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Where to stay in San Francisco on the relatively cheap

Mystic Hotel, Hotel Triton and Hotel Bijou are among 14 places to stay at a reasonable rate.

February 24, 2013|By Los Angeles Times staff
  • Hotel Boheme in the San Francisco neighborhood of North Beach has 15 charming guest rooms.
Hotel Boheme in the San Francisco neighborhood of North Beach has 15 charming… (Christopher Reynolds,…)

Your choices in San Francisco hotels are overwhelming. The prices can be too. So during our staff visit to the City by the Bay, we looked for reasonably priced hotels that had charm, location or both. We came back with 14 ideas on places to bed down. It's not a complete list, but it is eclectic, like the city itself.

Mystic Hotel. This property, which opened in April, stands on a tunnel-adjacent block of Stockton Street that you'll never see on a picture postcard, yet it has style, as do the Burritt Tavern bar and restaurant downstairs. Union Square is close too. Chef Charlie Palmer, who has done hotels before, is the personality behind this venture. 417 Stockton St.; (415) 400-0500, Doubles fetch $159 to $269.

— Christopher Reynolds

Hotel Triton. The Triton is a short stroll from Union Square, a block from Chinatown, with the popular Cafe de la Presse downstairs. The 164 guest rooms, many of them small, were redone in 2012 with a Beat theme (that's a Kerouac typescript on the wallpaper). The lobby still has the same circus/outer space décor it's had for years. 342 Grant Ave.; (415) 394-0500, Doubles from $250.

— CR

Hotel Bijou. This lodging isn't about charm as much as it's about price. The Bijou (its 65 rooms are named for movies shot in San Francisco) stands next to a sports bar on a block of hostels just off Market Street. It's near Union Square, but the rooms are small and often less than $120 a night. On a January stay booked through, I paid $83. To dodge sports-bar noise, ask for a room on the fifth or sixth floors. 111 Mason St.; (415) 771-1200,

— CR

Kensington Park Hotel. Don't be put off by the fact that this is the home of the Elks Club or that you can't use the pool or spa if you're not an Elk. There's plenty to like in this Union Square hotel besides its location (which is great), especially if you admired the way your Aunt Mildred decorated her living room, which is what the lobby looks like. The elevator is so enormous that I found it giggle-worthy. (How many elevators have a padded bench?) You'd think the rooms would be proportionately huge, but they're not; a queen is about 300 square feet but perfectly fine. The bath lacked shelves or counters so it may take some toiletry juggling. Still, a deal worth taking. 450 Post St.; (415) 788-6400, Doubles from $169.

— Catharine Hamm

Hotel Rex. It's easy to imagine Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op casing the joint from the hotel's noirish, dimly lighted Library Bar. There was no sleuthing the night I was here. Instead of the detective, locals practicing their French packed the small space. The noirish vibe continued in the slightly spooky hallway leading to my room, which was small but surprisingly cheerful with butterscotch-colored walls and vibrant ceramic lamps and shades. Nice touches: The tiny elevator is wallpapered with pages from an old San Francisco social register, and don't forget to pet Max, the lobby pug, on your way out to nearby Union Square. 562 Sutter St.; (415) 433-4434, Doubles from $189.

—Anne Harnagel

Argonaut Hotel. The location of this boutique hotel, in a former brick warehouse at the western end of Fisherman's Wharf, makes it prime lodging for families exploring the waterfront. It shares first-floor space with the visitor center for the Maritime National Historical Park. Across the street is the Hyde Street Pier, where the Balclutha and other historic ships are docked. Around the corner is the Powell & Hyde cable car line, and a block away is Ghirardelli Square. Nautical motifs — anchors, ships' wheels, fish — abound throughout the hotel, but I was particularly fond of the kinda cool, kinda creepy octopus-print wallpaper in my bathroom. I asked for a quiet room and got one, which meant a view of the central air shaft. However, it was spacious, and the king-size bed, dressed in crisp blue and white linens, was comfortable. 495 Jefferson St.; (415) 563-0800, Doubles from $229.

— AH

Hotel Bohème. Here are 15 charming rooms in a great neighborhood — North Beach, full of Italian restaurants, Beat-era echoes and the beloved City Lights bookshop. With its upstairs rooms and muted lighting, the hotel has a European feel. Also free Wi-Fi. 444 Columbus Ave.; (415) 433-9111, Doubles from $184.

—Christopher Reynolds

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