With 1,908 newly renovated rooms and suites, this is the largest hotel in California—and sometimes the lobby feels like downtown at rush hour, but there is a positive side to all that size: its silvery tower rises 46 floors to a penthouse event space with awe-inspiring 360-degree panoramic views that rank among the finest in San Francisco. Handsome rooms, many with balconies and superlative views of their own, are either in the original 16-story building or in the tower,
which was built in 1971. All rooms in the original building recently received a second soundproof window and sleek new earth-tone furnishings, and some also boast glass shower stalls. Accommodations on the 44th floor afford stunning city and bay views. Thirty-five executive cabana-style rooms surround a sheltered courtyard by an outdoor heated swimming pool and whirlpool. "Sight and Sound" guest rooms contain plasma TVs and custom connectivity panels for digital cameras, iPods, and video downloads. Urban Tavern is a place to enjoy a community table, charcuterie, and a simple dining menu. As the hotel borders the sometimes-dicey Tenderloin area, guests are directed east toward Union Square (two blocks away) when venturing out on foot after dark.