Where can I find cheap(ish) last minute-hotel accommodations in or around San Francisco?
June 25, 2012 5:19 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find cheap(ish) last minute-hotel accommodations in or around San Francisco?

So I need a hotel or B&B that has the following:

- room for two people
- under $150/night
- has availability for the next one or two weeks
- located less than 30/40 minutes outside the city center (via public transportation)

Should I be looking in a particular neighborhood? Yelp has been helpful but I was wondering if the hivemind has some insights. Do I just need to buck up and pay a lot more money?
posted by joeyjoejoejr to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
This hotel in Redwood City. It's a 5-minute walk from the RWC Caltrain, is ~$80/night, and looks pretty meh but is perfectly reasonable in its accommodations. It's not fancy, but I put my mom up there.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 5:29 PM on June 25, 2012

Check JDV hotels. Affordable and nice.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:37 PM on June 25, 2012

If you're comfortable with no room service, I'd suggest AirBnB. I live in SF (and was checking out the site to price compare for my guest bedroom), and there's tons of great places/rooms in the city for very reasonable prices.
posted by Gori Girl at 5:40 PM on June 25, 2012

emeryville or berkeley might also work for you.
posted by mulligan at 5:49 PM on June 25, 2012

Nob Hill Motor Inn at Van Ness and Pacific. Family owned, clean and comfy. Great neighborhood! I've stayed there for years. I lived in San Francisco for a lot of my adult life and I'm telling you true here. Free parking! Across from Me Donut!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:55 PM on June 25, 2012

Try the Seal Rock Inn in SF (Outer Richmond District). There are several bus stops nearby. You can walk to Golden Gate Park in about 20 minutes. The downside: It's on the bus line, so you may need earplugs to sleep. Also, there is no air conditioning, but since it's right near the ocean, there is usually a nice breeze. If you go, walk across the street to the Land's End trail. It's a gorgeous walk with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
posted by samsaunt at 6:10 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

If a public transport commute is okay, I'd generally recommend BART proximity over Caltrain. The fares are generally cheaper, the stations downtown are more accessible to the tourist stuff, and the trains run more frequently during the day (i.e. not hourly). The third main provider is Muni, who sell a passport (weekly pass) that includes the cable cars, which are otherwise $6 a ride. Muni only goes within the City, where most of the hotels are expensive.

will let you see your accessibility from anywhere to anywhere.

Broadly, the two cheaper neighbourhoods of hotels in the City itself are:
The Marina District (Lombard between Divisadero and Van Ness), which itself is a car-oriented strip with mostly motels, although Chestnut St north of there is kind of pleasant. There's similar options south of here along Van Ness as well. The transit accessibility is moderate; fairly frequent Muni buses.

Union Square/Tenderloin (west of Union Square, roughly along Post, Geary and O'Farrell between Jones and Powell), which is an urban area, with all that entails. It's very central and has great transit access to get everywhere, but ranges from gritty to sketchy to scary on almost a block-by-block basis.

I stayed in the latter with my mother last week, but only after looking at crime data (seriously) to verify that the block we were on was mostly a panhandling block, rather than a narcotics / prostitution / assault block. (Ignore the cluster of thefts around Union Square and the Powell St BART station; that's just shoplifters.) We stayed in the Hotel Adante, which had tiny rooms, no hot water, terrible beds and I'm more mentioning so you don't go there, really.

If you're willing to spend half an hour on transit each way, I'd look in Berkeley near BART. It's a cool area in it's own right, with a decent mix of shops and restaurants that's nice to hang around in, rather than having to commute for everything. And I would expect hotels to be relatively cheap outside of the academic year.

The other option that springs to mind would be Milbrae, near the BART/Caltrain station, which has lots of hotels at cheap prices due to the airport proximity, but there's not a lot in the area for services and you're facing a long commute into town.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:11 PM on June 25, 2012

I really like the Hayes Valley Inn. My relatives stay there whenever they come to SF. I believe a two-person room starts at $76/night. The bathrooms aren't en-suite, so you have to go out into the hall to use them. But the location is fantastic (quick walk to Van Ness Muni stop, right on the 21 bus line, and Hayes Valley is great). If you can deal with not having a bathroom attached to your room, this is a wonderful place.
posted by kdar at 7:14 PM on June 25, 2012

Van Ness along the Marina is your best bet, especially if you have a car to park. Downtown hotels might charge 15-20$ a night for your car; the Van Ness hotels are close to Crissy Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, cable cars, etc.

or check out the Fort Mason youth Hostel -- I think they may have rooms for couples too. Great price and view of the Golden Gate Bridge, which not even the most expensive hotel in town has.
posted by msalt at 7:37 PM on June 25, 2012

1. Priceline is excellent for this sort of thing.
2. The Opal.
3. Marines Memorial (I just toured this location last week, checking it out as a possible conference venue, and was very impressed. Caveat -- it is covered in military iconography and memorabilia, but if that doesn't bother you, the rooms were nice, the location is great, and the staff were very friendly and helpful.)
posted by gingerbeer at 8:42 PM on June 25, 2012

Airbnb? Craigslist sublets?
posted by namesarehard at 10:30 PM on June 25, 2012

I stayed in an excellent apartment from AirBnb in Nob Hill for $50 a night recently. Memail me if you want the link to the guy's place.
posted by k8lin at 6:39 AM on June 26, 2012

Try the Grant Hotel, centrally located, on the Street Whose Name We Do Not Say.
posted by Rash at 10:08 AM on June 26, 2012

The Marines Memorial looks great but I don't think it's open to the public. Seems to be "club members and guests," and to be a club member you need to be a military veteran or active duty serviceperson.
posted by msalt at 11:21 AM on June 26, 2012

Seconding checking out AirBnB.
posted by forkisbetter at 11:57 AM on June 26, 2012

Marine Memorial is absolutely open to the public. Members get a discounted rate, and active duty military get an even more reduced rate, but it is certainly open to people who aren't members. They also host conferences and weddings and so on there.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:51 PM on June 26, 2012

Am I reading this wrong then?
Open to club members and guests, our military hotel in San Francisco is the perfect example of timeless comfort and preeminent hospitality.
Join the Marines Memorial Club
A Proud Tradition

Show your pride by joining the Marines’ Memorial Association, a club open to all Veterans who honorably served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as current members of the U. S. Military forces

posted by msalt at 2:59 PM on June 26, 2012

Apologies for the derail here. One can become a member and get the member rates, which are cheaper, if you are eligible, but it's not required. When you use the reservation form, you have to say yes or no for member status, but you can make reservations either way.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:45 PM on June 26, 2012

People always forget exit books. Here's some in the area. To gauge availability call now inquiring about staying for the night, even though you are not booking a reservation, and the rates are not valid with reservation.

Otherwise I like Hotwire. If you use betterbidding.com you can often guess which hotel you will get.
posted by calwatch at 9:54 PM on June 26, 2012

Like Rash, I was also thinking of the Grant Hotel. If they've got a room at a price that works for you, I can recommend them - I know someone who just stayed there, and it was convenient and clean, with a free continental breakfast. It's a terrific location. You might ask for a room away from the street for a quieter experience.
posted by kristi at 9:07 AM on June 27, 2012

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