The best places to stay in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)

$

Elements Hotel
Sunny shared dormitories with wooden bunks and 15 private rooms with private baths; rooftop telescopes and free wireless access; located in heart of Mission District; restaurant and bar on ground floor popular with under-30 crowd. 2524 Mission St.; tel. 866 327 8407. www.elementshotel.com

San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Hostel
"Smack in the middle of a green meadow, not far from some beautiful walks."—Tom Downs, author, Lonely Planet San Francisco and Walking San Francisco. Simple dorm-style rooms with bunk beds and six private rooms, most with shared baths; within Fort Mason, a National Historic Landmark. Building 240, Fort Mason; tel. +1 415 771 7277. www.sfhostels.com

$$

24 Henry Guesthouse
Gay- and lesbian-friendly bed-and-breakfast in restored Victorian; five rooms, most with shared baths; cozy atmosphere, antique furniture, spacious parlor; on quiet residential street in the Castro District. 24 Henry St.; tel. +1 415 864 5686. www.24henry.com

Golden Gate Hotel
"Absolutely charming, family-run place; good Union Square location."—Paula Tevis, author, San Francisco for Dummies. 25 guest rooms; wicker furniture, antiques, and claw-foot tubs; continental breakfast and afternoon tea included. 775 Bush St.; tel. +1 415 392 3702. www.goldengatehotel.com

Miyako Hotel San Francisco
"Shoji screens, Japanese prints, and some rooms have sunken Japanese bathtubs."—Ray Riegert, author, Hidden San Francisco and Northern California. 218 guest rooms embrace hotel's Japantown location with Asian-style decor; close to trendy shops on Fillmore Street. 1625 Post St.; tel. +1 415 922 3200. www.jdvhotels.com/miyako

Phoenix Hotel
"Called 'the rock and roll hotel' because so many musicians stay there."—Richard Sterling, author, The Unofficial Guide to San Francisco. 1950s-style motor lodge with 44 rooms, accented with original artwork; courtyard with mural-painted pool; walking distance to the Warfield. 601 Eddy St.; tel. +1 415 776 1380. www.jdvhotels.com/phoenix

The Red Victorian Bed & Breakfast
"Gorgeous old place, really funky; the decor is a feast for the eye."—Richard Sterling. 18 themed rooms, from "Summer of Love" to "Flower Child," honor hotel's Haight-Ashbury District location; most have shared baths, canopied beds, and bay windows. 1665 Haight St.; tel. +1 415 864 1978. www.redvic.com

$$$

Argonaut Hotel
"Delightful lodging when bringing your kids to San Francisco."—Paula Tevis. 252 rooms with nautical-style decor; views of Golen Gate Bridge and city skyline; located within Fisherman's Wharf, adjacent to Maritime National Historic Park's interactive visitor center. 495 Jefferson St.; tel. +1 415 563 0800. www.argonauthotel.com

Fairmont Hotel
"One of the most ornate hotels in town; it just breathes sophistication."—Richard Sterling. 591 guestrooms and suites in restored 1907 beauty atop Nob Hill; grand rooms with expansive views and marble baths; home to the Tonga Room, a must-see tropical tiki lounge. 950 Mason St.; tel. +1 415 772 5000. www.fairmont.com/sanfrancisco

Hotel Vitale
"I like the spa's outdoor soaking tubs; location across from Ferry Building is absolutely unbeatable."—Paula Tevis. Opened in 2005; 199 rooms, decorated with nature-themed photographs; some rooms have head-to-toe windows with bay views; chill downstairs in the lounge with outside patio. 8 Mission St.; tel. +1 415 278 3700. www.hotelvitale.com

The Orchard Garden Hotel
"If you're conscious about the environment, it's a good hotel for you."—Juliana Shallcross, senior editor at Hotelchatter.com. 86 eco-friendly rooms in certified "green" building; in-room recycling, organic bath products, rooftop garden; just off Union Square. 466 Bush St.; tel. +1 415 399 9807. www.theorchardgardenhotel.com

The Palace Hotel
Built in 1875; 552 guest rooms feature mahogany furniture, 14-foot ceilings, and marble vanities; Garden Court restaurant famous for dazzling chandeliers and glass dome; central downtown location. 2 New Montgomery St.; tel. +1 415 512 1111. www.sfpalace.com

$$$$

Four Seasons Hotel
"Very modern, a great spa, and the service is really good."—Ray Riegert. 277 spacious rooms decorated in hues of gold and green; marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs; short stroll to Museum of Modern Art or Union Square. 757 Market St.; tel. +1 415 633 3000. www.fourseasons.com/sanfrancisco

Huntington Hotel
"Wonderfully elegant San Francisco of yesteryear, a real grande dame; the rooms are enormous."—Paula Tevis. 136 guest rooms; plush furnishings in velvet, silk, and damask; 11,000-square-foot spa with indoor infinity pool; on Nob Hill by towering Grace Cathedral. 1075 California St.; tel. +1 415 474 5400. www.huntingtonhotel.com

St. Regis Opened in 2005; 260 guest rooms with contemporary decor, leather walls, and 42" plasma televisions; rain forest showerheads and jumbo tubs; next to Museum of Modern Art in the SoMa District (a nightlife hotspot). 125 3rd St.; tel. +1 415 284 4000. www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis

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