Best hotel in San Francisco … not yet

I’m not looking for the best hotel as in the fanciest hotel. I’m looking for the cheapest hotel that is still good. Or at least clean, safe and convenient.

I travel to San Francisco a lot and I’ve been looking for the best and most economical option for quite a while. I’ve stayed at a lot of San Francisco hotels during my quest. This last time I stayed at the Best Western Americicania. I’m still looking. Next time I’ll be staying some where else.

The Best Western wasn’t the perfect hotel for me because:

  • It was loud. I was woken up at 4:30am by traffic noise. I should have asked for an inside room. If you stay there, be sure to ask for an inside room.
  • The internet was down. While on business trips, I usually use my down time to get work done. What else are you going to do in a hotel room by yourself? Especially at 4:30 in the morning …

My criteria for the perfect hotel in San Francisco is:

  • Cheap. I try to travel cheaply when on the GNOME Foundation’s dime. It feels ridiculous to spend several hundred dollars a night for a bed for a night but in San Francisco that’s what most of the hotels are asking. (The Best Western was $100/night, not bad for the location. And it was clean.)
  • Private room. I need my down time and alone time. I usually use it to work but I need it to recuperate. Especially at a conference where I’m meeting with tons of people every day.
  • Safe. As in the room is safe, not it has a safe. Goes without saying. Plus if I don’t feel safe, I don’t sleep well.
  • Clean. The Best Western was very clean, I was impressed there.
  • Internet. I work in my room. What do you do in your room at 4:30 am with no internet? I ended up heading out to a coffee shop.
  • Treadmill. I like to run everyday – it makes up for all the junk you eat on the road. It’s often not daylight when I run so I’m not going to run outside.
  • Quiet. I added this requirement during my last trip. Some sleep is important. Especially when you don’t have any internet. I have friends that always travel with ear plugs but I can’t sleep in them.
  • Private toilet. (The last time I stayed in a dorm and ran into someone in the hall at 3am while half asleep and just about screamed, I decided I wanted my own toilet in my room. 🙂
  • Within walking distance of the venue I’m going to. The closer the better. That way I can use breaks to get some alone time and get some work done. Or fit a run in. If it’s not close, I consider the walk my exercise. But that means I can’t run back to my room for a quiet place for phone calls or conference calls.

What I definitely do not need is:

  • Fancy anything.
  • A big room.
  • Desk.
  • Room service.
  • Restaurant.
  • Fridge/minibar.
  • Concierge.
  • TV.
  • Alarm clock.
  • Ice machine or vending machines.
  • Well equiped gym. (I just want a treadmill.)
  • Parking.
  • Phone.
  • Bathtub. (Just a shower.)

I would think I’m not alone here, surely they could make a more economical business hotel option than the $200-500 that the standard business hotels charge?

How do you find the perfect hotel for you when you’re on a business trip?

9 Replies to “Best hotel in San Francisco … not yet”

  1. I’ve been pretty happy with the Hotel Carlton in SF. Slightly above the $100 range, but certainly under $200. It’s pretty small and the staff have been excellent when I’ve been there.

  2. Hi Stormy,

    I’ve stayed in the Hotel Whitcomb near the UN plaza on Market, and got a very good deal for a stay from Expedia when I was there (around $80 per night IIRC). Nice hotel, central location (but on the edges of a pretty run-down neighbourhood), and good access to public transport.

    Outside of that, has always given me good hotel deals when reserving the week before travelling, esp. off-peak season when hotels are running around 50% to 70% occupancy typically.


  3. The hotel I usually stay at is the Mosser on 4th street – it’s near Moscone and very cheap, but clean + nice staff.

    I think it fails the treadmill requirement, though, and it can be noisy. Then again, I’ve yet to stay in a hotel in SF that was nearish to Moscone + not suffering from that problem.

  4. Oh, and it should be noted that they have two types of rooms — one with a private bath, one without. You need to make sure you’re getting one with a private bath.

  5. I booked a 4 star hotel on Hotwire for around $100 last time I stayed in SF. It turned out to be Parc 55 and I liked it quite well. It looks like they have a promotion on their website for ~$95 a night. The internet connection is extra $13 for 24 hours.

    Hotwire also has many hotels around or under $100 a night and it tells you the area they are located in and a percentage of customers who recommend it and the number of reviews (I think they get this info from TripAdvisor). So, for example, you can be fairly certain that it’s going to be just fine if 90% of customers recommend it based on 200+ reviews.

  6. I was impressed by the Harbour Court Hotel last time I was in town: I asked for a quiet room (it was); it’s easy to get to/from the airport (so you don’t need wheels); it’s fairly close to anywhere you might want to get to and it was a reasonable price for a solo weekend break (I wasn’t on expenses at the time). Rates vary by rooms (mine was the cheapest – small and with no view, but still very comfortable) and the Internet connection works. I particularly liked the complimentary ‘bedtime’ milk and cookies (I curled up in a chair with a book by the fire downstairs). Oh – and they’re very dog-friendly too. Not that I happened to bring one with me on a flight from the UK – but good to know.

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