Waterfront Hotel, Oakland CA, the Hotel Review

We spent a weekend at the Waterfront Hotel in Oakland, CA a few weeks ago. The Waterfront Hotel is a boutique hotel located in the heart of the Jack London Square. A famous marina area on the Oakland Harbor and the Alameda Oakland Ferry Dock, the Jack London Square offers dining with water views, nestled with breweries and stores. It hosts special outdoor events and a Sunday morning Farmer’s Market.


This Category 4 hotel is from the JdV collection by Hyatt, with 15,000 Hyatt Points per night (12,000 Hyatt Points on off-peak nights and 18,000 Hyatt Points on peak nights). Note that due to the limited services being offered, such as dining at the onsite restaurant, the Waterfront Hotel is not charging Destination Fees for stays until September 1, 2022. 

We booked a Standard Room with 2 Queen Beds using a Free Night Certificate; the rate at the booking was $367.52 per night, including taxes and fees.

πŸ’‘ Good To Know

This hotel is one of the very few Category 4 Hyatt hotels left in proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area since Hyatt changed its Award Chart in early 2022 and bumped up hotels in their categories. If you are looking for a Hyatt hotel to redeem your Free Night Certificate, the Waterfront Hotel is one of them.


The hotel provides valet parking for $35 per night, which was free for us since Globalists get free parking on award night stays. There’s no self-parking option available.


At check-in, we asked if there was an upgrade available for Globalists. The front desk clerk didn’t really seem to know what to offer and how the upgrade process was done; luckily, another clerk stepped in and was able to help us with that. They offered us an upgrade to a Junior Suite with 1 King Bed and a roll-away bed for Sophia, and we gladly accepted it. They also wondered if we would like a late 4 pm checkout (another great perk of being a Globalist), and indeed we agreed to it.

The Room

We got a spacious 700 sq. ft. Junior Suite on the fourth floor with a gorgeous courtyard and harbor views. The Suite had 1 King Bed, a separate sitting area with a full dining set, and a fireplace. In fact, as Sophia said, the room was ginormous; we could set up Zoe’s crib and a roll-away bed for Sophia and still had lots of space to move around freely.

We loved the nautical-themed details around the suite – anchors, boats, and navy colors.


The hotel had an outdoor pool that you could access from the lobby. In the pool area, you could also sunbathe on lounge chairs or dine at the tables with Bay views. In the evening, when we went on a walk and noticed that one side of the pool area was standing on pillars in harbor waters 😯.

After dinner, we took a quick stroll around the Jack London Square. Standing by the water, the Waterfront Hotel looked very charming in the sunset lights.

The harbor is home to yachts and other small vessels. What is cool is that you could also admire the size of enormous container ships unloading at the docks 🚒.


Since the restaurant on-site was closed for renovations, we were given a $50 voucher for a grab-and-go style breakfast at the Waterfront Cafe and Bar as our Globalist complimentary breakfast. While the adults could always enjoy a good coffee with a side of a breakfast sandwich, we were a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to find appropriate kid-friendly options at the cafe. Luckily, the cafe had some yogurts and pastries that the girls we happy to have.

The weather was perfect for a little outdoor breakfast, so we ventured outside to a little sitting area just outside the hotel to enjoy our food while soaking up the harbor views.

Area attractions

Jack London Square

After breakfast, the girls played a little on the lawn by the hotel, and then we decided to check out the Jack London Square and the San Francisco Bay Trail along the harbor.

Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon

Surprisingly, we stumbled upon a historic Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon that was still fully operating since 1880 in case you wanted to grab a drink in the Saloon where Jack London worked on some of his novels. Right in front of the Saloon, there was Jack London’s old log Cabin relocated from Klondike.


To be honest, we did not expect the waterfront Oakland area to be that beautiful and clean; it was not crowded and definitely had a relaxed and welcoming vibe.

We highly recommend trying one of the restaurants in the Jack London Square. We went to the Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine and Scott’s Seafood Bar & Grill; the food and the views were amazing!

Oakland Zoo

We decided to combine this stay with the Oakland Zoo visit since we had never been there before and only heard good things about it. The Waterfront Hotel is only 15 minutes from the Zoo, making it a perfect spot for a stay if you’re coming from a different area.

The Oakland Zoo is home to over 850 animals and is located on 100 acres of land! We really loved the San Francisco Bay overlooking gondola ride to the California Trail all the way to the top of the hill (included with the admission ticket).

πŸ’‘ Good To Know

The Oakland Zoo is requiring an advance ticket purchase at the moment, so plan your visit ahead.

The girls are always excited to meet their favorite animals whenever we go to a zoo. Sophia has been really into Big Cats lately, and seeing jaguars and lions was at the top of her list; she could not stop talking about it later. Check out the picture with the elephant below and how Zoe couldn’t take her eyes off it πŸ˜…!

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the Waterfront Hotel is worth staying at. The hotel might not be newly renovated, but it still provides good value, especially since you can redeem your Free Night Award Certificates there.

The hotel is located in a beautiful and interesting historic area, has an outdoor pool (but no hot tub), provides easy access to nearby attractions, and is just minutes away from various dining options.

On Points With Kids Summary

A night spent at the Waterfront Hotel for a Free Night Award Certificate. The cash rate for one night was $367.52. We got a $50 breakfast voucher, complimentary valet parking (a $35 value), and a suite upgrade as Globalists.

You can apply for the following credit cards to earn Hyatt points that can be redeemed at the Waterfront Hotel:

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