Posted by: Pip | December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays 2016!

It’s been a cold winter in San Francisco, so we’re all looking towards the summer.

We tried to get our usual holiday picture of Pip, but he was never around when we pulled out the camera.  We did manage to get one picture before he ran off again.

Hiding Pip

He’s in the picture somewhere…

Next year we’ll put a bell and some reindeer ears on him.

Happy holidays and New Year from everyone at The Golden Gate Hotel!

Posted by: Pip | March 24, 2016

Hop-py Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

Here’s a copy of our holiday email card sent out:

Hop-py Easter!We’ve been asked a few times about the artwork on these cards.  A great friend of the hotel, artist Carol Thosath and her designer sister, Sally, have been creating these wonderful cards for us!

Here was the Valentine’s card as well:


Regular guests at the hotel may recognize the style.  Carol has done many of the cute paintings on the walls and doors throughout the hotel.  Take a look next time you’re in town!



Posted by: Pip | December 12, 2015

Happy Holidays 2015!

Now that Thanksgiving weekend has passed, San Francisco is looking forward to Christmas and winter festivities!

Union Square just held its annual tree lighting ceremony, marking the beginning of the season for most locals.

tree lighting

For some of our staff, braving the cold night and bustling crowds to see downtown all lit up for the holidays has become an annual tradition.

Some of our favorite things to do:

Macy's SPCA

The cutest part of seeing Union Square in its holiday finery is stopping by the Macy’s display windows.  Every year, they partner with the SPCA to help find forever homes for animals in need.  This year’s display is open November 20 until January 3.

(If you can’t make it to San Francisco in time, you can stream a few of the displays.)

We don’t get a true winter here in San Francisco and you would be surprised how many locals have never seen snow!  The ice skating rink that gets set up in Union Square is quite the seasonal treat!

New this year is the Winter Walk, a holiday pop-up plaza south of Union Square.  From November 27 until January 1, there will be carolers, live music, and food trucks.

Every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in December, there will be a few of the most popular foodtrucks in the city stopping by for lunch at the Winter Walk.  There will also be a special Christmas Eve lunch party.

Those same evenings (excluding Christmas Eve), there will be another selection of foodtrucks for dinner at the Winter Walk.


Happy Holidays and New Year from everyone at the Golden Gate Hotel



Posted by: Pip | June 5, 2015

Pip’s Summer Grooves

My humans have been busily finishing up spring cleaning in preparation for the busy summer.  They have been turning mattresses as if they are dancing with them; cleaning windows and window sills (now I can really see myself!); just making everything nice and clean.


Pip inspecting cleaning supplies…


First timers might not realize it while experiencing our overcast, chilly conditions in May, but yes people, it really is summer time in San Francisco!  You know Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “the coldest winter I ever spent, was a summer in San Francisco.”  Ha!  He obviously didn’t have his own coat of fur.  While guests stand around confused wondering why they need coats during summer time, I especially love having longer days to curl up under a warm lamp.  When you are staying with us, come join me!  You can enjoy a hot cup of tea in the afternoon and I’ll enjoy having a warm body to cuddle up against.


This picture we took for the Red Chair Project last year was taken in August…

I get to hear lots of people’s plans in between naps.  Most like to begin in one of 4 ways: hop on a cable car, walk up a hill, eat, or go shopping!

Looking uphill, the cable car seems to climb halfway to the stars!  No exaggeration!  If it’s your first time in San Francisco, don’t leave without taking a ride!  Each of the cable car lines offers spectacular views of one of the city’s celebrated hills.

On the other hand, these hills were made for walking!  San Francisco is one of the most walkable cities in the U.S.  Going uphill from us will bring you to the peak of Nob Hill and Grace Cathedral while going downhill will bring you to Union Square.  Within a few blocks you can go from Union Square to Chinatown or even a few minutes further will bring you into North Beach, aka Little Italy.  Italiano! Italiano!

Food!  San Francisco has more restaurants per capita than any other major city in the U.S.  Local chefs excel at combining the best of local ingredients with authentic international flavors.  Freshly cut sashimi or homestyle carbonara anyone?  San Francisco is also known for its Fusion restaurants, blending old with new or even different cultures!  Say hello to Korean kimchi burritos, Hawaiian chicken n waffles, or fancy-meets-street: escargot-on-a-stick!

To many humans, San Francisco is the home to internet and mobile innovation.  Did someone say Instagram photo op?  But it isn’t just food and tech!  The city is also the home of innovation in retail.  If you’re looking for truly local gift shopping, here are a few brands that call San Francisco home:


The original San Francisco innovation wasn’t Apple, Yahoo!, or Facebook.  It was blue jeans.  When Levi Strauss co-invented the blue jean in 1873, he didn’t know that he was creating a global brand that would become known for self-expression and classic American cool.


What if finding the perfect pair of jeans was easy?  In 1969, on Ocean Boulevard in San Francisco, Don and Doris Fisher set out to solve just that problem and created the Gap.  In that quest, Gap has expanded into six brands – Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta, and INTERMIX – with the first 3 having flagship locations near Union Square.


Timbuk2 is a San Francisco original bag company that was founded by Rick Honeycutt, a bike messenger, in 1989.  The bags have continuously been manufactured in the Mission District ever since.

Richshaw Bagworks

Another bag-based company in San Francisco, Richshaw Bagworks, is inspired by the creative energy of the city, urban cycling, and an intense desire to make great products.  With access to art, theater, music, and restaurants, there’s an energy that pulses through the community.  They design bags for people who thrive on the urban experience and celebrate the creative spirit.


Other Paw-sitive news

The Golden Gate Hotel is joining forces with’s Global Soap Project.  The Global Soap Project works with partners around the world to provide access to soap in a sustainable manner to enhance long-term and comprehensive local water, sanitation, and hygiene programs.  The recipients they target include maternal health programs, schools, community health providers, and nutrition programs.  We collect all the used soaps after a gust’s stay and send them away to be recycled into new bars of soap!  (I personally like the round disk soaps as they have my logo on it.)

Okay people, it’s time for me to go inspect a newly checked-in guest’s room (ie: take a nap).  Come spend a weekend (or a week!) with us and let my people graciously host you at the Golden Gate Hotel.

Four paws into adventure,


Sleepy one paw into adventure!

Sleepy one paw into adventure!

Posted by: Pip | April 4, 2015


Not to be outdone by the Easter Bunny, Pip did some redecorating...

Not to be outdone by the Easter Bunny, Pip put up some festive decorations…

Happy Easter everyone!

Posted by: Pip | January 23, 2015

New Year Updates

We hope everyone’s New Year has been going well.

We have added a list of some of our favorite places to visit in our Staff Favorites section.

We also added a couple of links that might be handy for sightseers: One for public/private viewing spaces and the other for panoramic views of the city.

The first one deserves some explanation. A while back a city ordinance required buildings over a certain height or size to contribute to openness and public art to their community. Most people (long time residents included!) do not even know these places exist. Some are barely noticeable while others offer very unique views of the city and its residents. You can read more here.

pip picture

submitted by TM from Austin, TX

And lastly, a staff favorite picture of ME submitted by a guest!


Posted by: Pip | December 19, 2014

Happy Holidays 2014!

We love this time of year!  The mood turns festive, the fireplace is lit, and the decorations go up!


The girls like to “help” the staff with decorations…


… while I “supervise.”

As the holidays approach, we are all preparing for the new year.  My humans have put together a list of destination worthy events in 2015 to help plan your potential visits in the new year.



From November until January 19th, you can ice-skate in picturesque Union Square amidst the holiday crowds and giant city Christmas tree.


chinese new years

San Francisco celebrates the Lunar New Year bringing in the Year of the Ram.  Festivities go from February 14 until March 8, with the big culminating Chinese New Year parade on March 7.


cherry blossom festival

Japantown hosts the 48th annual Cherry Blossom Festival the weekends of April 11-12 and April 18-19.  The second largest Cherry Blossom Festival outside of Japan in one of 3 remaining Japantowns in the U.S., this festival celebrates Japanese culture and the Japanese-American community.


bay to breakers

One of San Francisco’s longest running traditions, Bay-to-Breakers commences Sunday, May 17.  One of the world’s oldest footraces (and definitely the oldest fun-run), the 12K run starts participants along the eastern bay side of the city heading west to the beach breakers where San Francisco meets the Pacific Ocean.


The 37th Annual Carnaval San Francisco takes place Memorial Weekend, May 23-24.  The free 2-day family friendly festival takes place in the Mission District and celebrates the Latin American and Caribbean influences in the city.


union street fair

The 39th Annual Union Street Festival takes place in the Marina District the weekend of June 6-7.  A long standing small neighborhood event, it eventually became embraced by the city at large, featuring local artists, eats, and fashion.


SF Pride takes over the city the weekend of June 28-29 with the Pride Parade on Sunday, June 29.  This is the largest LGBT gathering in the nation with celebrations going on across the city.


30071_120678221288007_113124618710034_185855_1844119_n1The Fillmore, the old jazz district, hosts the Fillmore Jazz Festival July 4-5.  The largest free jazz festival on the west coast, this year’s theme embraces women in jazz.


outside lands

Outside Lands is one of the many music concerts hosted in Golden Gate Park.  While not free like some of the other concerts, it is the largest.  Dates and artist lineups are not currently set for the 2015 concert.


September is mostly conferences and conventions in the downtown part of San Francisco.  Though still considered peak traveling season, vacationers will be back at work and school, leaving local museums (such as the de Young) and tourist attractions (such as Pier 39) less impacted.  Those in search of summer weather should plan on coming around late September as that tends to be the warmest time of year.



Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is the largest free music concert in Golden Gate Park.  Originally, the festival only featured bluegrass music but has recently expanded to feature additional genres, hence the name.  Dates and band lineup for 2015 are not currently out, but the concert usually occurs the first weekend in October.

fleet week

San Francisco Fleet Week occurs October 6-12 all around the north-eastern quadrant of the city, but mainly in the Fisherman’s Wharf area.  Live military band music, boat tours, and airshows are the primary attractions.


renegade craft fair

The biannual Renegade Craft Fair will be in San Francisco November 8-9 (they host another fair in July).  Unlike most craft fairs focused on fine arts and crafts, this fair is for DIY (Do It Yourself-ers) and so-called life-hacks (tips and tricks to make life easier).  Visitors will find crafts from off the beaten path and artisanal goods.

That’s a lot to keep San Franciscans and tourists busy throughout the year!  We wish everyone the happiest of holidays, and here’s to more kitty treats and warm fireplaces to cozy up to in the New Year!


Pip after a log day of winter puppy-tipping

Posted by: Pip | August 11, 2014

Farewell to the Red Chair!

We had an amazing time taking Red around town.

We got to see our wonderful city through the eyes of our guests.  We experienced the hills, the crowds, and the fog.  It’s no wonder our guests come back so tired every evening!

We also wanted to show guests some local flavor that they might not find in any guide book.

You can read the full adventure below.

Before we left to drive to the next host inn, we gave Red a farewell gift – a collectible Pip T-Shirt.


You can keep track of Red’s progress as it goes up the California coast, continuing north, and then eventually makes its way home heading back east on its blog or social networking sites (facebook or twitter).

Next stop: The East Brother Light Station Bed and Breakfast, in Point Richmond, California.

Thank you, Red, for all the fun and for giving us the opportunity to be tourists in our own city!  May the rest of your travels be safe and the other innkeepers have just as much fun as we did.


Posted by: Pip | August 10, 2014

Pip reads Red’s travel journal…

“Dear Diary,

Upon arrival at the Golden Gate Hotel, I was greeted by the owners, John and Renate, and their dog, Cookie…


I was then checked in and shown into their gorgeous 100-year old historic birdcage elevator…

going up

… and then into a lovely room.


After getting settled, I headed down to the parlor to enjoy their afternoon tea service…


… where I met ‘staff’ members, Pip…


… and Patsy.


The next morning, I started my exploration of San Francisco by trekking to the Ferry Building where I came across some friends waiting in a nearby restaurant for their ferry.


Inside, they had an incredible farmer’s market and many interesting shops.

ferry building

I decided to board a ferry for a day-trip in sunny Sausalito.


The next morning, I rode the iconic cable car…

cable car

to Fisherman’s Wharf for I was told you can’t leave San Francisco without visiting Boudin…


… and trying their famous breadbowl clam chowder.


After being warmed by the chowder, I was ready to travel further west towards the Golden Gate Bridge (where I was warned it is usually colder and windier). Along the way, I stopped at the Aquatic Park pier for a quick glance at Alcatraz (sadly, I could not get a tour ticket as they sell out weeks ahead of time).


Fortunately, it was still clear and sunny as I approached Crissy Field and walked up Torpedo Wharf for an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

golden gate bridge

At the end of the wharf, you get a great panoramic view! (Alcatraz on the very left, city skyline center-left, the Presidio center-right, Crissy Field on the right; click picture to enlarge)

torpedo wharf panorama

On the way back to the hotel, I decided to make a stopover at the infamously curvy Lombard Street…


and the famous Castro district.


The next morning, I decided that having been to all the popular tourist destinations, I would try to find some less touristy and more local hidden gems. After speaking with the hotel staff and some locals on the street, I found out about some interesting walks.

Lover’s Lane used to connect the Spanish presidio to the mission, but was later used by US soldiers to visit their lovers and families away from the barracks.  Guess who I saw also going for a walk?

lovers lane

Parallel to Lover’s Lane is an interesting piece of art.  Wood Line is one of Andy Goldsworthy’s famous natural sculptures around the world.

wood line

Off of another tip, I explored Diamond Height’s Billy Goat Hill. Along with amazing views of the city, there is a hidden rope swing that swings brave riders over the hillside looking down on steep hiking trails. It was a little too death defying for me…

billy goat hill rope swing

… so I just enjoyed the view of San Francisco’s skyline.

billy goat hill view

I had heard rumors of not-so-secret fairy doors popping up around Golden Gate Park. After a bit of off-the-beaten-path meandering, I found it!

fairy door

Featured on the cover of Adah Bakalinsky’s Stairway Walks in San Francisco, the Moraga Mosaic Steps made for a unique hike.

mosaic steps

I made one last hike to the top of Twin Peaks. Among the tallest of San Francisco’s many hills, Twin Peaks offers yet more amazing views of the city below.

twin peaks

(panoramic, click to enlarge)

twin peaks panoramic

Looking atop Twin Peaks, I saw the Sutro Tower and San Francisco’s infamous fog! Who knew that the fog has a name and is actually a local celebrity?


On my last night in town, I decided to go for a walk along the Embarcadero waterfront. As the sun set and the sky darkened, I was surprised by the world’s largest light sculpture, artist Leo Villareal’s The Bay Lights.

bay lights

With the Bay Bridge twinkling behind me, I headed towards my last San Francisco destination, Ghirardelli Square.

ghirardelli sq

What better way to end the trip than with a world famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Sundae?


On the morning of checkout, Pip, the hotel manager was there to see me off.

pip checkout

As I was being driven to the next host inn I realized … the song had come true. I left my heart in San Francisco!


Goodbye San Francisco! Until I return!”

In the diary, we found Red’s travel log. Click to enlarge.


Posted by: Pip | August 1, 2014

Red has arrived!

Red was just dropped off by Ellen, owner of the previous host inn – the Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn. Time for Red to get settled in before adventuring around San Francisco.



checking in

Checking in.

going up

Going up!

More pictures to follow as we capture Red’s travels around The City!

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