December 17, 2008 1:24 PM   Subscribe

californiafilter: help us find good hotels in san francisco and san diego!

we'll be doing a quick tour of california in february. we have most of our itinerary planned out, but are still looking into hotel options in the two sans. requirements below:

1. accessible to public transportation
2. less than than $150/night
3. relatively central to things that visitors want to do (in san diego it could be either beach or downtown)

(i know san diego sprawls and we might end up renting a car if we have to, but we'd like to avoid it if possible.)

of course we'd prefer interesting, unique independent bed and breakfasts, but the location and price are more important.
posted by thinkingwoman to Travel & Transportation around California (17 answers total)
Couchsurfing. Tried and true.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 1:50 PM on December 17, 2008

no, we definitely want hotels, not just the cheapest beds we can find.
posted by thinkingwoman at 1:55 PM on December 17, 2008

Hotel Carlton in San Francisco is a nice place, clean and friendly. The rooms are small but not NYC small. Short walk to most everything. $89 and up.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:18 PM on December 17, 2008

I've always liked the San Remo in North Beach in SF. It's near North Beach, the Wharf, Chinatown, and bus accessible to other points, and still under $100 a night.
posted by chez shoes at 2:19 PM on December 17, 2008

posted by Rash at 2:22 PM on December 17, 2008

The Coventry Motor Inn is in a great location on Lombard street in Cow Hollow/ the Marina. It's across the street from a bus stop, and there are a lot of great restaurants nearby. (Tom Yum is an excellent thai restaurant nearby, btw)...

The Coventry Motor Inn is cheap and AWESOME. The concierge/ desk people are always helpful. They've given us great recommendations.
posted by majikstreet at 2:24 PM on December 17, 2008

I visited san diego last summer when my brother was stationed there. We stayed in some ubiquitous chain hotel. However, I don't think mass transit would have worked getting around some of the areas we went. Perhaps if you're only on planning on being in downtown.
posted by garlic at 2:29 PM on December 17, 2008

The Hotel Cornell in San Francisco is very cute, very clean, nicely located, and serves a complimentary breakfast (a real American breakfast!).
posted by padraigin at 2:34 PM on December 17, 2008

I've been recommended, but haven't tried Joie de Vivre Hotels. It is a chain, but describes its hotels in San Franscisco as "14 boutique and historic hotels". Most start at under $150/night.
posted by AnnaRat at 2:55 PM on December 17, 2008

In case you do end up having a car in San Diego, I enjoyed my stay at The Pearl. After midnight rooms are $79 so you could possibly check out the lounge and then see if you'd like to book a room late one night. Otherwise rooms for weeknights should be in the $79-$150 range for that time of year.

For San Francisco, I enjoyed staying at the Fitzgerald Hotel and one of my bosses enjoyed her stay there at my recommendation.

Both hotels, in addition to meeting the standard of comfortable lodgings and friendly service in my experience have something interesting to offer in the way of decor & design (mid-century and Victorian, respectively). Have fun on your trip!
posted by PY at 2:58 PM on December 17, 2008

I stayed at the Chancellor Hotel in San Francisco. It's a little funky and small but I liked the old style deep tubs and the zillion pillows. The general manager has a blog and it's four blocks from the BART (though a little uphill). It's a little noisy but if you're from a city you likely won't mind at all.
posted by jessamyn at 3:10 PM on December 17, 2008

Check the Opal Hotel in San Francisco. Clean, friendly folks there, and decent rates. Right on Van Ness Ave, so very accessible to a lot of public transit.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:59 PM on December 17, 2008

In San Diego, hotels are...not cheap. I stayed at La Pensione. It is very, very basic and no frills, but the sitting area downstairs is cute, and "Little Italy" is basically adjacent to the Gaslamp. The trolley is about five blocks away, and the neighborhood is safe.
posted by desuetude at 9:46 PM on December 17, 2008

The Golden Gate Hotel in San Fran was great - they are very close to the cable car routes, have a great breakfast, and the elevator is neat.
posted by birdsquared at 10:22 PM on December 17, 2008

I'd recommend Occidental Hotel in San Diego. Walking distance to downtown, hillcrest, and best of all... Balboa Park. And it should definitely be within your budget I believe.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:22 AM on December 18, 2008

Seconding the San Remo for SF. It's fairly bare bones and they have shared bathrooms, but it's under $100 a night which is a steal. It's right in between North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf, not to mention about a 2 minute walk from the Mason terminus of the Powell-Mason cable car line.
posted by dhammond at 2:10 PM on December 18, 2008

Joie de Vivre has a new, cheap, eco-considered hotel in SF called The Good Hotel. In a very central, somewhat crusty part of town. Rates start at 67 bucks. I have stayed in a very posh JDV hotel, and the people there were quite nice, letting us keep our bikes in the luggage room.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:00 PM on December 19, 2008

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