50 Looks Fabulous on the Hyatt Regency San Francisco

The Hyatt Regency Lobby Atrium is the largest in the world

50 years ago, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco opened its doors at the foot of Market Street. Daring and architecturally unique, the grand hotel drew curious crowds who clamored to view what was and still is the world’s largest hotel atrium. At 42,000 square feet and 17 stories high, and anchored by a massive sculptural orb (“Eclipse” by Charles O. Perry) the lobby continues to elicit “oohs” and “ahhs” from all who enter. As impressive as it was the day it opened, the iconic hotel has evolved over time to retain its stature as one of San Francisco’s most recognized and beloved structures, ideally situated for exploration of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. 

Those who remember the hotel’s grand opening continue to wax rhapsodic about its distinctive attributes, such as the Brutalist design style by architect John Portman, who emphasized exposed concrete minimalism over decorative design. Upon its opening, and for many years, the structure’s geometric simplicity was softened by a greenhouse effect of plants hanging from each of the interior balustrades. The gently illuminated glass elevators were particularly novel, and a source of enjoyment for young children. 

Hyatt Regency Lobby Atrium

“When the hotel opened, my mom took me and my two sisters into the city to see it,” said Calistoga, CA marketing professional Eden Umble. “We rode the dizzyingly fast glass elevator all the way to the top, explored the inverted levels with plants hanging down, and enjoyed tea and treats in the lobby. The spherical sculpture, the modern architecture, and the daring feel of it all was a thrill.”

Hyatt Regency King Balcony Guest Room

Though the plants are long gone, as is the original rooftop restaurant Equinox that delighted diners with its 360° revolution every 52 minutes, Portman’s monochromatic, hard-angled design and those glass elevators have well stood the test of architectural time, and with the recently unveiled $50 million renovation of its guestrooms and suites, the hotel stands ready to welcome guests for many years to come. With 821 non-smoking rooms/suites (180 of which feature furnished balconies), the Hyatt Regency San Francisco is one of the city’s few waterfront hotels offering breathtaking vistas of the bay and of the city skyline. There’s not a bad view in the house, including from The Regency Club located within the former restaurant and offering complimentary breakfast and cocktail buffets, and still featuring 360° panoramas. Lobby located Eclipse Kitchen & Bar, with its couches, pub tables and tufted benches, is a cozy spot from which to take-in the grandeur of its surroundings. Start the day with a buffet breakfast, and relax after a day of exploration with a crafted cocktail or glass of California wine paired with a variety of flavorful appetizers and entrees. 

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Regency Club at dusk
Hyatt Regency San Francisco Eclipse Kitchen & Bar

The AAA Four Diamond hotel shares its historic anniversary year with neighboring San Francisco icons such as the world-famous cable car line which celebrates 150 this year, and the neighboring Ferry Building which celebrates 125. Both attractions are steps from the hotel’s front door; also nearby are Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Alcatraz and Angel Islands, Chinatown, Oracle Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) and Chase Center (home of the world champion Golden State Warriors.) Just a short distance away are beautiful Baker Beach, along the shoreline of Presidio National Park. Rent a bicycle at the hotel’s onsite rental service for easy and fun exploration.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco is located steps from the city's iconic cable cars

It's no secret that the Financial District adjacent hotel serves as a mid-week hub for visiting business professionals, but come summer and weekends, the red carpet is rolled out for guests who seek a little R&R. Summer rates are particularly attractive, ranging June-August from $209-$399 depending on arrival/departure, and September-October starting at $269. Book the Golden Anniversary Escape package through the end of the year and enjoy an upgraded room type, complimentary access to The Regency Club, two signature anniversary celebratory cocktails upon check-in, two cable car tickets, and a custom designed John Portman postcard.

Photos courtesy of Hyatt Regency San Francisco

Fran Endicott Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is a luxury focused freelance feature and travel writer for a variety of lifestyle publications and websites, editor-at-large for, senior contributor to Napa Valley Life Magazine, and a California editor for luxury travel concierge service Essentialist, specializing in the Napa Valley. Prior to her journalism career she held positions in the fields of politics, te...(Read More)

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