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“Why stay here? (Also: Can you find the butter?)”

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Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel San Rafael - Marin County / Conference Center
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in San Rafael
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 24 September 2012

There are many hotels in this area of California, and lots of them are in places much more interesting than this corner of San Rafael. However, the most obvious (and perhaps only) reason to stay at this Embassy Suites is for attending a conference at the Marin County Convention center next door. In that case, this is the perfect hotel, and absolutely the best place to stay.

I stay here every year for an event at the convention center, and overall I really like the hotel. The rooms are nice suites with a separate sitting area and a bedroom with a door. The sitting area is a nice place to socialize or watch TV, but it can potentially be a little dark. It has a window facing the hall, but I don’t particularly like people peeping in at me, so I keep those drapes closed. That makes the sitting area a little dark because you don’t get much light coming through from the bedroom.

If you have a kid (or two), get a room with one king bed, and put the kid(s) on the pull-out sofa in the sitting area. We travel frequently with our son, and we always appreciate when we can actually have some real privacy! Note that you can also get a room with two double beds in the bedroom, but that kills the whole privacy aspect, and a king bed is much more comfortable than a double.

The room also has a refrigerator and microwave, but there’s no safe. It occurred to me that perhaps if you freeze or cook your laptop, people won’t want to steal it anyway. So, maybe that works out fine.

The interior of the hotel is a very nice courtyard which is open (like a huge atrium) all the way up to the 5th floor. The courtyard has a waterfall and fish pond. It’s beautiful, but I recommend asking for a high floor to avoid noise from the courtyard, particularly if you are near the restaurant. The restaurant is towards the back, so a room near the front might be better. Also, it’s faster to take an elevator near the front, instead of the elevator towards the back. All the elevators go the same speed, but there are two of them at the front so you don’t end up waiting as long to get one. (There’s only one elevator at the back of the courtyard.)

Overall, I recommend the hotel as a good place to stay for a conference, and I have no serious complaints about it. You can stop reading here and you won’t miss anything important. However, there were some MINOR issues and annoyances that I’ll mention below.

I didn’t like the showerhead. The “narrow” setting was like a garden hose, and the “middle” setting didn’t have enough pressure. The “wide” setting was the most useful and comfortable, but it sent water everywhere. I found it was easy to flood the bathroom when taking a shower. That might have been because the “wide” setting of the showerhead sprayed the far wall in a way that was hard to protect by the shower curtain. And the problem may have been exacerbated by the fact that the shower curtain is made from water-permeable fabric, rather than waterproof plastic. (I wonder who thought that was a good idea!)

The wall to the adjoining room seemed exceptionally thin. While reading in bed, I could listen to the conversation next door. (No offense to my neighbors, but their conversation was less interesting than my book.) Also, while I leaned against the headboard as I was reading, the wall would “bump me” every time those neighbors went in and out of their room and slammed the door. Perhaps the wall flexed due to sudden air pressure change in their room as the door slammed? But in any case, since these particular neighbors seemed to enjoy going in and out of their room all evening, it really started to annoy me.

Also, the father in that room (based on conversations I heard) had a bad cold, and his frequent coughing was another source of annoyance for me. I called the front desk to see if I could change rooms, but unfortunately the hotel was full. I considered having room service send him some cough medicine.) Anyway, don’t let this experience discourage you. I’m sure that with different neighbors, I wouldn’t have even noticed the thin walls. (Or if the neighbors had been doing something more interesting, it might have actually been exciting.)

On the morning I was checking out, a staff member came into my room while I was at breakfast. I know someone came into the room because they opened the drapes. I can’t imagine why they would do that. They didn’t clean the room, obviously, since I was about to check out. I found this very odd and a little creepy, although I guess it didn’t do any harm. Nothing was missing. It just felt wrong to me because as far as I was concerned, they didn’t have any valid business to be in there. I guess the lesson here is that if you don’t want people wandering around your room while you are not there, put out the Do Not Disturb sign. I should have done that.

With respect to breakfast, I enjoyed the nice breakfast that is included with the price of the room. It’s a full, real breakfast with made-to-order omelets, pancakes, eggs, toast, juices, cereal, etc. Yummy! You get your breakfast tickets when you check in. Be sure you don’t lose them! On my second morning, I couldn’t find my breakfast ticket, so I stopped by the desk to get another one. The clerk gave me a whole heap of grief about it, and threatened to charge me $15 if it happened again. Yipes! I didn’t expect it to be such a big deal. My bad. Believe me, next year I promise to keep better track of my breakfast tickets! I guess I could keep them in the safe, except the room doesn’t have a safe. Oh well. ;-)

Here’s one more tip with respect to breakfast. In one particular area of the breakfast buffet, there is a toast/bread station. You’ll find a good selection of bread, a nice conveyor-belt style toaster, and a big stack of clean bread plates. You’ll find everything you’ll need for your toast, except butter and jam.

Maybe I’m just a little slow before my morning coffee, but it took me quite a long time to find the butter and jam! It’s nowhere near the breads. I looked everywhere! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good challenge. And this “butter scavenger hunt” was a very entertaining and challenging addition to my breakfast experience. (Spoiler alert.) I finally found the butter and jam cleverly hidden over in the center island by the eggs! Wow, I never would have guessed that! Of course, breakfast on the second day wasn’t nearly as challenging and entertaining because I already knew where to find the butter.

Anyway, in all seriousness, this is a nice hotel. In spite of my light-hearted feedback, I do recommend staying here, especially if you are attending a conference next door. I had no serious complaints, and I will be back again next year!

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Jim_and_Barbie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,011 - 1,017 of 1,221 reviews

Reviewed 22 September 2012

i've stayed here a half dozen times for family events. For a big chain hotel this is hard to beat. Roomy, clean, good value, actually a pretty nice interior. Typical ES. Good breakfast. Would stay there again in a second.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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Thank chimayred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2012

Got this place through a discounter so wasn't expecting much, but it was top-notch. Huge, beautiful lobby where we wanted to hang out all evening; free, hot breakfast; free happy hour with snacks and fresh-popped popcorn; very friendly staff; good restaurant on-site; and spacious rooms. The lobby has a waterfall and koi pond, so it's very relaxing. We plan to return.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank Ikura
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 September 2012

We recently spent 1 night in this hotel and we were very pleased with their accomdations, breakfast, and staff. Everyone was very pleasant to us and treated us well. The made to order breakfast was very good and there were more than enough tables available even though the hotel was crowded. We have no complaints about our stay.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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Thank GLS6434
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2012

Basic Embassy Suites with all the amenities. Not a great location but it did serve the purpose for what I needed. Very limited choices on the room service menu as well as the resturant dinner menu. Staff was friendly thoiugh and the room was basically OK. Very loud AC unit in which I had to actually jury rig something to keep it from rattling all night.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled on business
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Thank BigNom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2012

For the most part, things at this hotel were going fine until we were checking out. While packing our bags, we noticed that there was a used condom (yep, it was used) under the night stand.

We took a picture of it and upon checking out showed the female agent this morning (Sept 9th). She apologized and wished us a nice day. Disappointed they would not even discount our roomservice and really didnt seem to care too much, we decided to have breakfast at the buffet (i know, i should have just left). Once I walked in , a female server started rushing me to get to the kitchen to order because they were stopping service in 15 mins.... We were then rushed to eat and the chef was upset I ordered an omelet. She quickly tried to make one and served me an undercooked pile of eggs and veggies....it was literally falling apart on the plate.

I have always had great experiences at other embassy suite properties (I travel all over for work and also work in hospitality), but this property was a small diaster. Note to self.....scope out the room for used condoms before you unpack your bags!

Overall, Embassy Suites are still great value for the money you pay----but this one needs some work.

Room Tip: Make sure you inspect your room - clearly their housekeeping management staff does not do a through...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank travelingman1224
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pat S, General Manager at Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel San Rafael - Marin County / Conference Center, responded to this reviewResponded 11 September 2012

Thank you for providing a review from your recent stay and experience with us. I sincerely apologize for the clenliness issue in your suite as well as the level of service you received during breakfast and at the Front Desk upon your departure. Please reach out to me directly with your Hilton Honors or confirmation number so that I may assist you with these issues/concerns. I look forward to speaking with you. The number for the hotel is 415-499-9222.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2012

We have stayed in the Embassy Suites Hotel many years now on my daughter's birthday party. This Hotel greets everyone, including my daughter's sleeping bag toting friends, with great warmth and welcome. The Hotel is super elegant, with a gorgeous airy open atrium in the middle which makes you feel like you are outside in a luxurious villa in the south somewhere when you are actually inside. The interiror landscaping features waterfalls, coy ponds, which articulate well with the bar ( a plus for that added mini escape from the kids when you still want to keep an eye out) a restaurant and the pool, which is a little off to the side. The levels are all open to this so the kids can explore and yet never truly go missing. The pool is nice with a little too much chlorine (but so many kids...) and the spa is lovely as well. Extra towels are provided there as well. They have all sort of events including popcorn, happy hour, specials on kids pizzas, etc. All rooms are suites (nice!) with doors between front and back (phew!) and microwave, refrigerators, sinks and cabinets. The breakfast in the a.m. is great, with a kitchen that makes griddle items to order, and an awesome woman with a german accent who has taken care of us everytime we go, sitting us down and showing the kids the ropes. While we have had small bumps in the road, including a hair dryer that didn't work and the entertainment system being broken one year, overall our experience has been fantastic.

Room Tip: Higher floors have better visibility
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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Thank SPBSanFrancisco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel San Rafael - Marin County / Conference Center

Address: 101 McInnis Pkwy, San Rafael, CA 94903-2773
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Marin County > San Rafael
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in San Rafael
Price Range: £120 - £240 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel San Rafael - Marin County / Conference Center 3.5*
Number of rooms: 236
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Also Known As:
Embassy Suites Hotel San Rafael - Marin County / San Rafael
Embassy Suites San Rafael
San Rafael Embassy Suites

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