The Red Victorian - Hostels - 1665 Haight St, The Haight, San Francisco, CA

The Red Victorian   - Hostels - 1665 Haight St, The Haight, San Francisco, CA

I recently stayed at the Study in the fabulous Red Victorian after this years Burning Man.  It was a home away from home with a friendly roommate and cat thrown in :-) I highly recommend staying here if you love creative environments and great conversations with an awesome community to boot!I will be back.


I was lucky to find out about the Embassy Network via the NomadList Slack community as I was looking for affordable accommodation in one of the most expensive cities to visit, San Francisco. I booked Sami's Hostel, which is a three bed room (one double and two singles) with own toilet. I had read many reviews before I booked and felt comfortable that it would be a good experience -- upon arrival, I was definitely right about this! Although the room is called 'hostel', it's not a hostel style at all -- the bed was amazingly comfortable with lovely fresh crisp white sheets, fab pillows and a great doona (+ fresh towels). I shared with two long term residents who were lovely, considerate and welcoming, so I felt relaxed and able to sleep well (I was rarely disturbed in my sleep, if at all!). The bathrooms are very short walk away and are your own individual bathroom, so this is definitely not crappy hostel style here! The room and bathroom appear to be kept very clean too, I never felt concerned about this too, which was great. Downstairs, there is a stocked kitchen for guests to use for making meals, so I was able to save money and eat here each day too -- great perk about this place! The Red Vic encourages you to set up a profile to book and therefore meet other guests, so I met some really interesting people during my time here and connections that I'll continue the conversation with well after my visit to SF. I also found the wifi to be great and I could get work done in the coworking/event space each morning. I must add though, this isn't a typical hotel (even though there are more expensive hotel rooms) and you won't get hotel service but you will get to meet some creative interesting people and be apart of a community while in SF. Haight Street is a colourful and creative street with some fab shops, and if you can look past some of the travellers who are located along the street at night (who I found to be friendly and harmless), it's a fascinating hippy area that hollas back to the SF of the past. It's easy to get to downtown from here too on the N train or bus, or a cheap Lyft ride to many parts of the city. Some great spots to get food and coffee nearby and a short walk to a Whole Foods too.In all, if you come with the right attitude and open to meeting people, the Red Victorian is a great affordable option while visiting SF. If you're expecting a proper hotel experience and don't want to speak to anyone, then maybe it's not for you. It's truly unique and I'll definitely be back! I'd also love to try other Embassy Network locations around the globe :)


The Red Vic is one of the last bastions of quintessential San Francisco-Haight-Street-feel-good-uniqueness left in the city. From the many unusual local guests and speakers to the homey and kind staff members who do their very best to accommodate you, if you've not stayed at one of the Red Vic's unique rooms you're missing out. It's within walking distance of Golden Gate Park and the Panhande so lots of opportunities for walking, exploring and enjoying the greenery of the city.I attended an event last night in the Presidio for Dr. Sami Sunchild, environmental artist and social activist, who passed away a few years ago. It was a real treat to meet and experience the beautiful photos, artwork of Dr. Sami Sunchild and get to know current staff members and friends of The Red Vic.  Under the current ownership, there is a real and concerted effort to maintain peace talks, peaceful social activism and other similar foundations of  that were part of a somewhat gentler and more physically-connected-with-others time. The communal-style rooms are perfectly affordable for families and individuals traveling as a group. Clean, comfortable and conveniently located near public transportation, I found it the perfect place to refer my friends who wanted a reasonable place to stay within San Francisco.


My son and I had a great 4 day stay at the Red Vic.  It is definitely not a conventional hotel or even a conventional hostel.  It is a bit more like being invited to join a cool burning man theme camp where you don't know anybody (yet).Our first night we grabbed some takeout planning to eat in the enormous first floor living room only to find it packed with people.  The author of a book I literally just finished reading was speaking and I was able to listen and enjoy my dinner. Other evening events included fancy cocktail making, hair dying, and joining in for a fab salmon and caprese dinner.We stayed in the Peacock room (two bunks beds) and there were other people in the room and adjacent rooms like a hostel. The beds were super comfy and it was easy to sleep late.  But if you snore (as I found out I do), you may wish for a private room.At the end of our stay it was more saying goodbye to new friends than checking out and I hope to return soon.


We had a fantastic time at The Red Victorian. The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming and we felt like we were getting so much more of a feel for San Francisco than if we'd stayed at one of the faceless 'could be anywhere' chain hotels. The neighbourhood is buzzy and quirky, with great bars and restaurants as well as travel links downtown. Our room was very comfortable and clean. The Red Victorian has so much character, we'd definitely recommend staying here.


What can I say about such an amazing and unique place? The staff is wonderful and the facilities are great, but honestly you can find plenty of places that can offer you that. However, only here can you come home to find an  acrobat/contortionist playing violin in the 'lobby' one day, an impromptu live chamber music show the next and a theoretical mathematician giving a lecture on....well I'm not sure what it was he was talking about on another day. No one place is perfect for everybody, but if you've got an open mind and an adventurist's heart,  jump on in, the water's fine!


So, I'd been in the cafe before and was super stoked to stay here on my return trip to San Francisco with my husband to see the Grateful Dead's 'Fare the Well" final 50 year celebration tour. I made my reservation months in advance thinking everything was fine.Well, just a few weeks before my trip I receive an email saying my reservation had been changed to a much smaller room and one without a private bathroom. SERIOUSLY PEOPLE? Since when did any hotel have the right to change a reservation without consent? So, I quickly picked up the phone and of course as the other reviews indicated... no one answers. I leave several messages over several days, no one returns my call. Apparently, these people will email you but won't talk to you. This place MUST be run by Millennials. I ended up cancelling my reservation and fine, this place doesn't get my business. I was a bit stressed having to find a new hotel so close to my vacation, but it all worked out and I assume for the better.I know this place is run by hippies and they promote this casual, communal living atmosphere but that doesn't give anyone a right to change someone's reservation without their knowing or completely be void of having any kind of customer service skills. I will enjoy my tour of San Francisco and say goodbye to one of my all-time favorite bands in style, in a much better hotel and without the stress of having people who are clueless on how to run a business. Fare thee well Red Victorian, you'll never get my business and it's a shame but your loss.

Comment from Elizabeth S. of The Red Victorian Business Manager 7/10/2015 Hi Danielle, I'm sorry you had such a poor experience with us! As a small hotel, we periodically… Hi Danielle, I'm sorry you had such a poor experience with us! As a small hotel, we periodically need to adjust reservations, and given the boutique nature of the hotel, it is not always possible to exchange rooms with equal amenities. In recognition that the new room lacked a bathroom, we did offer a discount, and then issued a refund within a day of receiving the refund request. We received your phone message but unfortunately there was no callback number! Since we have several people monitoring our email account, it is easier to respond promptly, which is why we encourage people to email us.But I'm glad you let us know how frustrating it was not have your inquiry answered by telephone. To help communicate better with our guests in the future, we have added information about the infrequent but periodic necessity of room changes to our website, and expanded the hours that our phones are staffed.Thank you for your feedback, and we hope to serve you better in the future! Read more 12/18/2015

The Red Victorian purports to be an inclusive, supportive and collaborative community. As a former volunteer at the wonderful, now-defunct affiliate repertory movie house, I had very high hopes for my holiday stay with my girlfriend. What an appalling travesty it all turned out to be. I made my reservation on October 6th--well in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday. (Note: I had to write a brief essay about myself and send a photo before they would "approve" my reservation.) Everything was reconfirmed, payment taken and I just awaiting the email with the door entry code for the facility. Instead, on November 25, (Just one day before Thanksgiving!!!) I received an email cancelling the reservation. No apologies, no explanation and no contact number--just an amazingly brief "Sorry for the inconvenience" notation.  Unbelievable!!I tried in vain for hours to reach someone to find out why and even travelled to the Red Victorian in person to try and find someone to talk to.  This definitely put a huge damper on my vacation. Eventually, I reached a representative via telephone.  After a tense negotiation, I was offered a room in the Red Victorian's sister accommodation, The Embassy, and a one night refund. You should know that on arrival at The Embassy, it was a mess - the result of a Thanksgiving party which I absolutely can excuse but not the noisy music making that went on into the small hours, despite all the signs around the house stating that noise should be at a minimum after 11pm. The following morning, the house was still in disarray, the ground floor shared facilities completely unusable.The Red Victorian's emphasis on supportive, interactive and collaborative communal living can only be interpreted as an advertisement for selfish living .Thank you for the one night reimbursement - you should really have offered to reimburse the whole trip.

Comment from Elizabeth S. of The Red Victorian Business Manager 12/18/2015 Hi Daniel,As I have said, I am extremely sorry for the series of events that occurred around your… Hi Daniel,As I have said, I am extremely sorry for the series of events that occurred around your reservation. Due to a system error, you booked a night that was supposed to be blocked off for an event. As soon as we realized this, we reached out to you to fix the situation. When you arrived at the Red Vic, there was someone on duty the entire day. When we spoke on the phone, I listened to your circumstances, offered a room at our sister location a mile away, and asked you what you thought was a fair amount to pay or be refunded, and you offered 50%. If you had thought that a full reimbursement was fair, I would have of course been receptive to that- we made a mistake with your reservation, didn't realize until very last minute, and it was an inconvenience to you. If you would like to make that request now, please email me, and reconsider doing so in a review such as this. I was at the embassy when you arrived, people were playing the piano, singing songs, and enjoying the end of a Thanksgiving meal and drinks, which you were welcome to join. Did you ask someone from the house to quiet down, and if so, what did they say? It's true that they should honor their quiet hours, but in the participatory nature of the space, they were being responsive to the feedback they were getting (everyone else was downstairs and enjoying themselves). Regardless, I would be happy to help you get in touch with a representative from that house, as a review of a different space should not be on this page. I'm sorry you had such a negative experience and weren't satisfied with the 50% refund that you proposed. I would be happy to discuss this more, and please always feel free to reach me directly and let me know how I can best support you in the aftermath of this situation.Thank you, Brittany Read more 5/27/2015

I love this place.  My daughter and I stayed last weekend during our trip up and down the coast.  I love the feel and people it attracts.  We enjoyed the conversations with the current guests and staff.  The location is ideal for wandering and looking at the architecture as well as the local restaurants.  The upgrades are nice, it isn't as quirky as it once was with the painted walls but the rooms names are still there.  The Aquarium Bathroom is as it was and completely caught my daughter off guard.  The ability to bring in food and cook for ourselves or as part of a larger group made this feel almost like home.  I wish we had more time to spend and will definitely make a return trip.  Thank you current owners for keeping the integrity of the place.  I can't wait to see what else you do.

10/4/2014 Updated review

We were seeking a culture that reflected the history of the Haight, to stay with a community of local maker-types and fellow travelers. We found that and so much more, at the Red Vic. The first thing to note is some interesting history we learned about the building itself. It was owned and run by a lady called Sami Sunchild, who ran a non profit called the Peaceful World Foundation, as well as a hotel, with a 'peace cafe' on the ground floor. The 20 or so rooms have kept the names she gave them, "The Flower Child Room" and "Summer of Love Room" spring to mind. Tracing counter-culture to maker-culture, the language and intention of an earlier era was on display, too, in writing on the whiteboard walls, and in our interactions with the new management and members of the community we got to hang out with. As a collaboration space, the ground floor serves now as both a gathering area for communal meals and collective storytelling. There's also a coworking space they have setup for people who are staying. And when we wanted peace and quiet, retreating to our zen like rooms was perfect.My girlfriend and I stayed in the Redwood Forest Room which had a private bathroom paneled with wood, and a very comfortable pillow-top mattress. It was wonderfully quiet at night, which made for restful sleep.It's also only 3 blocks or so from Golden Gate park, which was an unexpected bonus. We don't run ourselves, we prefer walking to allow for talking, but on our strolls we would see dozens of quintessentially Californian runners and sporty types enjoying the sunny outdoors.The one thing they didn't have sorted was a communal food system. We were told a community-based local food solution was going to be up and going soon. Luckily, Haight St has many eateries all along it, and there are grocery stores, including a whole foods, within 5 minutes walk.In summary, if you're looking to stay at a regular hotel and go about your business without too much interaction, this may not be for you. But if you're like us, and seeking to stay in a restful space and feel included in a community where you get a sense of how the spirit and values of an earlier era are being carried through into the collective, maker-ethic of a public participatory space, look no further.

9/7/2014 Previous review With new management, and totally renovated, the Red Vic was an incredible place to stay to find an… With new management, and totally renovated, the Red Vic was an incredible place to stay to find an intentional community of fellow travelers, and on top of that the rooms were spotlessly clean and had a zen-like calm that had me and my girlfriend feeling wonderfully relaxed as soon we arrived.Best of all, the people we met while staying here were some of the most inspiring people we've met in a long time. The new management seems to have a wide network of interesting friends and colleagues who stay here while in the city, and who share all sorts of interesting thoughts, ideas and projects through the online platform we booked through.There was a wide selection of rooms to choose from, some private, some shared, with and without ensuite. We chose the Redwood Forest room which had rustic wood panelling in the bathroom, while the bedroom itself was quiet and very spacious. The prices no longer include breakfast, but we were told that a community-based food service would be getting under way in the near future, in the large commercial space on the ground floor, so this might have changed by the time you read this. We can't wait to come back here again, soon! Read more 12/30/2015

It's hard to describe the Red Victorian - it's unlike anywhere else I've stayed. It's constantly evolving. It's a co-living space, hostel/hotel, co-working space, and an event space. It's full of wonderful, unique people. It's a home for all pass through. I've stayed here for 3 months now, been witness to the evolving house ethos, which feels like is beginning to stabilize around openness, community involvement, and respect. There is a constant influx of people who seldom feel like strangers, staying here or attending various events put on by the house and others who rent out the living room space. There is constant thought put into what the Red Vic should be, and a taking more seriously of this space being a home (e.g. respect and enforcement of quiet hours, addressing complaints of those who stayed in early days). A human touch runs through the community, so while it may not be run like a perfect business, I've never been so happy to call a place home.


Jesse's review below is very accurate. The Red Victorian is a co-living hotel/hostel. There still is a lot the old charm. You request a room by filling out an online profile. If you're approved, you can also view the other guests staying there, so you get a feel for the atmosphere there. The people were all very friendly, and everyone has their own story. The bed was extremely comfortable. Shared bathroom in the hallways.The constantly leaking toilet nearby was mildly annoying, but I otherwise slept well. Definitely recommend.


Have tried to stay here over the years, and this was my first visit. The Red Vic is exactly what you should expect from a true co-op hostel. The main downstairs is huge with plenty of places to sit and work, or just hang out and drink coffee, wine, or whatever. The price is pretty good for SF, but you are sharing baths, or rooms. I had the single occupancy Skylight room on the third floor and it was great. When I am in the city I like to be over the streets since noise doesn't much bother me - it gives me a better feeling. Bath and showers were fine. Bed was exceptional. Staff is awesome.

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