Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends

San Remo Hotel

by Cyndy Ainsworth

Location: 2237 Mason St. near Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone: (415) 776-8688
(800) 352-REMO
Style: European pension
Pluses: Bargain rates, old-fashioned charm, convenient location
Minuses: Rooms can be noisy, no non-smoking rooms, some rooms are dark, minimal amenities
Prices: Inexpensive ($55 single, $65 double)
Rooms: 62 rooms, all with shared bath
Nonsmoking rooms: No
Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club, Carte Blanche
Cancellation policy: 24 hours
Parking: Special rates available at two independent garages one to two blocks away; $8/day with no in and out privileges, $16/day with unlimited in and out privileges
Restaurants: None
Room service: None
Wheelchair accessible: No
Special Features: Coin operated washers and dryers

I have mixed feelings about the San Remo Hotel. On the plus side, it provides good basic accommodations at a very modest price. The rooms are small but pleasant and are furnished with an eclectic collection of antique beds, night stands. and armoires. The hotel is conveniently located between Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach and is just a few block from the cable car lines, so it's a good location for sightseeing. The room, toilets, and shower rooms are well-maintained and very clean. And the building, a deep blue and white Italianate Victorian built in 1906 and renovated a few years ago, has a definite charm.

So what's the problem? The biggest problem at the San Remo is noise. There can be a fair amount of traffic noise from nearby streets, and there's not much soundproofing between the rooms. A second potential problem is smoking. The hotels has many European guests, and many of them smoke. If you're a smoker, you'll fit right in. If you're not, the smell of cigarette smoke could be a problem. The rooms on the outside of the hotel are generally nice and light; some of the inside rooms have windows that open onto light wells, and those rooms are somewhat dark. On the other hand, they get less street noise.

The staff at the San Remo is friendly and helpful, but you don't get much in the way of amenities. Shower and toilet facilities are down the hall, though some rooms do have sinks. There are no televisions or phones in the rooms, though there are several pay phones on the premises. There's an independently operated restaurant on the first floor of the building, but it's open only for dinner. However, there are many cafes and restaurants within a few blocks walk. There are coin-operated washers and dryers at the hotel, but business services are pretty much limited to the sending and receiving of faxes.

Parking is available at two different local garages within one to two blocks walk and they are recommended over street parking, as car break-ins are sometimes a problem in the Wharf area and there's a housing project around the corner that sometimes attracts undesirable characters. I never felt unsafe walking around near the hotel, though as in most parts of the city, appropriate discretion is advised. With all those caveats, would I still recommend the San Remo? The answer is a qualified yes. It's good value for the money; you just need to know what you are and aren't getting.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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