Howard Johnson San Francisco Marina District Review

Ahhh, San Francisco. Those steep, winding roads. The pier. The overwhelming amount of homeless people. The skyscrapers. What a city!


However, staying at this basic and modest Howard Johnson motel somewhat ruined our experience in San Francisco.

Located on Lombard St, which has no shortage of accommodation, it was close enough to all the action, but ice cold in terms of service, maintenance and modernity.

The stained, forest green carpet and Norman Bates floral bed spread (you know, the colourful 80’s linen motels use, which hasn’t been cleaned in the same amount of years) did not do anything to enhance the space.

You jumped into bed with trepidation, cautious to not get too engulfed. After a long day it was not the most exciting or even comfortable place to rest your head.

The bathroom, was again subpar. It had all the necessities, but no pizzaz. A toilet, shower and sink, and two modest bars of soap. The grey, dreariness of it all did not make it an inviting room to be in.

The continental breakfast was good. It had the standard American waffle maker, toast and cereal. Enough to keep you full, but nothing of nutritional value.

The staff were not overly polite, friendly or welcoming.

However, on the plus side, there was free parking, which was the only bonus of staying here, as we had driven up from LA, and were using a car and walking as our main modes of transportation.

It was also close to shopping and dining such as Chestnut St, and walking distance to the pier, which is also one positive of staying here.

However, we would not return here in a hurry. It is deserving of the price we paid (which was $55 on hotwire) and the star rating (2 star). But sometimes you have to pay a bit extra to fully enjoy the whole travelling experience .

In this case, you get what you pay for.


  • Close to main tourist attractions. Walking distance to the pier and to the Golden Gate Bridge (if you are willing to walk an hour, otherwise it is a 7 minute drive)
  • Free breakfast included
  • Free parking
  • Cheap when booked through a third party website


  • Badly maintained, very basic furniture and television
  • Colour schemes and decor are outdated
  • Staff are not hospitable

For more information, click here.


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