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Where to stay when attending SFB performances


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#16 California

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:38 AM

A friend just emailed me this:
I stayed downtown San Fran, at the Whitcomb Hotel as it was walking distance to the Opera House. Every San Fran native said to stay by Fisherman’s Wharf. I personally wouldn’t stay downtown again. There are a lot of mental health patients out in the day and they do drugs and smoke up right on the grass in front of the government buildings. I am used to this sort of stuff growing up downtown Toronto, but the difference is they are so high they will come so close to you to talk as they have no conception of personal space. On a good note, at night the police is out in full force and there are no homeless people or druggies out, but by the morning they are all there again – it was the oddest thing!

Any comments?

I once tried staying at the Holiday Inn-Civic Center on 8th St., right around the corner from the Whitcomb. Never again! Market St. is okay during the day, as you have a lot of people and traffic around, but you definitely want to take a cab back from the Opera House to either hotel. Fortunately, that's only about $5. After dark, swarms of people you would find frightening are all over the sidewalk. San Francisco has what seems to be the worst homeless problem I've seen in any major American city.

I have family members who always stay in the Fisherman Wharf's area, and there are several national chains there with good rates. But there is a pervasive fishy smell in that area. You also have the problem of derelicts on the sidewalk that can be scary after dark. And this would be a long cab ride after the performance.

I much prefer anything in the immediate area of Union Square. There are several major chains, as well as boutique hotels. If you shop around a bit and look for their AAA rates, prices aren't so bad. (I've never tried the Inn at the Opera, but might look into that in the future.) You need to take a cab back, but it's half the distance of Fisherman's Wharf. During the day, you are right on the cable car line, which is always fun.

#17 Helene

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:51 AM

Union Square is a great area with lots of choices, and it's where all of the major department stores are and a very short BART ride to Embarcadero, a five-minute walk to the Ferry Terminal, where on weekend days there is a big outdoor market around the building and inside, some wonderful places to eat. I love to go there before matinees, and then take BART to Civic Center, a few long blocks to the Opera House.

For what it's worth, I think Fisherman's Wharf is overrated.

#18 Birdsall

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:58 AM

I stayed at the Opal (mentioned above), and I thought it was fine (our room was clean, and you enter using a card key, dirt cheap), although it is up the hill, but I stayed there with an 80 year old female friend of mine (mention this so you can gauge whether it is for you), and she had no problem walking to and from the opera house with me. She loved the walk and was forced by her daughter to give up high heels recently otherwise we would have taken a cab. However, there is a seedy element on some of the side streets and even on Van Ness at night but especially behind the hotel. I arrived at 1am and caught her leaving the hotel for food (she flew earlier than I did). I almost had a heart attack when the clerk said she just left to go hunt for food on the streets behind the hotel. It is not exactly the best area for an 80 year old woman to be wandering around by herself at 1am, but she is fearless. During the day we felt totally safe including the side streets and behind the hotel, although we did have a couple of times when people wanted money, but I just said, "No," each time and they didn't bother us after telling them no. This was Summer 2011. Maybe the area has gone downhill even more since, but I would stay there again since it was so cheap. I am a 6 foot tall 45y.o. man though, so I am less scared than others might be. My 80 year old friend seemed to like it and wasn't frightened at all either, but she is that way. She finds everything an adventure. I just give all this info so you can gauge whether it is a place for you. I found it to be a very convenient location. Yoga, various restaurants, near Japan Town, near China Town (sort of a walk), near the opera house, near good coffee shops!!!!

#19 Helene

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:33 PM

The average panhandler in San Francisco is by US standards the most initially aggressive I've encountered since NYC pre-Giuliani, but they're generally loud and more in your personal space than actually dangerous, and I don't remember ever having one reject a flat, "No." Walking up Van Ness, you'll encounter a few homeless people and panhandlers, especially since there's critical mass on the street after an event, and it's a smart place to be. But it's like being in Times Square in NYC, because WM lets out directly to the street, with no Lincoln Center Plaza or Seattle Center to buffer it from the heart of the city.

The reason there are so many homeless people on the street is that, for the most part, the climate is such that people don't freeze to death or die from tremendous heat if they live on the street. The same is true in the Pacific Northwest, where the climate is relatively mild, even if it's wet for months at a time. It's not like NYC or Toronto where the temperatures are life-threatening for months at a stretch.

Because I travel alone so much, I, personally, would rather be in a populated, well-lit part of town with some homeless people around than dark, deserted areas. I find it much less stressful.

The only thing I minded about the Opal was a slight industrial smell in my room, probably from whatever they used to clean. Otherwise, it was very clean, the bed comfortable, and the Wifi reliable. It's an uphill walk, but on a comfortable part of the grade.

I think there's now a 24-hour, or at least a very late-night diner, within a few blocks Van Ness.

#20 Globetrotter

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:31 PM

I'd recommend the Inn at the Opera. Its across the street from the Opera house, not too pricey and has a good breakfast. It reminds me of the Hotel Opera in Copenhagen: same location, price & breakfast!

#21 pherank

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:10 PM

A friend just emailed me this:
I stayed downtown San Fran, at the Whitcomb Hotel as it was walking distance to the Opera House. Every San Fran native said to stay by Fisherman’s Wharf. I personally wouldn’t stay downtown again. There are a lot of mental health patients out in the day and they do drugs and smoke up right on the grass in front of the government buildings. I am used to this sort of stuff growing up downtown Toronto, but the difference is they are so high they will come so close to you to talk as they have no conception of personal space. On a good note, at night the police is out in full force and there are no homeless people or druggies out, but by the morning they are all there again – it was the oddest thing!

Any comments?


I'm not very big on Fisherman's Wharf - strictly a "lowbrow" tourist trap. ;)
You might want to visit nearby Ghirardelli Square or The Cannery for the shopping. But as others have mentioned, Union Square, and further away, Union STREET, are great for boutique shopping or window browsing.

One of the standouts regarding SF is the incredible number of excellent restaurants, and bars too, for that matter. For a city of its physical size, there's every conceivable cuisine to sample, block after block. And SF is a capital of the organic cuisine world. Jardiniere, right beside the Performing Arts Parking structure, is well known, and may still be good.

http://www.urbanspoo...rby-restaurants

I've also heard good things about Inn at the Opera.

#22 Renata

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:43 PM

I did have a pleasant stay at the Regency Hyatt on Union Square and another stay at the Fairmont where I got an amazingly reasonable rate for my room by clicking on a variety of "discounts" for San Francisco and then putting a code right into the Fairmont's web page. The Fairmont is near the top of Nob Hill so you defnitely would not want to walk up there...I bought a muni pass and enjoyed taking the Cable Car back to the hotel from Union Square and my other walking sojourns. And I agree---you do want to have a ride in a cab after the performance. After my daughter was settled in San Francisco I'd stay at her apartment in the Mission/Noe Valley; she had a car so we'd drive back there at night despite its convenience to the BART.

#23 Helene

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 02:46 PM

If you haven't already booked your hotel reservation, Inn at the Opera is having a special for new reservations only with a two-night minimum, between 21 November and 31 March except for the following blackout dates:

31 December
31 Jan-2 Feb
10-12 Mar

http://www.shellhosp...e_opera.php#iao

I'd check all of the travel websites for Thanksgiving sales.

I'm not sure when you're planning to attend, but they're also offering a $50 certificate for all stays in January, with an expiration date of 1 December 2013.

#24 pherank

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:17 PM

If you haven't already booked your hotel reservation, Inn at the Opera is having a special for new reservations only with a two-night minimum, between 21 November and 31 March except for the following blackout dates:

31 December
31 Jan-2 Feb
10-12 Mar

http://www.shellhosp...e_opera.php#iao

I'd check all of the travel websites for Thanksgiving sales.

I'm not sure when you're planning to attend, but they're also offering a $50 certificate for all stays in January, with an expiration date of 1 December 2013.


Thanks for the heads up notice! I went ahead and booked a couple nights for one of the programs I'll be seeing. ;)

#25 pherank

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 06:39 PM

I realized that I should now report on my own experiences staying at hotels in SF (now that I'm an out-of-towner, and all my friends live somewhere around SF, not in SF).

 

I've now been a guest at both the Inn At The Opera, and the Chancellor Hotel on Union Square - both are resonably priced (for SF) and have good locations, but for different reasons. The Chancellor is right near a corner of Union Square - a major shopping district of the city. And the cable car (going north towards Ghirardelli and Fisherman's Wharf) stops at the corner near the hotel. The standard room was modest in size, but cozy, and they have a pillow menu from which to choose any type of pillow.  ;)  A small refrigerator but no microwave that I recall. It's an old SF building, so the layout will seem a bit funky, but the rooms have been modernised in their decor. Clean. There is a trendy new restaurant on the premises (not inexpensive). A taxi ride to the War Memorial Opera House is in order from that location, but not terribly expensive (I think it was about $8).

 

The Inn At The Opera is exactly that - literally next door to the SF Ballet building and about 100 yards from the War Memorial side entrance. So, if you don't want any issues with getting to the ballet, and don't want to pay for taxis/buses, then it's the only place to stay really. Small and cozy as well. Another old SF building that retains a certain oddness - the old stairs creak, and it's somewhat difficult getting in and out of the elevator (which doesn't hold many people). That's where I kept running into Maina Gielgud who was staging Suite En Blanc for SFB. Makes sense that guests/visitors to the company stay at the Inn at the Opera. There's no restaurant on the premises, but the Sage Cafe is around the other side of the block and all the ballet people (and the school's students) go there - they do serve some kind of breakfast food as I remember, but are mainly an Asian-fusion cafe, with great smoothies (in other words, very eclectic). Otherwise, there's always food at the War Memorial.



#26 Helene

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 07:01 PM

Wow, the pricey retaurant that in the morning is a breakfast room closed down? That's amazing given how close it was to War Memorial.

#27 pherank

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 07:46 PM

Wow, the pricey retaurant that in the morning is a breakfast room closed down? That's amazing given how close it was to War Memorial.

 

Sorry, good catch Helene - my brain got scrambled on that one - as far as I know, "Plaj" is stil there (though considering how fast restaurants go out of business...) at the Inn at the Opera. There's a complimentary breakfast service that operates out of that same space in the morning. The Chancellor has Luques restaurant now.




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