oatmeal, and hard boiled eggs.
The Club Lounge is open daily, serving breakfast from 6:30 AM to 10:00 AM, and wine and appetizers from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Perhaps the best part of this hotel for anyone traveling with their dog is the dog run. The dog run is located on the 5th floor of the building, and is accessed through the entrance to the gym (though you don’t actually walk through the gym in order to enter the dog run).
There is some seating in the dog run area, but I suspect most people will be up on their feet playing with their dog on the fake grass. Up to 5 dogs can be in the grassy area at any given time, plus 9 people (though maximum capacity for the seating area is different and much more generous).
Throughout the hotel, we saw plenty of signs about setting up play dates with Buster, and a number to contact him at to set up a playdate. We were hoping to catch Buster for a puppy rumble, but unfortunately, due to the long weekend, he wasn’t working and was out on vacation. Not a big deal, Marshall enjoyed running laps on the dog run and playing with the toys they had out. The area was clean and looked well maintained – no trash or pet waste anywhere (having a pet waste station on the dug run helps with this, no doubt).
Pets are welcome at the Hotel Nikko San Francisco at a rate of $50 per night (though note that the hotel may post an additional charge after check out if damage is made to the room).
The hotel also has an indoor swimming pool next to the gym (not dog-friendly, unfortunately). The space had plenty of room to lounge and relax.
The Hotel Nikko is located about a 5 minute walk from Union Square and the Powell Bart station. Hotel guests flying into SFO or OAK can take BART from the airport to San Francisco, though Uber prices were approximately $30 for the trip, so given the convenience, we opted for that instead. Other San Francisco tourist locations are within walking distance as well (though admittedly further), and the hotel concierge was happy to set up any trips we were interested in for us.
Check In: Friendly, knowledgeable front desk staff.
Elite Recognition: N/A – the brand does have its own loyalty program called One Harmony, though I am not a member.
Room: Size was as expected for San Francisco, though the bathroom was quite large given the size of the room.
In-Room Technology & Entertainment: Loved the single room light switch by the bed. The bathroom appeared to have a TV of some sort above the sink, though I couldn’t figure out how to get mine to work.
Staff: Incredibly helpful, knowledgeable about the property and the offerings, and very quick to respond. Staff seemed proud to be doing their jobs and happy to help in any way. Just about everyone asked us if we’d tried to set up a playdate with Buster.
Location: Great location for shopping, lots of convenient spots nearby (restaurants, convenience stores, shops).
On-Site Dining: Didn’t get the chance to eat at the hotel on this visit, though there is a restaurant (Anzu) on-site, which also has their own foodtruck! Will have to catch this next time. A Starbucks is also located next to the hotel and can be accessed without stepping outside.
On-Site Amenities: Fun dog run, in-door swimming pool, and gym are available on-site.
Hospitality Services: Concierge was helpful, plus guest services can be contacted via text message.
Hotel Appearance: Updated lobby, clean common spaces.
Overall we had a great stay at the Hotel Nikko San Francisco. When traveling with a dog, we’d definitely stay at this property again – access to the dog run was so convenient, as was the location of the hotel. I do wish there was a happier middle ground to dining while traveling with my dog (short of eating outside – which, in San Francisco, can be tough with the always windy weather), but this hotel was definitely one of the dog friendliest hotels I’ve stayed in. The $50/day pet charge is admittedly a little steep (most dog-friendly hotels I’ve stayed at will charge a flat fee ranging from $25-100 per stay), so I could see this being a detriment to some potential furry hotel guests.
Though we didn’t pay for our stay, the going rate for rooms seemed to be anywhere between $190-$300 per night, which makes sense given the area (proximity to Union Square can command that price), and in line with similar properties in the area, such as the Parc 55 (Hilton), the San Francisco Marriott, and the St. Francis Westin.
On a side note – they even had a little miniature cable car mock-up for puppy photo ops in the lobby. Only thing missing from our stay was a play date with Buster!