A few blocks from Fisherman's Wharf, this three-story 1906 Italianate Victorian—once home to longshoremen and Beat poets—has a narrow stairway from the street leading to the front desk and labyrinthine hallways; rooms are small but charming, with lace curtains, forest-green-painted wood floors, and brass beds and other antique furnishings. The top floor is brighter because it's closer to the skylights that provide sunshine to the thriving population of potted plants
that lines the brass-banistered hallways. About a third of the rooms have sinks, and all share spotless black-and-white-tile bathroom facilities with pull-chain toilets. Four recently created family suites (essentially two rooms with an adjoining door) can sleep up to five and are the best deal in the area. The rooftop penthouse offers a private deck with Coit Tower views, a bathroom with a claw-foot tub, a TV, a coffeemaker, and plenty of privacy. Reserve the penthouse at least three months ahead (more for summer visits). Fior D'Italia, which bills itself as "America's Oldest Italian Restaurant," occupies the building's entire first floor; guests receive a discount on meals there.