Monday, March 30, 2009

WWDC Accommodations

Staying downtown in San Francisco is very expensive in the summertime. Bu, if you're going to WWDC, you really want to stay downtown. You do not want to be taking the BART in if you can help it, and you really don't want to be driving and and looking for parking.

With the closest chain hotels — the full service Marriott and the W — averaging around a $400 daily rack rate, and the Courtyard on 2nd (about four blocks away) costing well over $200 a night, it can be hard to find a place to stay that won't knock the hell out of your travel budget.

Here are a couple of hotels not run by Marriott, Hilton, or Starwood chains that are reasonable and seem to be well reviewed. They are both within a few blocks of Moscone West:

The Hotel Palomar is a well-reviewed Kimpton hotel that's very close to Moscone West. The standard room rate is well under $200, and the AAA discount brings it well under $150 (on average, some nights may cost a little more.

The Powell Hotel, run by the Miramir Hospitality Group is right across Market, probably three blocks from Moscone, and has an average nightly rate of $144 during the week of WWDC.

If anyone has any other accommodation recommendations for WWDC, post them in the comments and I will add them here.

Note: I have not stayed at any of these hotels myself (although I have a reservation at the Palomar for this year), so do your due diligence before making a reservation. I cannot personally guarantee you that they will have every feature that you wish or that they will meet a certain level of cleanliness, I'm just trying to provide some more reasonable alternatives to the big chains within walking distance to Moscone. My personal experience on this matter is very limited; in the past, I have always stayed at the Courtyard on 2nd or the Marriott on 4th because I always had elite status with Marriott from all the travel I used to do, so I was able to stay on points.

Update 1: According to Julio Barros, Expedia had good prices on the Westin and the W last week (I just checked the Westin, and they had it for $174 a night) so it's worth checking them out.

Update 2 Brian Gorby says the Hotel Triton on Grant Ave. is "clean, comfy, and friendly", though you're looking at about an eight-block walk. Not a killer, but enough to discourage you from going back to your hotel during the day. Though, that may be a good thing.

Update 3 Bill says the Intercontintental on Howard runs about $180-$210 and is only a block or two from Moscone and Toby Joe says he's staying at the Clift hotel at 495 Geary (about 6 blocks away) for about $200.

Update 4 Mike Taylor pointed out via Twitter that the Villa Florence was renovated last year and he was able to get a room for only $119.

No more updates - comments are growing too fast - just read the comments are loaded with good suggestions. Maybe I'll consolidate all the suggestions after they've slowed down.


Julio Barros said...

The Westin and the W were both on sale in Expedia last week. It may still be on so check it out.

tobyjoe said...

I went with the Clift for around $200/night. I prefer the W but the Clift is a bit cheaper and has a great lobby/bar.

Bill said...

I decided to get a place closer than Fishermans Wharf this year, so I'm trying out the InterContinental on Howard, a block or two from Moscone West. They were $180-$210 per night, but I got a Friends and Family rate pretty easily, which lowered it to $128 most nights, and $155 for a couple of the nights.

I think wifi is extra, but like you, I don't spend much time in the hotel, so I'm not too worried.

sgaw said...

Last year I stayed at The Steinhart which is about a 20 minute walk from Moscone. The minimum stay is for a week and it is an apartment hotel so breakfasts are not provided (I tended to grab a pastry and coffee at Moscone anyway) but the rooms are spacious and clean and it was very comfortable. If I were going to WWDC this year I'd happily stay there again. Their website is

Alex Koloskov said...

I just returned from GDC (Game Developers Conference) in SF and we stayed in Good Hotel at 7th and Mission, which is like 3 blocks away from Moscone. It's not the same class as W or Westin of course, but it was ~$75 a night and it's a pretty cool-looking and clean hotel. The only caveat is their wireless Internet which is pretty slow, so don't expect running videoconferences from your hotel room.

adambyram said...

For what it's worth, I used and got the Marriott for $167/night (avg was 129 for most of the week and 199 Thurs/Fri I think). I was booking flights at the same time though, so don't know if you can get that good of a rate without doing it with your flights.

darrelplant said...

I still have fond memories of the place I stayed the first time I visited San Francisco (and of the prices I paid!) It only rented rooms by the week, it's on Jones Street, a few blocks west of Union Square (putting it a bit over a mile from Moscone), and it had cool tile and terracotta: The Gaylord. It looks like the rates are about $150/night these days (we paid twice that for an entire week some years ago), but it had kitchenettes in all the rooms, and we saved a bundle by making our own food to take out for the day.

Hal Mueller said...

I stayed at the Hotel Fusion, on Ellis St, about a 10-15 minute walk from Moscone, in both 2007 and 2008. It is spartan and clean, but has no amenities like workout room or hot tub. Their website lists $99/night for room with twin bed, $139 for king bed, $189 for minisuite. I'm at the Intercontinental this year.

Chris Ryland said...

Whoa, has the Palomar Hotel (a Kimpton boutique hotel) for $135/night right now. Fantastic rate, great hotels. (I've stayed in several Kimpton properties.) Just 2 blocks from Moscone, right at the corner of 4th and Market.

Jeff LaMarche said...


If you've got AAA, the Palomar is $125 a night, except for one night, where it's $139.

Chris Ryland said...

@Jeff: Yes, but only for the first night--just checked. Average cost for 6 nights is $138.50.

Kieran said...

I've stayed in the Villa Florence more than once and highly recommend it and have done before, it is a superb hotel by European standards which as a boutique hotel is what you should probably expect!, by US standards it has small rooms and small elevators, however the hotel ambience more than makes up for this

coupled with the attached restaurant you cannot fail to have a good stay

Jeff LaMarche said...


Oh... glad I did it early, then. I got $125 for all but one night.

abraginsky said...

I was able to use Priceline to snag a nice room at the Marriott on 4th for around $95 a night.

Chris Ryland said...

@abraginsky: Holy smokes, you're right!, "name your price", 4-star SOMA region, $99/night. Accepted at Marriott. Great stuff!

mike3k said...

I like the Pickwick & the Milano. Both are on 5th Street south of market (about 1 block from Moscone West) and both are around $155/night. The Milano is a bit nicer, though.

menumachine said...

The Palomar is very nice, I stayed there in 2007 and would stay there again if I were going this year. It's got WiFi of course, a generous desk area and is very close to Moscone.

fpillet said...

Last year I stayed at the Baldwin Hotel which was nice (nothing fancy, but clean and comfortable). This year I'll be staying just in front, at the Hotel Triton for which I found a great deal on Expedia (40% off). The deal made it less expensive than the Baldwin (about 77/night, all taxes included). It's 10mn walk from the Moscone center and perfect for me, last year I even came back at times during lunch and before dinner to drop my laptop or change clothes.

mikka said...

I was able to book a room at Grant Plaza ( which seems to be only 15 min of walk to Moscone Center for 75$ a night (rates started from 65$). Not sure about hotel quality but since i am interested in only getting a place to sleep i think it is going to be fine. WiFi would be another 9$/day.

Eric W said...

Hello Everyone,
a kind reader informed me of this blog--I am the sales Director at the Powell Hotel. We will offer all WWDC guests a fantastic $109 room rate for the event. Just mention WWDC when calling the Powell hotel 800 368-0700
Eric Williams
The Powell Hotel
San Francisco

Shazron said...

Used to stay at the Westin St Francis and Westin Market St, both good hotels. Booked a room through, at Handlery Hotel Union Square which is not too far from Moscone West.

Got it for double occupancy at Canadian $147 (about USD$120?) through, sharing with a friend so costs effectively halved. Handlery is on Twitter also, I'm sure if you DM them @HandleryHotels they might have a good deal for you.

Jason said...

I am attending WWDC, anyone interested in splitting a room in the downtown area?

alexis said...

W seems to be 155/night on expedia if you book a flight through them. Clift is less, more like 135/night

Thoughts on which I should choose?

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