Vantaggi:The Balmoral hotel is a very basic accommodation option for anyone visiting San Francisco. It is truly central and the neighborhood is very convenient if you need to be close to the financial District/Chinatown. There is a Starbucks half a block away which opens as early as 3:30 AM but does close by 6:30 PM. There are restaurants nearby but the great majority of them close by 8 PM. If you plan to arrive late and have had no dinner do keep in mind that your food options will be limited. Subway which is a half a block away also closes like the rest of the other restaurants. There is a cash refundable deposit required of $50/room-if you happens to be without any cash, there is a HSBC ATM at the corner. In all rooms, a bath towel and hand towel is made available to the guest. They will also provide a roll of new toilet paper per room.
Svantaggi:Do keep in mind that the facility although being called a hotel, it houses short to long term guest. You will notice that at the “Check-In” process you will be presented with a four page document titled: “Rental Agreement”. The form includes a questionnaire asking if your last place of residence was less than a year-why did you leave the place. The advertised condition of shared bathroom is accurate but make notice that each floor has two toilets and 3 shower rooms per floor. I did not count the number of rooms but by my estimate the ratio is 2 toilets and 3 shower rooms to about 35 to 50 rooms per floor. The first night, there was a toilet plugged with paper and feces so the ratio drops to one toilet in that room. There are other toilets in the remaining floors. There is no toiletries provide (Shampoo and soap)-so don’t get caught without your own if staying at the property. Some rooms will have hard-wood flooring and some will be carpeted. The rooms are small and basic and equipped with a sink-no soap. Some rooms will have windows facing out to the street and some will face small inner court and other rooms. The distance front to front on windows is very close but not close to touch or jump but very close so keep in mind. The clientele is basically broken in three groups: 1) monthly or short term residents (which happen to be living there cause their economic condition won’t allow them to find a proper rental at an affordable price. 2) Some unsuspecting tourist drawn by the low price. It is truly economical when you compared other properties in this expensive destination. Some will be ok with the condition of the property but some may find it not acceptable. Do keep in mind you get what you pay for. I fall under this category and some of my experiences and opinions are based on this bias. My trip was due to a business trip and due to budgetary concerns, This is the property we stayed at. Safety wise I can’t say I felt unsafe but during my two night stay, I did overhear loud voices in the hall way of people loitering. Another night I could make out Marijuana smell-both I have no objection over but you may. I can share with you that I did not use their toilet but instead went to the Starbucks half a block away-they were cleaner! Shower after my trip was over and back at home. 3)The last group of people I could see was young professionals. Very well dressed people sporting apple watches and business casual apparel. I did not speak to any of them but I can imagine the backstory of why they were staying there. Newly college graduate looking for an interview with the financial institutions in the neighborhood who can’t afford another option for housing while in town for interviews.