Owner Of San Francisco’s Biggest Hotel Stops Debt Payments

Owner Of San Francisco’s Biggest Hotel Stops Debt Payments

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In the past couple of years we’ve seen a strong recovery in leisure travel demand. Unfortunately not all cities have benefited equally from that, with San Francisco probably being the major US city in the toughest spot. Here’s the clearest example of that…

Park Hotels & Resorts stops paying loan for San Francisco hotels

Park Hotels & Resorts is a Virginia-based investment firm that owns roughly 50 hotels. In San Francisco, the company owns the 1,921-room Hilton San Francisco Union Square (the biggest hotel in the city) and the 1,024-room Parc 55 San Francisco (the fourth biggest hotel in the city). Together, the two hotels have roughly 9% of San Francisco’s hotel room inventory.

The company has announced that as of June 2023, it has ceased making payments toward a $725 million loan that’s scheduled to mature in November 2023, which is secured by these two properties. The company intends to work in good faith with loan officers to determine the most effective path forward, which is expected to result in the removal of these hotels from its portfolio.

The hotels continue to remain open. The properties will probably be sold at a huge discount, and may continue to operate as their existing brands in the future. Only time will tell.

As Park Hotels & Resorts CEO Thomas Baltimore describes this decision:

“This past week we made the very difficult, but necessary decision to stop debt service payments on our San Francisco CMBS loan. After much thought and consideration, we believe it is in the best interest for Park’s stockholders to materially reduce our current exposure to the San Francisco market. Now more than ever, we believe San Francisco’s path to recovery remains clouded and elongated by major challenges – both old and new: record high office vacancy; concerns over street conditions; lower return to office than peer cities; and a weaker than expected citywide convention calendar through 2027 that will negatively impact business and leisure demand and will likely significantly reduce compression in the city for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the continued burden on our operating results and balance sheet is too significant to warrant continuing to subsidize and own these assets.”

What’s wild is that in 2016, these two hotels were valued at $1.6 billion, while now the company is walking away from these hotels over a $725 million loan, which is less than half of that.

The San Francisco Standard reports that in 2019, the two properties had revenue of $175.4 million and $95 million, while in 2022, those figures fell to under $30 million each.

Park Hotels & Resorts sold off the Le Meridien San Francisco and Hotel Adagio San Francisco in 2021. The company continues to own the JW Marriott Union Square and Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf, but hasn’t yet walked away from those properties.

Hilton Union Square San Francisco

San Francisco hotels are in a tough spot

I have to imagine that these won’t be the last hotels that investors walk away from in San Francisco. On the most basic level, San Francisco has long been the place for tech people to be, and the pricing for everything reflected that. Add in that the city was popular with conventions, and it was a very lucrative market for hotel owners.

Unfortunately for San Francisco, a lot has changed. With more people working from home, some companies having left the Bay Area, business travel being way down, and convention traffic nowhere near where it was pre-pandemic, the demand for hotels in San Francisco continues to be greatly depressed, with no signs of that changing.

For hotel owners, that presents a real challenge. They can’t charge the rates they used to charge, and even with lower rates, occupancy is way down. Many hotel investors seemingly thought that prices in San Francisco would only keep going up, and many bought at the height of the market. I imagine we’ll see a lot more hotel investors offload their assets in San Francisco.

The precedent being set here by Park Hotels & Resorts certainly won’t help with that either, when it comes to the general valuation of hotel real estate in the city.

Hilton Union Square San Francisco

Bottom line

The owner of San Francisco’s largest and fourth largest hotel has stopped making loan payments, as the company doesn’t see a path to recovery for the hotel industry in the Bay Area. Even though the two hotels were valued at $1.6 billion seven years ago, the owner is now turning over the keys to the properties over a $725 million loan.

At a time when it seems like we’re seeing record occupancy and rates in so many hotel markets, it’s important to keep in mind that’s not the case across the board.

What do you make of the owner walking away from two of San Francisco’s biggest hotels?

Conversations (52)
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  1. dwondermeant Guest

    @ ll5777779
    Its sad what SF has become one of our nations greatest cities caught in a era I never saw coming just 6 or 7 years ago.And joy can still be had with a single visit and some great dining experiences and local scenery/views
    I remember when it was my dream to live there many decades ago
    Agree with much of you post except for the St Regis being a great...

    @ ll5777779
    Its sad what SF has become one of our nations greatest cities caught in a era I never saw coming just 6 or 7 years ago.And joy can still be had with a single visit and some great dining experiences and local scenery/views
    I remember when it was my dream to live there many decades ago
    Agree with much of you post except for the St Regis being a great points hotel or even being a great luxury hotel.Yes superior to anything in Fisherman's Wharf I suppose and some of the Downtown convention hotels.
    Their overpricing on point award rooms and revenue rates (likely much to do with the Bonvoy effect to be sure)are a rip off on a dated over hyped over rated property.The breakfast was crap (limited to one experience being truthful.Never coming back) The service near non existent and slow though well meaning.We walked out and happily went elsewhere.Luxury hotels need to be near defect free.
    I cant speak for dinner or lunch but out of season fruit and over cooked eggs at sky high prices is sad.The Hyatt's at the airport can cook better.Including the Hyatt Centric in F/Wharf and def a mediocre hotel!

    The former GM of the St Regis was a world class hospitality professional and class act. They do have some good front of house folks.You won't have to battle with me for an upgrade to a suite at the property as a lifetime Titanium Bonvoy member I will be at 10 other hotels happily.That said not trying to be mean spirited as we all have our different view points and if its something you personally get pleasure from as well as find value its all good.I do appreciate your kind words on San Francisco which will always have a place in my heart.

  2. Bob Guest

    There is no foot traffic anymore in downtown sf. Until companies enforce return to the office downtown will die. Considering the number of IT folks who can function at 90% remote they have no incentive to return to the office. Of course you also have plenty of non IT essential who enjoys afternoon naps who refuses to return to the office. Right now homeless, crazies and people looking to casually walk into Westfield mall and...

    There is no foot traffic anymore in downtown sf. Until companies enforce return to the office downtown will die. Considering the number of IT folks who can function at 90% remote they have no incentive to return to the office. Of course you also have plenty of non IT essential who enjoys afternoon naps who refuses to return to the office. Right now homeless, crazies and people looking to casually walk into Westfield mall and take whatever they want makes up a large population of downtown. I wouldn't go there if I can help it.

  3. iamhere Guest

    One of the big issues is that SF's economy is largely based on tourism which has not been happening to the extent that it was. Also, real estate is down these days compared to what it once was and the price they will exit at is because it is basically distressed and that the demand for the purchase is not there. When you really need the cash you will have to reduce the price.

  4. Timo Diamond

    I lied in SF for almost 8 years. I worked in a fancy office in the Financial District. I lived on the border of respectability between Upper Tenderloin & Lower Nob Hill, ha ha... that's what we told our delusional 30 yr old selves at the time in the mid-90s. Then moved to Hayes Valley long before its gentrification. I visit there about once a year but after my visit a year ago I'm done....

    I lied in SF for almost 8 years. I worked in a fancy office in the Financial District. I lived on the border of respectability between Upper Tenderloin & Lower Nob Hill, ha ha... that's what we told our delusional 30 yr old selves at the time in the mid-90s. Then moved to Hayes Valley long before its gentrification. I visit there about once a year but after my visit a year ago I'm done. It's a hollow dump. The depressing cold summer fog & rampant mental illness/drug addicts of the street bums makes for a rough night out. The retarded political class of SF must be run out on a railcar to right that sinking ship but the dumb citizens just can't stop voting for them. It will take decades to return to normalcy & sanity.

  5. BradStPete Diamond

    I moved to SF in 1979, before some of you were born...LOL
    The CITY (as we called it) was actually dressy, elegant and clean filled with nice people. I re-located to Florida in 1994. Irrelevant, I know, but my once elegant city is long gone. I have no desire to ever return. And FYI, I am a very liberal, proudly woke person. SF, you break my heart

    1. CIAMom420 Member

      We’re witnessing the first collapse of a modern American city since Detroit. It’s amazing how far San Francisco has fallen in just a handful of years. The projected billion dollar budget deficit is a time bomb that’s going to be devastating.

  6. Bob Guest

    The fact that the city literally hired a poop patrol to clean up feces on the streets, tells you everything you need to know. I cant imagine why folks don't want to visit this liberal paradise!

    1. Bob Guest

      Bonus points for anyone who can answer this question: What do SF, Portland and Seattle all have in common besides being beautiful cities that people used to enjoy visiting before they became overrun by homeless/drug addicts?

    2. Bob Guest

      The fact that we run the world and you can't exist without us. You would fall down and cry within hours one we pry that liberal made cellphone from your hands. My liberal paradise salary is probably 5x larger than your cute 90k salary and unlike sucker tourists I live with a ocean view.

    3. Bob Guest

      Bob,

      I bet your salary is 5x larger. I also bet that your cost of living is at least 5x larger if not more as well. Enjoy:)

    4. Bob Guest

      I bet your salary is 5x larger. I also bet that your cost of living in liberal paradise is at least 5x larger if not more as well. Enjoy:)

  7. ll5777779 New Member

    as someone who currently lives in SF, i feel like most visitors' perspectives of the city are seriously warped by what they see on market street, soma, and near union square. yes, the conditions in these parts of the city are less than ideal - the streets are dirty and there are an unacceptable number of unhoused people. but that's also NOT where SF residents live or hang out at - for that, check out...

    as someone who currently lives in SF, i feel like most visitors' perspectives of the city are seriously warped by what they see on market street, soma, and near union square. yes, the conditions in these parts of the city are less than ideal - the streets are dirty and there are an unacceptable number of unhoused people. but that's also NOT where SF residents live or hang out at - for that, check out hayes valley, marina, castro, pac heights, golden gate park, sunset, richmond. these areas are much cleaner, tend to be safer, and also where all the good restaurants and bars are. if your vision of SF is limited to what you see in downtown, you're missing out on all the best parts.

    PS - best points hotel in SF is far and away the St Regis. Amazing service, great food / drinks in the lobby bar, and very nicely appointed / well upkept rooms. i regularly stayed here for work and it's impossible to get upgraded to a true suite without being in the top 30-50 VIP guests, because there are so many loyalists to this hotel

    PPS - SF's overall crime rate isn't out of the norm compared to other major cities in the US. While it does lead in property crime (which is a real issue) it actually is near the bottom in terms of violent crime (assault, rape, homicide)

    1. Fonzi Guest

      People not coming to city for the suburbs. You obviously live in some bubble and you were one of those who were voting for current government. Unhoused??-no homeless another Politically correct word to cover the failure.

    2. henare Diamond

      The city is *much* larger than Union Square and nearby environs. The location for these two hotels (the Hilton and the nearby Parc 55) has *always* been suboptimal--this isn't something that's a post-pandemic revelation.

    3. Ocean Guest

      @ll5777779, you're full of shit and obviously you're lying. People like you are the reason why my hometown of San Francisco is in the horrible state it's in right now. Crimes reached all the neighborhoods you mentioned including where I live. Unhoused? It's homeless you morally degenerate idiot.

    4. CIAMom420 Member

      You can’t say “it’s just downtown that sucks.” Downtown is a significant part of the economic engine that has driven San Francisco. That economic base there is completely collapsing, and that’s going to bring the nice parts down with it.

    5. ILeftMyTurddInSF Guest

      Haiti has some beautiful beaches, but I'm not going there either. "Unhoused" lol -- wake up liberals, you always have an excuse or someone to blame. ALWAYS.

    6. Bob Guest

      That's always the case. Tourists have a narrow scope of the universe. I can't tell you how many times I've talked to people who thinks SF = fisherman's warf and Lombard Street. Ditto in nyc. People telling me they didn't think nyc was that big because all they know of nyc is times Square. My own elderly parents still don't and will never understand that the USA is far larger and more complex than just...

      That's always the case. Tourists have a narrow scope of the universe. I can't tell you how many times I've talked to people who thinks SF = fisherman's warf and Lombard Street. Ditto in nyc. People telling me they didn't think nyc was that big because all they know of nyc is times Square. My own elderly parents still don't and will never understand that the USA is far larger and more complex than just the Borough of Queens. They literally have no understanding of the size and scope of the state let alone the country. And most people in the country are the same maybe to a lesser degree especially if they have just casually traveled overseas a handful of times.

  8. Steve Diamond

    Such strange times, there are so many conventions in my city right now i cant go eat lunch downtown by my office because lines are too long, so many people we have 3 new hotels opening up this year. Nice to see business absolutely booming here in Texas' 5th largest city.

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      Same here in Missouri. Not every day, necessarily, but a definitive uptick in conferences. Plus we have a new airport to boot.

  9. JetSetFly Guest

    As commercial real estate goes to toilet, it's time for SF city hall to wake up. Less tax from commercial real estate means less money for these bureaucrats to spend. When supervisors stop doling out freebies, (hopefully as SF is projected to go into deficit over two years to 780 million) people will stop voting for them. When one can shoplift for $900 without being punished, why would be thieves stop? The structure of SF...

    As commercial real estate goes to toilet, it's time for SF city hall to wake up. Less tax from commercial real estate means less money for these bureaucrats to spend. When supervisors stop doling out freebies, (hopefully as SF is projected to go into deficit over two years to 780 million) people will stop voting for them. When one can shoplift for $900 without being punished, why would be thieves stop? The structure of SF government needs to be revamped. Eliminate supervisors as too many cooks in the kitchen, nothing gets done. Have a competent mayor in charge and bring SF back. Until then, one can only hope AI brings jobs back into SF although given millennials and Gen Zs lack of desire to work in person, it'll be a very long struggle.

  10. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    There is a viral SF based YouTube series called "Chocolate or Poo". That's all You need to know. I am afraid to visit SF, LA, Portland, & Seattle at the moment. I work in an industry that is often easily targeted for theft. ALL of my colleagues that live in and regularly visit those places all echo the same sentiment. Those cities are all dead. People I personally know are moving or considering moving.

  11. Bill Guest

    Between the smell of pot and the smell of feces, why bother with SF.
    It appears I'm not the only one to feel that way.
    Pretty clear who needs to shoulder the blame for this mess.

  12. InternationalTraveler Member

    I stayed at the Hilton Union Square in September 2022 and the best benefit of this hotel is ... its spacious parking garage.

    The rooms are fine but in need of a renovation. As a Diamond member I got assigned a room right next to the elevator, which I could hear all night. The Diamond F&B credit basically was enough for a grab&go sandwich from their market, most restaurants in the hotel are closed. The...

    I stayed at the Hilton Union Square in September 2022 and the best benefit of this hotel is ... its spacious parking garage.

    The rooms are fine but in need of a renovation. As a Diamond member I got assigned a room right next to the elevator, which I could hear all night. The Diamond F&B credit basically was enough for a grab&go sandwich from their market, most restaurants in the hotel are closed. The breakfast buffet is overpriced (I recall $50+) and looked very basic.

    I attempted to walk from the hotel towards the City Hall and turned around quickly due to the state of the neighbourhood. It is a couple of blocks away from Union Square, walking there was fine.

  13. Jojo Guest

    San franSICKO. 2017 I watched a homeless drug junkie Shit in the middle of the street. Junkies sleeping in front of the entrance to the BART, having to step over them. Needles in the street. I was completely shocked. Locals not so much. The liberal paradise

  14. Grey Diamond

    I mean, it is hard to believe that they couldn't be profitable if they charged reasonable rates. But hotels in SF are extremely expensive. And unless you have to go there for work, there are just so many other places people can go for the kind of money they charge.

  15. echino Diamond

    Funny how you avoid mentioning the elephant in the room, Ben!

    1. VladG Gold

      My thoughts exactly. It comes off as insincere at best and hypocritical at worst.

    2. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      Agreed, even the CEO stated "Concerns over street conditions...." yet Ben couldn't allude to anything around those issues. It reaks of Marijuana, Urine, Feces, and Body Odor EVERYWHERE in the city, broken glass and needles and FECES on every sidewalk, closed storefronts for blocks, harassment from homeless & protesters as soon as you leave the lobby, fearful of theft or bodily harm, forget having a rental car or worse yet bringing your own property to...

      Agreed, even the CEO stated "Concerns over street conditions...." yet Ben couldn't allude to anything around those issues. It reaks of Marijuana, Urine, Feces, and Body Odor EVERYWHERE in the city, broken glass and needles and FECES on every sidewalk, closed storefronts for blocks, harassment from homeless & protesters as soon as you leave the lobby, fearful of theft or bodily harm, forget having a rental car or worse yet bringing your own property to the city. Ben couldn't even allude to any of theelse obvious issues?

    3. Bob Guest

      The city of SF is much larger than where you catch the cable car. I can infer the same of areas near windwood walls of Miami in case you really want to see a scary hood. Or homes less encampments in Colorado Springs and denver. I'm sure Texas had it's happy places as well but I've never been more would I care to.

  16. Mark Guest

    > With more people working from home, some companies having left the Bay Area, business travel being way down, and convention traffic nowhere near where it was pre-pandemic

    You're avoiding one of the big issues mentioned in the letter... "concerns over street conditions" doesn't mean potholes.

  17. CHRIS Guest

    "concerns over street conditions"....like too many potholes ?

    1. Stefan Guest

      Hardly. More like criminals, bums, drug addicts and feces.

  18. 9volt Gold

    "Unfortunately for San Francisco, a lot has changed. With more people working from home, some companies having left the Bay Area, business travel being way down, and convention traffic nowhere near where it was pre-pandemic, the demand for hotels in San Francisco continues to be greatly depressed, with no signs of that changing."

    Interesting how you left off crime and homelessness as one of the reasons, and albeit the root of all the problems.

  19. Lee Guest

    In cities everywhere, you'll see red velvet ropes of exclusivity in front of high-end retail stores. That started in San Francisco. When visiting family in the City several years ago, I noticed those red velvet ropes . . . and armed guards with body armor. When I asked my family, who have lived in the City continuously since it was part of Mexico, they said crime was the reason. My family has seen the City...

    In cities everywhere, you'll see red velvet ropes of exclusivity in front of high-end retail stores. That started in San Francisco. When visiting family in the City several years ago, I noticed those red velvet ropes . . . and armed guards with body armor. When I asked my family, who have lived in the City continuously since it was part of Mexico, they said crime was the reason. My family has seen the City evolve from being called "Paris of the West" to what the Financial Times calls a "city on the brink." I simply can no longer go back.

  20. Boarding Group 7 and Above Guest

    Looks like they made a bad bet...someone will pick up the properties on the cheap, but will move down in the hotel franchise food chain.
    It could be worse!! The properties could morph into refugee housing centers just to cover cash flow. Texas will fly them in for free.

  21. Luke Guest

    "They can’t charge the rates they used to charge, and even with lower rates"

    umm really? just did a search on marriott.com for a random weekday in September (past peak vacation season) and am finding rates of mostly $400+ (And over $1k for the St Regis) in SF proper. Gets a bit cheaper of course outside SF such as in Oakland.

    If prices really were getting lower (under 100 bucks a night), it would be...

    "They can’t charge the rates they used to charge, and even with lower rates"

    umm really? just did a search on marriott.com for a random weekday in September (past peak vacation season) and am finding rates of mostly $400+ (And over $1k for the St Regis) in SF proper. Gets a bit cheaper of course outside SF such as in Oakland.

    If prices really were getting lower (under 100 bucks a night), it would be a great opportunity for long term stays rather than paying exorbitant rent!

    1. Robert D Guest

      I’m paying $168 at the Grand Hyatt next weekend (a holiday weekend for a lot of people, Juneteenth, and there are plenty of cheaper options. The Beacon Grand (formerly the Sir Francis Drake) at $116, for example.

  22. Ocean Guest

    SF will only get worse as long as residents of the city keep voting for the same insane politicians who are destroying SF. The board of supervisors who called for defunding the police are now complaining about the lack of safety in the city and they're blaming the police. I live in San Francisco.

  23. Tom Guest

    I really don't see much difference between the SF of today, and the one of 2019 aside from there just being fewer workers wandering around - it's been wildly overpriced for YEARS, way beyond the price where I'd want to go if I weren't there for business. I see this as nothing more than a long overdue price correction.

  24. George Romey Guest

    Gee don't go after criminals and crime, turn your streets into zombie land complete with human feces and somehow people and businesses don't want to come to your city. Who would have thought?

  25. theebigjuan New Member

    Agree with the others. My visit in April of 22 was somewhat depressing. Stayed at the Hyatt Regency SOMA for a conference. Was able to find about half my haunts from earlier visits... the others were closed, as was most of Market St. Agree that the ratio of homeless seemed to be higher as opposed to the quantity.

    Just returned from Portland... another city with similar struggles. Except there the homeless issue has spiraled out...

    Agree with the others. My visit in April of 22 was somewhat depressing. Stayed at the Hyatt Regency SOMA for a conference. Was able to find about half my haunts from earlier visits... the others were closed, as was most of Market St. Agree that the ratio of homeless seemed to be higher as opposed to the quantity.

    Just returned from Portland... another city with similar struggles. Except there the homeless issue has spiraled out of control. Tents nearly everywhere... sidewalks, parks, outside of the city center. Except in Nob Hill. They apparently know how to prevent the squatters from invading. From my last visit in Nov 19 3 out of 5 restaurants are gone, but many still remain and quite a few good new offerings.

    Both cities offer regional joys that are hard to match. Here's to finding the balance between boom and bust.

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      You don’t see many homeless in North Beach or Russian Hill, either. Shopping carts are hard to roll uphill full of junk and when your diet consists solely of meth

  26. Abey Guest

    @lucky disappointed that you didn’t mention the safety condition of the city when it is clearly mentioned in the company press release

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      Of course he didn’t. This is what blind allegiance looks like. Conventions were cancelling pre-pandemic over safety issues. The pandemic made everything worse. I bet international travel is wayyyy down as well due to safety concerns. The city is awful - I’m from there and visit friends/family often. It’s heartbreaking.

    2. Sosongblue Guest

      This is the result of what happens when you let unbridled empathy, permissiveness and political pandering go way way too far…. Gotta be willing to drastically change course, but sadly the will is not there yet so the residents will have to endure more pain. These aren’t normal common sense liberals in SF, they are radicals.

  27. LovetoFly Member

    I was just there a few weeks ago for the RSA Conference. It's been a few years since I've been in the city and was stunned by the decline. From a conference attendee perspective, it wasn't a positive experience and doubt my company will be sending anyone there in future years. While the conference wsa good, the location and all the problems with SF just detracted from the experience. The people I really feel bad...

    I was just there a few weeks ago for the RSA Conference. It's been a few years since I've been in the city and was stunned by the decline. From a conference attendee perspective, it wasn't a positive experience and doubt my company will be sending anyone there in future years. While the conference wsa good, the location and all the problems with SF just detracted from the experience. The people I really feel bad for are all the small businesses in the downtown. They are suffering the brunt of both the homelessness and the decline in businesses\workers coming into the city.

  28. Sharon Guest

    I don’t believe that the Bay Area is dead, Silicon Valley is still very much alive and well. This continues to help fuel United’s premier San Francisco hub.

    The issue is the city of San Francisco. The wealthy and family have fled the city to the suburbs and those who have stayed are those without the means to leave (average folks, young people and the mentally disturbed)

    The city and state need to...

    I don’t believe that the Bay Area is dead, Silicon Valley is still very much alive and well. This continues to help fuel United’s premier San Francisco hub.

    The issue is the city of San Francisco. The wealthy and family have fled the city to the suburbs and those who have stayed are those without the means to leave (average folks, young people and the mentally disturbed)

    The city and state need to seriously need to reform the laws around homelessness. When public safety concerns arose in NYC, the governor of NY was quick to step in to restore public safety and still to this day, there are many many cops on the streets and subways.

    What is the city and state government doing in California? It seems like nothing.

  29. Ryan Guest

    I was in San Francisco last week. A city that I still love to visit and once lived in for a few years. On a Friday morning I walked around from about 9 to 11am... the entire city center felt like a ghost town. Very few people on the streets, empty buses rumbling past, and able to jaywalk without any risk of getting hit by traffic - there wasn't any!

    The homeless situation didn't...

    I was in San Francisco last week. A city that I still love to visit and once lived in for a few years. On a Friday morning I walked around from about 9 to 11am... the entire city center felt like a ghost town. Very few people on the streets, empty buses rumbling past, and able to jaywalk without any risk of getting hit by traffic - there wasn't any!

    The homeless situation didn't seem worse than it did when I lived there 10 years ago, but it's still a major problem. The increase in fentynol and other opiate addition, combined with well-intended measures that loosen drug and misdemeanor penalties, seems to lead to a more visible population and a general sense of insecurity. Perhaps the biggest issue now is that because everything else is deserted, all that's left are the mentally ill and deranged drug-addicts...

    Union Square is right on the apex of where good turns to bad in the center of SF. East of there, towards the water, is relatively quiet, safe, and calm. West of there towards the Tenderloin is a complete apocalyptic nightmare. I wouldn't feel safe walking in that direction and it's very easy for a visitor to go the wrong way and end up in a mentally-ill, drugged out zombie apocalypse. I prefer to stay closer to Embarcadero or Moscone areas to avoid coming into contact with all of that (stayed at the W this time for the better location).

    I hope SF can get it together. The city has so much going for it but can't focus on the basics that matter. This won't be the last departure from the city.

  30. The nice Paul Guest

    SF is intriguing to me. For many years it's felt like an over-priced destination, with a public realm that just keeps on deteriorating: the amount of homeless sleepers and "tent cities" is, to most Western European eyes, extraordinary. And, as you walk the streets, the stench of cannabis is pervasive.

    The hotels have also mostly been below-standard for a long time: as an example, SF seems to have led the charge at removing facilities like...

    SF is intriguing to me. For many years it's felt like an over-priced destination, with a public realm that just keeps on deteriorating: the amount of homeless sleepers and "tent cities" is, to most Western European eyes, extraordinary. And, as you walk the streets, the stench of cannabis is pervasive.

    The hotels have also mostly been below-standard for a long time: as an example, SF seems to have led the charge at removing facilities like full breakfast or room service. On my last visit there an allegedly middle-market city centre hotel only had flasks of stewed (bitter & weak) filter coffee for breakfast, and muffins.

    One of the hotels you mentioned -- the Hilton Union Square -- struck me as being particularly dismal. On a tour a couple of years back the manager proudly said how they were in the middle of a major refurbishment programme; I asked when the dark and dingy lobby we were in would be done, and he explained that it had already been done...

    I still love some aspects of SF, but it seems like it is now increasingly a poster child for the consequences of "private wealth but public squalor". It used to be sold to conference managers as a destination that usually added ~20% to the registration numbers over other cities. I don't think the people I work with feel the same any more.

    1. betterbub Diamond

      "I asked when the dark and dingy lobby we were in would be done, and he explained that it had already been done..."

      That's an awkward conversation lol

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The nice Paul Guest

SF is intriguing to me. For many years it's felt like an over-priced destination, with a public realm that just keeps on deteriorating: the amount of homeless sleepers and "tent cities" is, to most Western European eyes, extraordinary. And, as you walk the streets, the stench of cannabis is pervasive. The hotels have also mostly been below-standard for a long time: as an example, SF seems to have led the charge at removing facilities like full breakfast or room service. On my last visit there an allegedly middle-market city centre hotel only had flasks of stewed (bitter & weak) filter coffee for breakfast, and muffins. One of the hotels you mentioned -- the Hilton Union Square -- struck me as being particularly dismal. On a tour a couple of years back the manager proudly said how they were in the middle of a major refurbishment programme; I asked when the dark and dingy lobby we were in would be done, and he explained that it had already been done... I still love some aspects of SF, but it seems like it is now increasingly a poster child for the consequences of "private wealth but public squalor". It used to be sold to conference managers as a destination that usually added ~20% to the registration numbers over other cities. I don't think the people I work with feel the same any more.

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ll5777779 New Member

as someone who currently lives in SF, i feel like most visitors' perspectives of the city are seriously warped by what they see on market street, soma, and near union square. yes, the conditions in these parts of the city are less than ideal - the streets are dirty and there are an unacceptable number of unhoused people. but that's also NOT where SF residents live or hang out at - for that, check out hayes valley, marina, castro, pac heights, golden gate park, sunset, richmond. these areas are much cleaner, tend to be safer, and also where all the good restaurants and bars are. if your vision of SF is limited to what you see in downtown, you're missing out on all the best parts. PS - best points hotel in SF is far and away the St Regis. Amazing service, great food / drinks in the lobby bar, and very nicely appointed / well upkept rooms. i regularly stayed here for work and it's impossible to get upgraded to a true suite without being in the top 30-50 VIP guests, because there are so many loyalists to this hotel PPS - SF's overall crime rate isn't out of the norm compared to other major cities in the US. While it does lead in property crime (which is a real issue) it actually is near the bottom in terms of violent crime (assault, rape, homicide)

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Ryan Guest

I was in San Francisco last week. A city that I still love to visit and once lived in for a few years. On a Friday morning I walked around from about 9 to 11am... the entire city center felt like a ghost town. Very few people on the streets, empty buses rumbling past, and able to jaywalk without any risk of getting hit by traffic - there wasn't any! The homeless situation didn't seem worse than it did when I lived there 10 years ago, but it's still a major problem. The increase in fentynol and other opiate addition, combined with well-intended measures that loosen drug and misdemeanor penalties, seems to lead to a more visible population and a general sense of insecurity. Perhaps the biggest issue now is that because everything else is deserted, all that's left are the mentally ill and deranged drug-addicts... Union Square is right on the apex of where good turns to bad in the center of SF. East of there, towards the water, is relatively quiet, safe, and calm. West of there towards the Tenderloin is a complete apocalyptic nightmare. I wouldn't feel safe walking in that direction and it's very easy for a visitor to go the wrong way and end up in a mentally-ill, drugged out zombie apocalypse. I prefer to stay closer to Embarcadero or Moscone areas to avoid coming into contact with all of that (stayed at the W this time for the better location). I hope SF can get it together. The city has so much going for it but can't focus on the basics that matter. This won't be the last departure from the city.

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