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Harcourt Residence Hotel

Hostel Review San Francisco

Harcourt Hotel San Francisco

1105 Larkin @ Sutter

Price Quote: $50 per night (+14% SF City Hotel Tax)

We feature two separate "on-the-spot" reviews below...

T.G. of Berlin writes, "The Harcourt is a pretty clean and safe hotel conveniently located near the Union Square area. Several buses and even the cable car are in a walking distance (even at night) and the neighborhood is relatively safe, though you should avoid a walk down Larkin Street through the Tenderloin at night (but this is not necessary due to the convenient location as described above).

It is more kind of a hostel than a hotel, breakfast and dinner are included in the rate (weekly, two weeks or longer stays), on Sunday they serve a noon brunch. Guests are typically language students from all over the world (especially Japan, France and Germany) and long-term local residents. It does not seem to be a real housing project. The last three years when we stayed there we met 10 or 12 people still staying there.

Most of them live there, work there and hang around in the lobby all day long. No dangerous people, however, some of them are kind of strange (do you remember the movie "One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest"?). The food consists of huge meat portions, soup, and dessert - not recommended for health enthusiasts but edible. Nevertheless, I would recommend The Harcourt to younger budget travelers."

W.L. writes , "Located at the NW corner of Sutter and Larkin, <editor: In our opinion, this neighborhood is questionable.> the Harcourt Hotel had one of the best deals around. It cost $50 a night for a couple in a room with private bath. The $50 includes breakfast and dinner. Considering the cost of food in SF, we certainly didn't expect much for a room. In fact, if we figured in the cost of food, we were paying less for this hotel room than hostels.

We were pleasantly surprised, however, when we checked in. The staff were friendly, food was tasty (in big portions too), and the rooms comfortable. There's a big screen TV in the lounge and a sun deck on the top floor. Rooms were equipped with 2 single beds (which we moved to form a king sized bed), desk, lamps, closet, phone, dresser and art work! The private bathroom is standard fare equipped with ancient bath tub (the type with 4 feet on the bottom!), toilet, sink and mirror. A little window in the bathroom opened to nowhere (some type of ventilation chute) and hot water available after running the tap for less than 10 seconds. Overall, it is very homey and easy to get used to.

Guests at the hotel consists mostly of international travelers and students. Some of them also work there to pay for room. I was happy to find that the phone jack can also be used with my laptop. Outgoing calls cost $0.30 but public pay phones are available.

The major drawback of this hotel is the age. Museum piece elevators with manually operated outer doors rarely stop at the same height with any consistency. It also cannot stop at more than 1 floor per trip. The hot water radiator heater in our room sometimes leaked or whistled keeping us up at night. Bathroom ceiling was caked with mold and mildew that need scrubbing. And an old towel stuffed under the bathtub to soak up water was neglected by the maid and appears to have been there for months. Speaking of the maid, the rooms get vacuumed (superficially) and the towels get changed once a week. We didn't stay long enough for the bed sheets to be cleaned. We had to borrow the vacuum cleaner to thoroughly clean the '70ish shaggy carpet in our room before we felt comfortable walking on it without shoes.

Staff weren't knowledgeable either. Some even had problem telling us where the new Chinatown is! I guess they are tourists too.

Hotel location is good. It's north enough that we felt safe walking back at night (as long as we don't approach the hotel from the south) either from California or Van Ness. Yet it isn't too far away from Union Square for cable car/bus lines. Street parking can be nightmarish but parking garages are close by and overnight parking is $11. I got burned by the street cleaning hours once and still has a $30 ticket on the rental car. Pharmacy is close by at Bush/Larkin and supermarket 4 blocks away at California/Hyde.

Overall, our experience at the hotel hasn't been excellent but it hasn't been bad either. While it certainly isn't the Ritz or Fairmont, it's better than a hostel and at a price that's cheaper than a hostel. We will recommend this hotel to anyone traveling on a budget and will certainly return to this hotel in the future."



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