A stay at Omni San Francisco with kids

When we first stepped into the opulent lobby of the Omni San Francisco with our three excited kids, lots of luggage, and a cooler of snacks, I thought, ‘Uh oh.’ It was so beautiful, and so peaceful, and somehow smelled so good (citrus?) I couldn’t imagine this elegant San Francisco hotel could be a good fit for families. I was completely wrong. From the moment of check-in, my boys were greeted with smiles from everyone from the doorman to the valet, offered fresh fruit and herbal tea (the former was welcome after a day in the city, though the latter was a bust) and gifted Omni Kids lunch sack-style backpacks filled with goodies. No sooner had we arrived in our adjoining rooms, than a tray of freshly baked cookies and milk arrived.

Omni san francisco lobby

We found out both perks come as part of Omni’s Sensational Kids program, which is their way to welcome children to the hotel. The kids’ packs contained frisbees, hacky sacks, candy, and a map of the city with fun activities to complete, like crosswords, word searches, and puzzles. (They’d come in handy while waiting for food in restaurants, but I would have traded them in a second for a complimentary continental breakfast bar.) The rooms were spacious, and included all the nice touches you’d expect from a high-end hotel: high ceilings, window molding, nice views, and top-of-the-line fixtures. The oversized tubs were great for kids, and the coffee makers doubled nicely for us while making hot cocoa and instant oatmeal in the mornings.

omni san francisco

The service at Omni San Francisco is fantastic, and what it lacks in extra amenities like the free breakfast I mentioned or free parking (a rare find at urban hotels), it makes up for in convenience. Located on California Street just steps from the TransAmerica Building, the Omni is directly on the California Street Cable Car line and only two blocks from a BART station. It’s also only steps from MUNI bus lines. Every day, we stepped outside and were on our way via cable car or bus within minutes. Chinatown is a block away, and Nob Hill is in easy walking distance. The on-site concierge was always happy to give us (and our itinerary) full attention, guiding us with routes and recommendations.

sensational kids

Could you book a cheaper room elsewhere in San Francisco? Absolutely. We spent the evening before our Omni stay at Fisherman’s Wharf, where the room rates were less but we hauled our own luggage, fought with slow elevators, and got lost a lot. What you’re getting at Omni is luxury, location, and service…amenities that come at a higher price point. For a beautiful hotel experience in the heart of San Francisco, it can’t be beat. While we encountered mostly business travelers during our stay, it was clear at all times that children are welcome.

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Date last visited:

May 2012

Distance from the interstate:

Minutes from Highway 101 (via the Golden Gate Bridge) or I-80.

Room rates:

At the time of our visit, room rates for standard and premiere rooms ranged from $300-339. Omni Kids Fantasy suites, which feature bunk beds, toys to use during the visit, and bean bag chairs (with a connecting room for parents) is additional, but a very nice set-up, and still less than the cost of two adjoining rooms.

Included amenities:

Kids are automatically welcomed into the Omni Sensational Kids program (with packs and cookies). Concierge service is also included in the room rate, and some room packages include valet parking. (Otherwise, valet parking is over $40 a night, and does include in and out privledges.) Self-parking at an adjacent garage is an option, but will still cost upwards of $35 a night. The Omni San Francisco does not have a pool, but room service is available, and high speed internet access is free for guests in the Select Guest Loyalty Program (free to join). Otherwise, wifi is $9.99 a night.

Dining:

Room service is offered day and night, and there is a restaurant on-site, though it seems a bit too spendy (and grown-up) for our family’s purposes. Within steps of the front doors, however, many options await. We ate in Chinatown one evening, and along Calfornia Street the next.

Directions:

Omni San Francisco is located at 500 California Street, at Calfornia and Montgomery.

As I disclose whenever applicable, we experienced the Omni as guests of Omni Resorts, for the purpose of review. While their hospitality was appreciated, it came with no expectation of a positive review.

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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