Christmas week in San Francisco to recover from a mid-Missouri ice storm. Good prices on United First from STL so we didn't get to test drive the lame United cross-over benefits, which mainly seem to be TSA Pre-check and second group boarding. Surely Marriott could have negotiated better for us Platinums than United Silver. .$30 Lyft to the Marquis where we had scored super-cheap rooms ($129-$144 for 22-27 December.) Hotel was quiet at 10 pm which was 1 am by our body clocks but Elite desk agent Ricky was hyper-welcoming and hyper-cheerful. Got upgraded to 2824 which is a corner king with glass on two walls--not great for my fear of heights but better than the room at Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile with a floor to ceiling glass wall in the corridor by the doorknob. Couldn't even open that door and had to get a new room mid-corridor. I know its all in my head, but still. Nice view of the Bay Bridge and Financial District.
We expected the hotel to be quiet over Christmas but every Elite in six continents brought kids and grandma for the holidays and the M Lounge, which served full breakfast every day, was slammed. 600 breakfasts every morning, including Dec25, and the staff were working their hearts out. We always got a table and our newspapers, and the staff was unfailingly cheerful in cleaning, clearing, and keeping the hordes moving through. And Christmas eve they served prime rib although we were in the Castro Theater watching the SF Gay Men's Chorus in plaid vests and an occasional pink tu-tu. The pace at the hotel never let up, with lobby and Lounge always full, but holiday bustle is a good thing when the staff keep their good cheer, as these good folks did--in contrast to the Marriott Canal Street last year which was so surly and unwelcoming that we left a day early.
On those occasions when we called for service, the switchboard was fast and responsive, but the call-backs to check our satisfaction were a bit too much. Once the agent even asked if I'd had breakfast yet and I expected the next question to be whether I'd enjoyed my successful daily bowel movement yet.
Neat gingerbread house display in the lobby and an ideal tourist location, which we hadn't really appreciated last summer on our first visit. Right around the corner on Market is the F Line trolley which uses old retro city trolleys from all over and runs from Castro to Fisherman's Wharf for $2.25 or a buck for seniors. What a deal. In all, the good people here made it a wonderful vacation, although it sure was an exhausting one for them. Give them a big round of applause and maybe even a day off.