Where to Stay in San Francisco

I can’t say that I’ve been to all the great cities of the world (or even like, more than 3), but I’m sure no matter where I go, San Francisco will be always be my favorite.  I was lucky enough to live just 30 minutes away for 4 years during college, and I  hope that sometime in my future, that I can get back to that area. 

We went to San Francisco last week to run our half marathon, but also to hang out in the city and be tourists. I took an embarrassing number of photos, and I can easily get 4 blog posts out of all of them. (UPDATE: SOOOO behind on blogging…I wrote this a week ago and only now getting around to posting….the next couple of weeks will be some weird mixture of San Francisco and Christmas posts).

Even though I have a lot of other San Francisco things to talk about, I’m going to start with our hotel.

We signed up for the half marathon and bought our plane tickets way back in June.  I didn’t start looking at hotels until 2 weeks before we left.  Not the brightest idea.  All of the usual suspects (Holiday Inn, Hyatt, Hilton, etc.) were all sold out.  Rooms that weren’t sold out were going for about $500 a night, which wasn’t exactly in our budget for a 4 night stay.  There are a TON of independent little “boutique” hotels in San Francisco.  Some look ok, some look scary.  Some I walk by and feel sorry for anyone having to stay or work there. 

It was with this predicament that I had to make reservations at a hotel that I had never heard of.  The reviews on trip advisor were pretty mixed. I was nervous, expecting to walk into some flea bag, haunted, health hazard of a hotel.  What I encountered was a huge sigh of relief.


We stayed at the Larkspur Hotel.  It is one of about 25 in a California boutique hotel chain.  It is located just 2 blocks north of  Union Square and within walking distance to public transportation, China Town, North Beach, and Fisherman’s Wharf. 

The lobby was cozy with several sitting areas including one in front of a fireplace.  The front desk staff was very accommodating and friendly.  Jazzy standards (Amy music!) were playing in the lobby.

The hotel was built in 1915, so it was definitely old, but charming.  Our room was smaller than we would find at a newer hotel, but who goes to San Francisco to spend time in their room?  The bathroom was also pretty tiny, but  not so absurdly small that it was uncomfortable.  Ironically, the “dressing closet” was bigger than the bathroom!

Probably the coolest thing about the hotel was their Green for Green program. For every day that you opt out of maid service, you get $10 to use either at the hotel bar, on pay per view movies, or at Starbucks.  Um, $10 just to clean up after yourself? Can I get that at home too???  The catch is you can only do it 2 days in a row (maybe they want to make sure you aren’t dead in the room or running a meth lab or something), but still, I was all about this!

We redeemed our vouchers at the hotel bar, “1915.”  1915 was cute.  Even though they only had beer and wine and a small food menu, they had a happy hour every day, and great bartenders.  Plus, the bar had this old english countryside library feeling to it. 

San Francisco is not a cheap place to stay by any stretch of the imagination. Compared to some of the big name hotels in the area, Larkspur was actually very reasonably priced, especially considering you are RIGHT next to Union Square.  The quality of the accommodations and the customer service were far greater than the price suggests. Plus, the hotel is dog friendly which these days is very important to us!

My one complaint about this hotel is actually something that they have zero control over…the noise.  Oh my goodness it was noisy.  Our window faced Powell street, which is where the cable car (and its charming little bell) run from 6:30 to midnight.  Plus, there was some overnight construction going on, which made for some restless sleep.  But we did sign up to stay in the middle of a big city, right off a main thoroughfare, so really to expect it to be quiet would be unreasonable.  And again, the hotel, aside from choosing that location, really couldn’t do too much to control the noise. 

View from the room

So…I’d say overall I’d definitely stay here again when we find ourselves back in the city.  Sometimes a hotels.com leap of faith works out far better than you ever imagined!

Happy short week!

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