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For some reason, hotels for my sail date are pretty pricey for the Fisherman's Wharf area. Maybe, I'm looking too early, sail 4/6/19. So, I'm expanding my search to the Union Square area. Does anyone have first hand experience with The Donatello?

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What is your definition of "pretty pricey"? April is about the start of the high season. But Saturday should be a "cheap" date as weekdays are more expensive due to business travelers. We usually stay around Union Square. We have friends who like the Donatello and stay there a couple of times a year. We usually go for the St. Francis or Hilton Financial District.

 

I wouldn't get to excited about booking this far out. There are plenty of places to stay in SF.

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That is also the weekend of the Rock and Roll marathon in San Francisco. (I am thinking of doing the half marathon myself thus the reason I know this). That will add extra folks and thus increase hotel demand along that area.

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SF hotels are always very pricey, unfortunately, in the popular tourist areas. We live across the bay and wanted to spend the night there before a cruise a couple years ago and the prevailing rates there were ALL $600-$1,200 per night for October, and they end 6-8 months out and the prices never did go down.

There were several usual events and conventions which filled the rather small city.

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Sorry, you're right, I should have defined pricey. Ideally, our budget would be under $200, but it doesn't look like that's happening, so we'll be happy if we can find something nice for under $300. Looking at doing 2 days precruise and possibly a day after we get back on the 21st.

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I have gotten rooms at that rate at both the St Francis and Hilton Financial District. St Francis we have done a couple of times early December for $285 and last June I got a two room suite at Hilton for $305. If you don't belong to AAA or AARP join. Hilton offers great discounts for both those. Also, join Hilton Honors as they have lower rates also if a member. Hilton and Parc 55 both have rooms around those dates for $165 to $260.

 

St Francis usually after April jumps up considerable. But, I just looked and they do have rates for those dates at $300. If you do end up staying around Union Square a couple of nice places to eat are Sear's (breakfast) and Le Colonel (dinner), great cucumber martini (off menu you have to ask). Just one block down from St Francis is a "flagship" Walgreen's that has an outstanding selection of wine if you want to stock up for the ship. We usually buy there when we spend the weekend rather than the wine shop in the hotel, much cheaper.

 

You might also look around Jack London Square in Oakland.

Edited by ATSEAMYLIFE
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Another alternative is to stay near the Oakland Airport and take BART into San Francisco for sight seeing. We generally stay at the Hilton Oakland Airport for less than $200 a night and then we take Uber or Lyft to the pier. We also prefer to fly in and out of Oakland - we get good flight schedules and the airport is a lot less hectic than SFO. If you get the Clipper senior card BART is about 2/3 off!

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Let me see, Oakland airport for less than $200 or Hilton San Francisco for $165. I know my pick!!!! No offense, we have done early AM flights from OAK and have stayed at the Hilton. It's fine, except there's nothing around it you would want to walk to. Flying from OAK is a snap compared to getting to SFO. But, this is about pre-cruise staying and my vote is still near Union Square.

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Thanks, this gives me some great information. One question about the St Francis. I see landmark rooms and tower rooms. Any advantage to one or the other?

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No real advantage. IMO: the best rooms are in the Landmark with Union Square views. Tower is a newer build and faces the bay. Landmark are more vintage era and face more toward the city. Some of the Landmark rooms can have obstructed views as the way the old building was built. We have never stayed in the tower only gotten Landmark with Union Square views, which are especially pretty during Christmas. Cable car runs right past the front door.

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I did a pre-cruise stay at the Parc 55 a few months back (3 blocks from Union Square) and found the location saved me money/time.

  • Airport to hotel on the BART subway. The Powell station is across the street from the hotel.
  • Cable cars stops a block away from the Parc
  • The F Line street car across the makes it super convenient to get to Fisherman's Wharf
  • Chinatown is a 20 minute walk for Dim Sum
  • $17 taxi ride to the cruise terminal with my luggage

I'm likely going to stay there again next time.

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I did a pre-cruise stay at the Parc 55 a few months back (3 blocks from Union Square) and found the location saved me money.

 

Came pretty close to staying there last June. It is a Hilton property and I am brand loyal. However, we had family so got larger multi-room suites at the Hilton Union Sq just about a block away for a better overall price. If it was just DW & I we would try the 55 if the St Francis was to much $$$$.

 

If you do stay near either 55 or Hilton U/S we had a great breakfast at The Pinecrest.

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We live in the East Bay and work in San Francisco, and our "staycations" have usually been spent at Hotel Griffon, which is on the Embarcadero, almost directly across from the Ferry Building (which is a foodie delight, btw). The trick is to book a "View" room; the hotel is quite small and similar to the small hotels we've stayed at in Europe. But the View rooms have truly spectacular views of the bay and the Bay Bridge, including the light shows at night. If you can't book a view room I wouldn't bother because the rooms though immaculate are quite small. Of all the view rooms, the View Suites on the top floor are the best rooms. I think there are only two of them but if you can snag one they are very nice. The hotel like many in San Francisco gets pricey during the week because it caters to business travelers, but weekends are often much less expensive. I don't think you can web-book more than six months out but if you call you can probably arrange something. Hotel Vitale is nearby and has the same spectacular view from some of it's rooms, is a larger hotel and has a few more amenities; we have never stayed there but have heard good things from friends whose family has stayed there on visits to San Francisco. Again, insist on a view room, otherwise it's nothing particularly special. Hotel Vitale is also a little more spendy, I think.

 

We usually eat dinner at Boulevard, which is about two doors down from Hotel Griffon. San Francisco has a bazillion great restaurants, each more trendy than the next, and all worthy of a visit, but we keep going back to Boulevard because the food is consistently great, and it's lovely to stroll back to the hotel and collapse in bed after a fine meal, without having to bother with cabs, pay for parking, or worry about how much good wine the driver drank at dinner. The Embarcadero BART station is a short walk if you want to get out and see the sights; it appears to me that every tourist on the planet heads to Union Square or Fisherman's Wharf, but if you want to get a real taste of local life in San Francisco, I recommend you take BART to the Mission District: get off at 24th St. and walk up to Valencia street to stroll the shops and galleries, have a beer at Monk's Kettle, find a taqueria for a Mission District burrito (there is a thread on every San Francisco forum on I know of that devolves into an argument as to which taqueria is best, so I say, go find your own, and then join into the debate) and finally swing by Tartine for one of their outrageously delicious tarts for dessert. You can get off at 16th Street BART too but that stop can really force you to run the gauntlet of aggressive panhandlers that are an inevitable part of the BART scene, and 24th Street feels a little quieter in that regard.

 

April is the start of the baseball season so if you are fan and the Giants are at home, you can snag tix and stroll along the Embarcadero (or take Muni) to AT&T Park, which is a truly spectacular place to see a ballgame.

 

Alternately, if you'd like to pay homage to an American foodie institution, hop on BART in the opposite direction (across the bay) to Berkeley, then walk or take a cab to Chez Panisse, where all foodies should eat at least once in their lives, in my opinion. Chez Panisse accepts reservations a month to the day from the day you want to eat there, but if you can't get a reservation, call the day you want to go because cancellations happen. If you don't want to go as far as Berkeley, check to see who is playing at the Fox Theater in Oakland that night and if the music takes your fancy, take BART to 19th Street Oakland, eat at one of the yummy places in the neighborhood and then enjoy the concert in the beautifully restored theater. Just check the BART schedule so you don't miss the last train back across the bay; BART stops running around midnight, which is just way too early IMHO but what can ya do. In any case, enjoy your short stay in our beautiful Bay Area!

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Let me see, Oakland airport for less than $200 or Hilton San Francisco for $165. I know my pick!!!! No offense, we have done early AM flights from OAK and have stayed at the Hilton. It's fine, except there's nothing around it you would want to walk to. Flying from OAK is a snap compared to getting to SFO. But, this is about pre-cruise staying and my vote is still near Union Square.

 

I looked up what we are paying at the Oakland Hilton: $120. I wrote under $200 since I wasn't sure what the cost was (we often stay at this property and have paid various amounts.).

 

I offered Oakland as an alternative to those who want to fly into Oakland and are only looking for an inexpensive place to stay the night before a cruise. I, too, have stayed in San Francisco in various locations, but that's when I want to spend time there. For this particular trip I'm only looking for a place to sleep and will be there about 12 hours.

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I looked up what we are paying at the Oakland Hilton: $120.

 

I offered Oakland as an alternative to those who want to fly into Oakland and are only looking for an inexpensive place to stay the night before a cruise. For this particular trip I'm only looking for a place to sleep and will be there about 12 hours.

 

Based on that criteria, then Oakland Hilton isn't a bad place. It's close to the airport and the BART station into the City.

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Love your review "Afterward" and we aren't even close to being "bay area" natives. We are about 60 miles due east and I only wish we could catch BART and do a staycation when rates are low. I am making a list of your foodie recommendations for our next trip.

 

We had two great meals at Foreign Cinema, which I would highly recommend.

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