Parker Guest House

Address: 520 Church St, San Francisco, California, 94114-2023, United States | B&B
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This B&B, located in the Castro area of San Francisco, is near Mission Dolores Park, Mission Dolores, Nob Hill, and Joseph Schmidt Confections.
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          TravelPod Member ReviewsParker Guest House San Francisco

          Reviewed by petercubit

          What a great find

          Reviewed May 15, 2016
          by (14 reviews) Melbourne , Australia Flag of Australia

          The Parker Guesthouse comprises twin buildings over 100 years old. The current owners have run it for nearly 20 years. The rooms are very tasteful, spacious and with all facilities. The common areas are delightful and the guest house runs breakfasts, social occasions and offers brandy at various times of the day. The staff are efficient and very helpful. Thank you for letting us stay.

          This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of

          Historical Traveler Reviews Parker Guest House San Francisco

          A Gem in Castro


          I have stayed at this place twice in the past six months. Its really the best choice in the area. Great service, nice happy hour, and a fantastic breakfast. Very nice setting and relaxing. Delightful overall.

          Delightful B&B in San Francisco


          I have stayed at the Parker Guest House three times, and thought it was just delightful all three times. There are many things to like about it, but here are a few of the top ones:

          1) Nice rooms and immaculate bathrooms.

          2) Pleasant, nicely-decorated public areas, including a very nice, sunny place for breakfast, gardens, and a fountain.

          3) Good breakfast--coffee, cereals, yogurt, fruit, muffins, orange juice, milk, etc. Local and national newspapers to read in the breakfast area.

          4) Friendly, helpful staff.

          5) Diverse, interesting group of people staying there.

          6) "Happy hour" each day with wine and snacks is a good chance to meet other guests.

          7) Free use of a computer and a printer.

          8) Good location.

          Great Place


          My partner and I stayed at The Parker Guest House last month and we had a WONDERFULL experience. Charming buildings, great gardens, extreemly nice staff and great location. With breakfast and the other amenities included it proved to be an excellent value and a delight. We highly recommend it.

          Very Nice Place


          The Parker House is a very nice place to stay in the Castro district and probably your best option unless your a leather person. We had a room in the back, so noise wasn't a problem, but I did hear several people complain about the front rooms on the street because of the trolly car running throughout the night (I stayed in a place in Toronto that was totally like that and it was horrible). I was very glad that my boyfriend and I were in the back where we had the window open all night and it was very peaceful.

          The place was beautiful and everyone we had contact with were very friendly and helpful. Yes, I agree with one persons previous statement about turning off the fireplace at 10pm, because that happened to us but it didn't bother us because you certainly can't let the fire go all night. I guess we're pretty open minded about some things and don't let them bother us.

          Breakfast and afternoon wine is a great time to meet some of the other people staying there and we would definitely stay there again. It's only a couple blocks to the gay area and the subway. We just wish they had a hot tub instead of a steam room! Lots of great places to eat within walking distance, and try Mecca for a great dinner and Martini.

          What a Delight!


          We had some reservations based on some of the reviews we read but we are so glad we didn't change our plans. What a delightful place. Our room was lovely, facing out into the beautiful garden. We were particularly concerned about the supposed "noise" problems mentioned, but it wasn't an issue at all. We had our windows opened all night and slept like babies. True our room didn't face the street but I asked some other guests who did face the street if it was a problem and they said it didn't bother them at all.

          The afternoon wine was a wonderful opportunity to meet some of the other guests and the breakfast, which consisted of fresh fruit salad, bagels, pastries, cereal, etc., was terrfic. The staff was extremely helpful in providing advice where to go and how to get there. Getting around was a breeze given its proximity to public transportation.

          Next time we are in San Fran, we will be staying here again without question.

          Nice but a little disappointed...


          Don't get me wrong, Parker Guest House is a lovely building with a decent location (especially if you are gay). I do have to write an honest review though. We had a nice stay at Parker, but I have to agree with the last review that there are a few issues.

          Since this is a guest house I expected it to be a bit more intimate, along the lines of a B&B. I have been to such places where the owners greet you when you arrive and are aware of who is staying in their house. This was not so at the Parker Guest House. I am not the kind of person to expect individual special treatment but there was just an indifferent feel from most of the staff.

          The room was cozy and nice but the J-train did go right by our window since we were on the street. I asked if it was going to be loud before we checked in and was assured that it was nothing to be worried about. I am sure it was worse because we had the window open, but there was no ceiling fan and we wanted to have a breeze. I agree that the Breakfast was very nice, and the guy that prepared it in the morning was the nicest person on staff. The internet access was also a nice bonus.

          One thing that did annoy me was that it seemed like there was never a staff member around when you needed them. We had a rental car and returned in the early evening expecting to park (we had reserved one of the few parking spots). We were told to just find someone when we got back and they would tell us what to do. We spent 15 minutes looking for someone and used the phone to page someone, with no luck. Finally we called the number that said to call in an "emergency" and one of the owners was down right away to give us the garage opener and information. He was apologetic but also had a "all you had to do was call" kind of attitude. Another instance that irked me was when we had just come down to the sitting room to sit by the fire and have a brandy when one of the owners came down and said he had to shut down for the night. It was only 10PM and I felt like I was being sent to bed for being past curfew.

          So in conclusion, I would consider staying here again now that I know what to expect. Despite the few issues I had with Parker Guest House, the actual facility is clean and cozy and good if you want a nice place to stay with a good breakfast.

          Not as good as I thought it would be.


          This is a very pretty guest house located about 5 minutes walk from the heart of the gay village on Castro Street. It is easy to get to as the J MUNI line runs right past the door. Herein lies my first complaint. Every time a MUNI runs past, the room shakes as the hotel is constructed from wood. My room was on the side of the hotel, so I can only assume that rooms facing the street would be even worse.

          WIth the exception of the guy who serves breakfast and one of the owners, I did not find the staff to be particularly friendly. I was reprimanded on one occasion for making tea in the afternoon, even though it was my own tea and I had previously asked another staff member for permission to get some hot water as there were no tea or coffee making facilities in my room.

          The breakfast was excellent with a wide range of cereals, fruit, pastries, english muffins, bagels, yoghurts and tea and coffee. Complimentary wine was offered in the evening which was fine so long as you like Chardonnay...

          The room itself was a standard queen room. As stated on the website, it was fairly small by US standards- fine for one but you wouldnt want to spend a whole week in the room with somebody else. The wardrobe was VERY small. The furnishings reminded me of Pottery Barn- somewhere between contemporary and traditional. The room was adequately clean, although the duvet had some staining when I turned it over.

          The bathroom was spotless on my arrival, but this standard was not kept up during my stay. The sink in particular was wiped each day rather than cleaned, and by the end of the week was dulled with a layer of soap scum. On my arrival, the plug would not work so I could not run a sink of water. I complained to the reception that day, but 3 days later nothing had been done and I had to complain again before it was only temporarily fixed.

          Noise from adjacent rooms was a problem in this hotel. The wooden construction meant that I could hear everything that was said (and done!) in the rooms around me. The bathrooms have very noisy extractor fans which disturb your neighbours. On several occasions I could watch my own TV with the sound turned down as my neighbours TV was so loud. Along with the noise from the passing MUNI line, this hotel was too noisy for me and I would not stay here again.

          Charming and Convenient-5 Stars


          My partner and I recently spent five nights at the, mostly gay but very straight friendly, Parker Guest House. What a wonderful experience! The Guest House occupies two beautifully restored old Victorian row homes that are separated by a beautiful courtyard. Our room was nicely appointed with a large bathroom and a two man (maybe three) shower that I wanted to take home with me. The Parker House provides a warm and friendly home away from home with a sophisticated ambience not found at many gay hotels.

          We stayed in the original guest house, with it's ornate check-in pallor (including carved wooden lion heads that are lights), cozy front room with a roaring fire in the fireplace and grand piano and a welcoming European style breakfast room. There are gorgeous rose gardens in the courtyard to enjoy when the weather is nice and a wet sauna to help warm you after walking around the city on a winters day (or a summer day, from what I have heard about SF summers).

          The guest house is easy to get to from SFO airport; just a short 20 minute BART ride into the city and a transfer onto the J Church Street Muni line, dropping you off a half block from the front door. The Parker Guest House is at the gateway to the Castro District, with easy access into any area of San Francisco. It is located in a very lovely neighborhood of old Victorians, great restaurants, funky shops and many gay bars. Walking around at night felt safe and the area is well lit with many pedestrians. The guest house is a half block from Dolores Park, famous from the intro of Brooke Shields TV series "Suddenly Susan".

          Each evening there is a wine and cheese hour where you can meet your fellow guests. Our group included several International visitors, guys from all over the States and a charming woman who was staying there upon her sister and her sister's partners recommendation (a great place for a single woman to stay who is traveling alone).

          While on vacation I sleep in so I never had breakfast at the Guest House. However, I can recommend a good breakfast and coffee at Cafe Flore a few blocks away on Marker Street (a great place to people watch) if you are also a late riser. There are so many great restaurants close by on Church Street (Home, Chow, The Crepe Vine) and on Market Street (2223, Bhagdad) and in the Castro (Fuzio, WoodFired).

          Some things not to miss and some off the beaten track: Saturday Farmers Market at the Embarcadero, The Ferry Building at the end of Market Street at the Embarcadero (shops, gourmet foods and The Slanted Door, Vietnamese cuisine in a hip setting), The Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral, a walk over the hill on Castro Street to Noe Valley (shops, restaurants and coffee houses), The Lobby of the Hotel Monaco and The Clift Hotel in the Theatre District (the restaurant in the Hotel Monaco, The Grand Cafe, is beautiful, delicious and funky), walking the neighborhoods above the Castro to see the old Victorian homes (don't miss the neighborhood of Corona Heights and all of the stairways that replace streets), Fort Mason Park with it's views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and it's funky Museum Stores (in between the Marina and Fisherman's Wharf) and the production of "Beach Blanket Babylon" in North Beach.

          We will definately return to The Parker Guesthouse and continue to recommend it to everyone that we know! The only thing that I would recommend to the Inn keepers is to get fluffier pillows (preferably down). The ones we had were flat and uncomfortable no matter how we propped and fluffed them.

          Perfect For Business Or Pleasure


          Whether you are visiting San Francisco for business or pleasure, the Parket Guest House is a wonderful place to stay. Catering primarily to gay men and lesbians, the Parker is just a few blocks from the shops, restaurants and nightlife of the Castro. You won't have a problem finding outstanding choices for food -- I'd particular recommend Firewood, Home, Chow, or 2223 Market.

          The Parker has two Victorians adjacent to each other. Both have been carefully restored and probably exceed their original grandeur. The original house has a large sitting room with a grand piano and fireplace. A sunroom off the kitchen serves as the spot for afternoon happy hours or morning breakfast. There is a very nice steam room which is seldom used - probably because it's hidden. You need to go out to the backyard and enter through a door on the side.

          Transportation is readily available. Cabs can be hailed on Castro or Market Streets. The staff will also call a cab for you. Even better, the J-Church MUNI line runs in front of the house and stops a block away. MUNI offers an easy way to get around the city. Hint: Buy the one week MUNI pass rather than the 3 day visitor pass. You can't ride the Cable Cars with the weekly pass, but it's cheaper than the 3 day visitor pass and lasts from Monday through the following Sunday.

          If you're there on business, the Parker has wireless internet access throughout the houses. Most rooms have writing desks and all have phones and televisions.

          I visit San Francisco at least once a month on business and I lived there previously for five years. I think I have a good handle on the City and where to stay. The Parker Guest is truly an outstanding property -- I highly recommend it.

          Gay Guest House with charm and personality


          I stayed at the Parker Guest House last year when I was in San Francisco to do the AIDS-Lifecycle bike ride to Los Angeles.

          After doing some research online, I chose the Parker because the clientele is primarily gay and because it is near the Castro. On top of that, I given a nice discount because I was in SF for this charity bike ride.

          The main house is impressive and well decorated with antiques. I was greeted by a very cute boy, who was charming and friendly.

          The room was on the smaller side, but it was well appointed and clean, with a high end bathroom. There are several common areas that are pleasant for reading or having a glass of wine.

          Best of all is the location which is blocks away from the restaurants and nightlife.

          TripAdvisor Reviews Parker Guest House San Francisco

          4.50 of 5 stars Outstanding

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          Traveler Photos Parker Guest House San Francisco

          My room
          San Francisco, United States