California Dreamin’ (A Tale of Going West): Trip Planning
Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class SIN-SFO / SFO-SIN
Parc 55 San Francisco – A Hilton Hotel
Big Trees Lodge, Yosemite National Park
The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, Yosemite National Park
Hampton Inn & Suites Merced, also any other U.S. Hampton
Hilton San Diego Airport Harbor Island Hotel
Virgin Airlines A319 Business Class SAN-SFO
I’d planned to stay a few nights (four, to optimally utilise the Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit) and was looking for a central location to base myself for the duration – it turned out that Hilton had not just one, but two properties in the Union Square area which fit my needs – Parc 55 and Hilton San Francisco Union Square.
The two properties seem to be under the same management, even, since their websites actually cross-referenced each other (referring potential customers over should one property be full, I imagine).
FlyerTalk seemed to lack consensus over which was superior so I ended up choosing the one with the fancier name. It’s also right across the street from a BART station which made it really easy to take the train directly from the airport.
FlyerTalk also made much about the number of homeless in the area (especially if you walk the wrong way), which could make staying here rather unpleasant – I found this to be somewhat true, but found this to be rather true of the city in general. All in all, it was centrally located and very well-situated for exploring the city.
I was given a corner room on level 25, which seemed to be slightly larger than the typical room (though still smaller than a suite).
On entering the room you’re greeted to a narrow corridor (toilet to the left, with a high window on the right).
The room’s relatively spacious; plenty of room to lay out multiple pieces of luggage (e.g. if purchasing copious amounts of voluminous low-cost items for export).
I did rather like the large windows all around the room, offering a good semi-panoramic view of the city around the building.
I found it rather pleasant to be able to sit at the desk with views of the city right in front of me; if you happen to be trying to get some work done in the afternoon the brightness would be rather annoying, though.
The toilet was clean, a little old, but generally unremarkable.
Unfortunately, Parc 55 gets flak for offering really sucky breakfast options for Gold members. It seems that all you get is a coffee and a pastry at a cafe. As a Diamond you get it slightly better, since you get access to continental breakfast at the restaurant, with the option to top up US$10 per person to enjoy the hot food.
I thought the continental offerings were adequate, especially since they had some prosciutto wraps that I found pretty tasty.
I also enjoyed the range of fruit available – I particularly enjoyed having access to copious amounts of strawberries.
All in all, I found breakfast serviceable but rather lacklustre, especially if you’re used to what’s usually on offer at Asian Hilton properties.
A San Francisco property with a great central location, Parc 55’s breakfast offerings are rather disappointing for the Gold/Diamond Hilton guest. The room’s okay, but not particularly great either.
If I were to do this again I think I might opt for the Hilton San Francisco Financial District instead, if rates are significantly lower – it’s a little further off, but still central enough with better complimentary breakfast offerings (or so I’ve read). In the worst case, it’s right at the doorstep of Chinatown, so affordable breakfast options would be just a short walk away…