San Francisco is an amazing city with lots to see and do, but it’s also one of the most expensive cities in the country. We recently spent a weekend in the city and had a great time – without breaking the bank!
When I turned 30, Mr. Crumbs had surprised me with a weekend in Las Vegas and tickets to see O by Cirque de Soleil. I was completely FLOORED when I opened the card containing the flight and show confirmations. I had no idea that anything like this was planned – NONE – and he had been secretly planning it for weeks! The best part? He was in cahoots with a very good friend of mine and she and her husband flew out and spent the weekend with us!
The only problem with this gift? Mr. Crumbs set the bar HIGH for his 30th birthday. I mean, can-you-even-see-the-bar-up-there-in-the-clouds kind of high. I had no idea what to do, where to go, or where to even begin for his birthday, PLUS there was a big catch: we’ve started planning a trip to Costa Rica.
In our six years of marriage, we’ve never taken a real “vacation.” Sure we’ve taken a long weekend to go camping, and even spent two weeks during the Christmas season with family on the other coast. But we’ve never taken a “real” family vacation.
My husband is a surfer and we want to go to a surf camp… someday. Due to typical life-stuff, our departure date has been pushed back a few times, but the fact of the matter is that we still plan to go, and it’s going to be expensive.
So we’ve saved our pennies, banked our vacation time and waited… patiently. 🙂
With an expensive trip on the horizon, I was limited on funds for his birthday. I had to figure out a way to make his birthday special and memorable without breaking the bank.
After MUCH brain storming, I decided to take him to a Giants game. I ball-parked (pun intended 😉 ) the time it would take to get there, watch the game and then drive home and quickly realized that by the end of this “trip,” there wasn’t much room room for anything else. While that would have been be a good day, I wanted a great and memorable day.
I’ve gotta reach (or at least get close enough to see) that insanely-high bar in the clouds, remember?
We simply HAD to stay overnight, which means I had to find a hotel. Here’s what Expedia had to show me:
Let me re-phrase – I had to find an affordable hotel.
$675 for ONE NIGHT?!?! I couldn’t afford that. Even $259 was out of my price range!
**This is where panic set in and I started to feel defeated and disappointed, and nothing was even planned yet! Calm down Tiffany. Breathe in… breathe out…
San Francisco is really big and there are A LOT of hotels (at least 278, thank you Expedia). I was going in blind and sorting through them all without a clue as to where I wanted to stay wasn’t doing me any good. Then I started to think about parking, because that’s a very serious issue (meaning, there is none). The city is filled with parking garages, but those fees can add up fast if we’re checking in and out of several garages over the weekend.
Since the Giants game was the highlight of the trip, I decided to choose a hotel within walking distance of AT&T Park. This way, if going to the game was the only thing we did, driving and parking issues couldn’t hamper our good time (plus it would reduce our chances of getting lost, lol).
This narrowed me down to only a few hotels within walking distance of the ballpark. The average price of those hotels? A whopping $240. Ouch. That was still higher than I wanted to pay…
But after sorting and checking and unchecking boxes, reading page after page, I found a hidden gem.
A lone hotel priced at $137 stared me in the face. Is that a typo? And if not, it’s gotta be dump, right?
I read the reviews… on Expedia, TripAdvisor, Travelocity, Orbitz… I read as many reviews as I possibly could on this place and it seemed completely legit! I compared prices on those same sites, AND the hotel’s website, and happily hit “submit” to book our night at Club Quarters for $136 – and that INCLUDED all the taxes and fees!!
How you can find a cheap(er) hotel when you travel too:
- Determine why you’re going on this trip to begin with and try to find a place close by. If you’re going to Anaheim for Disney, why stay in San Diego? Cut out the drive time (and parking, and gas, and traffic…) and stay nearby and enjoy it. If you want to see more sights, be willing to drive a little for the “maybe” stops.
- Are amenities important, or not important? I started searching for hotels with “free parking,” but quickly abandoned that plan when only 2 – for the entire city – showed up. We didn’t need a swimming pool, fitness center or spa services… only check the boxes that are must-haves, otherwise a great deal could be left out of the results.
- Sort by price, and then keep scrolling down. Naturally the more expensive hotels will be the first ones to show up in the search results. Sort with the least expensive first and then continue to read beyond the paid advertisement hotels. Hidden gems are HIDDEN, remember?
- Read as many reviews as you can. Some sites can be altered to only show positive reviews. Don’t rely on just one site. Be diligent and thorough and read as many as you can.
- Don’t believe one (or two) bad reviews. In my research, I read a review from a user who gave our hotel 2 (out of 5) stars because he wasn’t able to read the words on the complimentary shampoo and conditioner bottles. True story! Don’t let those little stars deter you – read the words for yourself!
My Personal Hotel Review:
If you’re looking for a place to sleep and not pay an arm and a leg, this is it. The motto of this hotel is “The Smart Hotel for the Sensible Traveler” – that was me!
This location is in the financial district – 1.2 miles from AT&T Park, 2 miles from Fisherman’s Wharf and a just a few blocks from all the transit center hubs. The hotel is designed for efficiency and for business travelers. There’s no breakfast, no crazy sprawl of a room. It’s big enough to hold two people (maybe three) and your stuff, and that’s about it. You can gauge the width of the room in the picture above . Considering we weren’t in San Francisco to see the hotel, that was just fine by us.
If you’re accustomed to grandiose hotel lobbies and plush accommodations, this is not it. This is just as big as it needs to be and no more. But to be honest, it was perfect for us. It was clean, comfortable and the shower was extra hot. Check!
After joking about its size (it’s about two times the size of my arm span. Seriously.), we decided that we’d definitely stay there again. There were no bugs and we didn’t feel unsafe. If that sounds appealing to you, I recommend Club Quarters.
Disclaimer: I am not being paid by Club Quarters to endorse their hotel. I am writing based on my own experiences. The only incentive I have to stay at Club Quarters is a discount for being a repeat customer, which you can qualify for too. 🙂This post is shared at The Purposeful Mom, , Life as Mom