My daughter and I were looking for a place to stay in San Francisco near Golden Gate Park for one night so that we could walk to an event very early the next morning. The Google information that caught our attention told about “My Rose Garden Guest Rooms” explaining that: “The very safe and upscale neighborhood is known for many scenic walks with views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean. We are situated next to the Presidio, now a National Park, and within walking distance of Golden Gate Park. Two beautiful and challenging public golf courses are less than a mile away.”
Why not give it a try? we said and so, we did. We pulled up to street parking and were immediately enchanted by the roses. Everything was in pristine condition. My daughter managed to unlock the door and we stepped into a charming home.
Being very careful because of COVID-19, only part of the guest house is available. On the night we were there, we were the only guests.
Our room was the “yellow” room which is a converted attic . It is large, long and narrow . The room worked very well for us with the sleeping spaces widely separated and a bathroom in between. There was a coffee maker and a fire place, antique chairs and a small table. The room worked well for us but if one is extremely tall or can’t climb three flights of stairs, it could be a problem. We found it to be pleasant and comfortable.
Lokma, a Turkish restaurant about five blocks from the guest house, was the perfect place to meet a friend. The food and service were great. However, we will have to go back another time to enjoy the usual breakfast. The timing of our event required a special accommodation but not the special breakfast.
Kathleen Meeker, Proprietor, kindly answered questions about “My Rose Garden Guest Rooms”:
My daughter and I enjoyed our time at “My Rose Garden Guest Rooms” and I appreciate you answering the questions that I have about the guest rooms.
The guest house was built in 1911, 5 years after the 1905 earthquake. When it was built, what was its intended purpose?
The house was built as a single-family house. From what we can tell from records we found in the SF Public Library, it was the 2nd or 3rd house built on the street. Two blocks to the west was a water company that sold water taken from Lobos Creek to the north. The “garage” was free standing and smaller than it is currently.
How do you happen to own my Rose-Garden Guest House?
We bought the house in 1986. We had a 1 year old and a 3 year old and I was pregnant with our 3rd. We loved the Victorian house that we were living in on Alamo Square in SF but the neighborhood was still a little “rough”. We had our car broken into a number of times, a friend of ours was robbed of her purse in front of our house, and the straw that broke the camel’s back was my husband witnessing the baby car seat stolen from our car as he came down the stairs with the baby to put into it. He came back upstairs and said to me red faced WE”RE GOING TO MOVE.
When did you begin welcoming guests?
Though we have spent a lot of money and time tweaking, re-doing floors, remodeling kitchen twice, remodeling bathrooms and adding a bathroom, etc. on 20th Avenue we haven’t changed the footprint from when we purchased the house. We KNOW other owners have (e.g. when we had a gas line run into the fireplace in the living room to change from wood-burning to gas jet the plumber discovered that there was the base for a toilet and sink behind the fireplace!) It is probable and most likely certain that many remodels done prior to our ownership were done without permits. (ALSO FYI we obtained licenses for ALL of the hosting business UNLIKE Airbnb and other “breakers” not “makers”). ALL of our work has been done according to code and with permits. We are pretty sure that the “Violet Room” on the 3rd floor was a porch at one time.
Looking around the guest rooms, it is clearly well planned for comfort and esthetics. To what extent did you plan and execute the look and function of the space?
I got the idea for operating a Bed and Breakfast about 2005. My mother had stayed at a B and B in Boston near one of my sister’s houses. The little cape cod house on Wilshire Park in Needham, MA was much smaller, less interesting than our house and was BOOKED almost all the time by family members of neighbors who didn’t have an extra bedroom. I was looking for another “project” and we were soon to have the last of our 3 children move out. We opened in 2006 with 2 rooms, in 2008 opened a 3rd and in 2010 added another bathroom on the 3rd floor and opened the 4th guest room.
How do the majority of your guests find you?
When we first opened I did have a website designed but most of our guests were from friends or family members of neighbors. I also advertised with VRBO and the no longer existing Bedandbreakfast.com. Without a doubt hooking up with Booking.com about 3 ½ years ago changed everything. Prior to the pandemic we were almost booked SOLID—all 4 rooms for 10 months a year. We were completely closed due to the pandemic from March 8, 2020-May 15, 2021. We’re still not completely open (only 3 rooms) and being very careful.
Is there a favorite story about any of the guests you have hosted?
I’ve enjoyed immensely many of our guests. Some have become good friends. Probably the most interesting couple (who were in their late 70s or older) who stayed with us had just happened to be in San Francisco (lived in Sacramento) and decided to drive by their old house. The husband had owned the house from 1971-1974 with 2 other friends. I saw them standing in the driveway and thinking they were in-coming guests I went out to talk to them. We spoke and when I realized the story, I invited them in to see the place. We walked around and he said “Oh there was a wall here or we had a sliding door there…”. It was all very interesting to me. Several months later he called to make a reservation to stay with us for their 50th wedding anniversary. The husband was by then a retired engineer. He brought with him many photos he had taken during his ownership (It was a COMMUNE during that time). The most endearing one was of his little gray-haired wife when she also lived there. She had waist length hair, parted down the middle and was wearing a granny dress.
Thank you for your time, Kathleen.