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Selecting Hotels in San Francisco – A Guide to Different Accommodation Options

Posted on | June 30, 2011 | Comments Off on Selecting Hotels in San Francisco – A Guide to Different Accommodation Options

Article by James Brad Lee

San Francisco, a city with a unique blend of olden and modern influences, is a top destination for millions of visitors every year. It caters to both tourists and business travelers with its charming landmarks such as Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown and its state-of-the-art business facilities and convention venues such as the Moscone Convention Center, thus contributing to the city being rated as a top-class tourist destination and major financial centre in America.

Before you can truly enjoy your stay in this vibrant city, be sure to make sufficient plans with regards to your accommodation and where to stay so as to avoid the pitfalls that may befall unprepared travelers. You can read on for some general advice about hotels in San Francisco and the different types of accommodation that can be found in various parts of the city’s downtown area.

Hotels of different architectural styles and price ranges

In San Francisco, a place well-known for its diversity, you can find hotels of different styles of architecture and price ranges to suit every budget and taste. You can take your pick from rustic boutique hotels to modern, sleek hotels, and from budget bed and breakfasts that are easy on your wallet to deluxe hotels that embody the pinnacle of luxury – your choices are endless.

The luxury hotels are generally situated in the most central areas near the cultural and business centre of the city in areas such as Union Square and boast an array of spacious rooms and suites to choose from, in addition to high-end amenities such as spa services in the guest rooms.

On the other hand, the budget bed and breakfast lodgings are generally found in less accessible areas such as the Golden Gate Park but exude a charm reminiscent of Victorian times. Do note that hotel guests in San Francisco are levied a room tax of 14% which is added to the total bill when you check out.

Some useful advice about choosing your hotel’s location

Here is a word of advice to all guests when choosing the location of your hotel – it is advisable to go for a more central location, such as Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf, nearer the city centre.

This is because even though you may save a little money if you stay at the outskirts, the heavy traffic on the roads and the lack of parking spaces, especially on the streets, make it a difficult task to get to town and park there. This is further compounded by the high parking fees charged by the hotels, hence it would be better not to rent a car but take taxis and public transport to get around instead.

Furthermore, all the tourist attractions are situated close to each other, so it will be more convenient if you stay in the city centre as there are many affordable and popular forms of public transport to get to them easily if you decide not to walk.

These include the train network consisting of the light rail and subway, an extensive bus network consisting of trolleybuses and conventional buses and of course, the San Francisco cable cars which offer a unique way to get around and are an attraction in itself. Below is a breakdown of the different areas where you can consider staying in San Francisco.

Union Square

Union Square is at the centre of all the action in downtown San Francisco, where you can easily find numerous shopping, dining and cultural venues with easy access to Chinatown, the Moscone Convention Center and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among other attractions.

While both Union Square East and West boast an excellent selection of hotels, you will find more luxury hotels in Union Square East, while you are more likely to find 2- to 4-star hotels for a lower cost in Union Square West. This area is very well-served by San Francisco’s public transport network.

Nob Hill

If you are looking for a pampering stay in a luxury hotel, Nob Hill may be the place for you. Some of the most luxurious hotels in the city can be found atop this hill, which is one of the highest, and offer excellent panoramic views of San Francisco.

Fisherman’s Wharf and the Waterfront

This is a lively tourist spot which is home to numerous seafood restaurants, souvenir shops and street performers. If you enjoy staying in an area with a fun atmosphere while enjoying easy access to nearby attractions such as Chinatown, this could be where you might want to stay. Although there are less low budget choices here, you can choose from a number of mid-range to five-star accommodation.

Cathedral Hill

For budget travelers seeking cheaper accommodation yet still prefer to be situated near the downtown area, you can consider staying at Cathedral Hill. Although there are no tourist attractions in this area, you can take the cable car to areas such as Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square.