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This 5.5 hour overnight stay may officially qualify as my shortest hotel overnight that was not the result of A) a wild night on the town, B) irregular airline operations, or C) a stay in an international transit hotel. In the case of either of the examples above, I’ve generally known and accepted that the hotel room was the acceptable option to sleeping on a floor under industrial lighting. But for this particular stay at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco International Airport, I paid top dollar to check in at 2:30 am and check out at 8:00 am knowing it was the last good night of sleep I’d have for almost a week.
Yes… the stay goes back a few weeks to my stint in sorority chapter visits (one of several things I do outside of my main gig as a management consultant) and in the heart of recruitment weeks, I drove from one chapter to arrive at SFO at 2 am to return a rental car, grab a quick night of sleep, and be picked up by the next chapter at 8 am. It seemed like a good idea at the time… but I’m reminded that I’m no longer 21 and all-nighters are not my strength!
I did not have the time or patience to figure out the hotel shuttle at 2:15 am when I finally stepped off the AirTrain at the terminals after returning a rental car. The hotel runs an abbreviated pickup schedule in the overnight hours and I didn’t feel like waiting 30 minutes when it was cutting into sleep time so I called an Uber. It cost me $16 but sleep was precious to me and I didn’t want to monkey around.
The hotel was under construction at the time of this stay so the normal front entrance for the hotel is closed and all traffic is routed to the side entrance near the parking garage and guest elevators.
I stay at this hotel regularly and occasionally encounter longer-than-optimal wait times to check in. Not tonight. There was not a soul in the lobby besides me and (mercifully) the desk agent who quickly got me to my room. I specifically requested a room as close to the elevators as possible, an important request given the circular atrium-style layout of the rooms at this property. She obliged with a room very close to the elevators and also close to the Regency Club Lounge. SCORE!
My Diamond status and return guest status were recognized. The front desk clerk quickly ran through my options as she could see I was tired and wanted to get to my room promptly.
Room 9110 was tastefully appointed and the bed was the most delightful thing I could imagine at that moment.
These photos were hastily taken at 2:45 am, right before I climbed into bed fully clothed (sans shoes) and knocked out for 4.5 hours of blissful sleep.
I’ve worked from these rooms in the past and they are well-appointed for comfort and work should one need to get a bit done. I find this to be one of the nicest airport hotels I regularly stay in.
The next morning, I was able to easily get ready in a well-lit bathroom and take a refreshing shower in a bathroom that offered nice jets of hot water. BLISS! I’ve shared rooms here on a few occasions and the bathrooms are large enough for two girls to get ready at the same time – bonus!
The Regency Club at this hotel is one of the nicest domestic lounges I’ve visited. They offer substantial food offerings in the evenings (I’ve seen pasta, salad with several fixings, hummus, even sushi!) and the breakfast is also well-thought, with options that appeal even to those of us with dietary restrictions.
The hotel has been remodeling for at least a year now and so that has provided some hiccups. On this stay, I mentioned that traffic was rerouted to the side entrance of the hotel. On a previous stay, part of a floor was blocked off and given the atrium style, it meant a five minute walk (each direction) to my room from the elevator as my room was immediately on the otherwise of the blocked construction zone.
This property does occasionally get subgroups that can take over the hotel. I’ve stayed in the past when a comic/anime convention was at the property and the lobby was filled with people in costume. I’ve stayed during a sales conference where I was overrun by individuals pushing nutritional supplements.
And in one of my favorite random guest encounters, I’ve stayed with the visiting NFL team during pre-season where I had one of my all-time favorite elevator rides with a young NFL rookie who had just gone downstairs for the team’s “training table midnight snack” and was carrying multiple plates of cookies and fruit back to his room. He shared a chocolate chip cookie with me in the elevator and told me how excited he was to have the BEST JOB IN THE WORLD because he got all the cookies he could eat before bed.
THAT kids, is why travel is cool – the cookies!
Check out was super easy… I was surprisingly refreshed from my 4.5 hours of sleep so I grabbed some oatmeal in the Regency Club and checked my bill with online checkout. All was in order, so I headed down to meet my ride.
This is my go-to hotel property at SFO. It’s slightly further from the terminal than my second-favorite Westin Hotel but has nice rooms, friendly staff, and all the comforts that make stays easy for me. If I have to leave San Francisco, its not so bad to spend some of my last moments here before a flight home.