Last year, I spent a vacation with my family in San Francisco. One of my favorite cities, San Francisco offers a wide array of activities, culture, food, and everything in between. On the downside, there were a couple of things that put a damper on a trip meant for relaxing.
For starters, parking was a bit of a nightmare. Not only is most street parking metered, a spot next to the residence might be one, two, or three blocks away. Though the city has a special place in my heart, it is well known that housing is exorbitantly expensive. I had previously rented a small house. For a three night stay, the bill came out to be $370. This wasn’t bad considering the cost of living in SF. With parking however, the price was definitely much higher.
What I did the next trip changed the experience drastically. My colleague had mentioned staying at an extended stay hotel during one of his business trips. He resided at a long term hotel for about a month while he was undergoing a professional development training. From his testimony, it seemed that this time away was anything but stressful. So, I decided to give a hotel a try.
Here’s what I learned about staying at an extended stay hotel
The Comforts of Home?
My mom, a relatively picky consumer, told me that she was pleased to see a full kitchen. She declared that we could save money by cooking instead of constantly eating out. I was also pleasantly surprised that the hotel had a complete and immaculately clean kitchen.
As I mentioned before, a fully equipped kitchen made the trip cheaper, healthier, and more home-like. Being able to cook when we didn’t feel like eating out was a great option to have. In total, we stayed 6 nights and my mother loved being able to cook herself. However, the hotel did have a complimentary breakfast service as well.
Here were some of the features of the kitchen:
- Ample counter space
I liked being able to work out during my stay. Every day, I would go to the onsite fitness facility for 30 minutes. I learned that even if you’re on vacation, maintaining a schedule and staying active is crucial. I had more energy to explore. The benefit of this kind of hotel is the facilities designed for convenience and comfort. Because most guests want some sense of home and order, having a gym and kitchen allows you to keep up your habits and lifestyle.
For families and those wishing for a more tranquil experience, hotels geared towards longer term travelers are typically located in quieter areas. This was no problem in San Francisco because of the public transportation and BART. My mom and I hopped on a BART, went into the city for lunch and sightseeing, and came back to a relaxing room away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area.
I noticed a few families with children as well. For those travelling with youngsters, I highly recommend a hotel designed for longer, relaxing getaways.
*Quick tip for families – the suite we stayed in was spacious. If you have children, the extra space would be ideal. The hotel also had one or two bedroom options.
We really enjoyed the housekeeping service. It was nice to come back to fresh towels, a neatly made bed, and a piece of chocolate. This certainly made the trip less stressful. If you’re someone who prefers more privacy, most extended residence hotels have weekly housekeeping services.
The first day, I wanted to know the best way to get to downtown San Francisco; the concierge was incredibly helpful in giving me a map and detailed instructions on how to take the BART. Not only did we not have to deal with Bay Area traffic and parking, public transportation saved us money.
*There was a free shuttle to San Francisco International Airport!
Rates were beyond reasonable. Parking, breakfast, and Wi-Fi were all included in the price. The price was $149/night. The hotel we stayed at was much cheaper than a hotel in central San Francisco. For most downtown hotels, parking is about $15 - $20/night in addition to the cost of the hotel stay.
We rented a car because we wanted to drive to Sonoma County. Having free parking was absolutely wonderful.
This vacation was probably one of the most enjoyable experiences I had with my family.
- Easy transportation to the center
- Free breakfast
- Excellent customer service
- Completive prices
- Free parking