From Chinatown to Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco is known for its eclectic neighborhoods. Fisherman’s Wharf stands out as one of the most distinctive with its colorful past and lively present. The bustling area offers an ideal setting for groups who want a maritime milieu for their meetings within close range to downtown’s urban attractions and upscale restaurants.
We checked into the 313-room Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf, featuring 19,000 sf of meeting space. On first glance, the property’s brick-clad exterior feels reminiscent of the historic shipping warehouses that once lined the harbor. But step inside and you’re squarely in the now. The sleek, modern lobby trimmed out in white marble, designer lighting fixtures
and contemporary artwork feels more common to a downtown gallery. “We’re the number two performer in the entire Hyatt chain, and cater to all types of groups—corporate, association and incentive,” says Marianne Milton, director of sales/marketing. “A good fi t is a group of around 200. They can have all the meeting space to themselves and take over the hotel.”
With a comprehensive renovation of the function space completed this past January, the meeting area now blends in with the contemporary feel of the rest of the property. “The new design is inspired by elements of Fisherman’s Wharf, without going overboard,” says Milton. “It’s both earthy and chic, with blues and purples and very modern fireplaces.”
What hasn’t changed is the natural light streaming through skylights in the Presidio Ballroom, a feature unique to meeting spaces in San Francisco. The large prefunction area also features a stained-glass skylight located above a grand Italianate fountain, where groups gather for receptions and meals.
Just off the lobby, the hip Enoteca Musto wine lounge features exceptional California wines for groups up to 40.
Guestrooms are various shades of stately gray for a cool contemporary feel, many offering splendid views from any direction, including the iconic Coit Tower to the East, the Transamerica Pyramid to the South, or Alcatraz Island to the North.
Another big attraction of the hotel is the neighborhood.
“Being here at Fisherman’s Wharf makes us an easy fi t for groups,” says Milton, “because once the meetings are over at the end of the day, there’s plenty for attendees to do on their own.”
For many, that starts with food, whether as a group or individually. Fisherman’s Wharf is a feast for all tastes and budgets, including sidewalk crab stands and the original sourdough bread at Boudin Bakery. There are numerous quayside seafood eateries; we like the caviar and lobster at the glorious Gary Danko.
With the hotel two blocks from water’s edge, most planners create some type of event at sea. For a wet and wild tour of San Francisco Bay, tour company Bay Voyager jets small groups around on fast rigid inflatable boats (RIBs), like those used by Navy Seals. Other options for groups up to 400 include the 2-hour Sunset Cruise aboard the 90-foot Royal Prince, which includes live music, drinks and buffet and spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Back on land, you can stroll past the hundred or so sea lions who’ve taken up residence in the marina, or enjoy the many bars, restaurants and shops of Pier 39. Better yet, sign up for the official Barbary Coast Trail tour. The excursion delves into the rich history of Fisherman’s Wharf, including fascinating anecdotes about San Francisco’s gold rush days, 19th century “Shanghaiing dens” and the largest collection of historic ships in the nation.