Travel & Day Trips

Review: Hyatt Regency San Francisco at the Embarcadero, From a Pro Traveler (2023)

If you’re looking for a hotel for a business trip or group visit to San Francisco, California you probably have a few things in mind. You might need a location close to the Financial District and SoMA, easy access to BART and other public transit, and comfortable, modern rooms.

A great room price wouldn’t hurt, either! And in our post-pandemic world, you’re probably looking for a safe location. I recently found all these things at the Hyatt Regency on the Embarcadero in San Francisco.

As a professional food and travel photographer, I stay in hotels all over the world. Based on that experience, here is my review of the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, including the location, rooms, restaurants, and more.

It’s a great spot to stay for a work trip, but the hotel is working hard to bring in couples and families for leisure stays, too. I’d definitely return to this hotel for a Bay Area staycation!

Location of the Hyatt Regency San Francisco
The Hyatt Regency Embarcadero is an ideal downtown location

Key Takeaways

  • Stellar location across the street from the Ferry Building, with both BART and cable cars right in front
  • Right in the Financial District, and an easy walk to SoMA
  • The location felt safe, even while walking around solo
  • Historic building that holds a Guinness Book record, but has been recently renovated and has modern rooms
  • Unique rooftop lounge with panoramic city views at the club level

Why Me

I’m a professional food and travel photographer with 8 years of experience. I’m also a Bay Area local and have lived in the S.F. area for 10 years.

The author at the Hyatt Regency

How We Evaluated the Hotel

Facade of the Hyatt Regency
Facade of the Hyatt Regency

We interviewed the hotel’s management and spoke to travelers who had stayed there recently. I personally visited the hotel, which hosted me for a stay to photograph it and experience it firsthand.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Embarcadero Basics

Before we dive into the specifics, here are some basics to know about the hotel, based on our research and my visit.


The Hyatt Regency at the Embarcadero is one of the best-situated hotels in San Francisco. You really couldn’t choose a better location.

The hotel is right across from the iconic Ferry Building. I clocked it as a 3-minute walk from the Hyatt Regency’s entrance to the Ferry Building Marketplace.

The Embarcadero, with the Hyatt Regency in the center
The Embarcadero, with the Hyatt Regency in the center

It’s also right in the Financial District, which makes it a great business hotel. You can walk down the block and be at Wells Fargo, Chime or any other Financial District company.

Aerial view of the San Francisco Financial District
The hotel is ideally located in the Financial District

You can also cross Market Street and be in the startup-heavy SoMA in about 10 minutes. The Moscone Center is walkable, too, although it’s a bit farther from the hotel.

The MUNI F train picks up in front of the hotel, too, and will take you to Fisherman’s Wharf. You can even walk to Oracle Park for a Giants game.

MUNI F Train
The F train MUNI picks up by the hotel

The transit options also make this an appealing place to stay for groups and families. You can easily walk to the Embarcadero, but you can also take MUNI to venues around the city, take BART to Berkeley or Oakland, or even take a ferry to the North Bay.

Several tours pick up nearby at Fisherman’s Wharf as well. You can take Muir Woods tours or Napa wine tours from nearby the hotel, with many tour companies offering a bus that transports you.

Getting There

One of the things I like about the Hyatt Regency is that it’s easy to get to, even for out-of-town travelers without a car.

The Embarcadero BART station is literally in front of the hotel. You can ride BART there from SFO Airport or OAK Airport directly, in less than 30 minutes. The cable cars pick up in front of the hotel, too.

Hyatt Regency hotel and cable car
You can board the California Street cable car right in front of the Hyatt Regency

Personally, I took BART from the East Bay. It was a super easy ride and I got there in about 35 minutes. 

The hotel also has valet parking, with a large entryway that makes it easy to drive there. Many guests also take Uber or Lyft from the airport, and the big entryway makes it easy to pull in and take your time exiting your car.

Entrance at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco
Entrance at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco

The Building

The Hyatt Regency is in a historic building. But it’s not the history we usually think of when we think of San Francisco: Victorian homes, the Gilded Age and the like.

The full building at Hyatt Regency
The full building at Hyatt Regency

Instead, the Hyatt Regency dates to the 1970s, a time when San Francisco was just beginning to establish its place as a future-looking tech haven.

In that vein, the Hyatt Regency’s historic building shares its futuristic style with the Transamerica Pyramid building, another iconic SF structure built around the same time.

Archival photo of the Hyatt Regency in the 1970s
Archival photo of the Hyatt Regency in the 1970s. Courtesy John Portman archive.

Designed by the architect John Portman, the Hyatt Regency is a bit like a massive, flowing pyramid. It’s built with then-new construction techniques, including lots of reinforced concrete molded into everything from the floors to the individual slats of the room balconies.

Overhead view of the atrium at Hyatt Regency
The massive atrium at the hotel

A massive rotating restaurant (now the Regency Club), an iconic sculpture called Eclipse, and the world’s largest hotel lobby made this one of the most exciting structures built in SF in the 1970s.

Today, it makes the Hyatt Regency architecturally unique and historical. If you’re a fan of the futuristic, maximalist architecture of the 1970s, you’ll have reason enough to visit. 

Even if you’re not, you’ll appreciate that this isn’t just another soulless corporate business hotel.

And again, even through the building itself is historical, the rooms aren’t; they have been updated to modern standards in a recent $50m+ renovation.

Key Stats

Another advantage of that massive 1970s building is the fact that the Hyatt Regency has a ton of rooms!

Here are some key stats about the property:

  • 821 rooms
  • 20 stories tall
  • Opened in 1973, recently underwent a $50m+ renovation

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Lobby and Grounds

The Hyatt Regency is right in the middle of San Francisco, so the hotel is mostly indoors.

When you first enter from the front, you’ll be at the street level, which is where you’ll find meeting rooms and banquet areas. Ride up 2 floors to the lobby.

Outside of the Hyatt Regency
Outside of the Hyatt Regency

The lobby at the Hyatt Regency definitely knows how to make a statement! Again, this is the largest hotel lobby in the world, at nearly 42,000 square feet.

Eclipse sculpture in the Hyatt Regency's lobby
Eclipse sculpture in the Hyatt Regency’s lobby

The giant Eclipse sculpture is right in the middle of the lobby. You’ll also find the eponymous Eclipse restaurant, as well as several tasteful seating areas.

These are nice for colleagues who want to gather in the lobby for a drink or to catch up after a conference or event.

With the massive lobby, there’s also plenty of room for larger groups to meet up. The lobby isn’t just a big horizontal space, either. It extends vertically more than 17 stories in a massive atrium.

Hyatt Regency atrium
Aerial view of the atrium

Several glass elevators ferry guests up to the room levels, which are arrayed in a big triangle around the lobby atrium. Riding these elevators feels like blasting off to the moon! Kids will love the elevators, but make sure to supervise them on the high levels.

The checkin desk at the hotel is dwarfed by the huge lobby. I found the staff to be pleasant and efficient, though.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Rooms

The rooms at the Hyatt Regency are modern and were recently totally renovated in a massive, multi-million dollar project.

I stayed on the 14th floor. Walking through the massive atrium at those heights was an experience in itself.

Man smiling in room at Hyatt Regency San Francisco
The author at the Hyatt Regency

My room was tastefully decorated and designed, with a king bed and plenty of room. Since the hotel was built in the 1970s, the rooms are physically larger than you’d normally get in a newer SF hotel, where space is often tight.

King bed room
King bed room

The larger rooms are nice for business travelers who need room to work. They’re also good for families with kids who need space for a pack n play.

Hotel room at the Hyatt Regency
Rooms are a nice size

I found the bed to be comfortable, and everything felt clean and new. I didn’t stay long enough to test the cleaning or housekeeping services.

Hotel room at the Hyatt Regency
Nice area for getting some work done

The hotel even provided me with a cheese plate when I arrived.

Close-up of cheese plate
The cheese plate!

My room had a Keurig coffee maker, a room safe, a closet by the entrance, a small refrigerator, and tasteful art.

Hotel room at the Hyatt Regency
Entryway with Keurig, room safe and closet


The bathroom in my room was large, but a bit of a strange shape. It was fairly long and narrow.

Bathroom at the Hyatt Regency
The bathroom was a bit narrow

The bathroom had a large, lighted mirror, which gave it a nice modern look.

Bathroom at the Hyatt Regency
Nice lighted mirror

The shower had fantastic water pressure for San Francisco, although it would have been nice to have a tub.

Bathroom at the Hyatt Regency
Bathroom at the Hyatt Regency

The Balcony

Perhaps the best feature of my room at the Hyatt Regency was the balcony. Walking out through a sliding door, I was met with an amazing view of the Ferry Building and Embarcadero.

Balcony at the Hyatt Regency
Wow, look at that view!

It was equally stunning at night.

Aerial view of Embarcadero at night
View from my balcony at night

I often find balconies a bit nerve-racking. But in this case, the sloping, pyramid design of the building meant there were several floors worth of other balconies just below my own. 

That made the height feel a lot less dizzying. It’s a good balcony for people who are afraid of heights!

Aerial view of the Embarcadero

I could sit out there with a book for ages.

Food and Dining at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero

The Hyatt Regency has three dining options on the property. 

One is a small grab-and-go venue in the lobby, with drinks, snacks, coffee and pastries.

Another is the Regency Club, which we’ll get into below.

The main dining venue at the Hyatt Regency is the Eclipse restaurant. It’s located in the lobby right in front of the Eclipse sculpture.

Eclipse restaurant at Hyatt Regency
Eclipse restaurant is a nice place to hang out

Eclipse is a casual restaurant with a friendly, bar-like feel. You can sit either at raised tables or in several pod-like, larger tables that create a secluded space for dinner with family or drinks with the team after a day of meetings.

Eclipse Restaurant

Eclipse restaurant at Hyatt Regency
Eclipse restaurant at Hyatt Regency

I ate at Eclipse for dinner. The menu is a bit like a “greatest hits” of San Francisco dishes, which is nice for visitors coming from out of town who might not be able to try all the iconic dishes SF has to offer.

Menu at Eclipse restaurant
The menu at Eclipse

There’s clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, fish tacos, crab cakes and more, as well as several dishes with an Asian fusion flare.

For my meal, I started with a passion fruit Manhattan, which I thoroughly recommend. It was sweet and dense, with a nice tropical flavor.

Passionfruit Manhattan
Passionfruit Manhattan

I then moved on to Thai chicken wings. There were slightly spicy and topped with sesame seeds, which gave a nice crunch. 

Thai chicken wings
Thai chicken wings

These kinds of Asian fusion flavors are common in the Bay Area, and the wings made for a nice appetizer. In very Bay Area style, they were accompanied by a little container of pickles!

For my entree I had the bistro steak. It was a tasty piece of steak, although I would have preferred a bearnaise sauce or butter sauce instead of the lighter wine sauce that came with it.

Bistro steak
Bistro steak

For dessert, I had a molten chocolate cake—another Bay Area obsession. It was delivered quickly and had the ideal mix of a gooey center and crispy outside.

Dining pod at Eclipse
Dining pod at Eclipse

Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Eclipse. The cocktail was one of the highlights, and I can definitely see this as an ideal place to meet a friend or colleague for a drink—especially with the ambiance of the massive Eclipse sculpture and even more massive lobby.

In the morning, the hotel serves a buffet breakfast at Eclipse.

Of course, San Francisco is a foodie paradise, so there are plenty of places to go locally if you want to leave the hotel for a meal.

I like these restaurants near the Hyatt Regency:

Other Amenities

The Hyatt Regency has several other amenities that make for a nice stay, especially if you’re traveling for business.

Fitness Center

I was impressed by the size and quality of the Hyatt Regency’s fitness center.

Hyatt Regency fitness center
Life Fitness machines

The fitness center has Life Fitness treadmills and machines, as well as a TRX area, Peloton bikes, and even a high-tech Mirror workout station.

I took a 20-minute walk on the treadmill after my big meal at Eclipse!

Hyatt Regency fitness center
Nice equipment

The fitness center also provides maps for several local runs. You can go right out of the hotel and run along the waterfront in the morning (or sleep in!)

Hyatt Regency fitness center
Full TRX area

The fitness center is a nice feature if you’re traveling for work and want to keep up with your exercise routine.

Hyatt Regency fitness center
Towels, water, free headphones, and more

The only major thing missing is a pool. Especially for families traveling with kids, the lack of a pool might be a challenge.

For solo travelers and groups, though, the fitness center is terrific and wasn’t crowded at all on my visit.

Hyatt Regency Club

If you book a room at the Club level or are a frequent Hyatt guest, you can get access to the Regency Club on the top level of the hotel.

Hyatt Regency club level
Hyatt Regency club level

I definitely recommend this. The Regency Club is located in the historic former rotating restaurant atop the hotel. It features tables with a 360 degree view of the Bay Bridge, Ferry Building, Financial District, and more.

The club has basic breakfast items in the morning, and quality local tea and coffee all the time.

Breakfast at the Regency Club
Breakfast at the Regency Club

It’s quite an amazing place to sit with a coffee and get some work done.

Meeting Spaces

The Hyatt Regency has several meeting and event spaces. I didn’t attend an event there during my visit, but the hotel opened up the spaces for me so I could evaluate them.

The hotel has a large banquet room that would be ideal for a large conference or meeting, as well as weddings and personal events.

Hyatt Regency event space
Large event space at the hotel

My photos don’t do it justice, since it wasn’t set up for an event, but this photo from Hyatt gives you a better sense of the space.

Event space fully set up. Courtesy Hyatt Regency.
Hyatt Regency smaller event space
Hyatt Regency smaller event space

The hotel also has several smaller banquet or meeting rooms with views of the Embarcadero. These would work well for a smaller seated meal, workshop or breakout session.

There’s a nice reception area in front of the main banquet room, too, which would be perfect for a cocktail hour or networking reception.

Neighborhood and What’s Nearby the Hyatt Regency

The Hyatt Regency is ideally situated in the city. There’s a ton of things to do nearby.

Your best bet is to head to the Ferry Building, which is right across the street. Check out Dandelion Chocolate!

Ferry Building
The Ferry Building is across the street

You can also grab a Muir Woods tour or book a Napa Valley tour, with several operators picking up either from the hotel or at nearby Fisherman’s wharf. You can also board tours to Alcatraz.

Try taking a walk down the Embarcadero to the awesome Exploratorum Children’s museum or the Aquarium of the Bay. The Pier 39 sea lions are a bit longer of a walk away, or a short ride on the F trolley.

One of the best nearby activities, though, is the California Steet cable car. I boarded it right in front of the hotel and rode it into the Financial District, hanging off the side.

San Francisco cable car
Cable Car in front of the hotel

The area around the hotel felt very safe. I had no issues walking around with my pro cameras, etc.

More Photos

View from the Regency Club
View from the Regency Club
Crystal chandelier in the event space
Crystal chandelier in the event space
Hyatt Regency club
Hyatt Regency club
Financial District in front of the hotel
Financial District in front of the hotel

How to Book

You can book directly through the Hyatt Regency website for the best rates.

When I stayed, rooms were around $250 per night.


The Hyatt Regency is a fantastic home base for travelers coming to San Francisco. You get the dual benefits of easy access to the Financial District/SoMA, as well as lots of amazing things to do right near the hotel itself.

Riding the cable car
Riding the cable car

The hotel’s location on a BART line means you can easily access it from the airport without a car. You can also easily use BART to get to other destinations all over the Bay Area.

The historic building is a destination in and of itself for architecture buffs. The city’s 1970s architecture gets less love than its iconic Victorian painted ladies, but it’s a key part of SF’s architectural history.

The Hyatt Regency is big, so it’s not as much of a fit for people who like bespoke, boutique hotel experiences. If you’re a swimmer, you’ll also notice the lack of a pool.

Hyatt Regency and surroundings
Hyatt Regency and surroundings

That said, for business travelers who need easy access to the city for work and a great location for a bit of tourism when off the clock, the Hyatt Regency is a fantastic option. Eclipse Restaurant provides good options for on-property networking and meals or drinks, too.

It’s also a great bet for groups and for families who want a location with great access to some of the city’s iconic sights. And it’s an ideal fit if you want to catch a Giants game, and I saw several guests sporting Giants apparel.

I enjoyed my stay at the Hyatt Regency and definitely plan to return.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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