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“Value, location and charm” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Seal Rock Inn

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Seal Rock Inn
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545 Point Lobos Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94121-1499 (The Richmond)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #108 of 237 Hotels in San Francisco
Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
148 reviews 148 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
“Value, location and charm”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2012

Perched on the edge of the sea sits a quaint lodge that has direct access to downtown SF. A nightly supply of firewood sets the tone. The rooms are enormous and the balcony access hints of a motel motif. The decor is original; I am sure there is a label for it ,but it bafffles me. Downstaris is a great place for breakfast and outside are sea shore parks that whisper wilderness facing the mighty Pacific head on. Price is reasonable and with a regular bus outside the door that takes you right into the heart of the city you can live with a foot in both worlds.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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144 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    34
    66
    13
    17
    14
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne
Top Contributor
181 reviews 181 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 81 cities Reviews in 81 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2012

Long established independent hotel with pacific ocean views. Huge rooms with renovated bathrooms. Unfortunately windows were heavily salt coated during our stay. Staff were super friendly. Free wifi, free undercover parking. Great breakfast in cafe downstairs although some service a little indifferent. Short walk to wonderful historic cliff house right on cliff top looking out to seal rocks. Short drive to other local eateries including pacific cafe (see my review).
If you're a light sleeper the buses outside at night may be an issue.

Ask for corner suite.

Travelled as a (mature age Australian) couple for all of August 2012 throughout California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and into Colorado by car. Generally did not book ahead, prefer to have freedom to linger as we please, and to actually see the room before we commit. Have travelled this way many times before in USA and Europe. Stayed at a variety of hotels and B+Bs from 1 to 4 star. IN busy areas (San Francisco) we booked in advance from Tripadviser reviews.

Room Tip: Ask for corner suite.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Lake Tahoe, California
Top Contributor
156 reviews 156 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2012

What can I say? Nasty funk in the bathroom, walls spotted with grime and a carpet you wouldn't dare walk around on in your bare feet. The rooms are spacious, but that just leaves more room for the dirt.

The paint on the bathroom walls is literally bubbling with rot. Not just a spot, but the entire wood trim around the door is blistering with rot. The light fixtures are caked in greasy dust. The towels are so thin it's hard to get dry.

The carpet is disgusting, just disgusting. It's so dirty I wouldn't put anything but my shoes down on it.

The windowsills are streaked with black grime. The telephone faceplate was sticky. There was dust and dirt on every inch of the floor boards. The walls had food splotches and who knows what else on them.

Our favorite safety features? The smoke detector sitting open without a battery in it - and there's a fireplace in the room! Or maybe that there's no carbon monoxide detector, which is against the law. Who could be worried about those things when the fireplace was full up with ashes?

The location would be nice if you didn't have to listen to buses idling outside your window ALL the time. It's a major turn around point for MUNI, which means they sit and wait 10 minutes before heading back downtown. The grounds are poorly kept and the swimming pool, which has algae and grime, is closed. Because, really, who wants to swim in August?

Skip it. This is not a good value or a nice place to stay.

Room Tip: Ocean facing rooms will be noisy all night
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kilchberg, Switzerland
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2012

We recently stayed at this hotel because I had read about it in Tales From The City (this should have been my first clue as these books were written in the 70s). After a quick check on tripadvisor, I saw the great ratings and booked a suite for 4 nights.

What an unpleasant surprise we had when we arrived in the middle of the night. The front desk staff was unfriendly, the elevator (side-panelled with carpet) smelled musty and dirty. The room smelled so bad, we almost gagged. The carpet was covered in dark brown spots, so nobody dared to take off their shoes. The ocean view was obstructed by some kind of dirty film on the windows, making the room even darker than it already was. The pool, if you dare call it that, was covered in dirt and grime and was very small.

As it was late, we decided to tough it out, heald our breath and went to sleep. The next day we asked for a cleaner room and were basically told to put up or leave. We then went out to breakfast, because the hotel restaurant had the same grimy film covering everything. When we came back, the manager did have another room for us all of a sudden, which was slightly better. The carpets were still nasty, the window was cracked, but they had sprayed the room with some type of spray, which (at least temporarily) masked the musty/moldy odor. We would have moved to another hotel, but SF was booked solid in August.

On the positive side, the suites were very spacious and the location is just awesome. We wanted to be away from the city, closer to nature and for that this location cannot be beat. The area is great for jogging, taking walks and heading to the beach.

If I had the funds, I would buy the lot, tear down the hotel and build a new one from scratch. Renovations will never get rid of the dirt, grime and yuck that has accumulated in this hotel over the years.

As I am writing this, I wonder how this place can rack up so many positive reviews. I would never return to this hotel, unless there was really nothing else available.

Room Tip: Suite 307 and 304 are the ones we stayed it. I would not recommend them.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandon, OR
Top Contributor
150 reviews 150 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 69 cities Reviews in 69 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2012

This hotel won't win any awards for decor, but for spaciousness and convenience, it was terrific. Walking distance to The Cliff House, we saved over two hundred dollars staying here (free parking really helps) for two nights versus where the wedding party stayed downtown San Francisco. Our view was terrific. I had a special request at the front desk, and they were very accomodating, friendly, and helpful. Our room was so large that we invited some of the wedding party to get dressed there before the wedding and thoroughly enjoyed it. Plus the courtyard had ping pong that entertained our guests while I showered.

Room Tip: Splurge on a corner room. I didn't see any other rooms, but we loved our room.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
WesternMass.
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2012

I wasn't looking for a motel inside the city. I wanted something in a quieter spot and that's just what we got with Seal Rock Inn. It does require a car to get into the city, but the scenery nearby was fantastic. You can walk into the coastal trail, down to the Sutro Baths and along the Pacific Ocean. The courtyard of the hotel is cute and has pingpong and badmitton. The pool didn't seem to be open. The room was spacious. It was old fashioned, but well kept up. Perfect for a family with two kids with a divider wall that allows parents to read while kids go to sleep. We never went to the Seal Rock restaurant, but Louis's restaurant nearby was excellent with spectacular views. We could see the ocean from our room. If you are looking for a chain style hotel, this is not the place for you. If you want something a little off the beaten path, this is the place. We actually came back during our visit to SF. Also, there is a parking garage under the motel although there is plenty of parking in the neighborhood.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2012

OK, I haven't stayed at many others, but I don't need to, because this hotel has everything I want. You can walk out the front door and you are on your way to a nature hike along the coast to the golden gate bridge, or the beach, or to explore the Sutro Baths ruins and Sutro Heights. While some people complained about the buses parked across the street, the noise never bothered me and it was convenient to take the express bus downtown. We had a car, so the free parking was a plus, and it's very convenient to drive from there to other areas of SF.

Some people complain about this hotel being run-down or the weather too foggy or cold. Hey! You're by the ocean! We enjoyed the wildness, and the slightly dated furnishings were part of the charm.

The room price was very reasonable, as was breakfast at their restaurant. Friendly staff and yummy food!

We had only planned to stay at Seal Rock for 3 days and then move to a fancier hotel in a different part of SF for the last 3 days, but loved it here so much that we decided to stay for our whole trip. Although they were pretty booked up, their wonderful manager, Rick, worked it out. We moved rooms twice, but this made it kind of fun because every room was different and had its own perks. One had a kitchenette (all of the rooms have a mini fridge) and our last room had a spectacular view.

Just about every day we would encounter someone checking out, and they often seemed to be regulars, as we'd hear: "See you next year", or "See you next month"!

This hotel isn't for everyone, so if you want your predictable chain hotel, go into town. If you want a place with character surrounded by nature, this is the place!

Room Tip: 3rd floor rooms have fireplaces. Ocean view rooms also have the buses below but we didn't feel t...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Seal Rock Inn

Address: 545 Point Lobos Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94121-1499
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > The Richmond
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Best Value Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated next to the quiet, scenic surroundings of Sutro Heights Park and Land's End, we are located away from the noisy downtown traffic and crowds, yet still in the city in a resort-like location. We are just a block up the hill from the historic Cliff House and a few steps further to miles of beach along Ocean Beach. Enjoy a wonderful breakfast or lunch at our own restaurant which serves all day and every day. Our spacious guest rooms, many of which have excellent park and ocean views, provide our guests with many amenities including free high-speed Wi-Fi , cable TVs, dual-line phones with voice mail, free locals calls, in-room iron/ironing boards, and hair dryers. Other hotel amenities incude complimentary but limited covered parking, a private patio with swimming pool, ping pong and badminton. All our guest roomsrooms are non-smoking and some with fireplaces. So if you are ready to try something different in San Francisco then consider us as your home away from home along San Francisco's ocean front. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Seal Rock Hotel San Francisco
Seal Rock San Francisco
Seal Rock Inn San Francisco

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