The Castro is the heart of gay San Francisco, filled with bars and clubs as well as retail shops catering to the city's gay and lesbian residents and tourists. Large hotels don't exist in the area, but several smaller ones do, as well as some bed and breakfasts and one motel.
Parker Guest House
The Parker Guest House is a 21-room, gay-owned bed and breakfast situated in two connected Edwardian buildings painted a sunny yellow hue. Its highlights include a daily afternoon wine social and a complimentary steam sauna in the evening. The Parker offers business travelers a range of amenities including small meeting rooms, a business center, and in-room data ports and private phones. The hotel is easy to access by public transportation and kitty-corner from Dolores Park, a popular gathering ground for neighbors to picnic, walk their dogs and take in the sun.
Inn on Castro
The Inn on Castro is located right at the intersection of Market and Castro streets, placing it in the center of the neighborhood action. The UK's The Times called this "possibly the world's friendliest bed and breakfast." It has eight rooms and suites plus two apartments on offer, all located in a classic San Francisco Edwardian.
The Willows Inn
The exterior of the Willows Inn is a nondescript green tile, but the inside is a hospitable, tastefully appointed bed and breakfast. Gay-owned but catering to a diverse international clientele, the Willows is located on a major intersection well-served by public transportation options, so if you're interested in exploring the city from a base in or near the Castro, this is an excellent choice.
24 Henry and Village House
These two gay-friendly guest inns are both operated by the same owner, and both are nestled within the residential zones of the Castro neighborhood. The building at 24 Henry has the honor and luck of having survived the 1906 earthquake. Each of the rooms has its own particular character, from modern to vintage to quirkily charming.
Becks Motor Lodge
Beck's Motor Lodge evokes a bit of a sense of quaint nostalgia with its '50s-style sign and its clean but spare rooms. Amenities include in-room refrigerators, two fireplace rooms and a private sun deck with an excellent view of the city. One major advantage of renting a room here is the free parking, which is nearly impossible to find anywhere else in San Francisco.
- san francisco street car image by Jeffrey Sinnock from Fotolia.com