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San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront [In-depth Review]

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Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

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Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
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If you’ve ever stayed at an airport hotel that consistently delivered a positive experience each and every stay, you’ll understand my need to return to the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront hotel.

Of course, several positive previous experiences didn’t guarantee it would happen again, especially comparing pre-COVID times with today. However, I was eager to return to this familiar property in March 2022 and relay my new experience.

Would the property live up to my expectations and previous stays? After all, what can be so special about an airport hotel?

Read on for all you need to know about the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront hotel, including how to get there, what makes it better than a normal airport hotel, and what you can expect when you visit.

Hotel Location

The San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront is located just 1 mile and an easy (complimentary) shuttle ride from San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The hotel can also be accessed from downtown San Francisco via the BART transit system, which takes about 30 minutes.

Additionally, if you were to take Caltrain to Millbrae Station, the hotel is approximately a 3-minute taxi ride or 25-minute walk.

To reach the hotel after arrival at SFO, follow the signs to baggage claim, then for the hotel shuttles. Once you exit, cross the walkway and locate the stop that is found 1 level up from baggage claim.

SFO Marriott Shuttle Stop
The hotel shuttle stop at SFO is easy to locate.

You’ll never have to wait long for an airport shuttle from either the airport or the hotel. The service runs 24/7 every 15 minutes throughout the day and every 30 minutes from 12:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.

SFO Marriott Shuttle Schedule
The shuttle to and from SFO runs frequently, making the hotel a convenient choice for a layover.

Booking

Like many SFO airport hotels, this Marriott is not inexpensive. However, I was able to secure a discounted rate and booked 2 nights at $169 plus tax per night ($384.06 total, including taxes and fees). I then used an Amex Offer found on my Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card that gave me $50 off a $250 Marriott purchase. Additionally, I used a $100 Marriott gift certificate purchased previously for $75 via another Amex Offer, resulting in a net $309 out-of-pocket cost for 2 nights, including taxes and fees.

The San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront requires between 40,000 to 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, depending on the date. For the period I was staying, rooms were going for 50,000 points per night.

Hot Tip: Remember: Marriott Bonvoy switched to dynamic pricing and eliminated its award charts in March 2022. Make sure to lock in any stays you have in mind before the chain makes the switch!

We value Marriott Bonvoy points at approximately 0.7 cents each, making the cash rate ($169) a much better value than using points (50,000 x 0.7 cents each = $350 worth of points), especially using the Amex Offer and gift certificate.

Marriott SFO Reservation
Always check both the points rate and cash rate to compare values. Image Credit: Marriott

Checking In

The approach to the hotel is nothing exciting, but as you get closer and notice the beautiful bay and airport runways in the distance, you realize the property might have more to offer than what you may assume from just looking at it.

SFO Marriott Entry
At first, the hotel façade seems quite ordinary, but the SFO Marriott’s waterfront view is the property’s highlight.

As you enter the hotel, you’ll find that the property has been updated with a clean modern theme.

SFO Marriott Entrance
Just follow the sleek entrance corridor to easily find the reception desk on the right.

During check-in, my Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status was recognized and I was upgraded to a waterfront room. I was given 1,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points and the option to select either a further 750 Marriott Bonvoy points, a $10 food and beverage voucher, or a free breakfast. I selected the breakfast and since my flight would be leaving early on my second day, I asked for a $10 voucher instead of breakfast for that day, which I received.

The $10 voucher could be used at any time during my stay for any food or beverages. I was also provided with 2 complimentary bottles of water.

I did not receive a welcome letter nor a list of benefits in writing, but the options given by the staff were clearly stated. I was also informed that there would be no daily housekeeping service but to ask for anything I needed and I would be accommodated.

The stated check-in time at the hotel is 4 p.m. to midnight.

SFO Marriott Check In
Check-in at the hotel was easy, quick, and efficient.

While checking in, you’ll notice how the hotel opens up to a grand area with a view of the water and SFO’s runways in the background. The area serves as the core service area where you’ll order and eat your meals or enjoy an evening cocktail.

SFO Marriott Great Room
The front reception desk faces the expansive main gathering space of the hotel.

Amenities

Parking

If you arrive by private vehicle and need to park, you’ll have to pay for the privilege. Parking fees are $30 per night for self-parking and $40 per night if you use valet — Marriott Bonvoy elites do not get free parking. Parking for less than 24 hours does not offer in-and-out privileges for either option.

There is an electric charging station available for electric vehicles.

SFO Marriott Parking
Parking costs.

Wi-Fi

Although I did have trouble connecting to the hotel Wi-Fi, the trouble turned out to be my laptop, not the hotel’s server. The hotel provided tech assistance — which was helpful — but in the end, I resorted to tethering my laptop to my phone.

The Wi-Fi service charge is $14.95 per day if you’re not a Marriott Bonvoy member.

SFO Marriott Wi-Fi Speed
The hotel Wi-Fi functioned adequately considering the tethering.

Fitness Center

The fitness center was light and airy and offered dozens of workout machines and free weights.

SFO Marriott Fitness Center
The fitness center was well equipped and had separate areas for groups of like machines.

There were also 2 Peloton bikes for use.

SFO Marriott Fitness Center
The fitness center also had 2 Peloton bikes.

Business Center

The business center was small but functional. There were 2 desktop computers for online access, plus a monitor for viewing upcoming flights. There was also a printer available.

SFO Marriott Business Center
The business center area was compact but had everything you’d need to get online and print a needed document.

Water Station

This is a feature we should see at all hotels. A water station with free cold, filtered water for filling a reusable container is a nice touch.

SFO Marriott Water Station
The water station offered free cold filtered water.

Pool and Spa

Unfortunately, all spa services were currently suspended and the pool area was closed until further notice due to COVID-19 restrictions. The staff was unaware of when the services would return.

SFO Marriott Spa Sign
Although the fitness center was open, the pool and spa services had not yet returned.

Meeting Space

When it comes to hosting meetings, this Marriott checks all the boxes. With over 27,000 square feet of meeting space and 26 event spaces, the hotel can accommodate a large convention or other special events. The grand ballroom alone can hold up to 1,100 people.

SFO Marriott Meeting Area
The hotel offers dozens of meeting room spaces.

Meeting spaces have been altered to adhere to COVID-19 protocols. There were several small meetings taking place when I was there, but no large gatherings.

SFO Marriott Meeting Room
Only a small fraction of the hotel’s meeting spaces were being utilized while I was there.

Event and Wedding Planning

If you’re planning a wedding, you’ll find the hotel an excellent waterfront venue with on-site expert certified wedding planners. The hotel also specializes in personalized events such as reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestone celebrations.

Concierge Services

The concierge was very helpful and answered a lot of my questions. You’ll find assistance regarding things to do in the area, transportation options, and help finding a nearby dining venue.

Bike Rentals

For just $5 you can rent a bike for the entire day. If you’re a Marriott Bonvoy elite member, it’s free. The concierge can arrange your rental — you’ll just need to sign a waiver and you’ll be on your way.

SFO Marriott Concierge
The concierge was very helpful with activity suggestions.

Walking Trails

You might say that I saved the best until last. On the backside of the hotel is a beautiful walking trail that follows the water’s edge for miles. The evening I arrived was lovely and I was able to enjoy a nice walk along the water.

This is truly the gem of this whole property. To be able to enjoy the outdoors at an airport hotel is a real plus.

SFO Marriott Walkway
The walkway along the water is the best feature of this airport hotel.

The paved walkway leads to several parks and a bird sanctuary (about a 15-minute walk). You’ll see hundreds of shorebirds during your walk, in addition to viewing the planes taking off and landing at SFO.

SFO Marriott Walkway
You can walk in either direction for great views of the airport, to view shorebirds, and just enjoy the outdoors.

COVID-19 Protocols

During my March 2022 stay, masks were required within the hotel and on the hotel shuttle. Plexiglas barriers were in use at reception and hand-sanitizing stations were located throughout the property. The hotel also was using electrostatic disinfectant sprayers in the rooms and common areas.

If you should need, or want, a COVID-19 test while at the hotel, free rapid antigen COVID-19 testing was available next door, less than a block away, at the end of the hotel parking lot. Results were available in 30 minutes.

PCR tests were available by appointment and could be administered at the hotel or nearby testing facility. Results could be obtained in as few as 1 to 2 hours. Costs ranged from $195 for overnight results to $299 for 1 to 2 hours.

The concierge can assist you in arranging a test that meets your needs.

SFO Marriott COVID-19 Sign
The hotel had all the proper COVID-19 protocols in place.

You can feel comfortable visiting this hotel as safety measures are in place and widely adhered to.

SFO Marriott Hand Sanitizing Stations
Hand-sanitizing stations were located everywhere throughout the building.

The Room

I was pleasantly surprised with the upgraded room as I wasn’t expecting anything extraordinary.

The hotel is expansive and with 688 rooms, you may have to walk a bit to get to your room. My room was located at the end of 3 long hallways from the elevator — but the location was very quiet.

SFO Marriott Hallway
The hallways were clean and had a fresh scent.

Bedroom

With an open floor plan and adjacent sitting area, my room was a step above a standard hotel room. It was modern, clean, spacious, and functional.

Room Marriott SFO
The room, with a sitting area and table big enough for dining, was very comfortable.

The bed was super comfortable. The attached bedside shelves had simple lighting controls and outlets for charging electronics.

SFO Marriott Bed
We’ve come to expect a comfortable bed in our hotel rooms and Marriott exceeded that expectation.

I liked the layout of the room with the separate sitting area. It felt like having a small living room with a view. It was also nice for morning coffee and at break time to have a space to relax other than the bed.

SFO Marriott Room Sitting Area
The sitting area also offered a nice water and runway view.

The desk area offered a comfortable chair and adequate lighting. The safe was also located in the work area. The flat-screen smart TV allowed access to Netflix, YouTube, and other subscription service options.

SFO Marriott Work Area
While not a huge space, the work area was very functional.

The coffee maker was basic with 2 packs each of decaf, regular coffee, and tea, plus condiments. There was no minibar, but there was a small refrigerator located beneath the coffee maker.

SFO Marriott Coffee Station
The coffee-making facilities in the room were standard and the coffee was equally as standard.

While difficult to capture, the view of both the water and the runways at SFO added to the ambiance of the room.

SFO Marriott Room View
Waterfront view rooms have a view of the bay plus runway views of SFO.

The Bathroom

The bathroom appeared newly remodeled with a nicely tiled shower and granite-topped vanity. The water pressure was impressive for a rain shower.

Marriott SFO Bathroom
The bathroom was fresh and functional.

Except for the bar of soap, there were no separate bathroom amenities other than the full-size itworks! brand dispensers in the shower.

SFO Marriott Bathroom Amenities
Full-size dispensers of itworks! brand shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel were mounted in the shower.

The room did not have a closet but rather a small area to hang clothing and hold the iron, ironing board, and luggage stand. It was more than sufficient for this 2-night stay, however.

SFO Marriott Closet
The small area for hanging clothes and storing luggage was more than adequate.

Food and Beverage

Dining options were currently limited at the hotel. Most options for meals were carryout except for dinner which you could order from the bar and eat there or at one of the nearby tables. There was also an á la carte breakfast option on weekends.

Let’s take a look at what dining options were available (or not available) at the hotel.

MClub Lounge

While the hotel does have an executive lounge, it was closed and the staff said the reopening date has not been established.

SFO Marriott Club Lounge
Unfortunately, the MClub executive lounge was closed until further notice.

Main Dining Room

Although there were no sit-down restaurant options during the week, on weekends you could order an á la carte plated breakfast from the hotel dining menu. Breakfast was the only meal served in the dining area and Monday through Friday there was only carryout service.

During the week, a full carry-0ut breakfast will cost about $30 if you include coffee and juice. Here’s a look at the options for Monday through Friday:

SFO Marriott Breakfast Menu
The breakfast menu had a limited selection and was only available for carryout.

Breakfast is ordered from the station located in the middle of the dining room. I found the staff to be friendly, and my food was delivered quickly.

SFO Marriott Breakfast Station
There was no restaurant service during the week, only this breakfast ordering station.

As a Titanium Elite member, I was able to select 1 main dish item plus juice and coffee from the menu. If you do not have at least Platinum Elite status, this breakfast would cost $25.

If you chose a $10 food and beverage voucher as an elite member, it wouldn’t go far very far if your goal was to receive a “free” full breakfast from the hotel’s menu.

SFO Marriott Breakfast
While breakfast options at the hotel were strictly carryout on weekdays, the food was quite tasty. Pictured above is the breakfast burrito minus meat.

Starbucks

The hotel’s onsite Starbucks was open 4:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., making it an additional option for breakfast and also for lunch.

If you chose the $10 food and beverage voucher, you could order a small breakfast sandwich and a coffee for that amount. Otherwise, normal Starbucks prices apply — around $6 for a small breakfast sandwich plus the cost of your drink.

SFO Marriott Starbucks
Starbucks is an option to consider for breakfast or lunch.

Marketplace

The hotel’s Marketplace was open 24 hours, making it easy to grab something anytime you were hungry or thirsty. You could use your food and beverage voucher to secure a breakfast sandwich and drink or grab a salad at lunch. There were several instant noodle meals and frozen dishes available and a microwave was provided for heating up your food selection. Once you’ve selected the items you want to purchase, you simply pay at the front desk.

SFO Marriott Pantry
The Marketplace has a large food selection and personal essential items.

I selected a $12 salad of kale, feta, farro, and tomatoes from the Marketplace for a late lunch — I’m pleased to report that it was delicious. You could also grab a beverage and snack from the Marketplace and take it to your room, or enjoy it at one of the dining tables.

For dinner, the Marketplace offered a selection of sandwiches, salads, noodle dishes, and frozen meals that could be heated in the microwave. The Marketplace also sold beer and wine.

SFO Marriott Lunch
There were several fresh lunch items available in the Marketplace.

Once you have your food, gathered from any source, you can relax and dine at any of the tables in the main area and enjoy the view.

SFO Marriott Dining View
Regardless of where you get your carryout, you can enjoy the bay view and SFO aircraft spotting.

Flights View Lounge

The distinct choice for a cocktail, snack, or meal is to visit the Flights View Lounge, open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The lounge serves a variety of cocktails, beer, and wine and you could order off the bar menu (until 9:30 p.m.). Once you’ve ordered your selection, you can eat or drink at the bar or sit down at one of the dining tables and enjoy the view.

SFO Marriott Bar
The Flights View Lounge offers views of the water and the runways at SFO.

The Flights View Lounge menu offers several tasty options. You can order from the menu until 9:30 p.m.

SFO Marriott Flight View Menu
Food was available evenings 7 days a week in the Flights View Lounge area.

Hanger Steak Restaurant

The SFO Airport Marriott has a steakhouse restaurant, however, it was currently closed.

Ordering Meal Delivery

Finally, another option guests have is ordering food delivery. The hotel understands the need to supplement its dining options and has created a special pick-up area near the front desk to accept food deliveries.

If you’ll be staying at the hotel for any length of time, you’d certainly want to take advantage of ordering food from outside of the hotel, mostly for economic reasons but also for variety.

SFO Marriott Order Meals
If none of the hotel dining options work for you, it’s easy to order food delivery.

Service

You wouldn’t expect a high level of service at the hotel with many amenities unavailable and limited dining options, but the staff came through with an exceptional level of care. The ladies cleaning rooms in the hallway consistently asked if I needed anything and were quick to wish me a good day.

The front desk staff (Brandon, in particular) spent an inordinate amount of time helping me connect to the hotel Wi-Fi, called hotel tech support, then followed up with phone calls to my room to make sure all was functioning properly.

I left an item in the main dining room and soon got a call to my room asking if I had lost anything.

Everyone in the hotel, from the concierge to the housekeepers made me feel welcome and appreciated.

Final Thoughts

It’s difficult to judge the value offered by a hotel with many of its services not in operation, but I have found that cleanliness and great service can overcome the lack of most amenities. The San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront did a great job in those 2 areas.

Add in the convenient location, plus access to the outdoors, and the hotel makes a great choice for a layover or short stay.

You will pay a premium to stay at the hotel, but convenience frequently comes at a price.

Also, note that this review is a snapshot in time. As services resume, I’ll have to return to the property and update this review. Hopefully sooner rather than later, I will return, as this property remains one of my favorite airport hotels.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront hotel accept pets?

Yes. There is a limit of 2 pets per room and a non-refundable fee of $75 is charged per stay. Service animals are exempt from fees.

How much does a free night at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront cost using Marriott Bonvoy points?

The San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront is a Category 6 property that will require between 40,000 and 60,000 points per night depending on your specific dates (though Marriott Bonvoy will switch to dynamic award pricing in late March 2022).

Does the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront have a shuttle?

Yes, the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront has a shuttle to and from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) that operates every 15 minutes throughout the day and every 30 minutes from 12:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. The shuttle takes 10 to 15 minutes.

What is there to do at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront?

There are several activities available at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront, including bike rentals, walking the Bay Trail (which is right in front of the hotel), or taking the BART train into downtown San Francisco where the possibilities are endless.

You can also enjoy the planes taking off and landing at SFO, work out at the on-site fitness center, or walk into the city of Millbrae which is about a 30-minute walk.

Is the pool open at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront?

Currently, all spa services and the hotel pool are closed. There is no date set on which these services will resume.

Is there an executive club lounge at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront?

There is an executive lounge at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront, but it’s currently closed with no reopening date.

Christine Krzyszton's image

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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