Palace Hotel San Francisco: Old World Charm, New World Problems

Old World Charm, New World Problems

Going through the last batch of photos from San Francisco made me appreciate the beauty of the Palace Hotel. Unfortunately, it also reminded me of the myriad of problems that exist within its reservation system and customer service. The place is beautiful. The opulently large building houses many Instagram-worthy staircases, hallways, and ceilings. We stayed there last night of our trip, after heading back from skiing at Lake Tahoe and having a fantastic dinner at French Laundry. That final day also happened to be my birthday (March 12th baby- my husbands was March 6th).

My husband, Josh, called ahead to make sure they had a bouquet of peonies waiting for me in the room and requested a higher floor room overlooking Market Street. The hotel was nowhere near booked to capacity (we checked). Upon arrival, we were placed in a room overlooking the indoor “courtyard” that was a small alleyway facing the internal windows of other rooms. No flowers. Boo.

My husband went down to sort it out. They moved us to another room. One floor higher from the 4th floor and overlooking an office building. I don’t expect hotels to give upgrades, but I mean, it usually happens on special occasions, especially when you have all the room levels available. It’s part of the service-oriented experience. Boo again.

After speaking with the concierge about the lack of the flower arrangement which he put down his CC for and gave all the info about the day before, he requested a slice cake to be sent up to the room after we come back from dinner. They said, no problem.

We went out to dinner at Nico (super affordable Michelin-starred restaurant with amazing farm to table food- go if you’re in San Francisco!). Came back to the room- no cake. I didn’t know until any of these arrangements until the end of the day when he told me how all the things he planned didn’t work out.

After calling down, they said they don’t have cake as an option. I mean..really? He requested to talk to the general manager, who was apparently new to the place and was brought in to fix up all the inefficiencies. The manager offered SPG points to cover a night at any of the higher end SPG hotels, which was kind, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that this was the most whack hotel experience I’ve ever had. He also offered to place us in the corner suite.

Unfortunately, it was 9:30 PM and I was in bed ready to go to sleep to get up for a 6:30 AM morning flight back to NYC, so of course, we said no. I’ve never had a hotel that didn’t fulfill any of the guest requests and didn’t bother to notify the guest. Especially on a special occasion. My husband went to hotel school, and he was baffled by how the place was running.

So will I be going back? Probably not, unless they step up the customer-service game. All the lovely areas of the hotel are perfectly accessible to the public looking to stop in and take some photos, and I kind of wish that’s what we did now that I look back. I REALLY wanted to stay here, and after having the experience, I’m perfectly content staying at another customer-service oriented option that might not have the opulence of the common areas.

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