Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions that are asked by guests before they come to The Willows Inn. If you do not find the answer to a question you have, feel free to contact us.
How far away are good restaurants or bars?
Sushi, diner food with an attitude, Indian, Thai, California-style, Moroccan, and many other cuisines can be found within two or three blocks. Ethiopian, Peruvian, vegan, Italian, California cuisine and many fusion restaurants are all within an easy walk. Several gay and ‘stray’ bars are less than a block away. Castro Street itself is just three blocks away.
What is there to do in San Francisco?
How much time do you have? If you haven’t seen it yet, check our things to do page for a number of suggestions. The lists there are by no means complete. One thing we don’t list is an activity that most of our guests seem to enjoy the most, and that’s simply walking around in the what we consider to be the most beautiful, diverse, exciting, yet relaxed city in the U.S. The architecture, the views, the exotic landscaping, the beautiful people, the beaches, the parks all contribute to making an everyday walk in San Francisco a memorable experience.
I’ve heard San Francisco is cold, even in summer. What should I bring to wear?
San Francisco has perhaps the most moderate climate in the continental U.S. The temperature is reasonably consistent year round, with occasional 2-3 day spikes or dips just to keep us on our toes. One of our innkeepers likes to tell guests we enjoy three seasons every day here. In other words, you can often wear a t-shirt and shorts during the day, but you’ll want a jacket when the fog rolls in toward evening. June is not ‘cold’ in San Francisco, it’s just not as hot as Des Moines. And, come January, it’s not NEARLY as cold as Des Moines, either. By the way, there’s a good Laundromat right across the street, so don’t over pack.
Will I be comfortable staying at The Willows Inn by myself?
Unless you want to be alone, chances are you’ll find yourself making new friends on your first day at The Willows Inn. A big advantage in staying at a B&B inn versus a hotel is that guests, both single or in groups, find it easy to make new friends over breakfast or while lounging in our sitting room. Some of those friendships endure, and result in periodic ‘reunions’ at The Willows Inn … a great excuse to return to the City by the Bay. And, unlike a hotel where you are essentially sequestered in your room, you have the run of the inn, where you can make yourself at home, whether that means fixing a midnight snack in the breakfast room, delving into one of the hundreds of books in our library collection, or just hanging out in the sitting room watching a DVD with a friend or two.
Is The Willows Inn clientele only gay?
We welcome everyone. Our many straight guests enjoy our hospitality and our convenient location, and they return year after year. Our central location in the Castro makes us very popular with LGBT travelers from around the world, but the inn, our staff and the surrounding neighborhood are rewarding for all our guests. You’ll be very comfortable here.
Is it true I can hold hands with my boy(girl)friend on the street in the Castro?
It is such a common sight, you might think it’s required that you do. You can hold hands, even kiss, just about anywhere in San Francisco. You’ll see handholding in museums, in restaurants, on buses. Guys will greet other guys, and girls greet other girls, with hugs and kisses just about anywhere. You are free to be you in San Francisco.
Are women welcome at The Willows Inn?
It’s true more of our guests are men, but women are very welcome, and the women we host tell us they’re very comfortable here. We do our best to keep informed on activities and events that women might be interested in, and we’re very conveniently located to a couple of venues that cater to women.
Should I rent a car in SF?
No. No. No. Driving is not the challenge in San Francisco – parking is. Parking lots are few and far between and street parking is challenging. We’re fortunate to have an excellent mass transit system in San Francisco, and The Willows Inn is ideally located to access it. Just across the street are a subway stop and a street car stop. Several MUNI bus lines and trams stop at the corner, and taxis are easy to grab as well. BART can whisk you across the bay and down the peninsula. If you plan to venture out of the city while here, to visit the wine country or Carmel, for instance, a nearby rental agency will pick you up at the inn. Save yourself money and hassle – don’t rent a car.
I’ve never stayed in a shared-bath inn … what should I expect?
Our bath facilities are shared – but private. No one can walk in on you while showering or while using a water closet (toilet room). Like many old Edwardians and Victorians, the toilets are in separate rooms from the showers, and since we have four of each – eight total – you never have to worry about not being able to ‘use the facilities.’ And, since you have your own sink and vanity in your room, much of your morning prep can be done right in your own room. We also provide kimono robes for your convenience.