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Where to stay?

Coldwater, Michigan
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73 posts
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Where to stay?

I will be spending a few days in San Francisco at the end of June with my kids (ages 6, 5, and 4). I think I've found a few hotels that I can afford(!) but I'm not sure which one to choose. Could anyone offer any advise on location, safety, cleanliness, etc to help me decide? My choices are: The Grant Hotel (on Bush St), The Star Motel, or Cow Hollow Motor Inn. Thanks so much for your input!

Los Altos...
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6,111 posts
24 reviews
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1. Re: Where to stay?

You've got three hotel/motels clustered roughly along the Lombard Street corridor and one in the upper Union Square area (Grant Hotel). I think all four are fairly well-reviewed for hotels in this class; I imagine that you've seen the reviews on the TA site already? If not, go to the search field in the upper lefthand side of this screen and type in all or part of the name of the place, and then navigate to the review part. Just click on the first review and the rest will be there as well.

At this point, it just depends on what neighborhood amentiies are more important to you.

The Grant Hotel, in the Union Square area, will be more in the thick of things, but not so busy that it's overwhelming. If you like an urban atmosphere with tall buildings around you and little corner markets and the sound of cable car bells in the air, that's it.

As for the other three... If you like the more low-profile atmosphere of a "suburban" neighborhood (this is a gross generalization, mind you), the other three might be more comfortable. Buildings are seldom over three stories here, and there is the same convenience of little markets and restaurants, etc. Lombard Street is a major thoroughfare, so you will have that kind of faster traffic.

Both are well-located for different kinds of activities. Union Square is considered more "central" but the Lombard Street corridor gets good marks for being close to the Fisherman's Wharf, closer to the Exploratorium (good for families) and the Marina, Crissy Field, etc.

The city is relatively compact, however, so almost anywhere you go will not be too far from many of the main attractions that people come here to see.

Have you thought of the activities you will be doing?

Also, will you be renting a car? We recommend not doing so, and relying on public transit and / or cabs, but if, for whatever reason, you are going to do have a car, the Lombard Street area motels often offer free parking, which is one of the big cost factors in making them attractive. Parking, not only overnight, but also at lots near many of the places people choose to see, is quite expensive. It is worthy of consideration when budgeting your trip, if you do think of having a car.

Coldwater, Michigan
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73 posts
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2. Re: Where to stay?

Thanks for the comments. I'm trying to do all of my "homework" to pick just the right place. After all, it's not like we can just pack up and go home if it's horrible (we live in Michigan)! I will be renting a car at the airport, because we're splitting our vacation between Santa Cruz/Monterey and San Francisco. If I can figure out the public transportation, I would like to just leave the car parked as much as possible. I think I'll wait to tackle that once I have all of my reservations made!!!

I have also heard really good comments about the Chancellor Hotel-do you have any input on that location? If all of my choices are decent, clean, and safe, I will probably have to go with whoever can give me the best deal!

Los Altos...
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6,111 posts
24 reviews
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3. Re: Where to stay?

None of the places you've mentioned are horrible. I think they all will be fine (and believe me, there are plenty that are not fine). It just depends on your budget and your neighborhood preference (and the aforementioned car issue).

The Chancellor Hotel is in the heart of Union Square, a slightly "better" location than the Grant Hotel, but also a better class of hotel, as well.

I do urge you to run the names of the hotels through the search function on the lefthand side, and read for yourself. You may find some comments there that help put one over the top, all other considerations being equal.

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
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31,857 posts
7 reviews
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4. Re: Where to stay?

If you are going to Santa Cruz, etc. after San Francisco I urge you to delay picking up a car until then. Parking in the central part of the city is outrageous and you would not want to have your car just sit there at around $40/day. If it is unadvoidable then I would stay at Cow Hollow Motor Inn or the Star Motel, which have free parking, and do your sightseeing, etc. on public transportation. As mentioned, this is a safe area. It is also near the Exploratorium, if you had planned to take the children there. You can google both of these to do a comparison.

Ottawa Canada
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1,532 posts
2 reviews
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5. Re: Where to stay?

I recently stayed at Chancellor and would recommend - clean, affordable, secure and great location. Suggest phoning as sometimes promos etc. I also noticed many families with children staying there so must work for them.

Re car rental: Not sure how you are dividing your trip but we rented car for the Monterey etc part of trip and dropped off at SF airport and took BART downtown. I understand parking very expensive, driving challenging and the MUNI public transit pass a good deal. After the SF part we picked up rental car for northern #1 coastal route.

Chino
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105 reviews
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6. Re: Where to stay?

The Monticello Inn on Ellis is a wonderful little hotel a block from the Powell Street turn around for the cable car and 2 blocks from Union Square. A two room suite is reasonable at this lovely little hotel . We visit the city several times a year and have stayed at the Monticello on our last few trips. We have stayed at every hotel from the Fairmont to the Mark and this little boutique hotel has it all covered as far as we are concerned. Excellent service, in a safe area of the city with all the welcoming charm that our city has to offer. We lived in the bay area and raised our children there. We love San Francisco and return several times a year to visit old firends and to get our city "fix". The Monticello has become our home away from home. The Monticello is an excellent value with a perfect location.

I would not take a rental car into the city. Parking is very expensive in San Francisco at about $33 to $45 a day depending on the hotel. Pick up you car on your way out of the city, you'll save allot of money. Paying for a days car rental and a days parking could pay for an extra room in a hotel. A great waste of money that could be well spent on other things like city passes. City Passes can be bought on the internet in one, two and 3 day passes. They give you free admission to places like the Exploritorium, Wax Museum, City Cruises and museums all at one easy price. They are great for families on a limited budget and can save you hundreds of dollars in excursions.

I hope you and your children a a wonderful time on your vacation. We hope you love the city as much as we do.