Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Review: Stanyan Park Hotel, San Francisco

I'd checked out their web page and read a few decent reviews of the Stanyan Park Hotel in San Francisco, so the wife and I decided there was no way we could stay there: Waaay too expensive!!! It took rather extraordinary circumstances to change my mind, but change it did, on Saturday night.

I'd spent 4 days at USCFs' Mofitt Hospital undergoing chemotherapy. Time came to leave Saturday afternoon and I was expecting the wife to arrive any time to pick me up. To make a long story short, I learned at the last minute she wasn't on her way and was, in fact, still in Eureka. That made me nervous as I was almost done being discharged. Where could I stay?

But, I said No. I'd had enough, so time to leave. I figured I could easily get a room at the Carl Hotel which is relatively inexpensive and just a few blocks from UCSF- easy walking distance. One of the nurses became aware of the situation and told me she was concerned it might be seen as them "dumping you out on the street'. I told her not to worry as the Carl Hotel seemed to always have at least one room available, so off I went to the Carl.

Rough walk, even with my roller equipped suitcase. Fortunately, it was pretty much all downhill. Having been to the Carl at least a couple times before, I was pretty confident I'd easily find it, despite it getting a bit late in the day.

Then I found myself confused when I couldn't find it where I thought it should be.I walked half a block each way, the problem being all the buildings looked the same from the sidewalk. I finally got out my new smartphone and tried finding it on a map. That didn't work and I started up and down the street again. I finally swallowed my pride and asked a guy I'd seen walking back and forth in the same area where the Carl was. He pointed me to it.

I went into the lobby and asked the clerk if they had a room but she said there was a problem. They were renovating and only had a few rooms available. Only one wasn't taken and she pointed me to the reservation form someone had for that room

That left me with the option of waiting to see if the guy would show up to claim his reservation, but it might well be dark by then. I asked the girl if she knew of any other places I could stay. She pointed in one direction saying there was a place a couple blocks down that street. The only other suggestion was to take a train to the Ocean district and stay at some place whose name escapes me, alhough I have a fiiend who stays there regularly. I wan't going that far without  a car. I might never make it back, and it might make it harder for those coming to get me to find me.

So down Stanyan Street I went looking for the hotel. I hadn't asked the name of the place. Perhaps because I didn't want to know. If it was the Stanyan, I would almost have to refuse before even seeing it if only because it was too expensive.

I went a couple or three blocks wihout seeing any obvious signs of a hotel and finally had to ask someone if they knew of one. A younger guy pointed me just a half block down the street. There it was. I couldn't read the name on the sign, at first, but there was a lit neon sign at the bottom advertising a vacancy. SAVED!- no matter what place it is.

Yep, it was the Stanyan Park Hotel and not at all what I'd expected. For one thing, I figured it would be in the other direction, up in the hills in the residential areas. Their web page made it sound like one of Eureka's bed and breakfast homes. That sort of place wouldn't fit in to this neighborhood. Not a bad neighborhood, just not real high class.

I went inside and was struck by how clean and upscale it seemed. Off to the left was what would turn out to be the breakfast room, but business first. I asked the clerk if they had a room.  He seemed hesitant to deal with me at first, then warmed up and said they had room with twin beds for around $250(!!!), I was a bit stunned as that was even more expensive than what we'd seen on their web page, BUT, I told myself, desperate times call for desperate measures.

He took my credit card, told me the rules and I took the elevator to my room, #202. Nice elevator in good working order. I got to my room and was impressed: very clean, quiet, warm and fairly large. It even had one of those windows that kinda stuck out over the sidewalk where I could stand and watch all the hustle and bustle on Stanyan Street. 

I was surprised at all the activity, especially parents with kids. It seems these few blocks were the social center for people living in the area.

After getting everything put away I walked back the way I came and made a beer run to the liquor store in sight of the hotel's front door. Then I noticed all the other businesses along the street including a pizza place, a McDonald's and a pub just three doors down from the hotel. Nice, compared to most places we stay where we usually have to drive to find food.

Went back to the room and watched TV on my nice modern flat screen. Got to talking to the guy at the front desk for a bit. He was real enthusiastic about Uber- that new taxi service. Said he's saved a lot of money using it. I thought I should use that if I needed to get back to UCSF, except I only had $1.00 cash to my name right then.

I tried going to bed around 10pm, being pretty much exhausted. Bed was nice and room quiet but I couldn't sleep. Then, around 11:00 a noise outside got my attention and I knew what it was: the sound of bottles breaking. I'd heard it before when guys are trying to reduce the volume of their recyclable glass.

After about 45 minutes I got up to look out the front window and saw a guy behind a small flatbed truck filling the truck with glass from the recycling bins on the sidewalk. I wondered if he was stealing the stuff as I'd read of them having a problem with that down there, but he didn't seem concerned and the bed of the truck was full of glass. He finally moved on and I went to sleep.

Woke up around 5:30 a little hungry and eager to try the breakfast room, alhough I was still suffering from what I call chemo gut, or chemo belly. Not quite the nausea I've heard of chemotherapy patients experiencing but mostly a queesy stomach that results in a lack of interest in food. I'd thrown up the morning before, in the hospital, just thinking of food.

Breakfast room was nice with plenty of the usual: hard boiled eggs, toast, cereal, waffles and more. I grabbed a couple hard boiled eggs, made a couple pieces of toast and poured a cup of coffee. Not bad but my chemo belly acted up and I quickly lost interest in eating more. Still, if I'd wanted to, there was enough there to fill up on.

Only a couple others there while I was in there. A couple hours later when I walked by, the place looked packed.

Connie had called and I figured she'd show up between noon and 12;30 that day. I packed up my stuff and asked the front desk if they cared if I kept the room key until after check out time which was 11am.I wanted to show Connie and her sister the room as it was quite nice. They had no problem with that. I should hope so, for the money I paid.

Around 11;30 I cleared out the room and went to wait in the lobby. I didn't need my stuff in the room to show it off and moving early could help speed things up.

Got to see some other guests get picked up by an Uber cab while I was waiting in the lobby. No signs on the car, which why I suspected it was Uber, and the girl working he desk called the cab so I asked her.

My ride came just before 12;30. Fortunately, there was an open parking space out front, parking seeming to be at least a little more available than at The Carl. My two drivers seemed to like the hotel and my room despite its high price. We got into the car and left. As I turned in my key, the front desk clerk told me guests of guests can use the same things actual guests can take advantage of. 

Good to know. If my drivers had shown up earlier- before 10am- they could have availed themselves of the breakfast room.

I wouldn't mind staying there again at all, but not for the price. The receipt showed total cost after taxes as $270(!!!) with taxes included. Then again, that was one of those desperate times...


At 10:54 AM, Blogger Julie Timmons said...

Glad to see you're still grumpy! The chemo must be working.

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You probably paid the "rack" rate. Did you ask about AAA or AARP discounts? Also, some hotels near medical centers provide a special rate for patients and the family.

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

No. It didn't occur to me to ask about discounts. Desperate times, you know?

At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review, Fred! Now that you know about AARP & hospital discounts, reservations might be promising. I hope you're finished with treatment soon & back to writing full time. I miss seeing your post alerts in "elsewhere".


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