In a previous article, I discussed how important it was to find an awesome place to stay. The city is full of beautiful Victorian homes and incredible views of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. But would I really have a good time in that neighborhood?

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I’ll walk you through how I made the decision.

Back in 2016, I decided to travel the country with my partner of many, many years. We had an incredible time. Our trip started in Miami and we took a year to make it from coast to coast. The whole time we used Airbnb. The best place we found has to be either a rowhouse in Philly or a ranch in Denver, CO.

During that time, we came up with a few strategies to prevent us from having a horrible time in a trashy place:

  1. Use the search filters
  2. Look at the property you’re considering on other platforms (a company has a financial incentive to artificially boost its review score) *Don’t believe me? Trip Advisor has been warning about this since 2006.
  3. Book Early
  4. Search Instagram for nearby events
  5. Book a ticket and GO

Seriously, if you know what you want and what you don’t, take the time to use them. When searching for an Airbnb, I try to add filters that would signify luxury without touching the price. So I would search “hot tub”, “sauna” or “walk-in closet”. Properties that include these would have at least the bare minimum of amenities.

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For hotels, I start with the user rating. Most sites give the ability to view a user rating and a separate “star” rating. I use the company-generated stars to narrow further, but the customer reviews are the best indicator I’ve seen.

Next, I scroll through the photos. In my opinion, if your photos are from 2006, so are your sheets. Most organizations that believe in awesome service, also believe in consistency and putting your best foot forward. If you skimp on photos which are very cheap to produce, it’s my opinion that you may skimp on my seafood dinner. A good trip means good surprises, not half-cleaned rooms.

Normally, when I get to the third step, choosing, I have a list of 5 really expensive places (seriously, I just looked at the gorgeous Hotel Kabuki for $500+/night… not this time 🤦🏾‍♂) MY first search was “balcony”, adjusting the search a bit.

So, I stopped to think more about what I wanted. I’m trying to have a Harvey Milk, almost PRIDE, great gay time. That leads me to a place in The Castro (Hopefully times haven’t changed that much)

There, I found Beck’s Motor Lounge. Rated over 8.5, on the outside, it looks like a motel from the Movie CARS. Honestly, all of the walkways are covered, but outdoors. That said, the neighborhood in bomb and the rooms are beautiful. I’ll speak more about it soon. 🤩