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“Change the name to "Seth Rocks Inn"” 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 #110 of 235 Hotels in San Francisco
Seattle WA
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“Change the name to "Seth Rocks Inn"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

Seth is the front desk manager. We've stayed here once a year for the past five years and appreciate the family atmosphere and independent business (i.e. Not like a chain) spirit of the place. I mixed up our reservation. We arrived one night early on an extremely busy weekend and Seth took care of us, never losing his cool. Seth Rocks, thus the name for this review.

Over the years, the owners have steadily been upgrading the rooms one by one. I thought the property looked as good as it's ever been. Windows all clean (not easy on the ocean), freshly painted surfaces. They are really trying.

This time we got room 101, a disabled room. No kitchen but the bathroom was huge (9' x 9') with a walk in shower big enough for two. The room had an oblique ocean view from the chair by the window, too. Finishes were all fairly new. Operable windows.

A bonus this visit was the brand new park visitors center across the street, along with renovated park pathways, parking, restrooms. What an amenity next door! All of it facing the Pacific.

Dining wise we tend to avoid the Cliff House for $$$ and head for Pacific Cafe, Louies, or Seal Rock for breakfast. Have enjoyed them all numerous times. Have also found some good options about 20 blocks east along Geary Street.

Room Tip: North side quieter (no bus stop) but still gets oblique ocean view.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 5 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.
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148 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    34
    69
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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 (50)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
san diego california
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012

My family of 4 had the pleasure of staying here on the first 2 nights of our NoCal summer trip and enjoyed every minute of it. My husband and I lived in the Sunset district not too far away, so we are a little biased. Had always seen this spot and finally got a chance to stay. Our budget excludes us from staying at the ultra expensive hotels in the heart of town, and while I know there are many options in this incredible town, this is a fun experience. It is exactly what you'd expect - straight out of a time gone by, kitschy and retro. Our room (#109) was great for the kids (9 &13) - they loved the spacious room with their own funky single couch/beds. Yes, there is a slight musty smell - but that is not unlike ANY space that sits so close to the ocean, and certainly not a deal-breaker. in fact we popped open the window to experience the fog rolling right into our room! The bathroom was pleasantly updated - all new with glass tile accents. The parking is old-school, under the building -but FREE in a town where it costs $25-$50 to park anywhere you go. You are a scenic 15 minute drive from almost any part of town, and frankly after doing the touristy-stuff all day, this was a quiet respite each evening. My son and I explored the Sutro Baths in detail, the family visited the new visitor's center, ate at both the restaurant in the hotel and at Louis'. Nearby on Judah you'll find our favorite restaurant of ALL TIME - Thang Long Vietnamese for THE BEST crab in all of San Francisco! You are right next to Golden Gate Park and the Presidio as well. If you are looking for a unique SF experience along with friendly staff and a great location, all on a budget - this is it!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
154 reviews 154 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
92 helpful votes 92 helpful votes
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.
Melbourne
Top Contributor
182 reviews 182 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 81 cities Reviews in 81 cities
76 helpful votes 76 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 45 cities Reviews in 45 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
158 reviews 158 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
73 helpful votes 73 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.
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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:
#7 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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