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San Francisco Hotel
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James L
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Jul 25, 2005, 01:40 AM
 
Hey all,

Need some help with cheap hotel (price wise, not quality) in San Francisco.

I go every year for MWSF, but a client puts us up at the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel. Definitely cannot afford that myself.

So, I would like to stay around Union Square for my next trip in October, as I am used to that area, and like the convienence of the trolley up Powell St. I know there are tons of cheaper hotels around there that are smaller, no name kinda thing (not chains).

Unfortunately, when I look at them on expedia or travelocity, there is no way of telling which ones are crap and which ones are ok.

Any recommendations?
     
goMac
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Jul 25, 2005, 03:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by James L
I go every year for MWSF, but a client puts us up at the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel. Definitely cannot afford that myself.
I stayed there for WWDC. Awful nice place.
8 Core 2.8 ghz Mac Pro/GF8800/2 23" Cinema Displays, 3.06 ghz Macbook Pro
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aabernathy
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Jul 25, 2005, 04:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by James L
So, I would like to stay around Union Square for my next trip in October, as I am used to that area, and like the convienence of the trolley up Powell St. I know there are tons of cheaper hotels around there that are smaller, no name kinda thing (not chains).

Unfortunately, when I look at them on expedia or travelocity, there is no way of telling which ones are crap and which ones are ok.

Any recommendations?

You might consider using priceline.com. (May have to have a US credit card for this, not sure, and dunno where you are and thus how likely that is to be a problem for you.)

The "trick" is to bid for a four-star hotel. I doubt you would be unhappy in any four-star hotel, so the fact that you have to take whatever hotel accepts your bid (if any does) is unlikely to be a problem. Priceline will let you choose a neighborhood from a pre-set list that includes Union Square East (Embarcadero), which I think is what you probably want. I did this myself for the weekend after WWDC and got a good hotel; I paid close to $100 a night for a hotel in that area - later I checked the hotel's web site, and they were quoting over $200 a night.

Obviously, you're at the mercy of their system - you give your credit card info first, and if any hotel accepts your bid, you can't back out. But following the above seems safe to me (and I was happy with the results when I did it). If it seems reasonable to you, you can probably save a lot of money. (Of course, what bids they will take probably depends a lot on season and special events.)

-andrew
     
mojo2
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Jul 25, 2005, 05:07 AM
 
Give me a list of the ones you are considering and I'll tell you what I know of them. Natives don't really know which ones are crap or ok after you go beyond the list of BRAND name hotels in the area (all of which are expensive).

I know you'd like Parc 55 luxury for $50/nite, but that's unlikely. So, what are your parameters?
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James L  (op)
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Jul 25, 2005, 09:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by mojo2
Give me a list of the ones you are considering and I'll tell you what I know of them. Natives don't really know which ones are crap or ok after you go beyond the list of BRAND name hotels in the area (all of which are expensive).

I know you'd like Parc 55 luxury for $50/nite, but that's unlikely. So, what are your parameters?

Honestly mojo, I don't need Parc luxury at all. Anything clean, and within good proximity to Union Square / Powell St., is good enough for me.

As to price, I would love to keep it < $100 per night (USD).

My problem is not knowing the little ins and outs of the neighbourhood(s) extremely well. For example, the Parc 55 is right at 5th and Market, just around the corner from the Apple store, the bottom of Powell, etc. nice area.

But, all cities have different areas, and I would hate to book in a place that is 4 or 5 blocks down the road from the area I am familiar with, but is in a shitty, run down area.

Vancouver BC, for example, has this exact situation. It is a beautiful city, voted best place in the world to live many times. BUT, the difference of two or three blocks can mean staying in the nice city area in a great hotel, or staying on the downtown eastside in one of the largest HEP C/HIV homeless populated areas in the world.

I will try to get a list and get back to you.

Cheers,

James
     
Eug Wanker
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Jul 25, 2005, 10:55 AM
 
I may be going there too. Which area do you recommend? We'd probably just take the bus or whatever most places, but would rent a car to go to wine country.

Last time I was there I was in a reasonable hotel, but it was right next to the drug area. Unfortunately, that was many many, years ago, I don't remember much from my last stay.

I'm looking for 3-4 star hotel.
     
mojo2
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Jul 26, 2005, 06:13 AM
 
Haha! That's the problem. The crappy areas are often ONE block in either direction and, as such NICE DECENT CLEAN $200 Hotels represent an oasis in the crappy sections in, around and of the Union Square Hospitality Universe (as it were).

Here's a terrible stereotype you MAY want to consider.

Try staying close to Chinatown. The Chinese don't put up with the same level of liberal crap the non-Asians do. So, you are not going to have panhandling or the aggressive, dangerous looking panhandlers and VERY few (if any) drug types. The problem is that Chinatown IS a cab ride away (although I THINK a Cable Car goes there. I KNOW buses go from Chinatown to the Market/5th St. or Powell St. or Union Sq. areas. BTW, there ARE a few locals who actually do depend on the Cable Cars for their commute to and fro. But mostly it's the tourists who ride the "little cable cars" that "climb halfway to the stars." Why? The crowds! And it costs more to ride the Cable Cars vs the streetcars or buses.

Oh, if you can be sure to ride the TOPLESS Market St. streetcar to or from the Castro district. This particular car was once in regular service to the beach in Melbourne, Australia (I think it was Melbourne. But DEFIINITELY the beach and definitely Australia.). Very, very nice ride on a sunny, warm day. But, as we all know, SF AIN'T the stereotypical California sunny vacation spot. It's cool/cold, breezy/windy, overcast/foggy/rainy much of the time. And one of the items you'll find available for inflated prices around Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 areas are sweaters and windbreakers because some people INSIST SF is sunny and warm like LA...til they feel the chill for themselves!

There ARE SOME warm summer days in SF, but, generally speaking, what Mark Twain said holds true and everyone who visits keeps the saying alive: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco!" A word to the wise is sufficient.
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mojo2
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Jul 26, 2005, 07:08 AM
 
http://www.hotelclub.net/hotel.reser..._Francisco.htm

OK, now I don't know ANYTHING about this hotel club as I just googled SF hotels and this was one of the results, but I like that they have a laundry list of really decent solid clean (and MORE!) hotels with a general shopping price listed. What I would do is look for the three you like the most and then bid on them...and you can assume all of them will be at least a block away from a bad section of town sorta, kinda, not always, maybe not, OK, I'm lyin to you.

If I can give you my hunch on what MAY be a good bet, here goes...

I'm intrigued with the Cathedral Hill Hotel on Van Ness near City Hall.
http://www.cathedralhillhotel.com/

Why? First is the neighborhood.

To the front you have City Hall and the War Memorial Opera House and an Art Museum nearby. To the rear you have the largest Catholic Church in the city, I think it's the largest. There's a few upscale car dealerships (of the indoor variety) nearby. The Russian Embassy is in that general neighborhood and the homes in the area are not big and ostentatious but they are really nice and very expensive. Oh, and one more BIG plus is that it's RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO ......

"TOMMY'S JOYNT!" http://sanfrancisco.citysearch.com/p...y_s_joynt.html

It's an upscale/funky/downhome, touristy Hof Brau bar/restaurant where the locals go for lunch, dinner and/or an ice cold beer from any one of 72 (??) countries. You can just enjoy the eclectic atmosphere and the not-quite-as-chic-as-Planet-Hollywood mementos and wall decorations but I liked to go there and get a big juicy hot roast beef sandwich and a beer while watching a baseball game. The place is painted gaudy colors outside so you can't miss it and, oh, I almost forgot. It's the only restaurant in town where Beefalo sandwiches and stew are always on the menu. Some smart fella bred cows and buffalos and beefalo stew is the mighty tasty result!

San Francisco is a strange place in a lot of ways. One of them is that if you talk to any of the old grizzled natives of SF who lived in town in the 40's or 50's you'll notice their accents (ACCENTS???!!!???) sound like NY accents. And they have NY attitudes, too. One hot September day many years ago I got off work (managing an indoor parking garage) and found a bar, a neighborhood joint in the downtown Van Ness area, to stop and have a cold one. I sat at the bar and before long I was talking with a woman who said she had a personal correspondence with Henry Miller.

A few minutes later someone played Sinatra's "New York, New York" on the jukebox (!!!) and by the end of the song EVERYBODY in the bar was singing along out LOUD. It reminded me then and now of the scene in Casablanca when Victor Lazlo leads the anti-Nazi staff and patrons in singing La Marseillaise. But here, there was no leader, no Nazis.

San Franciscans HATE the Dodgers and LA, but they LOVE NY!

Anyway, THAT gives you an idea of the flavor of that neighborhood. It's changed a bit as the new generation has come to take over with hi-tech and cool progressive attitudes replacing the tough, wild guys and gals who finally settled down and had kids who had kids who are now taking over with hi-tech and cool...

If you like Tommy's Joynt like I do, after only a few weeks or months you will start dreaming of eating there or just hanging out there again. I'm not alone in my feelings. The place is a landmark and has been there since before the 1950's for sure. Beyond that I won't guess. Anyway, it's usually crowded and I think they only take cash. Van Ness & Geary Blvd.

Yeah, pretty decent neighborhood. But the other reason I'm intrigued with the Cathedral Hill Hotel is that it USED to be the Jack Tar Hotel and in the early 80's (or maybe later) it underwent a massive reconstruction and the last time I was there it seemed like they were sprucing it up again. You may have seen the film, The Conversation 1974 with Gene Hackman, well, it was shot there at the Jack Tar Hotel (now the Cathedral Hill Hotel).

The technical brilliance of the opening sequence in which a couple in a crowded Union Square in San Francisco are under surveillance by wire-tapping expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), the mesmerizing sequence in which Harry repeatedly replays and discloses the hidden dialogue on the tapes and 'thinks' he knows what will transpire, Harry's guilt-plagued obsession to follow the couple to the Jack Tar Hotel for a startling revelation, and the devastating ending as Harry sits amidst his destroyed apartment and the camera encircles him in The Conversation (1974)
There's something intriguing about that hotel and if you went to Priceline and penciled in YOUR price (after looking at what the CH Hotel's regular prices were), you'd probably not go too far wrong!
Maybe BELOW $100 and for a hotel with a pretty good looking virtual tour on their website!

http://www.sfgate.com/traveler/graph...ntown_full.gif

CHH is at Geary and Van Ness, roughly 10 long and crappy blocks from Union Square. Bus or cab! But you'd save $$ over the hotel costs elsewhere.

The more I research it and think about it, the better I feel. I can rest easily now. I can live with either of your staying at the Cathedral Hill Hotel and you will hate me no less after having taken my advice, than you do now.

It's a good price, nice neighborhood, nice hotel, close enough to whatever you want to see/do AND it doesn't seem like a real tourist hotel (IMHO), even though tourists DO stay there. (That's a good thing.)

OK, here's a completely different thought on where to stay.

How'd you like to spend less, get good lodging in a decent area and be a short walk from most any place you'd want to be downtown?

That's what you were looking for, right?

Consider staying at a hotel anywhere on the BART line, then jumping on the train and arriving within 30 mins (or so) at a station as close to your desired venue as if you were lodged in the area.

Cathedral Hill Hotel and you'll have to bus or taxi over to Union Square.

Stay at a hotel on or near the BART line and you walk 5 -10 minutes from the BART station to Union Square.

Problem is, I don't know offhand, any hotels on the BART line. LOLOL

I'm getting fatigued, but there's some food for thought.
( Last edited by mojo2; Jul 26, 2005 at 08:10 AM. )
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mojo2
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Jul 26, 2005, 08:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug Wanker
I may be going there too. Which area do you recommend? We'd probably just take the bus or whatever most places, but would rent a car to go to wine country.

Last time I was there I was in a reasonable hotel, but it was right next to the drug area. Unfortunately, that was many many, years ago, I don't remember much from my last stay.

I'm looking for 3-4 star hotel.
Cathedral Hill Hotel.
Give petty people just a little bit of power and watch how they misuse it! You can't silence the self doubt, can you?
     
mojo2
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Jul 26, 2005, 08:06 PM
 
bump
Give petty people just a little bit of power and watch how they misuse it! You can't silence the self doubt, can you?
     
Eug Wanker
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Jul 26, 2005, 09:50 PM
 
I will look into Cathedral Hill.

What about Japantown?
     
tikki
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Jul 26, 2005, 10:06 PM
 
The Hyatt was AWESOME. I stayed there for WWDC. I couldn't have been happier. It's right around union square.
     
mojo2
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Jul 27, 2005, 01:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug Wanker
I will look into Cathedral Hill.

What about Japantown?
Japantown has always been a favorite spot for dining and Karaoke and if I recall correctly the cinemas are nearby and just a block or two away is the Fillmore. It borders the Divisidero projects area (only parts of Divisidero is bad) but the part near Japantown seems pretty decent. I just don't know anything about the price or quality of the hotels over there.

Another food tip: If you go to Divisidero and turn right going North on Divisidero a few blocks on the right hand side (at 1716 Divisadero St.) you'll find the Cheese Steak Shop Inc. and if you like cheesteak you will LOVE this place! Read the reviews.

http://sanfrancisco.citysearch.com/review/900184
Give petty people just a little bit of power and watch how they misuse it! You can't silence the self doubt, can you?
     
Eug Wanker
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Jul 27, 2005, 08:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by mojo2
Cathedral Hill Hotel.
I tried booking this one, but they were out of rooms. The reviews were so-so too.

Originally Posted by tikki
The Hyatt was AWESOME. I stayed there for WWDC. I couldn't have been happier. It's right around union square.
I ended up booking here. Looking forward to it.
     
mojo2
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Jul 27, 2005, 11:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug Wanker
I tried booking this one, but they were out of rooms. The reviews were so-so too.

I ended up booking here. Looking forward to it.
As long as you are happy.


Was it close to $100?
     
   
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