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Hotel Bohème, San Francisco 

444 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco , California
Tel: 415 433 9111
Fax: 415 362 6292
view web site ›'s insider take:

Smack dab in the heart of North Beach, San Francisco's Little Italy, the Hotel Bohème nods to the neighborhood's Beat era heyday. What the 12-room boutique hotel lacks in amenities, it compensates for with a strong sense of place. A climb up the thickly carpeted, creaky wooden staircase (there's no elevator) reveals an old-fashioned, pensionelike inn. The hallways are lined with gallery-quality black-and-white photographs of North Beach in the '50s and lamps shaded with decoupage sheet music and poetry by Allen Ginsberg (a frequent guest back in the day). Done in burnt orange and sage green, rooms are simple and cozy, with armoires, gingham bedspreads on cast-iron beds, bistro tables, and rattan side chairs with Chinese-motif cushions. Bathrooms are tiny and have no tubs, but they're spotless and sport sunny yellow tile. We're not convinced of the mosquito netting doubling as a crown canopy over the bed, but such touches add to the hotel's funky charm. Outside, the colorful neighborhood is chockablock with sidewalk cafés, indie boutiques, and Italian pastry shops, but the street scene gets loud. The hotel has double-pane windows, but if you're a light sleeper, book a room in the back.—John Vlahides

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