San Francisco's lodging options range from luxury hotels to affordable, cozy bed and breakfasts. Thanks to the city's expansive public transportation system, you should have no trouble getting from your hotel to wherever you wish to be, which means you can focus more on finding a room to suit your taste and your budget. However, it is important to keep in mind that the room rates listed by the hotels don't necessarily include the 14 percent state and city taxes.
- San Francisco is a popular destination year-round, so … rooms here will still seem expensive compared to those in many other U.S. destinations. Still, you should always ask about weekend discounts, corporate rates, and family plans. Most larger hotels, and many smaller ones, offer them, but many reservations agents don't mention them unless you ask about them specifically." -- Frommer's
- According to many area hotel employees, more and more people tend to book only a few weeks in advance. But remember, weekends in summer can still fill up early… Also, how far in advance you should book accommodations depends on where you want to stay. If you're looking at hotels in a popular tourist area such as Fisherman's Wharf in the summer, it's best to book well ahead." -- Smarter Travel
Nob Hill, Downtown & Financial District Hotels
You'll find most of the city's leading hotels in and around the Downtown area. These neighborhoods mostly welcome business travelers, so you can expect to find more clean-cut, business-chic accommodations here, such as the Westin St. Francis at Union Square and the Financial District's Hyatt Regency San Francisco.
However, if you're looking for something more unique, try booking along the Embarcadero or in the nearby Nob Hill area, where hotels tend to lean more towards luxury boutique. However, if you're looking for a budget-friendly property, you're better off looking elsewhere. Those who choose to stay here pay for both top-notch amenities and a convenient location.
- As a tourist destination with limited space, San Francisco hotels can charge premium prices, and do, especially downtown and on Nob Hill." -- Travel Channel
- Here you find excellent shopping, the theater district, and convenient transportation to every spot in town. The Union Square area west of Mason Street and south of O'Farrell Street blurs with the edgy Tenderloin district; use your street smarts here, and find out from your hotel which routes are best to avoid after dark." -- Fodor's
If you're looking to be in the heart of the city but can do without the over-the-top amenities and prices of Downtown hotels, you may want to consider a more low-key bed and breakfast here in North Beach. Properties here are great if you're looking to do plenty of sightseeing, as well as for travelers wishing to revel in memories of the city's Beat Movement. North Beach hotels are an easy commute from top attractions like Fisherman's Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge and are surrounded by trendy restaurants and nightlife venues.
- Bed and breakfasts are the way to go in crowded, urban North Beach." -- Travel Channel
Fisherman's Wharf and the Marina
When it comes to lodging, Fisherman's Wharf is prepared for bargain-hunters. This heavily touristed area is home to plenty affordable (although rather run-of-the-mill) properties. Rooms here put you in the heart of one of the city's favorite neighborhoods. If you're looking for a more unique hotel experience without having to sacrifice too much on location, check out the smaller inns in the Marina district. Staying at the Marina will also allow you to escape the (some say overly) kitschy vibe of Fisherman's Wharf.
- These areas are close enough to Fisherman’s Wharf to walk there for dinner, and the lodgings are far more affordable than downtown digs." -- Moon Travel Guides
SoMa, Mission and the Castro
To surround yourself with authentic San Francisco culture, consider staying in the Mission District or Castro. Accommodations in these two neighborhoods are a little far from some of the city's most popular attractions like Fisherman's Wharf, but they are surrounded by the authentic Hispanic restaurants and vibrant nightlife. However, choices here are limited, so make sure to book in advance. For a more upscale room near these vibrant areas, you can stay in the nearby SoMa district, where luxury hotels like the Palace Hotel and the W San Francisco reign supreme.
- Though most accommodations (usually converted homes) in the Castro cater to a gay and lesbian clientele, everyone is welcome. Unfortunately, there are few choices, and their amenities don't really compare to those at most of the better (and much larger) hotels throughout San Francisco." -- Frommer's
Haight-Ashbury & Golden Gate Park
Bargain hunters will be pleasantly surprised by the affordable rates that can be found here, especially given the one-of-a-kind atmosphere offered by the Haight's several Victorian-style bed and breakfasts. While staying here will allow you easy access to Golden Gate Park, you'll find that more central parts of the city are a bit of a trek. If you'd prefer to in the midst of the action, you're better off staying at a bed and breakfast in North Beach.
- However, getting downtown from the quiet residential spots can be a trek; ask at your inn about car services, cabs, and the nearest bus lines." -- Moon Travel Guides