This is the seventh in the series of reviews of my trip to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The following links will become clickable after each review becomes available:

I spent a lot of time trying to decide where to stay in San Francisco. One thing became pretty obvious – it’s an expensive city and there aren’t many deals to be had there. Parking is expensive and if I had a car with me, I may have looked at some of the bay area hotels that offer free parking. In the end, I was left with two area choices; Fisherman’s Wharf area or the Union Square area around Powell Street BART station.The Fisherman’s Wharf area has to be on everyone’s SF visit list. The Alcatraz tour ferry also runs from one of the piers along the front so one way or another you will find yourself at the wharf.

The Union Square area has big stores, a shopping mall, the Victorian buildings and the cable cars. I also read that there are lots of homeless there.

I chose the Union Square area, mainly because it was easy to take the BART direct from the airport to Powell Street. I’d also discovered that the city was quite small and it would be pretty easy to take a cable car or taxi to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Next was to look for a hotel. Hilton is usually my first choice, just because I have a Gold card and that gives me an upgraded room, lounge access and free breakfast. The Hilton was running around $279 a night plus tax and the trip advisor reviews weren’t helping. All the other big chain hotels were similar prices. I found an independent hotel, called Villa Florence that had some good reviews, for $144 per night on – the hotel website was showing a much higher rate. I emailed the hotel and asked if they could match the bookit rate and they were happy to do so. I booked two rooms, for three nights, with them direct and I think I made the right choice.

Arriving at Powell Street with suitcases is a little daunting, even during the day. Apart from being in an unfamiliar busy city for the first time, there are also hundreds of homeless hanging around the streets, some begging, some selling junk, some just completely out of it. We later got used to these, even walking out at night, as they didn’t seem dangerous. The hotel is only a five-minute walk and we were soon at checkin.

The receptionist, a nice girl from South Africa, was really friendly and listened to my concerns about noisy rooms (stuff I’d read on trip advisor). We were given two rooms on a high floor; both were of a similar comfortable standard, although I would have been disappointed with my Son’s room as the window opened onto a brick wall (he didn’t care). Mine had a great view to an Irish pub across the street (actually around the corner from the hotel as I wasn’t at the front).

The room was clean, bed comfortable, bathroom was well-appointed, the free wi-fi worked well and I would definitely stay at the hotel again. We were also given a late checkout without a fee.

Villa Florence
225 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 | San Francisco
Phone: (415) 397 7700 | Toll Free Number: (888) 758 4668

Villa Florence Hotel
Villa Florence Hotel – it’s on the left-hand side of the street with a canopy over the entrance
View from Villa Florence window
View from Villa Florence window