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 lined with an astounding collection of hanging plants. The historic onsite restaurant Fior D'Italia provides fine meals at a discounted price for guests.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Most rooms share bathrooms.
Rooms are small but charming, with lace curtains, and 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. Four 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 and especially during Fleet Week).
About a third of the rooms have sinks. All share spotless black-and-white-tile bathroom facilities with pull-chain toilets.
Ascend to the second floor, where the cheery staff greets guests and points them down the red-carpeted hallway to their rooms. The sitting area features magazines, newspapers, coffee, tea and water.
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.
Grab a glass of chianti after dark at Fior D/Italia downstairs.
The hotel can point you toward less-expensive parking garages. Walkers can explore the nearby Fisherman's Wharf, North Beach, Embarcadero and Financial District. Muni buses stop within a couple blocks, connecting travelers with downtown, Muni and BART trains (which access the San Francisco and Oakland airports).
At Tony's Pizzeria Napoletana (8-minute walk), award-winning pie slingers craft a dizzying array of pizza styles from around the globe. Get up early to brave the lines at the beloved Mama's on the Square (5-minute walk) for breakfast faves like omelets and pancakes.
If you like comedy with your cocktails, head over to Cobb's Comedy Club (3-minute walk) for some of the planet's funniest performers. For fans of Irish brews and whiskey, head over to the iconic Kennedy's Irish Pub (3-minute walk) for a Guinness, fries or curry.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Character, class, and comfort at a low price right between Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach make this historic property one of our favorites.