Jetsetting That Gives Back: Good Hotel, SF, CA
Located on the corner of 7th and Mission in downtown San Francisco is a new breed of hotel—one that mixes modern décor with a sense of humor and a commitment to giving back. Before Good Hotel opened its doors in 2008, the establishment there was practically a “no-tell motel.” Eschewing this decidedly seedy past, the hotel was reborn into fresh and funky lodging with a conscience. Good Hotel makes it its mission to bring a philanthropic and green approach to your stay that is designed to inspire the good in us all with the hope you’ll take a bit of their mentality home with you.
Much attention was put into making the design innovatively eco-friendly. The lobby desk and hotel room beds by local designer Ohio Design are made of reclaimed wood, and the carpeting and wallpaper both use post-consumer materials. Light fixtures are constructed with reused glass bottles, in collaboration with Readymade Magazine. A rainwater barrel outside collects enough for the staff to water the native plants lining the property. Internet access in the lobby showcases a computer from the non-profit One Laptop Per Child, whose mission is to create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power connected laptop. Parking is free for guests who drive hybrids or bio-diesel vehicles. Good Hotel even offers bikes for guest use purchased from Pedal Revolution, a local non-profit that provides employment and job training for at-risk youth in San Francisco.
Even with all of this “green” emphasis, Good Hotel deftly manages to keep its eco- and community-friendly side more kitschy than preachy. Fresh colors, funky neon cuckoo clocks, and TVs playing nature scenes mixed with episodes from shows like The Munsters set a carefree tone. From the lobby furniture made out of recycled materials like a bench made from old moving blankets or the coffee table constructed from old tabletops, legs, and even a skateboard thrown in the mix, to room numbers meant to look like a “Hello, My Name is” name tag, Good Hotel doesn’t take itself too seriously. Every corner is brimming with thoughtful, playful details. In the lobby you’ll find a photo booth next to a corkboard wall covered with silly photo strips taken by past hotel guests. Rather than chips and sodas in the lobby vending machine you can buy hip hoodies and shirts, wallets crafted from recycled FedEx envelopes, and even shrinky-dinks.
The rooms are reminiscent of mid-priced European hotels that make the most of small spaces. As soon as you step in the bathroom you’ll notice you’re in a hotel unlike any other—Good Hotel is the only hotel in the country to use SinkPositive toilets. It’s a funky invention that works as follows: Wash your hands in the small, freshwater sink atop the toilet and the soapy water fills the water tank below for the next flush. It puts an end to flushing clean water down the drain. Fear not ladies, there’s a second, properly-sized sink in the main room with enough counter space to accommodate your toiletries and hair products.
With its upscale, hostel-chic vibe and wallet-friendly rates starting at $99 per night, Good Hotel is perfect for travelers in their 20s and 30s, or simply the young at heart looking for an added sense of environmental responsibility and community connection in their travel. After seeing the major sites in the city, pick up the orange phone in the lobby to be connected to Good Hotel’s philanthropy partner onebrick.org. They help travelers get to know the real San Francisco by hooking them up with short-term volunteer opportunities. Serve food in a local soup kitchen, clean up a park, or join a day trip with wetlands conservation group Save the Bay.
The neighborhood still has a few rough edges that need polishing, but Good Hotel is within walking distance of Union Square, and just blocks away from San Francisco favorites like Blue Bottle Coffee, Blood Hound Bar and The Slanted Door chef Charles Phan’s newest eatery, Heaven’s Dog. Directly adjacent to Good Hotel is Good Pizza, serving up fresh, thin-crust artisanal pizzas all day. Grab a slice, settle in on the couch and use their free Wifi to make your friends jealous with all the details from your trip to the city. Now that’s a good end to a Good Hotel.
The Good Hotel
112 7th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103