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“Decent value by the Ferry building”

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Hotel Vitale, a Joie de Vivre hotel
Ranked #48 of 231 Hotels in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 6 January 2012

Stayed at the Vitale last April for four days. Meant to write a review sooner but never got around to it until now.

The hotel, the flagship property of the Joie de Vivre group (an overly cheerful name for a hotel chain, I must confess), is located reasonably centrally, by the Ferry building. Although the views from some of the rooms are rather nice, I wasn’t crazy about the location. Aside from the Ferry building (which houses a large market – mostly, though not exclusively, food related), there didn’t seem to be much of interest on the Embarcadero for quite a while. Also, although very close to Market Street (one of San Francisco’s main thoroughfares), you have to walk for a good 15 minutes before you get to the shopping area. In my view, both the Four Seasons and the St. Regis, located further down Market Street are better situated.
As to the Vitale itself, although designed in a subtle and elegant style, it is starting to show signs of wear. This was evident in both some of the communal areas and the rooms. The Amarericano Bar, in particular, was in dire need of a revamp, with many of its leather lounge chairs sporting unsightly tears. Also, some of the furniture in both rooms we had booked was stained and the carpet had started to fluff visibly.

Only ate in-house for breakfast, which was perfectly nice throughout our stay, with a good selection a la carte (no buffet). Also, when the weather allowed it, Americano would host an al fresco aperitif which, although we never managed to attend, seemed quite pleasant. I should also mention that there are two Michelin starred restaurant within a block of the hotel: Boulevard and One Market (I can recommend the latter for the food, which really was rather good and of decent value; as to the atmosphere, the place is so large and busy, and the service so swift, it feels like being in a highly sophisticated fast-food joint).

Service was good throughout, though not memorable.

To be fair to the hotel, our stay wasn’t very expensive, with an average nightly rate of slightly less than $300 (for Deluxe Waterfront rooms), hence the relatively generous rating. However, if I were to return to San Francisco, I would probably upgrade to a better property. The recently opened St. Regis, in particular, seemed rather impressive; the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton decidedly less so - both seemed in need of a make-over too.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank TheTub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,240 - 1,246 of 1,795 reviews

Reviewed 5 January 2012

This hotel is right on the Wharf, across from the Ferry Marketplace. Right next to the hotel antique streetcars go from Union Square down the whole length of the Wharf from Pier 1 to Pier 43. The hotel staff are delightful, and will get you practically whatever you want. We asked for a table in our room to play cards, and had it for our entire stay. The food was exceptional, as was the wait staff. It's not a cheap hotel, but it was worth the money. We had a view of the bay, and of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. the BART station was within 2 blocks.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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Thank JimnKrisM0m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 December 2011

We were there the weekend of the wedding where several attendees gave a rather negative review. We were not part of that and had a very different experience. The hotel is well located with the Ferry building being such a great place to stroll. We booked a delux water view and the view was spectacular. The room was small but adequate. Drawer space limited. The concierge was the absolue best in booking our dinner reservations and a suggestion for a dim sum lunch hidden in the Rincon building across the street (which was great!). The valet service is slow as the cars are parkedna distance from the hotel. The bar gets crowded and noisy but the cocktails are good. We enjoyed our stay an have already booked a return visit. We have stayed at many hotels in SF and other than places like the Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental, where you pay by mortgaging your house, this is our go to place.

Room Tip: If you get a deluxe waterfront avoid the room at the end of the hall adjoining a patio open to hotel...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ucddoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2011

I was surprised by this little hotel, wonderful staff and a easy place for everyone to find, walking distance to the Ferry building and to the financial district at waters edge.
The room was well appointed with large falt screen, wi-fi and a one of the most comfortable beds! This is not your standard large business hotels, so if you want something a little different where you could explore the city but walk to the waterfront Ferry Building and jump on a ferry to Sausilto or walk to embarcadero center this is good option

  • Stayed: December 2011
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Thank l_sciabarrasi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 December 2011

We spent one night here before flying out to Portland. After spending a very disappointing night at a Kimpton property I booked this based on other reviews. We had a water view room. It was beautiful. Upon telling the desk clerk of our anniversary we were sent a bottle of wine. A nice touch. Location to the Ferry Building and restaurants was perfect compared to our creepy stay at the wharf Kimpton. The staff was great. We will definitely seek out other Joie de Vivre properties in our future travels.

  • Stayed: December 2011
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Thank JPR2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 December 2011

What a horrible experience. Stayed at the Vitale Hotel last weekend for a good friend’s wedding. With the group discount, the basic room was $219/night (not including taxes, etc.). The valet parking was $48/night. I don’t mind paying for a hotel room in an expensive city, but this hotel is managed as a cheap motel.

Upon arrival, after leaving the car with the valet, there was no bellhop to assist with the luggage so we carried it ourselves. I can handle that. However, a few hours later we called the concierge for a large taxi as the majority of taxis can only carry four people. The front desk agreed to call our taxi for the rehearsal dinner, but upon arriving downstairs, learned that a taxi had never been called and no one really cared that we had been misled. We ended up being late to our event and had to take 2 taxi's....

The ceremony was held off site, but the reception was on site. It was in an outdoor patio that had been closed in for the winter and only provided minimal heaters. It was freezing and the majority of women kept their winter jackets on all night.

Later the wait staff, while bringing out the hors d’oeuvres, managed to spill an entire tray of soup (held in tall shot glasses), with the majority spilling on my fiancé’s dress. No apologies.
The next day upon check out, again there was no service to assist with the luggage. Then the valet did not pull the car into the hotel driveway/entrance, although there was plenty of room. The valet parked it on the street, and we carried our luggage to the car, only to find the valet using super glue on the car key. They did not come up and apologize for breaking the key, instead they were trying to repair it and not tell us. It seemed to be a freak accident, but the valet managed to break a key (one with the electronic system). Not sure how it happened, but super glue does not seem to be the best fix.

In the end, we finally told a manager, who apologized but did not seem to be overly concerned.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank JoshATAK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 December 2011

Stayed at the Vitale last night. We had four rooms. One for me and husband, one for our 21 year old son, one for my sister, and one for my parents who required a handicap accessible room. We had originally planned to stay at the Mark Hopkins and made reservations there for the four rooms. The Mark Hopkins offered a large, almost 700 square foot room, handicap accessible room with two walls of views of the Bay. The other three rooms were view rooms but not as grand as the accessible room. The total price, believe it or not, for the four rooms at the Mark Hopkins was less than the price for four rooms at Vitale, but my parents opted for the Vitale because of its proximity to the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge.
My parents wanted a "view" room so they could spend the afternoon in their room enjoying the splendid views before our evening engagement in San Francisco. We checked in a bit before 3:00. All of the rooms but the accessible room were ready to be occupied. My parents agreed to sit with us in our room until theirs was ready, which the woman at the front desk told us would be "in about 15 minutes". Just before 4:00 I went to my parents room and found housekeeping still working. At that time we were told it would be a minimum of a half hour before the room was ready. Let's remember that check-in is at 3:00. Since it is dark by about 5:00, my parent's plan of enjoying their "view" room was not to be. We went to dinner and returned to the Vitale to have a car drive us to our evening engagement. While waiting for the car to arrive, I pushed my mother in her wheelchair to the Vitale lobby restroom. We had an unfortunately terrible experience in the restroom related to patrons of the Americano restaurant in the Vitale lobby.
This story is already MUCH too long. I am not usually one to point out short comings of an establishment, but the treatment we received at the Vitale is the worst we have received anywhere at anytime. The hotel was quite attractive, and the rooms were well equipped and pleasant enough, but the service and attention were exceptionally poor. I believe the hotel should have offered my parents a discount or perhaps even a refund of the cost of their room given the unfortunate set of circumstances.
The rooms were VERY quiet for hotel rooms in San Francisco which was a pleasant surprise, and the breakfast we had this morning at the Americano was quite good.
We should have kept our reservations at the Mark Hopkins.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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Thank bkatie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Vitale, a Joie de Vivre hotel

Address: 8 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-1227
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > San Francisco > SoMa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#30 Luxury Hotel in San Francisco
#31 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
#32 Green Hotel in San Francisco
#41 Business Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range: £199 - £556 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Vitale, a Joie de Vivre hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 200
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Relax and rejuvenate while enjoying our stunning water and city vistas, in-house spa with rooftop soaking tubs and signature Americano Restaurant & Bar. It's time for some "you" time.Our guestrooms offer luxurious limestone bathrooms, soothing color palettes, honor bars with decadent and healthful options, and the rejuvenating LATHER line of bath amenities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vitale Hotel San Francisco
Hotel Vitale
Vitale San Francisco

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