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jaguar7777777 Feb 12th, 2006 11:52 AM

San Francisco - marina district hotels

Can anyone suggest a good class hotel (4 star perhaps?) in the Marina or Lombard Street districts of San Francisco? Looking at some of the comments in this forum it seems we might want to steer clear of hotels in Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf,



StuDudley Feb 13th, 2006 08:21 AM


Most - perhaps all the hotels in this area are 50s type motels. No 4 stars, that I know of. I live here, so I don't need hotels often & can't recommend any. Lots of past posts have specific recommendations - do a search and include "Lombard" or "Cow Hollow" or "Marina" along with "francisco".

Stu Dudley

janisj Feb 13th, 2006 08:54 AM

As Stu says - the Marina isn't really a "hotel district". Off the top of my head can't think of any hotels in the Marina other than the Hotel Del Sol.

SanFranciscoNative Feb 13th, 2006 02:16 PM

Yes, I don't think there are any 4 star hotels in the Marina area.

The ones I know about that aren't motels are Hotel del Sol and the Union Street Inn is a really cute B&B (I know that's not what you asked about, but it is an alternative to a motel). The El Drisco hotel is in Pacific Heights, up the hill from the Marina.

SanFranciscoNative Feb 13th, 2006 02:17 PM

Oops I meant Hotel Drisco.

jaguar7777777 Feb 17th, 2006 02:48 PM

Thanks for your replies. Some of the threads in this forum are a few years old and they were suggesting the Union Square area is to be avoided. Have things improved enough for us to consider staying there, do you think?


janisj Feb 17th, 2006 03:07 PM

sure - SOME posters say avoid the Union Square area. But hundreds of others say just the opposite. You will find some posters do try to be provocative - but you need to know their posting history to figure that out.

Many (but not all of course) of the city's best hotels are on or w/i a short distance of Union Sq/Powell Street.

kjon Feb 17th, 2006 03:11 PM

Check out if you are determined to stay in the Marina district. I don't know what was written about Union Square, but as a single female, I have not had any problems in the Union Square area. I would recommend either the Grand Hyatt or the St. Francis/Westin.

StuDudley Feb 17th, 2006 03:48 PM

The Union Square area has pretty much stayed the same in the 30 years I've been in the Bay Area. It gets a little ruddy 3-4 blocks west, and you will see more vagrants than you will see at the Wharf or in the Marina area - but it's a very popular area to stay in.

Stu Dudley

mjs Feb 17th, 2006 05:27 PM

I do not think that there are any 4 star hotels in the Marina or Fishermans Wharf. There are several motels like the Cow Hollow Inn that are quite decent and offer free parking. I have not stayed in these motels for a few years but they should be less than $150/night including tax. I was in the area on saturday and saw some vacancy signs and the prices I saw posted were in the low $100's.
There is a fairly nice B&B called Jackson Court which is on the hill in Pacific Heights which might be the nicest place to saty in the area. The area in the Marina/Cow Hollow districy is quite nice for shopping and eating but abit Yuppie. Not a fan of Fisherman's wharf. The 4 star type hotels in Union sq are quite nice but are double in price from the Marina motels once you include the $40+ parking fees. I think I like the Pan Pacific best of Union Sq hotels. I have stayed in 10- 15 of these downtown hotels in the past 10 years or so and the only one I would not go back to is the Mark Hopkins.

LoveItaly Feb 17th, 2006 05:52 PM

Hi jaguar, I always stay at Union Sq. regardless if I am there in SF with someone or on my own. IMO that is the best area to stay in and the easiest area when I want to get to any other area in SF. Do not know why you would want to stay clear of Union Sq. but for sure I never would stay in the area of Fisherman's Wharf. As far as the homeless, just ignore them. And regarding the Tenderloin, that is west of Union Sq. So avoid that area if you are uncomfortable being in that district which I sure understand.

jtrandolph Feb 17th, 2006 08:04 PM

Agree with LoveItaly.

I am astounded that you have heard that the Union Square area is to be avoided !

That is the only place I stay on our many weekends in San Francisco. Go to and pick the Union Square area and see the hotels. How about the Fairmont? A seedy hotel? A seedy area? I do not think so. You have been misled.

The Lombard and Marina areas have MOTELS, not four star hotels. It is a strip. Good value, free parking, dull, dull, dull.

My favorite hotel in the Union Square area is the Pan Pacific....or the Nikko...or the Donatello. Google them.

Yes, stay out of Fisherman's Wharf, unless you like tourist traps.

StuDudley Feb 18th, 2006 08:24 AM

The Fairmont is on Nob Hill, not Union Sq. The St Francis is at Union Sq. I get them mixed up quite often myself.

I agree that the hotels on Lombard are quite dull, but I really enjoy the area - Union St, Chestnut St, a few blocks (but uphill) to Pacific Heights, and a few blocks from some nice restaurants & shops on Polk St. Lombard has, of course, excellent car access to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio.

Stu Dudley

janisj Feb 18th, 2006 10:45 AM

jtrandolph: &quot;<i>I am astounded that you have heard that the Union Square area is to be avoided !</i>&quot;

Actually in the past there have been several &quot;trouble maker&quot; posters who warn folks away from SF in general and Union Square in particular. Fodors editors have cleaned up most of them, but not all. A big problem w/ anon posts on the web - any drivel can be put out there and it is hard to convince others to ignore them.

jtrandolph Feb 18th, 2006 01:14 PM


Ah, that explains it. Why I don't like Trip Advisor.....many of the hotel reveiws are deliberately negative and mean spirited. Caveat emptor.

jaguar7777777 Feb 18th, 2006 02:46 PM

Your replies have been really helpful. Thanks a lot. It seems we might prefer Union Square after all, so I'll check out some of the hotels suggested. We're from the UK and have been to SF once before when we stayed in the Financial District. We were quite surprised at the numbers of homeless but I suppose every major city has them and it hasn't put us off coming back. We didn't get to see Alcatraz last time, so it's first on the list this year. We'd also like to see Muir Woods and Sonoma/Napa but we'll hire a car AFTER our stay in SF to avoid parking charges. One last question - is there a 'best' way to enter Chinatown? We can't remember seeing it the last time we were in SF and we'd like to stroll around there for a couple of hours and maybe have dinner there.

StuDudley Feb 18th, 2006 03:34 PM

San Francisco City Guides offers over 30 different free walking tours in SF. One of them is Chinatown. See descriptions &amp; schedules at:

They are sponsored by the SF Public Library. Wok Wiz also offers a tour of Chinatown - although I've never taken it. It is not free, but I believe you get a lunch with the tour. Others can give you their web site and a further description.

My wife is one of the volunteer guides for City Guides. She just got back about 1 hr ago from leading one of her tours - Landmark Victorians of Alamo Square. If you are from the UK, I suspect that redwood trees would be more of a unique thing for you than Victorian Architecture.

Stu Dudley

WorldTraveler9 Feb 18th, 2006 08:04 PM

If you'd like to stay right in Chinatown with a view of the bay, there is a high-rise Holiday Inn on Kearny and Washington Streets. Ask for an upper-floor room. This hotel is within walking distance of North Beach, the Financial District, and the Embarcadero. The Grand Hyatt on Powell is very nice and convenient to the shopping area and cable car.

jaguar7777777 Feb 20th, 2006 02:41 PM

Thanks again for your kind help. I think we'll stay in Union Square and take the Chinatown tour Stu has suggested.

LoveItaly Feb 20th, 2006 06:38 PM

I am almost certain that the Holiday Inn on Kearny and Washington in SF is now a Hilton Hotel and was renovated.

jaguar, if you do stay in the Union Sq. area from Union Sq. you can walk east on Post St. to Grant, turn left on Grant (north) and you will walk up Grant to Bush St., which is the entrance to Chinatown. Just a few blocks from Union Sq. Go through Chinatown and you will be at Broadway. On your right will be Columbus cutting across Broadway. Continue on Columbus (going north) and you will find yourself in North Beach.

The Grand Hyatt at Union Sq. (actually it is on Stockton at Post) is a good reliable hotel and as WorldTraveler said, well located.

Have a wonderful visit in SF.

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