San Francisco Lodging – B&Bs, Cheap Hotels & No-Tell Motels

When we're in San Francisco, we like to make an occasion of it by booking into a hotel that make us feel good just to be there. For us, that means a charming boutique hotel; or a modern luxury hotel; or, even better, one of the historic hotels that San Francisco is justly famous for. Alternatively, we look for a vacation rental apartment that gives us even more space than a good hotel.

There are other times, though, when we want to enjoy the city, but save some dollars, Euros, or pesos on our San Francisco lodging. But, choosing good budget accommodations is not always an easy task, especially in a city with ultra-high-value real estate. By polishing the silver lamp on our desk and consulting our travel genie (as well as scouring our own notes, reviews, prices, SF neighborhoods, and long lists of hotels, motels, and B&Bs) we've unearthed the best of the lower-cost lodging options in San Francisco. We present a series of articles with our recommendations and, as a cautionary tale, a few places where you definitely don't want to stay!

San Francisco Vacation Rentals

San Francisco Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals can give you more for your money than a hotel. We also like the self-sufficiency of having a kitchen and being able to come and go in such a private way.

Of course, vacation apartments also offer more space than a hotel room, and this is really useful when you're traveling as a family. We've dug deep and found vacation rentals that give you dining rooms, laundry facilities, and easy access to shops, restaurants, the city's best attractions.

San Francisco B&Bs

Our Top-Rated Beds & Breakfast Inns

Our Top-Rated Beds & Breakfast Inns

We love the idea of sleeping in a cozy bed in a charming Victorian mansion and waking up to a lovely breakfast. We've selected the five top B&Bs in a city that itself oozes charm, in neighborhoods as diverse as The Castro, Alamo Square, Pacific Heights, and even out by the ocean near Golden Gate Park.

All of these inns are rated "Superb" by both us and travelers who have stayed there. It doesn't get much better than that in San Francisco lodging!

More Great B&Bs in San Francisco

4 More Great B&Bs in San Francisco

In a city with so many really good B&Bs it can we hard to choose. In fact, after we chose the top five, we still had four other San Francisco bed & breakfasts that we loved almost as much.

The B&Bs in this article should be no means be considered secondary. They are all highly rated and well reviewed, including the ultra-Victorian Queen Anne Hotel in Lower Pacific Heights (pictured) and the very cute Washington Square Inn at North Beach. To help you understand what not to do, we include an additional inn that is best avoided.

B&Bs Near Union Square

B&Bs Near Union Square

One more group of B&Bs deserves mention — those situated near the epicenter of all things San Francisco, Union Square. Remember, though, that real estate is pricey in SF, and especially so in the center, so you can't expect a plethora of bed and breakfasts around the square.

Not to worry! We've identified three top B&Bs very close to Union Square that are among the very best in the city. They're all on Bush Street and are pegged at Highly Rated, Highly-Rated-Plus, and even Superb!

Cheap Hotels in San Francisco

Cheap Hotels In San Francisco

Cheap Hotels In San Francisco

If you want to save your travel dollars for having fun and eating out in San Francisco, and you don't want to spend a lot on lodging, then you're in the right place! While we want you to save money, we don't want you to have to stay in a hotel that's dirty or uncomfortable or unpleasant. Simple but clean is what we look for.

This list of cheap San Francisco lodging near Alamo Square, the Marina, and the Civic Center includes a couple that are Highly Rated. Even the lower-rated cheapies ("Good") we list are worth your consideration if you're on a budget. But there is one we want you to avoid…

Cheap Hotels Near Union Square

Cheap San Francisco Hotels Near Union Square

As we say elsewhere, "cheap" is a relative term, and nowhere is it more relative than around Union Square. With some of the highest housing prices in the country, real estate in the center of things is dear.

But, not being ones to give up easily, we cracked open our little black book of hotels (and consulted our resident genie) to present a handful of relatively affordable hotels (with prices tarting at around $150) near Union Square. These hotels are pegged from Highly Rated through Good to Stay Away!

Top Motels in The City by the Bay

Good Motels in San Francisco (There Are Only 3!)

Good Motels in San Francisco

If you're on a road trip, or traveling with family, you may want to consider a motel in San Francisco. Motels generally have larger rooms than their hotel cousins, but the decor tends to be more spartan. They're also not particularly cheap — don't expect any $89 roadside specials!

Outside of the Marina district, there are only three motels worth mentioning (in the opinion of the genie); but one of them, Beck's Motor Lodge, is Highly Rated, an unusual ranking for a motel. Be aware, though, that demand for decent motels is high and it's almost impossible to book a good room on short notice.

Motels Near the Marina

Motels Near the Marina

There is a grouping of motels near the Marina District, and we look at them in this dedicated article. There are two or three motels that we like, and a couple more we review that are only so-so at best.

Our top pick is appropriately called the Marina Motel (pictured) and we, along with guests, put it at Highly Rated. You need to book many, many months in advance to try to get a room there. (Better advice might be to stay at a hotel, closer to the center, that offers a reasonable parking rate and just leave your car there as you explore on foot, or by bus, boat, and cable car.)

Hotels in South San Francisco

The Best Hotels in South San Francisco

The Best Hotels in South San Francisco

You can save travel dollars (up to 50%) by staying in South San Francisco. While we do like to be closer to the center of the action, there's a lot to be said for getting bigger, family size rooms; for free parking; for nearby parks and bays; for the free airport shuttles; and for saving money!

There's a lot of so-so lodging in South SF, but we've consulted our Ouija board (plus used our extensive travel experience and read tons of guest reviews) to pick the five best hotels in South San Francisco.

Cheap Hotels in South San Francisco

If you want to really save money by staying outside of the SF city center, you might want to take a look at our picks for the best cheap hotels In South San Francisco. Ranging from a Marriott hotel to the family-owned Airport Inn here are five ways to stretch your vacation dollars.

Cheap Sleeps – San Francisco Hostels

The 3 Best San Francisco Hostels

The 3 Best San Francisco Hostels

Modern-day hostels are more than just about saving money. They are about a freer lifestyle and about socializing.

But, choosing a great hostel can be tough, especially in an expensive city like San Francisco. Worry note, dear reader, we've done the work for you in locating the three very best hostels in the City By The Bay.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Hostels

Hostels can be a great choice for budget travel, but some are better than others. Before you book your San Francisco hostel, you might want to read our reviews of these three "others."

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