First, this Sofitel is nowhere near San Francisco Bay; it is huddled in a suburban office park incongruously called Redwood City, with all the Fascistic planned-community atmosphere typical of such an environment. It is far removed from any amenities; there is no street life, no shopping, nowhere to go and nothing to do. This hotel is plainly aimed only at business travelers. Moreover, it falls short of the usual Sofitel standards; the building and its furnishings are for the most part older, with a sort of unintentional retro-80s atmosphere. The lobby, bar, restaurant, and pool area are a little more hip, but the rooms look like vintage "Miami Vice."
The staff was unfailingly courteous, but we still had two bad experiences. We asked for directions to a restaurant for lunch; the oral guidance through the office-park maze only got us lost, even with GPS, so we went back to the hotel and asked again, and only then were given a map; why not the first time around? When we finally reached the restaurant, we found it closed.
Consequently, after a long flight from the east coat and that fiasco, we decided to have lunch in the hotel (there being no other restaurants likely to be found in this nightmare community called Redwood City). Service was astonishingly slow, even though the restaurant was not particulary busy. By the time our dessert arrived (with apologies from the waiter), I suggested it should be comped, and it was (but I should not have had to ask after the ridiculous amount of time it took to cut a slice of cake).
Weirdly, there was no mini-bar, though there was space for one in the cabinetry. The free parking was nice, though perhaps only to be expected in a car-based community like this. The early-morning coffee service, free with a selection of pastries and fruit, was a nice touch. The in-room coffee included individual packages of liquid creamer, a must in my opinion (too many hotels, even those claiming to be upscale, give you that powdered crap).
All in all, not a very pleasant experience, but in fairness my expectations had something to do with it. I did not realize how far outside San Francisco it would be, particularly given the hotel's name; I did not anticipate being inside a bubble, more like an enclosed resort enclave than an urban hotel. If you're expecting a normal Sofitel like you'd find in Washignton or New York, you will be disappointed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to the Pullman San Francisco Bay, an exclusive 'corporate resort' reputed for its refinement, considerate service and attention to detail. Whether you are visiting for pleasure or in town for business, you will savor this truly unique experience, a total immersion in comfort! Enjoy the superbly appointed accommodations in tranquil surroundings fanned by gentle breezes... Ideally situated between San Francisco and San José, this luxurious establishment is only minutes from the airport. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sofitel San Francisco Bay Hotel Redwood City
- Sofitel Hotel Redwood City
- Sofitel Redwood City
- Redwood City Sofitel