10 Best San Francisco Hotels Fit For a Tight Budget

Photo courtesy of Hotel Rex San Francisco
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy
By Tom Molanphy, San Francisco Local Expert

San Francisco's reputation as an expensive city - for both resident and tourist - is only going up and up and up.

This is a town that lives on "boom and bust" cycles of nearby Silicon Valley, and the Valley is driving this latest boom to unheard of and dizzying heights. The result for the common person who wants to either live in or visit the beautiful City by the Bay? Pricier restaurants, pricier attractions and, of course, pricier hotels. (This is definitely not news to anyone who has tried to book a hotel room during the many tech conferences hosted in San Francisco.)

But, don't despair. Although the ups and downs of Silicon Valley definitely affect San Francisco's economy, it hasn't yet replaced San Francisco's number one moneymaker: tourism. And it doesn't take a brilliant techie to realize if you want people to visit your city, you have to have some affordable places for them to stay.

We've combed the famous hills of San Francisco and come up with a list that we believe won't bust your wallet or jeopardize your sense of personal hygiene. Many of these hotels, including Comfort Inn by the Bay, are situated close to San Francisco's top tourist attractions like Fisherman's Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park.

If you simply want simple accommodations so you can spend most of your money on all the amazing experiences San Francisco has to offer, check out our list of the best San Francisco budget hotels.

10. Nob Hill Hotel
Photo courtesy of Nob Hill Hotel

Although Nob Hill is notoriously expensive, the Nob Hill Hotel - for the area - actually offer some excellent deals. Established in 1906 and fully restored to its original grandeur in 1998, this hotel featrues marble flooring, stained glass panels, ornate ceilings, alabaster chandeliers, and an extensive collection of period paintings grace the boutique hotel interior. Each guest room is beautifully appointed in Victorian antiques, exquisite velvet and satin bedding, and marble en suites. Rooms include coffee makers, free Wifi, and continental breakfast. Nob Hill guests can also enjoy a complimentary wine and cheese between the hours of 5:30pm and 7pm.

9. Pacific Heights Inn San Francisco
Photo courtesy of Pacific Heights Inn

Friendly and knowledgeable owners give Pacific Heights Inn an edge ––" they know San Francisco as well as, or better than, any concierge at a big chain hotel. It's an asset that not every budget hotel can offer, that's for sure. A great location on bustling Union Street is another bonus ––" virtually everything is within walking distance, although there's a bus stop right across the street if you'd rather ride. Guest rooms are available in a variety of configurations, and rates include cable TV, coffeemaker, and dataport. Many rooms have kitchenettes, and some have whirlpool baths. Complimentary coffee and pastries are offered every morning. 40 rooms.

8. Hotel Rex, a Joie de Vivre hotel
Photo courtesy of Hotel Rex San Francisco

Inspired by the intimate 1930s Bohemian-style hotels of Paris, Joie de Vivre Hotels acquired this property in 1997 and thoroughly recreated the Hotel Rex. The result? A space where strangers simply feel like people you haven't met yet. Ina Dang, general manager of the Hotel, runs her business with the simple but warm philosophy of having "the heart of an innkeeper." The hotel offers every amenity you should expect from a San Francisco hotel, including complimentary Wi-Fi available throughout the hotel, newspaper and 32" flat-screen TV with cable. With a prime location, just up the street from Union Square, Hotel Rex is an excellent choice for those traveling on a budget.

7. San Remo Hotel

San Remo Hotel shines among budget hotels in San Francisco, California for multiple reasons, the primary being its location in the heart of North Beach. Brass, iron, oak, maple, pine or wicker furniture and pedestal sinks recall turn-of-the-century San Francisco. Each room is separate and private. Some of the city's most famous attractions, including Fisherman's Wharf, Nob Hill, Chinatown and Pier 39, are within easy walking distance. Free Internet access and laundry facilities add value to these charming Victorian accommodations. For the budget-conscious, this hotel delivers great value. An added bonus ––" the country's oldest Italian restaurant, Fior d'Italia, is on the first floor.

6. Tilden Hotel
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy

Previously known as the Mark Twain Hotel, this hotspot in the ever-evolving Tenderloin area underwent a stunning multi-million dollar makeover in 2017. Perfectly situated on the edge of the Tenderloin and within a quick walk of Union Square, this stylish boutique hotel can offer the adventures of the Tenderloin and the more traditional tourist attractions all around Union Square. The 1928 building has a minimalistic, modern feel and a light-filled atrium perfect for socializing. The new, onsite restaurant, the Douglas Room, can compete with any of the restaurants in the area (especially with its creative cocktails), and the Cafe at Tilden is the perfect spot to grab a quick bite before starting your San Francisco adventure. Rooms are well-equipped with voice mail, high-speed Internet access, in-room safe, refrigerator, and coffee maker.

5. Hayes Valley Inn
Photo courtesy of Hayes Valley Inn

Searching for cheap hotels in San Francisco doesn't mean you have to settle for substandard service. Hayes Valley Inn has long been dedicated to making sure each visitor feels like a welcomed guest. Hayes Valley Inn is a budget hotel that can honestly boast real value. Here, guests enjoy free continental breakfast, free Wi-Fi access and a location within walking distance of attractions like Symphony Hall, Union Square and Alamo Square. Some may not appreciate the shared bathrooms, but the value and location of this hotel more than make up for any inconvenience. Amenities include secure bike storage and a sink and vanity in each room.

4. Hotel Beresford
Photo courtesy of Hotel Beresford

The family-owned hotel is located two blocks from Union Square. It's conveniently located near the Moscone Center, theaters, shops and China Town. Rooms are nicely appointed and include refrigerator, honor bar, and complimentary newspaper. Guests can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast. The famous White Horse Restaurant and Pub is the perfect spot to enjoy a pint or a meal after a long day of walking up and down San Francisco's famous hills. Facilities include the White Horse Restaurant and Pub. The hotel is about 15 miles from San Francisco International Airport. 114 rooms are all furnished in cozy Victorian decor.

3. Cornell Hotel de France
Photo courtesy of Cornell

Cheap hotels in San Francisco can be difficult to find, but this 1910 hotel brings real value and a little bit of Paris to California, complete with French art. Originally built in 1910, Cornell Hotel de France has been owned and operated by the Lambert Family for almost forty years. The first floor is devoted to Jeanne d'Arc and each subsequent floor to a French artist. Guest rooms are likewise decorated, and all feature cable TV, free breakfast and Internet access. The on-site restaurant offers multi-course prix fixe menus and a good selection of French wines. For a French twist to your San Francisco vacation, check out Cornell Hotel de France.

2. Comfort Inn by the Bay
Photo courtesy of Cpmfort Inn by the Bay

If you're looking for the full "tourist" experience of San francisco, you'd be hard-pressed to find a hotel with a better price and location than Comfort Inn by the Bay. This family-oriented hotel is located five blocks from Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman's Wharf. The view of the Golden Gate Bridge from this high-rise is also one of the best in the city. The hotel offers easy access to area attractions as well as to shopping and restaurants. In addition to standard amenities, guest rooms feature safes, coffee makers, irons, ironing boards and Pay Per View movies. Refrigerators are available in some rooms. Guests can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast. Non-smoking rooms available. 17 miles from San Francisco International Airport. 138 Rooms.

1. Hotel des Arts
Photo courtesy of Hotel Des Arts

If a handy downtown location isn't enough to recommend this as one of the best budget hotels in San Francisco, California, the Hotel des Arts also offers a variety of stylish rooms, many designed and painted by emerging artists. The result is not simply art as a decoration, but art as an interactive experience. Also available are queen rooms (with or without private baths) and two-room suites. All units include TVs, Wi-Fi access, microwaves, refrigerators and complimentary breakfast. Laundry services, an on-site art gallery and 24-hour security are also offered. If you'd like to fall asleep surrounded by modern art, Hotel des Arts is clearly the hotel for you.