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“Plan well, and enjoy something unique”
Review of Ocean Park Motel

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Ocean Park Motel
Ranked #127 of 231 Hotels in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 30, 2013

My wife and I visited San Francisco in mid-September and wanted to avoid the hustle and bustle of downtown, particularly during the Americas Cup. We were drawn to the history and architecture of OPM and were prepared for the sound of the trolley outside - as some reviewers have said, earplugs are supplied.

You can't ignore the history here. Our room was quite small by comparison with rooms provided by some motels and there was no light in the curtained closet or in the ceiling of the sleeping area. To me that's OK - this is close to being a heritage site (if it isn't already) and this is what they built in 1937. Put simply, the room layout works and we had an adequate bathroom, shower, sleeping area and storage. We could watch TV, make our own coffee and be comfortable.

The buildings and garden area are clearly maintained to a high standard and are a pleasure to be around. The owners have also gone to a lot of trouble to provide printed information on local eateries and public transportation - and we made sure we used it. Specifically, I'll tell you that Brothers' Pizza on Tarraval will feed you better and cheaper than you might think! I may review this separately, and I may do the same for the Java Beach Café, where you'll get a nice, healthy breakfast - just make sure you don't trip over the laptop cables!

Having the #18 bus and the L Tarraval Metro line literally on your doorstep is a plus - actually it's vital if (like us) you don't have a car. A taxi from SFO cost us $42 plus tip. A taxi back to SFO cost about the same. A word of advice: make sure you book cabs to the airport in plenty of time and don't let the dispatcher tell you they never heard of the place. For what it's worth, we used Yellow Cabs and the dispatcher acted dumb, but the driver was smart and turned up the following morning 10 minutes early.

Everything's not perfect and I have every intention of emailing the owners with one or two ideas that I hope could make their lives - and their guests' stay - just that bit easier. As my review title says, this property is unique and to enjoy it fully you should look at it in context and ensure that you research how to get around and where you will eat.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank ChrisJMann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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98 - 104 of 274 reviews

Reviewed September 27, 2013

The first time we stayed at Ocean Park we were shocked with noise of the trolley going by, however, considering this is SF, there is much more positive than negative at this little oasis. We had a family member visiting the VA hospital for medical treatment and needed someplace to rest. The managers were absolutely wonderful about accommodating us and our pet. We never knew how long we would have to stay but they made arrangements on short notice. They recommended excellent restaurants. The location is perfect.

Room Tip: The rooms directly on 46th St get the trolley noise
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank gallerylady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2013

As the title of the review says, the Ocean Park Motel did not live up to my expectations or hype in other reviews. I stayed at the here as a part of a large group that took up around half of the rooms for a weekend. I arrived late on Saturday night with my wife after driving from LA, and there was no parking anywhere. I checked in with the manager, and told him about the lack of parking, but all he said was that the parking fills up at night, and I should have gotten there earlier. There were people parked in two spaces at once, and he still did nothing about it. I know that most of the people in our group (we had booked around half of the entire motel) didn't have cars with them, so there were even fewer people than usual with cars, and I was still not able to park. (The website advertises off street parking, but the lack of spaces is not mentioned).
Once we found a street parking spot a few blocks away, we finally got into the room, which was also disappointing. I specifically asked for a room with a kitchen but the manager refused to let me book one, even though there were vacancies when I tried to book. I have special dietary needs, and it's always just easier to cook for myself when I travel instead of searching for restaurants that I can eat at. Luckily, since the group booked half of the motel, I was able to use the kitchen in a friend's room.
Instead of the kitchen room, we were crammed in the smallest room possible, with the bed taking up the majority of the floor space. There was also a large gas heater in the floor covered by a metal grate, and with the bed taking up most of the floor space, there was only a ONE FOOT GAP to walk on between the heater grate and the bed. I burned my feet on the hot metal grate several times at night trying to get to and from the bathroom, since it's pretty hard to find a little one foot gap in in a strange room in the dark. I was also nervous about carbon monoxide poisoning from a gas heater in a tiny hotel room, so I also slept with the window cracked open for ventilation.
The bathroom was another low point of the hotel. Our bathroom was extremely tiny, only as wide as the doorway itself (except for the shower). There was only a 6 inch wide by (maybe) 2 foot long "shelf" to store all of my items in the bathroom. Have you ever tried to get ready in the morning with only a 1 square foot area available for all of your toiletries? The bathroom sink also had old style faucets, with separate spigots for hot and cold water, so there was no way to get regular warm water. It was ether completely cold or extremely hot.
The one thing I expected was the noise from the commuter trains. The turn around point for one of the MUNI lines is directly in front of the motel, and I knew to expect noise from 6am to almost midnight every day. At least there were ear plugs in the room.
The location is one of the only really nice things about the motel. It's a block from the beach and a block from the zoo, and there is a MUNI station directly in front of the motel.
The Sunset is a nice area of San Francisco that I would like to visit again, but I will not be staying at the Ocean Park Motel.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank flyzapper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vicxsf, Owner at Ocean Park Motel, responded to this reviewResponded September 29, 2013

Some thirty years ago I was able to speak to the woman who owned the Ocean Park in the '40s, and she was so pleased that the "little bungalows" as she called them, were taken over by a young couple who cared for extending the life and usefulness of the motel. We have a real affection for these historic buildings and understand that the rooms and parking facilities of an older property are not for everyone. At some point, I surely hope the next owners will be able to completely update and take this vintage motel to the next level.

Room size depends on the number of beds, ranging from one queen to three queens in separate bedrooms. I especially apologize that the room was awkward for you, and I hope that your description of the one-queen room will be helpful for other guests. We have good-sized caution signs above each floor heater, but that doesn't excuse the fact that you inadvertently stepped on it in the dark. I was sorry to hear that it happened! Those bathrooms are indeed small, and we even keep hairdryers in the bedroom where there is a bureau and large mirror. We have just a few remaining bathroom sinks that will be replaced soon with a single-mix faucet.

Your request for a kitchen unit could not be guaranteed because as our website describes, there is a minimum stay of three nights, especially during the busy summer season. We could only reserve a room without a kitchen and make a notation of your request in case space was available. I wish we could have made it possible for you because you surely would have preferred the extra space as well as convenience of the kitchen.

Good to hear that you would like to return to this area, and I hope you will have an enjoyable stay at another lodging of your choosing when you visit the Outer Sunset again.

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Reviewed September 21, 2013

We spent 6 wonderful days in San Francisco - cramming everything in, and we were able to do it all by staying at this wonderful little oasis. We were traveling with another couple, so we stayed in a room with 2 separate sleeping areas (both queen size beds) and a kitchenette. Granted, there was no living room, so we simply carried 4 chairs into the little kitchen and gathered there early mornings for coffee and late evenings for a day's recap with drinks, or a game of yahtzee! Especially important to note was the amazing cleanliness! Every inch of the hotel grounds, inside and out, were well cared for and picture perfect.
Upon arrival, we were given a most helpful sheet with restaurant choices and transportation tips. The streetcar is just outside the door, so we were able to go everywhere (with the help of a muni pass) with very little effort. No driving stress, just streetcars, cable cars and the city at our doorstep! The owners are great too, and they will do everything they can to make your vacation the best!

Room Tip: We stayed in Room 8, which was right off the center courtyard - what a perfect picture to open your...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Nebraska2go
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2013

No cookie cutter experience, this genuine Art Deco motel is for the traveler looking for something other --and more interesting -- than the standard hotel. It is in the Sunset District of San Francisco, just a couple of blocks from the Pacific Ocean (and an accessible beach), and also close to the San Francisco Zoo.
I have been to San Francisco many, many times, but this was my introduction to that part of the city. I first read about the Ocean Park Motel in an enthusiastic review in Sunset Magazine, and -- after talking with the staff about what would, and would not, be available there -- it met and exceeded my expectations. I do recommend you check what they offer ahead of your visit, so you have no surprises when they don't have a hairdryer, or the like, which you are used to in chain hotels.
I chose a unit with a full kitchen; I was told ahead that there was no room service or restaurant on the premises. The kitchen was just right for basic meals; although I was more interested in convenience than saving money, given restaurant charges the city, I saved on my expenses too. There is a great little coffee shop/cafe only two blocks away that does make excellent sandwiches and the like, and I felt the area was safe for a woman alone walking over to it. (Sometimes a concern in a large city.)
The staff and owners are attentive and efficient, there when needed, but allowing privacy too. I was in the city to see the Vermeer ("The Girl with a Pearl Earring") at the de Young Museum, and had no interest in evening entertainment, or a bar; they do not have either. This is a quiet place compared to most city hotels; the noises I heard were, to me, charming: the street car nearby, and in the night, the sound of the ocean, one of my favorite sounds in all the world.
I've stayed in hotels on three continents, including some quite famous ones, and this was surely the least expensive. It is a GREAT buy for a rather expensive town, but you do need to know ahead what to expect if you are used to the amenities at large hotels. My rooms were scrupulously clean, and the bed was comfortable.
I did not bring a car, but they do have parking; I believe it is included but didn't check.
After my delightful days at the Ocean Park, I moved to a downtown major hotel to join a convention, and was back to the typical lines at check in, crowded elevators, and mass-purchased decorating. I missed the very individual -- as if collected by a family, not a chain -- furnishings, and the friendly tips from the owners about their beloved city.

Room Tip: My rooms backed on a street, and although I was not bothered by noise, there are also units away fro...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank OlyKay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2013

My wife and I had the plesure of finding this jewel near the San Francisco Zoo and Ocean Beach. It was an older building, but was well maintained and the staff was exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable. The rates in a city that is quite expensive were very reasonable. Everything worked properly and was clean. There was ample parking for a rented vehicle, as well as access to nearby public transportation. We were not interested in the famous grand hotels of downtown San Francisco. We would gladly repeat as guests of the Ocean Park Motel in San Francisco. It was a true pleasure. Leslie & Marcia A.

Room Tip: Rooms away from the street are quieter.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Leslie A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2013

There are many positive reviews about this motel on trip advisor, when looking for somewhere to stay in San Francisco this looked like a nice place to stay.
As San Francisco is an expensive place to stay this motel seemed reasonably priced.
When we arrived the staff couldn't be more helpful and polite. We were upgraded to a bigger room with two bedrooms and three double beds (there were only two of us) we expected the room to be dated but not shabby and unkept. The bathroom was dirty and the toilet had not been cleaned, the toilet seat was broken and was hanging off. The shower was dark and dingy with no lighting and mould of the ceiling. As this room was overlooking the street the noise of the trams at night kept us awake even with the earplugs provided. The jacuzzi was nice and well kept and was private. The jacuzzi was the best part of this motel. The motel is 30-40 minutes away from the centre. I would of expected more from a motel that cost $350 for 2 nights.

Room Tip: Do not stop in room 15.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Stacey P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vicxsf, Owner at Ocean Park Motel, responded to this reviewResponded September 13, 2013

We can not apologize more for the state of the bathroom as you found it. My husband had replaced that very toilet seat on the Friday before your Monday arrival, and quite mysteriously, two screws out of four on the lid slipped out. While the seat was where it should be, the lid itself was quite askew. We were out of town for a few days and our wonderfully helpful Chester found one screw to help stabilize the lid, but despite valiant efforts could not find the second, so the lid remained wobbly until our return today. I'm at a loss to say how the bathroom could not have been cleaned, and cleaned well for your arrival. We gave extra attention to the ceiling of #15 shower and one other room that we found today. We try to "up our game" with every guest comment, and we thank you for taking the time to describe the problems you found. Streetcar noise is a fact of life here, as many reviewers have mentioned. Most of the time it rumbles as the streetcar goes by, and sometimes, when the weather takes a turn from hot to cold, the tracks take a few days to adjust and the noise can be loud. We're glad you stayed both nights of your reservation and so greatly enjoyed the lure of our garden jacuzzi.

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Additional Information about Ocean Park Motel

Address: 2690 46th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94116-2699
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Francisco
Hotel Style:
#4 Best Value Hotel in San Francisco
#32 Family Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range: $75 - $175 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
San Francisco's first motel is an award-winning Art Deco gem where guests enjoy our secluded gardens after a whirl of downtown attractions. Family friendly rates in a variety of rooms, some with full kitchens. Dogs are welcome and enjoy Ocean Beach and nearby Fort Funston. Entirely non-smoking, with free parking, local calls, and internet. Twenty minutes' drive to airport or downtown, with downtown streetcar at door. Near UCSF, SFSU, Golden Gate Park; opposite beach/zoo. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ocean Park Hotel San Francisco
Ocean Park San Francisco

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