Renoir Hotel

Address: 45 McAllister St, San Francisco, California, 94102-3813, United States | 2 star hotel
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This 2 star hotel, located on 45 McAllister St, San Francisco, is near Asian Art Museum, The Urban Safari, Orpheum Theatre, and SoMa (South of Market Street).
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          Historical Traveler Reviews Holiday Inn Express Dahlgren King George

          Dodgy Area


          The hotel itself was OK, decent value for money and quite clean. It was in close walking distance of Union Square and the tram station but to get there you had to walk through all the homeless people. To be fair they never threatened us but I wouldnt recommend you venture out alone at night. Through the day there were many loonies around shouting at themselves etc. If you are on a budget and dont mind the surroundings then this hotel will be OK for you.

          This is what I like about San Francisco!


          My partner and I recently stayed twice at the Renoir - in late June, and then again just last week, at the end of September. We are both San Francisco fanatics and had stayed at the Ramada before, just a block further up on Market Street. Honestly, we really liked the experience at the Renoir and reading the relatively negative sounding comments below, I feel like I have to voice my own opinion. The Renoir is an old hotel, almost 100 years old - so there is no air conditioning, the windows however open and the air in San Francisco is usually cool, especially at night. The hotel is located next to major attractions: the fabulous Asian Art Museum is two blocks away, the Orpehum Theater where we a good production of the Phantom of the Opera, just one. It's a five minute walk to the Cable Cars, and yes, there are some sex shops along these three blocks, and cafés, and cheap clothing and electronic stores. But we walked them regularly and were not annoyed by the street people, who hang out here as much as around the Cable Cars. And have you looked at the Visitors Information Center? That place needs a clean-up, it's disgusting, what a bad advertising for the city and its tourist office! Actually the scariest place for us was around the place where the Cable Cars leave for the Wharf, in front of the Powell Hotel. We used the streetcars a lot, called the F-line, they cost only a dollar and 25 cents and took us to Ghirardelli Square, the Ballpark and the Castro. We also used the night buses to get back to the hotel. And the bus to the Golden Gate bridge stops also right at the hotel. Unfortunately, they have a McDonalds restaurant attached on one side of the hotel, and it must have been closed while because during both trips it was empty and not a very attractive sight. The hotel lobby is ornate and we enjoyed hanging out on the new sofas there and listen to the realy cool music they are playing. The front desk staff is more like "hit and miss" - in general very helpful and knowledgeable, except one or two employees who should look for a different place to work for, they obviously don't like to work here or with hotel guests. The rooms are very clean, the restaurant offers a great breakfast and last week we enjoyed the barbeque ("churasco") tremendously - except that we ate far too much meat for what my doctor recommends! We got a very good deal after booking directly with the hotel, including valet parking and daily breakfast! The rooms were all non smoking which I think is great, and otherwise had everything we needed, except maybe high speed internet access. I would recommend: if you are used to urban life and want to see the reall, cool and exciting San Francisco, stay at the Renoir! If you are looking for a clean and boring American city, you shouldn't come to San Francisco in the first place. Or stay at Fisherman's Wharf in an over-priced Hilton or Holiday Inn! But you will never know why this is such a great city. We will come back and stay here again.

          Don't go here! Bad location.


          My new wife and I wanted to spend our honeymoon at the Renoir, because of the French name, Brazillian restaurant and it being located in the heart of Downtown. But when we got there, homeless people were everywhere, triple X theaters right next door and no parking available.

          We ended up finding something else.

          Sorry to let you down Renoir, but I have to be truthful.

          Great for public transport


          For the ease of using public transport I would say that the hotel was in an excellent location but it's the vagants and the people that hang around them that would put me off staying there again. We made sure we were in our room before dark which did limit what we could do but we were never bothered by anyone.Room was clean but had seen better days. We thought tea/coffee making facilities would be provided but they were not. Ask for a room high up on the McAllister side of the building which will limit the amount of noise you will get but do expect to hear some sounds in the night!!

          Rooms decent, Vagrants outside, NOT!


          I recently stayed at the Renoir. I will not be returning. The rooms were decent but I will say they have a very bad problem with the homeless living just outside the hotel lobby on Market Street. Our room over-looked Market and these drunk and drugged vagrants were yelling and screaming all night long. This did not make for an enjoyable stay at the Renoir. Scary.

          Hotel in the 'Hood


          Being a New Yorker, I thought I had seen some pretty "scary" neighborhoods, but the Civic Center, which is home to the Renoir Hotel takes top prize. I've never felt so unsafe in my life. The area surrounding the hotel is inhabited by aggressive homeless people, drug-addicted individuals, and strip clubs. It's a very uncomfortable 5 block (or so) walk from the hotel to the safety of cable cars.The "no frills" accomodations were adequate if you're willing to overlook the unpolished staff, the shabby lobby furniture, and the antiquated radiators in the rooms, which kocked all night long.One huge plus for the Renoir's lcoation is that the restuarant downstairs serves really good food.Despite the negative hotel experience, I didn't rate the hotel as horrible because the bathroom was really clean and we didn't hear gunplay in the street below.

          Hotel was wonderful,but the neighborhood wasn't!


          I have had the pleasure of staying at the Renoir on several occasions. It is a wonderfully restored building,and the staff was exceptional. The rooms were spacious and well-maintained. Unfortunately,the neighborhood surrounding the hotel was not the greatest,with lots and lots of sketchy "characters" in front of the hotel entrance. Not a place to venture out at night,especially if you're a single female like myself. However,the trade-off for being in such a sketchy locale is that the Renoir is within walking distance of Union Square and Chinatown. Plus PacBell Park,the Golden Gate Bridge,North Beach and the Castro are all only a short train or bus ride away. Another bonus is that the hotel is only a few steps away from a BART/MUNI subway station,a great option for those without a car.Despite the questionable "characters",I would stay at the Renoir again. It is a wonderful hotel,and one of the hidden gems in San Francisco!

          Nighttime was a bit scary


          The hotel was in the process of updates, but it was fine. Our wake up call didn't make it to us one morning - but other than that the front desk staff was very courteous with helping book tours and directions how to get places the easiest.

          Daytime around the hotel - was safe.

          The nighttime street activity the 1st night consisted of a very either drunk or deranged man yelling at the top of his lungs at ab-so-lute-ly NO ONE for 2 HOURS outside the hotel, and what must have been an extremely large fire, as about 6 full size trucks screamed by our windows. Other than that, there was always activity outside the hotel - but it was bearable.

          I would stay here again - but would prefer staying on the side where the windows are NOT on Market Street, since that's where all the 'activity' was. (Not sure if that side is non-smoking though - which is a requirement for me.)

          A Pleasant Surprise


          Pros: Small, inexpensive hotel in a central location, great service. Updated older property.

          Cons: May be too small for some, Older property means no AC, fewer electrical outlets.

          The Bottom Line: If you need to be in San Francisco, enjoy public transportation and the hubbub of a big city, donÂ’t need conference rooms or room service, Renoir is a great hotel.

          Recommended: Yes

          Once again my husband had a professional conference in a wonderful city where I wished to go play while he worked. Once again the conference hotel cost close to $150 a night far exceeding any budget he had in his grant for such an expense. Once again I came to the rescue by finding a nearby hotel for only $77.52 which included all taxes.

          If you are familiar with San Francisco, the Renoir is on a triangle formed by McAllister Street, Market Street, and Leavenworth Street. From the maps I had this appeared to be a short walk for my husband to the conference at the Moscone Center and appeared to be close to public transportation for me.

          First Impressions

          Due to the one way street the shuttle driver from the airport drove around the block so we ended up getting a good feel for the area. Now, you have probably heard how Rudy Guiliani has cleaned up Times Square and it is very family friendly. I now know where all the riffraff went - to Market Street in San Francisco. My first thought was “What have I gotten us into?” More on this later.

          The lobby was small but the people at the desk had a great view of the entire area, including the two elevators. There were a few sofas and chairs, racks with tourist brochures, and a small dining area for breakfast and lunch. There was a door leading to a pub and a full service restaurant.

          The lobby was neat and clean and looked like it was newly remodeled or refurbished. But the old triangular building still held much charm with its high ceilings, detailed moldings, and old brass elevator doors.

          Our Room

          We requested as King/non-smoking and not only did we get exactly what we asked for but the entire floor was non-smoking. At one point I thought I heard an employee say that the whole hotel was non-smoking but the floor below us did not have the “no smoking” signs on their doors. This may have been a recent change and they just hadn’t gotten around to putting up the signs.

          The room was a typical hotel room, with a king bed and just enough room to walk around it. The wall opposite the bed had a desk with one drawer, a lamp, and chair, a dresser with 3 deep drawers and a TV, and another dresser with 3 deep drawers and an ice bucket with a mirror over the second dresser. There were two night stands next to the bed, each with a drawer, a shelf and a lamp; one also had a clock radio and a phone. There was one overhead light over the main part of the room but not in the hall with the closet. The wall paper and rugs were fairly new as was the print of a still life on the walls.

          There are some advantages to remodeling an old hotel. We actually had a large closet, a real closet. IÂ’m trying to remember the last time I had a real closet in a hotel. This one was about five feet long with a bar and a shelf. Hanging on the inside of the closet door was a full size ironing board. The Renoir also supplied eight wooden hangers that actually could be removed from the bar. There was no trying to thread the hook into the eye trying to hang the hanger back up.

          Another advantage to having an old hotel was that our window opened – as far as we wanted. Being on the sixth floor did not present a safety issue and I kind of enjoyed all the street noise (like Joe Pesci’s character in My Cousin Vinny). The room we were in was not air conditioned so the open window would be necessary in the warmer weather and would be a concern if you were on the second floor (too close to the street for safety) or if you are not used to city noises. We slept with the window opened and I did hear a little traffic during the night but we did not find it bothersome.

          We did not use the radiator heating system as the day time temperatures were close to 70 degrees (yes, I was there in February). Truth be told, I would have needed a lesson on how to use a radiator as I havenÂ’t had one in my house since I was ten.

          Our Bath

          Although the bathroom fixtures were relatively new and fully functional (plenty of hot water, plenty of water pressure) there wasn’t a lot of room in the bath. Since there was no counter area, they included a very large medicine cabinet. It was approximately 1 ½ feet wide, 2 feet high and 4 inches deep with four shelves of varying height. There was a full size shower/tub combo, a small shelf over the sink, a towel rack over the toilet (Am I the only one who thinks that maybe, just maybe, towel racks should be a little farther away from a perpetual source of water?), two hooks on the back of the door and an electrical outlet next to the medicine cabinet.

          A small basket sat on the shelf above the sink and included a bottle of unbranded conditioning shampoo, a bottle of unbranded lotion, a sewing kit, two small soaps, a make up remover pad, a shoe shine cloth, and a shower cap.

          There was a full length mirror on the outside of the bathroom door but not really enough light in the hall to check make up there.

          Electrical Outlets and TV

          Go ahead and laugh at the topic but this is important in an older hotel. First thing I noticed is that the electrical outlet in the bath was only functional if the light was on in the bath. So, if I wanted to heat up my curling iron I had to leave the light on in the bath which meant that the fan was also on (one switch turned on light, fan, and outlet).

          Second thing, I noticed was the lack of electrical outlets around the room. I needed to charge my camera battery and ended up disconnecting the desk lamp to do it. In order to iron my pants I had to rearrange the lamps by the bed so I had light and a hot iron. Maybe when they upgrade again they can add an outlet on the outside wall under the window and leave it free for the guest to use as he or she wishes.

          The television was small, probably 19 inches but did have 30 channels with a remote. The remote was attached to one of the nightstands by a plastic cord which meant the person on that side of the bed was the only one who could reach it easily. I could not find a channel guide anywhere except on channel two. I would have liked a piece of paper telling me where to find ABC or CNN or PBS. Well, after a week, we knew where to find the various stations but a channel guide would be helpful.

          Customer Service

          This is where the Renoir shines. I had reason to call the hotel several times before our trip and everyone I spoke to was pleasant and helpful. I verified that the Moscone Convention Center was walking distance (3 blocks) and that public transportation was nearby (five feet from door or across the street if going the other way). I had made two separate reservations because we hadnÂ’t finalized our airfare so I had a reservation for one night and one for six. I called ahead to be sure they understood we didnÂ’t want to check out in between.

          Once we arrived, the desk help (concierge perhaps) gladly gave directions, helped with shuttle reservations, and answered all our questions until we got our bearings after a few days. There were bellhops available to take luggage to and from the rooms, bring an iron when requested, or extra towels or pillows. The place reminded me of an old European hotel. ThereÂ’s no meeting rooms or food court just clean hotel rooms with plenty of service.

          The only complaint I have about employees at the front desk is that they could not give us a detailed itemized bill when we checked out. Since we had prepaid our room through Expedia, only incidentals showed on our bill. We wanted an itemized receipt showing the price for each day and that it had been paid. I realize that this is not the fault of the employees at the front desk and didnÂ’t press the issue after a few minutes. We had to use a computer printout from the time we made the reservation to submit as a hotel receipt for the expense report. I think the Renoir should look into a software program that could print such a receipt.

          Other Amenities

          The bistro in the lobby was open for breakfast and lunch. We found the prices high so did not eat there but when we walked through the food was very appealing and smelled wonderful. Continental breakfast was $7.99 and American breakfast was $9.99.

          We did have an Anchor Steam in the pub one night. There was a long bar with a TV at one end. The other end had a fussball table and a dart board. It wasnÂ’t crowded and the bartender and the other patrons were quite friendly that night.

          The larger restaurant served Brazilian food. We had dinner there one night. Two people, with two beers, two entrees with salads, tax and tip came to $46. I couldnÂ’t finish my platter and felt guilty not being able to take a doggie bag. My husband had a pork dish (roast, loin? canÂ’t remember) and I had a vegetarian lasagna. They were quite good.

          The hotel provided off street valet parking for $22 a day with in and out privileges. Vans and buses were higher but we used public transportation so I donÂ’t know how smooth this was.

          We did not use the phone except to call friends in another room but we did find out that local calls were $0.75 and even a call to a toll free number was $0.75. In this day and age, this is not unreasonable. Local calls at pay phones around town were $0.50.


          My first impressions were not wrong. The Market Street area of San Francisco is a haven for homeless, panhandlers, and others down on their luck. We were approached a few times but I never felt threatened even when I was alone after dark. The hotel lobby was reserved for guests. Many shops in the area stay open late so there were always plenty of people around. Several theaters are nearby and they let out about 10 pm so there were plenty of pedestrians even at that hour.

          I was able to walk to many major attractions including Union Square, Chinatown (saw the Chinese New Years parade just 6 blocks from the hotel), several theaters, The Modern Art Museum, City Hall, the American Automobile Association (AAA) office, United Nations Plaza (where they had a farmersÂ’ market on several morning), and even Grace Cathedral. I just had to ignore the peep shows along the way.

          The buses and trolleys that ran right in front of the hotel took me to FishermanÂ’s Wharf, Mission Delores, Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, and Coit Tower with no more than one transfer to another line.

          There were several fast food places within a block of the hotel including Burger King, Carl’s Jr, and McDonalds. Across the street was a Thai restaurant that had decent coffee bar and morning pastries. I had a ham and cheese croissant ($2.25) at least three times and DH had a chocolate one ($2.00) nearly every day along with our mochas or café lattes. We even ate dinner there late one night. It was reasonable and tasty. There were a few other restaurants nearby but we didn’t have a chance to try them.

          I booked a Gray Lines tour to go to Muir Woods and they picked me up at the hotel. I believe all the major tour companies would do the same. I was initially afraid that this hotel was too small for a tour pick up and I thought I would be required to walk to one of the larger hotels a few blocks away. At the end of the tour, I could have been dropped off at the hotel too, but choose instead to get dropped off at Union Square and do some more site seeing.

          The regular rates range from $119 to $169 for a room and $175 to $250 for a suite. I found my rate ($68 plus tax) at Expedia. The only catch was I had to pay for it immediately and it was not refundable if we didnÂ’t show up. The rate was available through Expedia even a week before we arrived.

          If you have need to be in San Francisco, are not adverse to public transportation, find the hubbub of a big city to be energizing, have no need for conference rooms, and can live without room service, The Renoir is a great hotel with clean rooms and friendly staff.

          Room Rate: US$ 77

          Room Type: Double

          Best Suited For: Budget Travel

          Not what you expect....


          My husband and I felt uncomfortable about the outside environment of the Renoir Hotel. Although it is close to the Union Station, public transportation (cable cars, BART) and other points of interest, I felt unsafe about walking outside the hotel. The hotel itself was okay. It had the basic accomodations and it was clean. We kept our window open most of the time because there wasn't any air conditioning. We looked out the window and saw homeless people sifting through trash or heard loud screams intermittently during the day and night. Needless to say, we won't be checking in anytime soon.

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          2.50 of 5 stars Fair

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