San Francisco is always a great place to spend any holiday. Among the city’s legendary hotels, the Hyatt Regency stands out for spirited yuletide activities. Here’s a little history and some good reasons to plan a stay at this famous hotel during this merriest of seasons.
The hotel is just steps from the iconic Ferry Building on San Francisco Bay that miraculously survived the Great Earthquake of 1906. The Hyatt Regency opened at the foot of Market Street in 1973, and is itself a survivor of a great quake – the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that destroyed the nearby Embarcadero Freeway that separated the hotel from the waterfront for almost two decades.
When the double-deck Embarcadero Freeway was removed in 1991 it opened up the Hyatt to the bay. The San Francisco Hyatt Regency, which was hailed as a marvel in architectural design in the 1970s, is now the centerpiece luxury hotel to an amazing revitalization of the waterfront.
We were at the grand opening of the Hyatt Regency back in 1973. It was then, and still is today, a fusion of energy and elegance. It remains a breathtaking experience to simply stand in the towering innovative lobby – the largest according to the Guinness Book of World Records – and watch the glass missile like elevators zip between floors.
The Hyatt Regency goes to the movies
The Hyatt Regency San Francisco offers its own special atmosphere. The famous lobby “starred” as the atrium in the fictitious Glass Tower Building, in the movie the “The Towering Inferno,” and was the cause of Mel Brooks’s acrophobic experience in “High Anxiety.” The hilarious scene provided the audience an appreciation for the angst of looking straight down 17 stories inside a building.
Several other film makers have used the famous atrium, and the Hyatt Regency San Francisco is still in demand by movie makers interested in capturing the lobby’s visual enormity and inimitable vibe.
Deck the Halls
On November 22nd, the Hyatt will put on its traditional holiday dress and light its magnificent 30-foot Christmas tree. That date coincides with the celebration of outdoor lights that will illuminate the four buildings of the nearby Embarcadero Center.
The Center’s more than 70 elegant shops and 31 restaurants are already preparing to tantalize throngs of holiday revelers.
Outside, the Holiday Ice Skating Rink will magically reappear like Santa for its annual visit.
Inside, the Hyatt Regency will feature 300,000 cascading lights in the atrium lobby along with its traditional Snow Village chock full of motion oriented toy-joys for every age.
It will also snow inside the Hyatt Regency all through the holiday season. Yup, you read it here.
Guests and visitors can look forward to Holiday Happy Hour(s) for the thirsty in the lobby level Eclipse Lounge, and a Breakfast with Santa at the hotel’s Eclipse Restaurant. There’s too much planned activity to report it all in this short story, so check with the hotel for a complete list of holiday activities.
Something new this year
The holiday light displays from the entire Embarcadero complex will provide an enticing visual segue to the fantastic light show on the nearby and new San Francisco Bay Bridge – don’t miss it.
Getting around San Francisco during the holidays
The Hyatt has enviable access to all Bay Area public transportation, including MUNI, BART, bay ferries and San Francisco’s historic streetcars. The California Street Cable Car line stop is almost on property, and is well known to be a location where riders can gain easy access to the popular streetcars.
If you are driving to the city, The Hyatt Regency is very close to generous parking facilities in the four Embarcadero Buildings.
Rooms at the Hyatt
Although the San Francisco Hyatt Regency celebrates 40-years in 2013, she is still the grand dame of Market Street and one of the finest luxury hotels in the City.
Our comfortable suite at the Hyatt was furnished with trend-setting contemporary décor,
and had a veranda with stunning views of the Ferry Building and bay beyond.
We also had an excellent perspective of the Transamerica Pyramid and the annual ice skating rink in Justin Herman Plaza.
The Regency Club Lounge
When you make reservations, be sure to ask about the top-floor Regency Club Lounge.
Once a revolving restaurant with 360 degree views of the city and bay, the Lounge is now private space reserved for select guests of the hotel.
While we were there, the Club Lounge was offering a buffet of delicious victuals, and an assortment of wines and beverages – a nice way to start the evening. Lounge guests also enjoy hors d’oeuvres, nibbles, and an upscale continental breakfast.
A New Year’s Eve place of distinction
The Regency Club Lounge is a terrific spot from which to watch San Francisco’s grand New Year’s Eve Fireworks celebration. The Club is an elegant and warm alternative to the crowded streets, and this year the hotel is offering a New Year’s Eve Regency Club Package.
The special offer includes a luxury room in one of the hotel’s top floors plus private access to the panoramic Regency Club Lounge. Additionally, each guest will receive a complimentary cocktail, a champagne toast at midnight, a scrumptious appetizer and dessert buffet, and even free valet parking. Now that’s the way to spend New Year’s Eve – safe and snug in the San Francisco Hyatt Regency.
For more information about holiday festivities or to make reservations at the Hyatt Regency go to their website at www.sanfranciscoregency.hyatt.com
Happy holidays and happy travels.
You might also like these other San Francisco stories by Wayne and Judy:
© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff
Photos © Judy Bayliff
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