The Orchard Hotel and it's sister hotel, the Orchard Garden Hotel, both claim to be upscale boutique hotels with an emphasis on green living and excellent San Francisco locations. While we had a wonderful stay at the Orchard Hotel, the hotel is best described as traditional and it does a very good job at it, unfortunately, it just isn't as unique and "hip" as it wants to be.
Our arrival into SFO was pretty hectic as the baggage claim is area is pretty disorganized (why don't the arrival screens show the baggage claim number?), the shuttles actually pick you up on the departure level, and the curb in the shuttle area was so small that our cart kept on getting stuck.
We took the GO Lorrie's shuttle service and arrived at the Orchard Hotel around 3:30pm just in-time for check-in. The lobby is very elegantly designed with lots of granite and marble and the hotel has a pretty waterfall as you enter. The front desk clerk, Yunis, was a little reserved and offered a lukewarm welcome and handed me a bunch of paperwork regarding the hotel's liability limits and she asked me to approve the room rate we had booked previously. Once that was done I was handed the keycard to room 502 and the doorman/bell hop/concierge (yes, I'm not joking, he did all 3 duties),David, helped us with our luggage and we were on our way.
Unfortunately, room 502 was in poor shape, the carpets were very dirty and had been bleached in some spots, the room had awkward double L shape, and the window faced the dormitory for the school of the arts. Our first impression of the room was horrible and we asked to be moved to another room. To their credit the front desk did this with minimal hassle and approved my request to see the other room before we moved. We were moved to room 807 with a nice street view, the room had a traditional L-shape, and the carpets were decent (it had a couple of stains, but nothing major).
The rooms at the Orchard are pretty spacious and do have nice touches like granite counter-tops and window sills, a large flat screen TV, nice furniture, a large work desk, iron & ironing board, and a minibar fridge. The TV came with Comcast cable and had a nice selection of movies for rent.
The bed was very comfortable and the room were nicely cleaned and arranged with other amenities like two coffee/tea cups and two glasses in the bathroom. In addition, the wifi was free and fairly fast, a huge bonus in the S.F. area where many hotels charge $14.95 for internet, and the desk came with a couple of pads of paper and a couple of pens.
The bathrooms were regally appointed with a huge shower, a large sink and granite counter-tops, with a nice mirror. The lighting in the bathrooms was also very nice.
The Orchard claims to be a "green" or environmentally friendly hotel. All of the lights either use energy saving CFL or LED bulbs, the toothbrushes the hotel provides are made out recycled #5 (Polypropylene) plastic, the soaps in the bathroom are Eco-friendly, all of the garbage can liners were made out recycled plastic, and even the toilet paper was made out sugar-cane! Unfortunately, for such a "green" hotel it was odd that the rooms didn't have a recycling bin anywhere.
When you come to an "upscale boutique" hotel as the Orchard hotel claims to be you expect to see things that you wouldn't normally find at your typical Mariott, Hilton, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, etc. Unfortunately, that simply wasn't the case. While the rooms were very nice and nice furniture and beds, the hotel was very traditionally decorated (not a bad thing, but not what you expect when you come to an "upscale boutique hotel") and the carpets were worn out and stained. The hotel does traditional very well and it should be proud of it, I don't know why they have to hide behind corny slogans and false claims.
Most of the Orchard Hotel staff was good to excellent. The two best staff members I encountered on my stay were Janice, an evening front desk clerk, and David, the concierge. Janice was always very friendly and smiley and answered questions in a polite manner. She also always willingly converted my change into dollar bills. David was full of great advice on tours and what to see in S.F. He also helped us get reservations to some of S.F.'s best and very busy restaurants and his recommendations were excellent, especially for the Amber Indian and Fino Italian restaurants. Z&Y was also a pretty good Chinese restaurant in Chinatown and is worth a visit, unfortunately, I didn't really enjoy City Chopsticks.
The rest of the staff was also very polite and helpful and I appreciated the doormen's help, especially Cornell and a young-Asian man (I forget his name) in helping us quickly get taxis.
Please get a recycling bin for the guests:
For such a green hotel it was very awkward that the hotel doesn't have a recycling bin in the rooms or in the lobby. When I asked the front desk clerk where the recycling bin was, he laughed and said, "you would think that a LEED certified hotel would have a recycling bin for the guests, unfortunately we don't. However, you're welcome to give us whatever you want to recycle and we'll throw it in the employee recycling bin." I found this to be a little odd, but to the staff member's credit they always did take my recyclables and throw them in the employee bin. I don't believe that it would hurt the hotel to put a recycling bin in the lobby for the guests to use. It's a little awkward to have to wait in line, just to recycle a few plastic water bottles.
TIps for your stay:
-Book through Tower tours, they were the most friendly, helpful, and reasonably priced tour company.
-Take the blue and gold ferry. This one has the longest ride around the bay and shows you the most sights.
-Ask for a room with a street view, you won't regret it.
-San Francisco is a very liberal and eco-friendly town (again this isn't a bad thing, just different from many other cities across the US), so things like disposable plastic shopping bags are banned. Most retailers encourage you to use a reusable bag or you can purchase a paper bag for 10 cents. In addition, most public transportation runs either on electricity or biodiesel and many taxis are hybrids, for instance, the Toyota Prius.
-Some of the hills in San Francisco are extremely steep, many are at over 20-30 degree inclines. Even for young, healthy individuals climbing up one or two of these of the hills can be a challenge. Use the trolley/cable car if you have to go up more than two of these hills.
-There are several Walgreens and Safeway stores nearby. The closest would be the Walgreens on Sutter St. and Powell, just one block from the hotel.
-There's a laundromat one block from the hotel near Bush and Stockholm Street. The staff won't tell you about this one.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to The Orchard Hotel, where boutique elegance and eco-awareness coexist beautifully. A green hotel near Union Square in downtown San Francisco, California, our luxury boutique hotel offers outstanding service and an incomparable location. From our lovely entryway to our well-equipped meeting space, The Orchard Hotel captures the essence of style in San Francisco. At The Orchard Hotel, our distinctive boutique delivers a mix of classic charm, outstanding service and contemporary panache for both business and pleasure travelers. We are one of San Francisco's greenest hotels and one of the very first to earn the US Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED-EB(R) (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification. Additionally, the hotel is recognized as a certified green business by the San Francisco Department of the Environment and proud sister property of California's first LEED-NC(R) certified property - the Orchard Garden Hotel. At The Orchard Hotel, green is a way of life. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Ctrip TA, Hotels.com, Odigeo, Travel Republic (UK), Priceline, Ebookers, Evoline ltd, HotelQuickly, getaroom.com and Cancelon so you can book your The Orchard Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Orchard San Francisco
- Orchard Hotel San Francisco