by Wendy Irvine
If soaking up the classic scene of Fisherman’s Wharf has long been on your list, the Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf is your best hotel choice. Always wanted to tour Alcatraz? Laugh with the barking sea lions at Pier 39? Revel in famous chocolate, Dungeness crab or San Francisco sourdough bread? As a guest at the Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf it’s all just steps away.
Although the hotel is in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf, locals will inevitably point out that your body and soul will have a happier experience staying in a less touristy part of San Francisco. (Yes, they most definitely use the “T” word when describing Fisherman’s Wharf.) Here’s why: Visiting in the summer means wall-to-wall people. Hopping a cable car near the Wharf may simply not be possible without holding down the sidewalk for a good hour or more (loads of fun with kids). Enjoying a stroll through the shops and restaurants of Pier 39 is an exercise in frustration unless you embrace long lines and rivers of visitors. (People who live in San Francisco will highly recommend that you stay in Union Square where you’ll be very close to a long list of amazing San Francisco dining, shopping and activities.)
That said, if you’re a seasoned traveler and you know that staying in the epicenter of Fisherman’s Wharf is exactly what you need then check out what this Three Diamond Hyatt does have to offer.
Our Editor Loves
- Waterfront walking paths
- Outdoor pool and whirlpool
- Steps away from major local attractions
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf has 313 upscale guestrooms with several styles for families to choose from -- with every bathroom trimmed in Portico toiletries (scented with white ginger: my favorite hotel soaps). The rooms can feel a bit small at 300 to about 400 square feet. The three VIP rooms are larger at 450 to 525 square feet. All rooms have a coffee maker, iPod docking station, 32-incg LCD flat-screen television and robes.
Families will likely most enjoy the Oversized Room Double Bed, where you'll find a slightly larger space (350 square feet) on the top-floor with courtyard, pool or city views, a marble bath, a 32-incg LCD TV, a large work area, two full-size beds (not very big) and bathrobes.
Double check when you reserve that your room comes with a bathtub. Some of the room styles are shower only (but cool rain showers, at that). If your kids are like mine and treasure their evening hotel bath, be sure to ask for a room with a tub.
Rollaway beds are available for a nightly fee. Cribs are also available upon request.
Some of the regular rooms come with refrigerators, but most do not. One staff member told me that guests can request a refrigerator at no extra charge. Another told me that fridges were not something they offered at all. Just politely ask and hope for the best.
A great property close to Pier 39. Slightly pricey dining options, but there are plenty of good eateries around the area to splurge yourself.
Walking distance from many attractions such as Pier 39, Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory and the Tram which takes you straight to Union Square.
If you are visiting SFO for touristy stuff, this is a great hotel to stay at.
We celebrated my birthday and our 30th wedding anniversary during our stay at the Hyatt Centric and the hotel staff ensured that we were extremely spoilt! All the staff we encountered during our stay were extremely friendly and helpful, it’s in a great location too!
The Hyatt brand is deeply committed to dazzling every member of the family. Hyatt resorts throughout the planet brim with spectacular kid pools, kid clubs, impressive dining and more. This particular Hyatt, however, does not sport the "wow" factor amenities. No Kids' Club. No fancy pool or spa. No cute stuffed animals sitting on beds awaiting a child's arrival. The main attraction for families at the Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf is not within the hotel, but outside in beautiful San Francisco.
Aquarium of the Bay
Sitting very near to the Hyatt is this Lilliputian-sized aquarium that can be toured in under an hour. While not elaborate, kids love the touch pools with rays, sharks and snakes. You'll also find jellies, octopus, sea stars and sharks with two crystal-clear tunnels allowing you to view 20,000 aquatic animals in total. Located next to Pier 39 at The Embarcadero and Beach Street in Fisherman's Wharf.
Cable cars stop very close to the Hyatt on the opposite side of its entrance. Know in advance that cable car rides are very popular -- and packed -- during the summer months. (We tried to hop one for over an hour in August and finally just gave up.)
The outdoor pool at the Hyatt is nice for a dip on a warm San Francisco day (in fact, they do happen). But this Hyatt pool is often criticized for being "way too small and cold" (my 7-year-old's exact words). I hesitate to call the pool names, however, since the size is standard for most city hotel pools. You'll rarely find slides, lazy rivers and beach entrances in the city pools. They just don't have the acreage for it. The Hyatt could, however, heat the pool to a comfortable temperature.
That said, the Hyatt's pool has an abundance of cushy, modern chaise lounge chairs, a nice-sized bubbly whirlpool and a locale sitting directly next to the small, but well equipped fitness room. The pool is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Visit the collection of floating ships and see the beautiful views of the Bay. Talk to rangers at an initial trip to the Visitor Center located on Jefferson Street at the corner of Hyde Street and plan your visit with skilled assistance. Pier 45 is home to the USS Pampanito (a submarine) that lets you go down below to see the torpedo tubes, the bunks where seamen slept and the conning tower (a cool periscope).
Sea Lions at Pier 39's K Dock
Every winter at least 900 sea lions call Pier 39 home and, while many migrate in the summer, a solid group stays put to enjoy the spotlight of attention throughout the height of tourist season. Every kid will thrill at meeting these doe-eyed, barking, absolutely irresistible bathing beauties. Someone with a great sense of humor started calling the sea lions "sea lebrities" (get it?) ever since they appeared in droves back in 1990. Sadly, kissing and hugging (and taking one home) are not to be since no touching is the rule of the day.
Knuckles Historical Sports Bar & Grill
Located on the first floor of the Hyatt, Knuckles is a reliable stop when the family's starving and you need a happy and convenient solution for everyone. Knuckles is touted as a sports bar -- and it is -- but it's also a relaxing experience for non-sports enthusiasts as well. Even with a total of 21 screens, Knuckles somehow manages to keep the volume turned down so that everyone can enjoy their meal.
Every comfy and private booth has its own television screen so you can switch to the game you want to watch. In addition there are a bevy of screens throughout the dining room making it easy to catch the action. Don't give a hoot who won, lost or fumbled? You'll also love the atmosphere in Knuckles with its huge glass windows and wood beams. Modern, pretty, very comfortable.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Knuckles is easy and convenient and will satisfy everyone in the family. Fuel up at the breakfast buffet -- and especially the omelet station -- before heading out for the day. Lunch is great for "small bites," which are small plates of barbecue chicken wings, stuffed jumbo mushrooms, Cambozola flat bread, nachos and more. Dinner offers the same and also includes crab cakes, mojito skirt steak, fish 'n chips, grilled ribeye and barbecued ribs. Both the lunch and dinner menus also offer salads, sandwiches and sides.
The children's menu has it all and by "all" I mean Kraft Mac 'n Cheese, Campbell's Chicken Noodle, genuine Froot Loops for breakfast, milk, fruit cups and more. In other words, you're on firm ground if you bring your kids to Knuckles.
Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., daily with a daily Happy Hour from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. House wine by the glass and draft beers are ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â½ off.
Located just across the street from the Hyatt, this little hole-in-the-wall delivers giant breakfasts and lunches at small prices (especially for the Fisherman's Wharf area). Eat outdoors on nice days arriving for breakfast before 8:00 a.m. Don't be surprised to find lines -- this spot is popular for a good reason: old-fashioned service with an extra dollop of kindness.
The Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Manufactory
Hot fudge sundaes topped with freshly made homemade fudge. Do I have your attention? Get your chocolate fix at the original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop and see the original chocolate manufacturing equipment. Find fun gifts for friends and family back home. Sunday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Friday & Saturday - 9:00 a.m. to Midnight (ice cream fountain opens at 10:00 a.m.).
Planning & Tips
The Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf is a 21-minute drive from the San Francisco International Airport. (Traffic isn't normally a huge factor because you won't travel over the Bay Bridge.) The Hyatt is also 27-minute drive from the Oakland International Airport, but may be longer due to traffic on the Bay Bridge, and a one-hour drive from the San Jose International Airport, but again, your drive may be longer due to Bay Area traffic.
All about the Extras
This small but beautifully equipped fitness room has state-of-the art cardio machines with flat screens (treadmills and cycles), free weights and stretching bands. Chilled towels and headphones add to the feeling of a luxuriously fun work out. For those who want to get their heart pumping outdoors (and this is certainly the city for it), the Hyatt offers a great guide to maps of running and walking paths convenient to the Hyatt.
If, like me, you'd prefer to sweat in the privacy of your guestroom, check out the YogaAway program. This arrangement allows you to order yoga, fitness and stress reduction programs.
Valet Parking is $45 a day, and no self parking is available. (Thunk. Is that the sound of you falling over at the sticker shock? Dust yourself off and just know that parking in San Francisco is extremely pricey everywhere.)
Baby & Childcare Services
The Concierge will provide childcare names and contact information to guests upon request.
Babies Travel Lite is an online, pre-order service offered for the Hyatt where you can order baby supplies to be delivered to your room so you don't have to pack and carry all the items you'll need, such as diapers, formula and baby food. You can order up to seven days in advance of your arrival, or even last-minute.
The Art of Smart Timing
It can feel as if the whole world descends on this magical city once summer arrives. The second busy season is from Thanksgiving through the first of the New Year. (Many who live in Northern California annually trek into San Francisco for the chic shopping experience that only the city offers.)
For quiet times, consider visiting in the fall (September and October equal gorgeous weather) and spring before the deluge of the summer crowd begins.
Turns out that nobody can attribute the famous Mark Twain quote, "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco" to Mark Twain. Too bad because he would have been right. San Francisco must love a good joke because she seems to take great joy in keeping us on our toes. Plan for a warm week and she'll rain. Plan for rain and she'll broil you in your long sleeves. So, here's the plan: ruin her good time by packing for every possible weather condition -- except snow -- and you'll stay comfortable.
Specifically summer can bring everything between wind, rain, fog and hot sunshine. Winter can be counted on for drizzle, rain and warm, sunny days. In fact, expect low to mid-50s in the winter. Spring and fall tend towards chilly, but can also produce warm days. Always bring thick socks and keep in mind that your feet will never speak to you again if you neglect to bring walking shoes.
For Mom and Dad
Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf offers a cozy wine bar shouldering the Knuckles restaurant in Enoteca Musto. Sip wine from California's wine country and pair your glass with tasty flat breads and delicious small plates of cheese, meats and other tasty appetizers.