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“Nice Old Hotel, Not a great area” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Whitcomb

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Hotel Whitcomb
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   1231 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 (SoMa)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #149 of 233 Hotels in San Francisco
Nova Scotia, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Nice Old Hotel, Not a great area”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2008

Got a good rate through Priceline and got into our room at 11:30 am
so was pleased with that.
Room was very clean and wireless worked well
Staff was friendly and helpful with tour options etc.
Lots of homeless persons around but no one bothered us. We walked to the cable car and tour bus departure points without feeling in any danger. Nighttime would be another matter.

  • Liked — Good service, price.
  • Disliked — Surrounding area
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DerwoodSF, Director of Guest Services at Hotel Whitcomb, responded to this review, November 6, 2008
Dear Guest,
Thank you for writing a few words about your stay at the Hotel Whitcomb. I am so pleased that you found the staff to be helpful and accomodating. Please know that the City of San Francisco takes the homeless situation very seriously and is constantly striving to make improvements as it is a problem in many major cities throughout the world. I hope you will stay with us again in the near future.
Kind regards,
Darin Sturgill
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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Utrecht
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2008

The service at the hotel was good. The room was spacious and clean. The bathroom was not very big, but it was clean.

The only disadvantage were the noises you could here inside your room. Both from outside (police cars for example) as from inside the hotel (neighbours).

  • Liked — The beds in our room
  • Disliked — The noisy rooms
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DerwoodSF, Director of Guest Services at Hotel Whitcomb, responded to this review, November 6, 2008
Dear Guest,
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on the Hotel Whitcomb. I am pleased to hear that you found the staff to be helpful and the room was nice and clean. I hope you will stay with us again in the near future.
Kind regards,
Darin Sturgill
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2008

I booked this hotel because of the reasonable price and close proximity to public transportation. Like many other reviewers, my husband and I were both concerned about the location, particularly the panhandlers and some somewhat unsavory street vendors on Market St. near the hotel. A friend who has lived in San Francisco for a couple of years described the neighborhood as somewhere where "you are safe during the day, but stay in a group at night." That seemed fair enough. Keep your bag close to you, and be prepared to say "Not today," to a range of people attempting to get your money through begging or selling things you really don't want (poorly written homeless activism newspapers, bootleg hip hop CDs, etc.).

That being said, the access to public transportation makes it such that it's relatively easy to avoid these problems with a little planning ahead. The Civic Center BART station and the F Train (which will take you to Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, Ferries and Castro) are within a few feet of the hotel door, and once you are on the train or in the station, you have much less to worry about. The hotel is between 8th and 9th streets, and I found that if you get off at the 9th St. F Train platform, you had to deal with fewer problems on the streets themselves. What a difference a block makes.

I had a few minor concerns about the hotel itself. It could have been cleaner. There were some suspect things on the floor of the bathroom that weren't cleaned until I made sure to leave a towel on top of them so that they would be picked up with the towels.

We were there for six nights, and on two of them we had to request wash rags and a bathmat, because housekeeping only left towels and hand towels in the bathroom. Housekeeping was relatively prompt about bringing these items when we requested them, but you really shouldn't have to request things like linens in a hotel.

That being said, overall the rooms were tastefully appointed. I have stayed in nicer rooms, but I've also stayed in much less savory places. The staff were always friendly and courteous, and they were quick to refund our money when we had difficulty using the Internet Cafe area.

  • Liked — Close proximity to reliable public transportation
  • Disliked — Close proximity to San Francisco's Homeless Population
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DerwoodSF, Director of Guest Services at Hotel Whitcomb, responded to this review, November 6, 2008
Dear Guest,
Thank you for taking the time to write a few words about your stay at the Hotel Whitcomb. I am pleased that you found the staff to be friendly and helpful and that the location of the hotel next to major public transportation was easily accessible. I am sorry about the housekeeping issues you encountered. I hope you will stay with us again sometime in the near future so that I may personally welcome you back.
Kind regards,
Darin Sturgill
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New England
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2008

When I booked this hotel, I realized that the area would not be great, but I didn't realize that I would actually be scared walking around by myself. I live in a big city and am very comfortable walking around almost anywhere. I have traveled alone extensively in the U.S., Europe and Central America and have never felt so unsafe. About one block from the area (between the hotel and Union Square), there were very few tourists/business people. Instead of leaving my luggage at the hotel so I could walk around before my red-eye flight, I actually asked the people at another hotel (Grand Hyatt) to keep it for me because I was afraid to walk around by myself near the Whitcomb so late at night.
If the area surrounding the hotel was the only issue I had, I would not be writing this review. While I wish the hotel's website stated clearly that it was located in an unsafe area, I do not feel that the hotel management can be blamed for what street people do around their hotel. What I do blame the hotel for is its terrible customer service. I was treated so unkindly by the front desk staff that I was upset all day and would never consider recommending this hotel or going back. This experience actually ruined a trip that I had enjoyed up until the last day. In all of my years traveling around the world, I have never been so unimpressed with a hotel staff's ability to show basic kindness, let alone good customer service, to its clients. Considering that I have stayed in 1 star hotels overseas and been perfectly happy, I am quite amazed that I had such a negative experience at a reputable hotel in a major U.S. city.

  • Stayed October 2008, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DerwoodSF, Director of Guest Services at Hotel Whitcomb, responded to this review, October 29, 2008
Dear Guest,
Thank you for taking the time to write about your stay at the Hotel Whitcomb. I am truly sorry that you did not feel safe outside the hotel's doors and I do appreciate your understanding that this is not something the hotel can control. I do want to assure you that the City of San Francisco is constantly addressing the homeless situation and most of the homeless are harmless and the area is safe. However, I am very concerned about any poor treatment you may have received by the staff and would like the opportunity to discuss this further with you. Please feel free to contact me directly.
Kind regards,
Darin Sturgill
dsturgill@hotelwhitcomb.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2008

Hotel choices were limited in San Francisco due to a major convention and marathon. Hotel Whitcomb is located on Market Street. It is near a BART station, that was convient when taking the train from the airport. The hotel door was literally steps from the station.

I really enjoyed my stay, but I wish the hotel had been closer to shopping and Fisherman's Wharf. The neighborhood that the hotel is in is not so great. I didn't feel very safe walking around, and took taxis home at night. Also in order to get to any areas by Fisherman's Wharf a cab is essential or if you plan on doing any shopping. There isn't a lot of places around the hotel for food or drinks, if you don't count the various Gentlemen's Clubs.

Despite the less desirable location the rooms were clean, reasonable, and there was a Starbucks in the lobby. There also was a bar and grill in the hotel, but didn't have time to try it out.

  • Liked — Historic Decor
  • Disliked — Location and Neighborhood
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DerwoodSF, Director of Guest Services at Hotel Whitcomb, responded to this review, October 29, 2008
Dear Guest,
Thank you for taking the time to write a few words about your stay at the Hotel Whitcomb. As you mentioned, the major transportation lines in San Francisco are right outside our front door. This makes getting around the City very easy, as well as getting to Fisherman's Wharf as the historic "F' line steeet car stops right outside our front door and takes you directly to to the Wharf. I hope to personally welcome you back to the hotel one day.
Kind regards,
Darin Sturgill
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brentwood
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2008

I only deduct one star because of the location. A beautiful grand hotel like no other. The staff wil treat you like you are at a FIVE star hotel. The rooms were clean and comfy. Yes, some renovating will need to be addressed, but you can overlook for the history of the hotel.
We did leave early because of the location and moved to another hotel. The area has boarded up buildings, mens clubs and groups of young men and homeless roaming the street. It you don't go out after dark it is "probably " OK.
The inside cafe was wonderful, and lovely to have a very busy Starbucks inside as well.
It is an experience to stay here, and I was not unhappy when we left.
Thank you Whitcomb staff for your super experience, front dest, hotel operator and conciere.

  • Liked — The staff and the beauty of the hotel
  • Disliked — the location
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DerwoodSF, Director of Guest Services at Hotel Whitcomb, responded to this review, October 29, 2008
Dear Guest,
Thank you for writing about your stay at the Hotel Whitcomb. I am so very pleased to hear that the entire staff provided such excellent service. We strive to make each and every guest feel very special and welcomed. I hope to personally welcome you back to the hotel in the near furture.
Kind regards,
Darin Sturgill
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2008

First and foremost, I rely heavily on tripadvisor reviews for all my trips. I take the time to read pages of reviews, dating back months or longer, then make a decision. I make it a habit of returing the favor and write reviews of places we stay. I have for years. The vast majority of reviews for this hotel are right on. But it is not the hotel, it is the area. And unfortuately for this hotel, the area comes with it.

I visited San Francisco 5 years ago and lived in the outlying suburbs from 1981-1985. I booked this hotel due to the fact that my older daughter was staying here with a group of runners, participating in the Nike Womans Marathon. The bottom line is, the hotel is a great, older boutique style hotel with character and flavor. Our room was small, but typical of older, city hotels. Just like New York. It accomodated myself, my wife and my 15 year old daughter just fine. In fact, the hotel is not the problem. The problem is what is outside the front door and anyone booking this hotel should be aware of the area that it is in. It is on the edge of the Tenderloin district. It is no secret that this area of Market Street and the Civic Center is a haven for the homeless, those with apparent mental illness (albeit functional) and a large amount of the city's dregs of society. This is NOT a tourist area. I certainly understand this is not the hotel's fault, but if this website is to provide information to prospective guests, then those guests should be well informed.

After arriving and checking in, we decided to walk to the Powell Street Cable Car turnaround. This is 4 blocks from the hotel. These are the cable cars that take you to Fisherman's Wharf and Aquatic Park, by Ghiradelli Square. Walking to Union Square would have been another 2 blocks longer. It was about dusk, maybe 630pm. I am a 20 yr veteran police officer in New Jersey, an hour south of New York City. I am not easily intimidated, but can sense when things are not right and am ALWAYS protective of myself and my family. Our walk lasted 2 maybe 3 blocks. I was so uncomfortable walking with my wife and teenage daughter, that we turned around and hurried back to the hotel. Flagging down a cab was useless. There were so many creepy, sketchy people hanging out, panhandling and eyeballing us. People getting high, dealing drugs and drinking out of brown bags. One guy asked me what time it was, and I could only infer that he got a glimpse of a fairly expensive watch I was wearing with a short sleeve t shirt. 20 yards later, I put the watch in my pocket and told my wife to do the same with hers. The hotel even gives its guests safety guidelines geared to the area it is in, in the hotel information book in the rooms. We stood out like sore thumbs. We got back to the hotel and told the desk we were uncomfortable walking to the cable car stop and could they call us a cab. The desk simply said to step outside and hail one. (Thanks for the help). Well, I tried that, and again was approached by several homeless asking for money as well as car service drivers hawking people for rides. Not pleasant. With that, I reluctantly got my car out of the valet service and we drove to Fisherman's Wharf and a few other spots around the city. This is not what I wanted to do. The next morning we checked out. Our stay was supposed to be for 4 nights. One was enough. And again, the hotel is fine, but why stay somewhere on vacation and feel intimidated and apprehensive when you walk out the front door.

I am sure the hotel management will respond and state the city of San Francisco is aware of the homeless, the panhandling and the drug addicts and sketchy alcoholics and seedy characters that congregate and linger on Market Street in the area of the Civic Center, which is directly across the street from this hotel, and they are actively trying to do something about it. But the fact is, this is San Francisco, and it is a liberal city that is much more tolerant of this type of problem than other major cities, and it is not going away anytime soon. That is unfortunate for this hotel and I cannot possibly recommend staying here, especially with young children.

As I stated previously, my older daughter also stayed in the Hotel Whitcomb with a group of runners in town for the Nike Woman's Marathon. She works in Manhattan and walks 10 blocks every day from the Port Authority on 42nd Street. Even she said this area is way worse then what she sees on a daily basis in NYC. She stayed with us in another hotel the last 2 nights.

This review is an honest insight about a nice hotel that is in a not so nice area of San Francisco.

  • Liked — Character and Flavor of the Hotel
  • Disliked — Location is poor
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DerwoodSF, Director of Guest Services at Hotel Whitcomb, responded to this review, October 28, 2008
Dear Guest,
Thank you for taking the time to write about your stay at the Hotel Whitcomb. I am glad you enjoyed the hotel as well as the historic ambiance. I am, however, very sorry that you did not find the neighborhood to your liking. Please feel free to contact me directly should you wish to discuss your experience further.
Kind regards,
Darin Sturgill
dsturgill@hotelwhitcomb.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Whitcomb

Address: 1231 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > SoMa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #149 of 233 Hotels in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Whitcomb 3.5*
Number of rooms: 460
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Also Known As:
Whitcomb Hotel San Francisco
Whitcomb San Francisco
Whitcomb San Fransico
Hotel Whitcomb San Francisco

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