Great Hotel Whitcomb
The hotel is well managed. The rooms are clean, spacious and cozy. The newly refurbished bathroom is a joy to shower in. The manager and staff offers great assistance to visitors. But no coffee or tea in rooms, unless you request for it. Will visit again when next travel in the region. Thanks a lot.
Unimpressive hotel, awful neighborhood
Before booking a room at the Hotel Whitcomb, ask yourself one simple question - why?
The only reason I can see someone choosing this particular hotel is price. Once certainly wouldn't choose this property for location, amenities, etc. Apart from being reasonably priced (for San Francisco), it had nothing else going for it.
The hotel itself isn't particularly awful - the lobby is quite nice. However the rooms are tiny with high ceilings which don't quite manage to compensate. The onsite restaurant is convenient, but seriously overpriced for the quality of the food.
The front desk staff were rude and abrupt when my fiance and I went to check in.
However, the worst thing about this hotel is the neighborhood. Market Street is a peculiar place. It's as though there's some invisible curtain dividing Market Street, centred along the intersection of Market and Powell.
After Powell, you find yourself in the financial district - there's a Four Seasons, various designer shops, and high end eateries.
Cross over Powell toward Civic Center (where the Whitcomb is located), and it all changes. The high end eateries are replaced with pawn shops and liquor stores. Most unnerving are the people - before my trip, I had a mental image of one or two homeless people sitting against buildings, begging for spare change. No - on Market Street they stumble drunkenly down the street, urine streams trailing down the sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon. At night, groups of down-and outs slur their words while screaming out obscenities at each other. That is, if they haven't passed out face down in a trash can.
Perhaps the most notable moment was a few blocks futher down, outside Market Street's Warfield Theatre. I had just attended a concert there, and fans had lined up to see the talent leave the stage door. Two uniformed police pulled up, seemingly shocked at a group of clean-cut under 30s waiting around this area after dark. We were told the area is - and I quote - "the arm pit of San Francisco" - and that while we probably shouldn't be there in the first place, we "might be okay" if we stick to Market Street itself and don't venture beyond that particular main road.
The area surrounding the Whitcomb has become known as the "Tenderloin" to locals - ostensibly due to the fact that officers patrolling the area were at one time paid more because of the added risk, and could thus afford to dine on tenderloin. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenderloin%2C_San_Francisco%2C_California)
To the Whitcomb's credit, they take reasonable security measures; after dark, you cannot access the elevators unless you prove to a uniformed security guard that you do indeed have a room key in your posession.
In summary - if you're thinking of booking here, evaluate why. If it's location, I'd recommend choosing another property further up Market Street, within the Financial District. If it's cost, you will likely be happy with the low room prices. Just be aware of what you're getting into with the surrounding neighborhood.
Location Location Location
I booked a room at the Hotel Whitcomb for five nights for a visit with family and friends. I booked their least expensive rate, their smallest room, because I'm on a pretty rigid budget. But it was just going to be me in the room and I just wanted a clean, secure room with a bed and a shower! The rate I booked was comparable to nearby one star motels, so I felt that I got a real bargain.
And that feeling was absolutely justified. As mentioned in other reviews, the lobby is old and grand - there is a feel of a little shabbiness in some public spaces (the elevator interiors are in rough shape, as is some of the hallway carpet), but overall pleasing. The restaurant is nice looking and the workout room is a very nice little facility.
And my cheap room, the smallest in the hotel? Well, they were all occupied by the time I checked in, so I was upgraded to a double / double on Market Street with a view of City Hall - and a bathroom with a window!
The furnishings were nice - and the bed linens are newly appointed, crisp and clean and very comfortable. The other furnishings were nice, with an old style feel, but they're modern reproductions and in good shape. A very comfortable room with wonderful high ceilings & very nice spa soaps & shampoo. And considering I booked their rock-bottom rate, it was a great bargain.
I know other visitors have expressed concerns about the neighborhood, but the homeless on the streets are outside all the Union Square hotels and downtown hotels too - so you can pay twice as much for a chain hotel and still have the same complaints about the homelessness. This is San Francisco, and it's a reality of the City. As an SF native, I guess I don't even notice it. I walked at night to clubs South of Market and back again in the early hours and didn't feel at all insecure.
And when I needed to take BART or Muni Metro, the entrance is literally outside the hotel door! Couldn't be more convenient.
Quirks of the hotel? As with any older hotel, there are not nearly enough electrical outlets. And for some reason they don't have coffee makers in the rooms - almost a given these days with even the most basic motel. Perhaps it's to drive business to the convenient Starbuck's in the lobby.
I'm going to make this hotel my hotel of choice from now on - as a San Francisco native I get back every few months to visit, and this hotel can't be beat.
whitcomb was great
It was a great stay. They upgraded us to a suite, so lots of room. Clean room and bathroom. Location was great for a couple that did not know any thing about getting around the city. There is a BART stop right outside the front door. The staff was great about questions that we had about the city and made good food recs.
We Liked the Whitcomb
After reading reviews on TA we booked the hotel through Travelocity. Overall, the hotel was nice. The location was central and could not have been better! We loved walking out the door and being able to hop on the F-Train or the MUNI [subway]. It was a short and nice walk to Union Square and many other touristy areas.
The only real complaints we had were the THIN walls...every sound from the neighbors was audible. We slept with the door closed in the bathroom and let the fan run all night to cover the sound. It worked well. The only other thing [and it is minor] was that the concierge would not print our boarding passes and we had to use a pay-terminal in the internet lounge.
The staff was helpful and the front desk staff was willing to answer questions and point us in the right direction. We would book here again without hesitation.
The hotel is old, rooms are small, but it is truly lovely and full of atmosphere - nothing like the new generic chain hotels.
The staff was helpful and nice, and the location - although a bit problematic at night - was overall excellent, within walking distance to almost every main tourist location, and with public transportation right outside.
I was a bit worried after reading some of the reviews here, but I found the hotel well run and reliable. Highly recommended to those of a limited budget.
Great Weeklong Stay at the Whitcomb
Booked a vacation package through Expedia...got a great rate for a week long stay at the end of March. Standard room with queen bed on the fifth floor had plenty of room for me and the bathroom was a good size too. Everything was very clean upon arrival and the housekeeping staff did a great job of keeping my room clean and fresh. Never heard my neighbors and kept the window open most nights and there was very little street noise. Street car, Muni Subway, BART, and many bus lines are just right outside the door...making it very easy to get around. Can easily walk to all the bars and nightlife on Folsom and Harrison Streets...cheap cab ride to spots in the Castro and the Mission. Great ethnic food all around...just get out and walk up Larkin or Jones. If you are not used to a more urban environment that involves characters of all kinds...you might want to stay near the Marina or Fisherman's Wharf. If you are coming to San Francisco to experience great theater, nightlife, restaurants, and shopping...the Whitcomb is perfect. I've stayed elsewhere in San Francisco and have paid alot more and felt pretty neutral about those accomodations. I highly recommend the Whitcomb for younger and gay vacationers.
My family is scheduled to stay in Hotel Whitcomb. I am getting nervous as I read made reviews that indicated that there are many homeless in that area and it is not safe.
Can anyone advise ?
Is this a safe and convenient ?
Re: Hotel Whitcomb
A native San Franciscan here, and while we live in the East Bay now, I agree with the previous poster -- this location is fine -- not far from City Hall, Opera House within blocks. The main downtown hotel and theater district near Union Square isn't any more free of people on the streets than this location. You'll be fine. The City is great! Lived most of my single woman adult life here--and worked just blocks from there when the City wasn't a nice and clean as it is now.
Re: Hotel Whitcomb
Yes, I agree that the area is relatively safe. It's also seedy. There is nothing nice, pleasant or attractive in the area. It's rather depressing. I doubt if there are any restuarants in the immediate vicinity where you'd like to dine. I think that there is a Burger King across the street.
The Marina District is delightful. Most of the accomodations in this upscale residental area are motels; most quite nice and are on Lombard Street. So, if you can live without room service (many can) try to cancel.
Re: Hotel Whitcomb
be careful, tho. As virtual786 has enjoyed pointing out in prior posts, there may be fat lazy OBESE AMERICANS in San Francisco. They might fall on you and crush you and your loved ones to death.
Re: Hotel Whitcomb
For the most part, our homeless are occasionally annoying, but rarely dangerous.
That area is handy to public transportation and is a short walk from lots of tourist attractions and good restaurants. (Maybe not right across the street, but very close.)
Re: Hotel Whitcomb
Frankly, having lived in SF for many years, I can honestly state, at least in my humble opinion, that the homeless situation in SF is out of control, and has been for many, many years. Civic Center Park is ground zero and is conveniently located near your Hotel. With that said, the area is okay, not great, but not dangerous, and as a previous poster pointed out, restaurant choices are somewhat lacking. Bring plenty of change and/or learn to say no with authority.