Best hotel location in San Francisco?

Oct 31st, 2009, 10:59 AM
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Best hotel location in San Francisco?

I've been to San Francisco several times, so I should have a stronger opinion, but either I can't remember or I just can't decide. Putting aside cost considerations, which area would you prefer for a 3-night stay (2 full days, given how the flight works) in late December? I'm stopping over on the way to Oaxaca, Mexico. Being near easy public airport transportation would be nice, but it's not a dealbreaker.

I'll be interested in the usual: theater, sightseeing, museums, galleries.
Last time I attended a theater production in the Mission district, but I doubt it's the preferred area to stay.
WillTravel is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 11:00 AM
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I'm actually considering doing Expedia this time (I have some credits). Some hotels that look attractive are Galleria Park, Parc 55, Chancellor, and Intercontinental Mark Hopkins. But I'm not bound to any of these, which is why I want location-specific advice.
WillTravel is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 11:30 AM
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The best hotel area for families is Fisherman's Wharf, relatively large rooms and not too fancy hotels (nothing 4*).

The best general area for those with a car and want free parking is Lombard/Cow Hollow area - although it's a bit noisy, since Lombard is a major street. To have less noise and be slightly out of the Lombard area is the Hotel Del Sol.

The best general area for 4* hotels are three areas: Union Square, particularly those hotels to the north and east, Embarcadero area, and Nob Hill. Generally speaking, any 3* on up hotel in any of these areas would be fine. You can get some excellent rates sometimes for the St Francis, which faces Union Square. Union Square area is the noisiest whereas the other two areas are relatively quiet.

The best area for theaters is Union Square East, but you have to shop carefully, as this is in the Tenderloin, which is a very colorful area of San Francisco but also has its highest crime rate.

There are also hotels in other areas of town such as the Financial District, Chinatown, etc. Whatever you do, do NOT get a hotel along Van Ness Avenue.

Hope this helps a bit in narrowing things down for you.
easytraveler is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 11:47 AM
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Sorry, forgot to add: of the hotels you have mentioned: the Chancellor would place you closest to the Theater District but not in the Tenderloin.

The Parc55 is in the Tenderloin but is a nice hotel. However, I'm not a fan of the Parc 55 because it's decor is a bit too stark for me.

The Mark Hopkins is one of the finest hotels in San Francisco and sits atop Nob Hill. Hiking up and down that hill has given more than one person pause. It is the furthest away from the Theater District.

The Galleria Park is more for shoppers.

I'd say your best choice, of the four you have mentioned and for your purposes, would be the Chancellor.
easytraveler is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 11:59 AM
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I personally like the Embarcadero area, there's a Hyatt right there. It's on top of the BART station. Plenty of bus lines, the M street car, and of course, BART and subway at a stone's throw.

It's just across the street from the Ferry Building, a bonus if you are there during the weekend because the Sat morning farmers market is fantastic.

You can walk to SF MOMA and the Contemporary jewish museum from Embarcadero - about 15-20 minutes.

Another convenient area is SOMA, which is right where SF MOMA is located.

I'd also consider Union Sq. It's also very convenient to public transit; though I don't like the hustle bustle of Union Sq. It's a 10-min walk to MOMA/CJM.

To get to deYoung in Golden Gate Park, you need to take the bus out there. If you look for my trip report (the one from Sept 08), I have fairly detailed info on how to get there. Legion of Honor is more troublesome to get to, but I think SF transit now offers a "museum bus" for tourists, which goes between deYoung and Legion of Honor, plus a couple of other places.

I won't go for the Mary Hopkins. It's up on a (steep) hill. Not too convenient for the BART to get to/from airport, and not as many other public transit options from there.

May I ask what you're doing in Oaxaca? I'm curious because my sis-in-law knows that place very well.
yk is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 03:14 PM
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Actually the theater area and towards the Tenderloin is west of Union Square not east of Union Square.

And, hi yk, it is the Mark Hopkins not the Mary Hopkins.

In any case WillTravel, my personal preferance is a hotel in the Union Square area. But others prefer other areas of course.
LoveItaly is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 03:24 PM
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We've enjoyed staying on Nob Hill and don't mind the walk up/down Powell St. For the theater, it's not a bad walk (unless you are in high heels). We usually walk to the theater and take a taxi back.

Union Square area is also very convenient.
elnap29 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 07:12 PM
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What I like about the Hyatt Embarcadero is being right across the street from the Ferry Bldg, absolutely terrific views, practically on top of the BART station so travel from SFO is a piece of cake, the California St Cable Car, walking distance from AT&T, lots and LOTS of restaurants/bars nearby, the street cars . . . and more.
janisj is online now  
Oct 31st, 2009, 10:55 PM
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I've generally stayed in Union Square and love it; very central but I think embarcadero could be great as well.
ncounty is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 06:31 AM
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My husband and I stayed at the Chancellor a couple of years ago and liked in the lobby, a small bar, helpful people at the front desk..............and it was inexpensive. (we booked through priceline)
Bettina222 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 07:39 AM
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Love the Hyatt but the Galleria Park is always a good location and a short walk to Un Sq and a bit more to No Beach and Chinatown.
Kal is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 10:03 AM
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Thanks for your great responses. It looks like the Union Square is probably the predominant favorite, although I know lots of areas would work fine. With the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, my suspicion is that I would end up taking a cab a time or two, and I would probably feel just a bit too "removed". I'll probably book soon.

YK, I am going to Oaxaca just out of interest. The arts and culture there look very intriguing. Also, it will be nice and warm and sunny during the day (the night might be rather chilly, but not so chilly as Zacatecas, I'm sure). I'm getting through various Mexican destinations as I get the opportunity. Also, at work we get extra paid time off around Christmas and New Year's, which means it's a good time to take a trip without using any standard vacation days.
WillTravel is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 01:10 PM
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I'm in SF a couple of times a year on business and have found the Westin on 3rd and Market to provide a good combination of location and price. About a block from a BART station and right near the Market Street trolley line. The upper floors have nice views of the Bay.

Not quite a 10 minute walk to the Embarcadero.
Ryan is offline  
Nov 8th, 2009, 11:04 PM
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I decided on the Galleria Park. It has a low base rate for my dates, and combined with my Expedia credit, it is a really good deal. The reviews are good. I'm sure the location will be fine for me. When in San Francisco, I don't feel too comfortable going for less than 3* places.
WillTravel is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 06:40 AM
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Kal is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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Good choice. I didn't see this in time to express an opinion, but I really enjoyed my stay there about 18 months ago. And my sister liked it so much it has become "their" hotel in San Francisco for return visits.

What we like: small, friendly hotel; good location between the Embarcadero and Union Square; easy access to BART, and an evening wine hour where you meet other guests.
enzian is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 01:12 PM
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Good choice, my SF Fodor's travel guide tells me (hello, Kal )
Dayenu is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 01:35 PM
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The location is excellent - you'll be very near the Belden Alley restaurants, among other things:
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2010, 09:39 PM
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The Galleria Park location was great. I liked the location better than I think I would have liked the Parc 55, which I passed on the way, better than the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, and I really can't think of a location which is better placed for getting to everywhere.
WillTravel is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 02:41 AM
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IMHO union square is the best place to stay
Parc55, Four Seasons, Westin St Francis (not the Market St)
babymocca is offline  

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