Overview: The Los Angeles-based Viceroy Hotel Group opened its first Bay Area property, the 116-room Hotel Zetta, last fall and it instantly became the darling of tech-savvy hipsters in SoMa. That’s no easy feat given the hometown love this city already feels for Kimpton, which owns several worthy competitors in the same neighborhood. (Viceroy operates the original Viceroy in Santa Monica as well as the Avalon and L’Ermitage hotels in Beverly Hills.)
The Location: The Zetta is adjacent the Westfield San Francisco Centre mall, which is just south of Market Street and around the corner from Union Square, with easy access to BART and Muni.
Room: Deluxe king, sixth floor. The bed is tall and plush, heaped with both down and synthetic pillows. A large butcher-block desk can be used while sitting or standing, and it comes tech-ready with lots of electrical plugs and USB charging slots. The stereo next to the bed connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth. The bathroom is stocked with waffle-cloth bathrobes and slippers. And there’s also a self-serve Illy espresso machine. Closet space is ample, if somewhat awkward to access.
Food/drink: The Cavalier on the ground floor connects to the Zetta via a small hallway just off the lobby. Breakfast also is served in the mezzanine-level Playroom, overlooking the lobby bar, which in the afternoon and evening becomes a popular socializing den with shuffleboard, ping-pong and billiards.
Wi-Fi: Basic Wi-Fi is free. If you want a faster bandwidth, as I did, you have to pay $14.95 extra. But even then, the fastest download speed I could muster was slower than 0.5 Mbps. I had to ask for my money back. The hotel said it was out of their hands, blaming it on their third-party service provider.
Public spaces: The lobby is fun and social. The gym is small but well-stocked. Art throughout the hotel has been beautifully curated.
Service: The front desk staff is friendly and eager to assist however they can, but there’s rarely anyone at the front door to give a hand with luggage or to help hail a cab. Bonus: The hotel offers signing privileges at Burke Williams spa, located in the mall next door.
Cost: $215, plus tax and various fees. (Rates here can sometimes start as high as $399 or as low as $175, depending on occupancy.)
Bottom line: The is a very nice boutique hotel with comfortable rooms and friendly service at an affordable price. Although it is unquestionably hip and trendy, the Zetta never feels too sceney.
Where: 55 Fifth St., San Francisco
This article originally appeared in the Orange County Register. To view more of my work for the Register, check out the archives. I also invite you to follow me and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.