Doubles from: $119 to $199
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Reviewed by EuroCheapo.com Editors
Gush alert: We outright adored the splurge-worthy Best Western Carriage Inn. Sure, the “Best Western” modifier usually suggests a chain hotel—and that’s what we saw from the outside. But when we entered the brown-and-turquoise lobby and saw a wall lined with framed caricatures of “San Francisco eclectics,” it was love at first sight.
Let us explain. San Francisco has shaped and been shaped by innumerable literary greats, from Mark Twain to Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The literary-themed Carriage Inn (“carriage” refers to the piece on a typewriter), located in the industrial-turned-artsy SoMa district, pays tribute to those movers and shakers, along with other San Francisco “types.” (We spy Danielle Steele, Patty Hearst and the Bush Man, who covers himself in leaves and startles unsuspecting passersby on Pier 39.)
Each of the hotel’s 48 rooms is dedicated to one of these personalities. That means that in addition to its eclectic, modern décor, your room might have a caricature of the Nob Hill Twins, plus (our favorite part!) a bio on the spool of an antique typewriter telling their story. (These identical seniors can be seen roaming the city, always dressed alike and to the nines. Fur coat, pillbox hat? Check and check!)
Like the neighborhood in which they reside and the eccentrics they honor, the hotel’s guestrooms are an artful mix of Victorian polish and modern edginess. Think patterned wallpaper, boxy turquoise dressers, sumptuous bedcovers and sleek armchairs, with a couple Asian lamps thrown in for good measure. Each room is outfitted with air conditioning, soundproof windows, a telephone, flat-screen TV, iPod dock and coffee/tea facilities. Some rooms also have a fireplace.
The simple bathrooms may not be as stylish as the rooms themselves, but they are modern and equipped with a hair dryer, toiletries and fluffy bathrobes.
Is it ultra luxurious? No. It may even be considered a standard midrange hotel. But the Carriage Inn also has oodles of personality and a fun theme. It’s also got a pretty outdoor patio and an on-site hot tub. And, since it’s run by the same folks as fellow EuroCheapo pick, the Best Western Americania (located across the street), the Carriage Inn’s guests have access to the Americania’s rooftop pool.
A continental breakfast is included in the room rate. There is a free Internet station in the lobby and Wi-Fi is free throughout. Parking is also available for a reasonable $20 per night.
Note: This hotel was visited by a EuroCheapo editor. This review is based on cleanliness, location, price and overall quality. EuroCheapo did not charge this hotel to be listed.
- Breakfast Included
- Reception: 24-Hour
- Wi-Fi: Free
- Air conditioning
- Bathroom: Private
- Bathtubs Available
- Cable TV
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About the Carriage Inn neighborhood
Spunky SoMa sprawls from the Embarcadero to 11th Street. Its name, short for "South of Market," also recalls the days when this area was "South of the Slot," (namely, the "wrong side of cable car the tracks"). The 1990s’ dot com boom ushered in a wave of Internet start-ups and young creatives that cleaned things up, and now SoMa is hip with a downtown edge.