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“First class accommodation in one of San Francisco’s most interesting and historic neighborhoods”

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Washington Square Inn
Ranked #20 of 72 San Francisco B&B and Inns
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed August 30, 2011

I feel guilty that it has taken me this long (slightly over a year) to write a review of my stay at the Washington Square Inn during the last week of August 2010, but better late than never, I guess!

As I have noted in one or two of my other hotel reviews, I like to choose accommodation that is unique to a city and I try to avoid the big chain hotels whenever I can. There were a handful of places in San Francisco that I considered for my first-ever visit to the city, but in the end I chose the Washington Square Inn primarily because of its many glowing, laudatory reviews, but also because of its North Beach location. Although San Francisco has many fascinating and historic neighborhoods, North Beach was of particular interest to me as one of the places that witnessed the birth of the “Beat” movement of the 1950s and it was/is home to the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Within a short walking distance from the Inn are many of the venues/institutions that nurtured and sustained the Beat movement, including City Lights Bookstore, Caffe [sic] Trieste, and Vesuvio Café/Bar. The house where Allen Ginsberg lived for a number of years and where he wrote “Howl” can be found on Montgomery Street nearby. North Beach was also for many years San Francisco’s “Little Italy” and if you like Italian cooking, you won’t have any trouble finding an Italian restaurant to suit your tastes and budget. But if you’re not fond of Italian, rest assured that there are plenty of other cuisines represented in North Beach’s many restaurants. In this regard, just ask to see the huge album/directory that Washington Square Inn has available in its main floor dining room and which gives details on just about every restaurant in the neighborhood.

I also liked Washington Square Inn’s North Beach location because it is ideally situated for exploring many of the city’s other sights. Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower are a short, but uphill, walk on Filbert Street. Meanwhile, Ghiradelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, the Embarcadero and the Ferry Building, Pier 33 (where one catches the ferry to Alcatraz), and the Transamerica Pyramid are all within easy walking distance. (I should perhaps qualify this statement by noting that they were all within easy walking distance for me, but that may be because I love to walk and do a great deal of hiking wherever I go. Those reading this review may want to calculate distances and assess their own fitness levels before venturing out!) On my first full day in San Francisco I even walked from the Inn to the Golden Gate Bridge. I think it took me slightly over an hour, but I did make numerous stops along the way to take photos. It is also a relatively short walk from the Inn to the Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason cable car lines and one can easily catch a cable car to Union Square or Market Street and from either of those locations catch a bus or, in the case of Market Street, a bus or a BART train, to explore other areas of the city. I found that San Francisco has an excellent public transportation system and it didn’t take me very long to figure it out and use it to visit venues such as Haight-Ashbury, the Castro, Golden Gate Park, the Legion of Honor, Alamo Square, and Lafayette Park.

Regarding the Inn itself, it does live up to all its glowing reviews. The outside of the Inn may look rather ordinary and plain, but inside it is a charming place, beautiful, very well-maintained and well-run. The staff at the Inn are exceptionally good and work very hard (my room was immaculate!) and the owners, Maria and Daniel Levin, were always there to provide advice and assistance and to ensure that each guest’s visit was pleasant and memorable.

Some reviewers have remarked on, and have occasionally complained about, how small many of the rooms are, and I suppose that could be an issue for some travelers; it is certainly a factor that should be considered by anyone contemplating staying here. Of course, what is small for some people will be seen as “cozy” by others! I was a solo traveler, so the size of the rooms was not really an issue for me. I booked Room #11 on the Inn’s web site and, if I remember correctly, selected the room because I generally liked how it looked in the photos on the web site. I also liked the fact that it had an ensuite washroom, and that it faced Filbert Street, which I figured would be a bit quieter than facing Stockton Street.

I was not disappointed in my room choice; it lived up to all my expectations. The room was spacious enough and was absolutely spotless. The washroom, to be sure, was definitely on the small side, but I already knew that it would be from reading at least one previous review of Room #11. In any event, the washroom’s size did not pose any inconvenience for me. Meanwhile, the views from the room’s windows provided me with some memorable, iconic images of San Francisco. And the room was quiet, too. I think I may have heard some street noise early one morning but that was it. All in all, I slept extremely well during my stay at the Inn.

The Inn provides a wonderful breakfast on the ground floor each morning (cereal, toast, fruit, yogurt) and in the late afternoon/early evening provides an end-of-day repast which include local wine (Napa Valley, of course, or maybe it was Sonoma – I forget, but it was good wine!), cheese, dolmades, and freshly-baked cookies (very yummy!). Both the breakfast and the late afternoon hors d’oeuvres provide great opportunities to meet the other guests. In this regard, I decided not to be my usual anti-social self and showed up for both breakfast and the late afternoon wine and cheese and, as it turned out, met and had some good conversations with some very interesting and friendly couples from places as diverse as New Zealand and Michigan and, much to my surprise, my hometown Ottawa as well (it really is a small world!). Regarding breakfast, one does have the option of having it in one’s room.

In summary, I can’t say enough good things about the Washington Square Inn. It provides superlative service and accommodation in one of San Francisco’s most interesting and lovely neighborhoods, and it should be on everyone’s short list of places to stay in the “City by the Bay”.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled solo
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2  Thank Johannes56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
washsquare, Owner at Washington Square Inn, responded to this reviewResponded September 8, 2011

Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed review, we really appreciate when our guests share their experience of our Inn and North Beach.

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Reviews (384)
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220 - 226 of 384 reviews

Reviewed August 22, 2011

My wife and I stayed 2 nights here to attend the Family Winemakers of California tasting event at Fort Mason on the 21st. W. S. Inn offers a cozy, quiet accomodation on the northeast corner of Washington Square. We had an upstairs room overlooking the tiny outside patio. Our room had a comfortable king bed, and the remote controlled ceiling fan afforded the right level of comfort. (No a/c.) Very nice quality bathrobes, which actually fit most normal sized human beings are provided. Bath is a tub/shower combo, with modern appointments. No refrigerator, however, ice buckets are provided within minutes of a request. Breakfast can be taken either in room, delivered, or at the large family style table in the lobby. Fare is continental style, with juices, croissant, and cereal. Bagels with lox and cream cheese are served on the weekends. From 5:30 to 7pm is a wine reception in the lobby with 2 red and 2 white wines, of respectable quality, served with Italian cold cuts, cheeses, and a nice variety of cured olives. All of the staff here are very friendly and accomodating, always happy to provide any information or services requested. As far as location, this Inn is ideal as a central point for visiting the North Beach/Little Italy attractions. Chinatown is close by also. There are innumerable Italian restaurants just a few steps away, and the wharf area is about a 20 minute walk. This Inn is probably best suited for the fly-in visitor. The parking garage is a block away, and there are no in-and-out priveleges. There are two upstairs rooms overlooking Washington Square, with bay windows and window seats. I don't know if street noise is present in these rooms, but they look very nice. Overall, this B&B provides a comfortable and quiet haven at a reasonable rate. No hesitation on my part to recommend this Inn to anyone.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank SantaClaritaWinedog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2011

After my fiancee and I got married on Friday at City Hall, we decided to come and stay at the Inn for our staycation in SF.

My new husband was immediately enamored with the European old-world ambiance while being impressed at the modern-day security measures. The Inn is cozy but not overdone (as many B&B's are) and welcoming from the moment you step through the doors.

We checked in just in time for the wine and cheese hour and really enjoyed the selection of wine, cheeses, olives and stuffed grape leaves while sitting by the fire in the lobby.

Due to high occupancy, the room we got was number 12, which did not have an en suite bathroom, but a private one across the hall. I was really impressed at how spacious, clean and modern our bathroom was. The little touches really make it fantastic: from the shoe-shine puff to the makeup towelettes, we were wanting for nothing.

My husband loved our room upon sight. He said he felt as if we were really "away" rather than in the city.

I really enjoyed that we had the option of breakfast in the dining room or in our room. We chose the latter and had a lovely little feast of toasted croissant, fresh fruit, yogurt and delicious granola, oatmeal as well as juice and coffee. A great way to start out the day.

Thanks so much to Maria and Dan for being such warm and inviting hosts!!

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank catnguyenphoto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
washsquare, Owner at Washington Square Inn, responded to this reviewResponded August 16, 2011

Thank you so much for taking the time to review us and congratulations On your Marriage.

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Reviewed August 4, 2011

We lucked out and were able to make a fairly last-minute reservation in this classy little B&B/boutique hotel in the heart of North Beach. Our room was comfortable, even luxurious, though a bit small. My husband and I slept like rocks even with the windows open on a Friday night (our room looked out on courtyards rather than the street). We were within easy walking distance of so many SF attractions (Coit Tower, Telegraph Hill, City LIghts Bookstore, a gazillion amazing restaurants and boutiques), and the parking was easy and affordable, too. It's a B&B that seems more like a boutique hotel, especially since they give you the option of having a delicious (and healthy!) breakfast delievered to your room at a time you desire. Love love loved it! Would go back tomorrow if I could.

Room Tip: I called rather than making online reservations and asked, based on the two rooms available, which o...
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank mej111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
washsquare, Owner at Washington Square Inn, responded to this reviewResponded August 7, 2011

Thank You so much for taking the time to review our Inn, We really appreciate your detailed description of the Inn and letting our future guests know what a great neighborhood North Beach is.

Best Regards, Maria, Dan and Staff.

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Reviewed July 28, 2011

I stayed in Room 15, the "tiny" room, and they don't lie, there's not a lot of room to maneuver, but it felt more cozy than cramped and the room was very clean and very comfortable. The location of the Inn is great, there are plenty of buses to take you to other parts of the City, or if you stay in the area there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, funky shops, or you can just hang out in Washington Square and people-watch. After a long day of trying to cram in as much sightseeing as I could, it was really nice to come back to the Inn, the vibe is peaceful, the energy relaxed. And service - ! A bumblebee had gotten trapped behind the plantation shutters and didn't want to leave through the other windows I opened, and when I ran downstairs to tell them they came upstairs with a dishcloth, gently grabbed the bee and shooed it on its way. Above and beyond the call of duty, and so awesome. I'm already planning my trip next year to stay here.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank edwardsmom24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2011

the staff were quietly helpful, the room was a delight [number 9 looks into the top of a magnolia tree and out the the cathedral as well as up the hill to Coit Tower] and the Inn was perfectly located for my needs - a couple of criticisms would be the lack of in-room tea and coffee making facilities and a very dodgy internet connection!
oh, and a refrigerator would be most welcome

Room Tip: the images on their website are a good reference point for choosing rooms
  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled on business
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Thank whirledwanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
washsquare, Owner at Washington Square Inn, responded to this reviewResponded July 29, 2011

Thank You for your review,
I just wanted to respond to your comments, we have a very high end wireless router with two access points so you need to connect to the strongest signal depending where you are in the Inn and you will receive a strong signal that way. We do not have coffee makers in the room but have coffee and tea available 24/7 in the lobby, we also have a guest refrigerator and ice machine near the kitchen that is always available. We have someone at the front desk 24/7, so please let us know how we can help. We really appreciate you taking the time to comment on us and thank you for staying with us.

Best Regards, Maria, Dan and Staff.

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Reviewed July 26, 2011

We really like the inn, it was in middle of every place we wanted to go. It was excellent service and very comfortable.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Wlll_Boz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Washington Square Inn

Address: 1660 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133-3316
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > North Beach / Telegraph Hill
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 72 B&Bs / Inns in San Francisco
Price Range: $237 - $372 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Washington Square Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Washington Square Inn, a San Francisco bed and breakfast Inn in the city’s legendary North Beach neighborhood, welcomes its guests with all the charm and comfort of a small European hotel. Whether traveling to California for business or recreation, amenities offered with your stay at Washington Square Inn include free wireless Internet access, complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, evening hors d’oeuvres and wine, and full office services in the lobby. Rooms feature European antiques, cable TV, soft robes and private baths. Some rooms have sitting areas in bay windows, while others offer a cozy atmosphere with private fireplaces. Ideally situated in the very heart of the vibrant North Beach neighborhood, our historic hotel boasts beautiful views of Coit Tower, Russian Hill, Washington Square Park and the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul. Washington Square Inn is one of the best San Francisco hotel deals available, offering exemplary bed and breakfast lodging and service at rates ranging from $179 – $329 per night. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Washington Square Hotel San Francisco
The Washington Square Inn San Francisco

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