San Francisco is a creative, colorful city, with numerous cheap-chic options for lodging. Why not snooze in a room that reflects the city’s whimsical and offbeat side? Here’s a sampling:
One of the most colorful hotels—literally—is the Hotel des Arts near Union Square, where rooms are designed by local artists and muralists, like artist Sam Flores. The property is centrally located, and the rates are affordable. But don’t expect refined masterpieces—be prepared to sleep in rooms showcasing funky, urban iconography, from robotic creatures to graffiti-strewn landscapes.
A few strides from downtown and deeper into the Tenderloin, you’ll find the infamous Phoenix Hotel—a Joie de Vivre property known for its party-zone motel courtyard and refreshing swimming pool smack in the middle of San Francisco’s seediest neighborhood. Its clientele includes rock musicians to jetsetting hipsters, and despite its not-so-ideal location, the Phoenix manages to remain the popular hotel of choice for trendy, budget boutique hotel travelers seeking edgy accommodations.
If Japanese comics and pop culture are more your thing, head to Japantown to Hotel Tomo, a hotel where the cheerfully decorated lobby of toy vending machines and TV sets playing anime says it all. Some of the rooms have strange-shaped bean bags, iPod docking stations, and video game systems—you can’t get more playful than this.
The Good Hotel, which—like the Tomo—seems inspired in some ways by an IKEA showroom, is a motel-turned-ecofriendly hotel in SOMA, where some features are made of recycled materials, like your guest room’s water bottle chandelier. Cheap but chic, the hotel invites guests to participate in philanthropic and volunteer projects. It’s also a pet-friendly hotel—they’ll serve your pooch complimentary treats and a food bowl when you check in.