Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CaliforniaAt the end of a family road trip to explore colleges, my husband and I treated our three kids to an urban get-away at the Grand Hyatt, in the heart of San Francisco.

DestinationReviewThe luxury hotel, which recently completed a $70 million renovation, defines elegance. It has large rooms—but not big enough for our family of 5–a cozy lobby with a fireplace, and amazing service.

We put the service to the test immediately. Our stay started with a snafu; our reservation for a second room had been lost, and the hotel was sold out. The manager quickly stepped in and managed to secure two rooms, each with a king-sized bed (note to families: roll-aways are not allowed in rooms with two double beds, but we were able to use one in the room with a king bed).

The spacious room worked well for our three teens; there was a living space where one son had the roll-away, and my daughter monopolized the make-up mirror and dressing area where she could get ready when the boys hogged the bathroom.

Grand Hyatt Lounge Access

Grand Hyatt Lounge view of the City by the Bay

We also had connecting rooms with what I like to call ‘the door of love’ – the door that we can open when we want to hang out together or close when we need some space.

Grand Hyatt Lounge Access

We upgraded to lounge access which allowed us entry to the 32nd floor lounge with its stunning views of San Francisco.

Lounge access costs $100 more, but it saves us money in the end because it meant a full breakfast for all 5 of us (easily $50 if we take everyone out to a restaurant), soft drinks all day for the teens (even at $2 a pop, that can add up), and an evening cocktail area with a hearty snack, which curbed their appetites an saved us money when we splurged on a super deluxe dinner.

When you have teens, there is really never enough food. We loved this amenity when we were at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai, Hawaii and always look for it when we travel.

San Francisco CityPASS

CitySightseeing provided a San Francisco CityPASS to explore the city — worthwhile because you skip lines at great family friendly places like the Exploratorium and Aquarium of the Bay, and you get unlimited access to cable car rides. We didn’t have time for The California Academy of Sciences, but if my son chooses a west coast school, we will make it happen another time.

Grand Hyatt San FranciscoGrand Hyatt Concierge Service

The concierges at the Grand Hyatt know their city and gave our family spot-on recommendations for family-friendly restaurants and fun things to do in San Francisco.

I also took their suggestions and visited as many of the nearby attractions as possible. We were blocks away from Chinatown and the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory and Union Square. The concierge even convinced us that the San Francisco Cable Car Museum is a must see.  They were right.

Disclosure: The Grand Hyatt provided the rooms and lounge access, though we paid for parking for our Ford Flex. You really don’t need a car while you are in town, though. If you go to Hyatt and book this hotel, Traveling Mom will receive a referral fee.)