Culture & Criticism From the Far Distant Realms
In a town full of Holiday Inns, Marriot Hotels and Ramadas, you won’t hear too much about the Pacific Heights Inn. However, this hotel, nestled between the outer edge of the Union Street shopping district and Van Ness Avenue, is a real jewel: Simple, unassuming and comfortable – more about practicality than needless pomp and circumstance.
In the course of researching hotel accommodations, I stumbled upon a listing for the Pacific Heights Inn purely by accident. I was traveling with an elderly companion, and had to make sure that the place we were going to stay at could address the limitations of a person in her 80s.
In this regard, the Pacific Heights Inn came through with flying colors. There are several first-floor rooms that prove perfect for individuals who have a problem climbing stairs. Moreover, rooms are clean and well-kept, and the bath areas have showers that can be easily accessed by older folks who might be worried over slip-hazards. In addition, the management fills the bathrooms with plenty of towels, so you’re not constantly calling for extra provisions.
Other amenities include in-room microwaves and refrigerators, with many quarters equipped with mini-kitchenettes (ideal for families on holiday who want to prepare some meals on-site and further setting the place apart from its haughty competitors). However, there’s more: for the price of your room, you get to park your car in front of your door — free of charge. No, this is not a miss print. You get free parking here. And that’s an extra that many of the chain-hotels are charging 25-30 bucks a night for.
Still, the thing that puts the Pacific Heights Inn on my “A List” is the staff – the desk managers and maids I encountered went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed; this included: 1) giving us an extra chair for our room for the comfort of my elderly companion; and 2) making a last-minute change in reservations to account for an unforeseen storm). No contentious attitudes. No San Francisco snobbery — just a staff dedicated to the needs of the traveler (not so common an occurrence, no matter what the advertisements might say).
If you’re on a budget and looking to stay in a nice district with real ‘Frisco personality, you might consider the Pacific Heights Inn. Even though it’s not sitting smack downtown (and even though the rooms are somewhat modest in size), the richness of the home-like experience will amaze you.
PRICES: $75.00 to $140.00 — with prices roughly 20% cheaper than similar places. The parking and breakfast extras alone equate to a $35-$40 daily savings.
EXTRAS: Free parking. Breakfast (coffee; donuts; fruit; juice); Wireless Internet connection on-site; cable television.
LOCATION: Union Street between Van Ness and Franklin Streets. Enviable location, near to North Beach, the Marina and the Wharf. Moreover, the close proximity of the hotel to Union Street’s famed shopping district means that you’ll have countless eateries to choose from. Also some fun saloons and nightclubs close-by for those who want to prowl after dark.