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The story behind this quaint Italianate-Victorian hotel mirrors the history of San Francisco itself. The great earthquake of 1906, and the massive fires that followed, devastated the city. The founder of Bank of America, AP Giannini, built this 62-room hotel during the construction boom that followed the disaster. The first occupants were Italian immigrants recruited to assist with the rebuilding effort, and the hotel has served the community ever since, offering multi-course Italian meals for 50 cents during the Depression and free accommodation to displaced victims of the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. Pleasantly off the beaten path in a quiet North Beach neighbourhood, the San Remo maintains an old-world European charm: guestrooms are cosy, with brass beds and oak furniture, and quiet, without telephones or TVs; bathrooms are shared.
• 2237 Mason Street, +1 415 776 8688, sanremohotel.com. Doubles from $99*
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