Review of Comfort Inn Motel

September 24, 2007
Comfort Inn Motel, 825 Polk Street, San Francisco, California, CA 94109, USA

A gem of a hotel in a slightly rough area but fantastic value with all the services you need and a bus downtown around the corner for $1.50

I recently had to make a last minute trip to San Francisco. I assumed that leaving the hotel booking until the day before the flight would work in my favour and I would get an amazing downtown bargain somewhere. I was wrong. It turns out that there were three big conferences on the same days so nearly everywhere was booked out.

I spent the entire day using all the classic sites like lastminute, kayak, google, discount this, cheap that, blah-hotel-blah with little luck. Hotels seemed to be in three categories:

  • Reasonable price but 15 miles out in Airport
  • Roach motels in terrible area of town
  • $850 a night luxury hotels

All I wanted was somewhere clean between $100 and $200 per night where I wasn’t risking my life and I could get to the conference with not too much effort.

Most of the cheaper ones turned out to be hellholes, some only had shared bathrooms. All seemed to be in the Tenderloin which is supposedly this awful area of San Fran full of hobos and hookers.

Finally on Kayak I found the Comfort Inn and it looked ideal apart from location. Luckily I did some more reading to discover that hobos and hookers are pretty ubiquitous in SF and generally they don’t bother you. It looks like all those other reviews I read were by people who had never visited a big city. I then used the awesome Google Street View to effectively walk from downtown to the hotel. Sure, I could see that the area got a bit poorer the closer I got but I’ve seen a lot worse at home.

So I went for it and I’m so glad I did. I flew BA from LHR to SFO, grabbed a Super Shuttle which is a mini-bus you share with others going to the same area as you. The driver didn’t know the hotel or the street but luckily I’d printed off Google maps and directed him. I noticed that there was an enormous number of homeless people everywhere including the tourist downtown areas.

I arrived to find a motel-style place where the rooms opened out to a parking lot. A slightly dodgy looking cinema was across the road but there was a Subway on one side and a Quizno’s on the other. The guy at reception was very friendly and I headed up to the room.

Wow, what a surprise. A big modern room with a good double bed. Coffee maker, flat screen TV, ironing board, hair-dryer and both wired and wireless free internet. I was thrilled.

I stayed three nights and it fit my needs perfectly. The maid forgot to restock shampoo one day and coffee creamer the next but I could easily have got them down in reception. There was quite a bit of traffic noise from the street but anyone used to living in a city wouldn’t notice it. Internet accesss was quite fast. The shower had body jets and was superb and all linen and towels were clean and not old.

Due to the multiple conferences, taxi access on the first two mornings was always going to be a problem. But the manager pointed out that I could get a bus from around the corner for $1.50 to the door of the conference on Market Street. OK, so I was the only guy in a suit with a laptop on the bus but it was fast, efficient and regular. I did walk past several homeless on the way but they just ignore you. I love saving money like that.

I got cabs back from downtown and they were only $6 or so at night which is cheap. On the final day, checkout was instant and they called me a cab which only took five minutes to arrive. I think they did “continental” breakfast in the hotel but I didn’t bother. My guess is that it consists of a croissant and coffee.

Using kayak.com I got it for $117 on the Sunday night, $99 on Monday and $90 on Tuesday. Considering some of the roach motels were nearly the same price, this is an absolute bargain.

If you are visiting SF and don’t mind being a few minutes from downtown then this hotel is perfect. I’ll be using it the next time I go over.

Rated 4/5 on Sep 24 2007 by Mr C

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