hotels and hostels in San Francisco
February 14, 2006 9:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm traveling to San Francisco on a tight budget for a conference at the Moscone Center in early April, any experiences on area hostels or cheap hotels?

As is usual with my finances, I need to trim costs to the bone on this trip. A strategy that's worked for me in previous conferences has been to find a cheap room well connected by public transit. Suggestions for where and how to look beyond the usual travelocity search are welcome, as well as suggestions for specific hotels or hostels that might be worth calling.

A hostel is definitely an option for me because I travel light, am not picky about private bathrooms, but am picky (and need to be stingy) when it comes to food. There are several that have private rooms. Experiences or recommendations would be helpful.
posted by KirkJobSluder to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (12 answers total)
For a hostel in the best location, you can't beat the Fort Mason hostel. It's not far - probably about 20 minutes away by bus.

Other hostels will be a bit closer to Moscone, but will also be in the Tenderloin, which is a pretty crummy (but adventurous) area.
posted by jasper411 at 10:04 AM on February 14, 2006

I've stayed at HI San Francisco - City Center, which is a decent, pretty typical hostel. The space itself was fine, but it's in a neighborhood with a high homeless/street population; not the safest-feeling place to walk around at night. Private rooms are $33.50/night for 2 beds.

I've also stayed in the Grant Plaza Hotel in Chinatown, which I thought was very nice for a cheap hotel: clean, quiet, good location. Their online reservation system isn't responding right now, but I think I paid about $50–60/night.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:05 AM on February 14, 2006

I've heard good things from friends' parents about the Hayes Valley Inn, and I've visited and it seems nice. $80-ish a night, and various bus & subway lines can get you down near the Moscone pretty easily.
posted by occhiblu at 10:18 AM on February 14, 2006

In 2003, I went to the Apple's WWDC and stayed at HI San Francisco, Downtown
It's was just a few blocks from Moscone. The walk was easy. There were a fair number of international students also attending the WWDC staying there. Which was a nice bonus.
posted by mmdei at 10:20 AM on February 14, 2006

Ahem, just a few blocks.
posted by mmdei at 10:22 AM on February 14, 2006

The Mosser Hotel on 4th is near moscone, and is a good compromise between hostel and hotel. Private rooms, choice of private or shared bath.
posted by shifafa at 10:39 AM on February 14, 2006

I stayed at the HI San Francisco - City Center also. The room I was in had four beds (two sets of bunks) with a shared bathroom. Maybe a little smaller than a typical hotel room. The common areas were very nice. (IKEA nice, but still, nice.) The whole thing is only a few years old, I think. OTOH, the neighborhood does suck. You have to walk a few blocks to get to anything, the local stores are not very interesting, and at night it's shady if you're alone.
posted by smackfu at 11:08 AM on February 14, 2006

i've heard good things about the elements hostel, and there's a direct bus along mission street to moscone.
posted by judith at 11:24 AM on February 14, 2006

i can't comment on hotels there, but here's a couple words about some of the locations:

elements looks like it's on 21st and Mission (weird), meaning you can hop the BART on 24th (or 16th) and take three stops to Powell (or two to Civic) and walk to Moscone. The mission is a great place for tourist nightlife, because the cool bars (imho) are closer together there then other districts in the city. You can start at 16th and walk right down Valencia and find lots of great stuff to do. I'd recommend Makeout Club, Amnesia, El Rio (much farther down mission, across Caesar). If you want to hit a cool local spot, try Phone Booth (out of the way, on Van Ness) or Treat St. They also have AWESOME burgers at Zeitgeist, and a great outdoor patio where tons of bicyclists and bikes often congregate.

HI SF is more in the Tenderknob than the Tenderloin. If you're considering hostels at all, i'd say you could deal with the neighborhood. However, it is in the Union Sq/Financial District, meaning that a lot of stuff will shut down after 7-ish. If you're a big fan of department stores and the like, this is the place to be, as it's pretty near Union sq shops. If you venture up towards leavenworth (and more into the tenderloin) there's all sorts of all-night diners, sleazy bars, and some fancy ones (like Julip and Edinburgh Castle.
posted by fishfucker at 12:12 PM on February 14, 2006

I third Elements. It's above Medjool (a nice restaurant/ bar and cafe). They have a neato rooftop bar and the whole building is pretty new. Also there are plenty of cheep restaurants in that neighborhood. It is very youth hostelley-- you will see German tourists there. You can just hop on the 14 Mission bus to get to Moscone center. it will take about 10 or 15 minutes.

If you want to be in walking distance you can check out this place but I don't know anything about it other than there is a internet laundrymat nearby.
posted by culberjo at 12:55 PM on February 14, 2006

I fourth(?) Elements. I've seen the rooms and they are pretty nice but I am not so sure about the prices. The surrounding area is perfect for anyone looking for food on the cheap too since, as fishfucker shamefully regretted to mention, this also puts you near the center of lots of great taquerias, where $5 will get you a tasty burrito that can satisy anything smaller than an elephant.

Also, even though some of the surrounding area *looks* skeevy, its mostly just a little bit rundown-looking but not unsafe at all.
posted by vacapinta at 1:10 PM on February 14, 2006

I've stayed at the Grant Plaza and really really liked being able to walk to and from the Moscone Center. It was clean and quiet and it's right in Chinatown which was good for me food-wise. I shared a room with two other people [roll-out cot] and it was pretty cheap. If you had a room-share possibility, that would be a good bet.
posted by jessamyn at 3:09 PM on February 14, 2006

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