What it’s like to live in a San Francisco hotel full time

It’s like “Eloise at the Plaza”, but maybe a little more dystopian. New York-based company Common has started renting hotel rooms for stays of three months or more in San Francisco.

The downtown area of ​​the BEI hotel serves as the starting point for Common’s operations in San Francisco. It has 120 hotel rooms for rent, starting at $ 1,650 per month. (Common would not say how many rooms are currently occupied).

Common, which describes itself as “a global residential brand”, announced its partnership with BEI Hotel this summer. He has deals with hotels in Seattle and New York, with plans for future expansion.

He said his San Francisco units were “briefly managed by another company that we acquired at the start of the summer.”

While barely cheap for what equates to a studio – without a kitchen – Common’s rooms are slightly lower than the median studio rent in San Francisco, which averages $ 2,095, according to Zumper.

New York-based company Common rents rooms for short and long stays at the BEI Hotel in San Francisco.

Courtesy commune

Mosiuwa Tshabalala, a data analyst who works for an insurance company in South Africa, has been staying at the BEI Hotel via Common since March. He said he chose Common after being regularly disappointed with rental deals from San Francisco.

“I checked out a lot of bad places, or places that looked bad to me,” he told SFGATE. “Poor use of space, bad deal in terms of money.”

Tshabalala saw the BEI Hotel on Zillow and decided to take a look.

“It looked like this all-in-one bachelor pad,” he recalls.

Common rooms include basic utilities and furniture, as well as access to hotel amenities, such as a gym and a rooftop terrace with city views. The standard room is equipped with a bedside table, a bed and a flat-screen TV.

Tshabalala said he sometimes felt lonely living alone, but found a vibrant community within the hotel, which even organized a silent disco for residents.

New York-based company Common rents rooms for short and long stays at the BEI Hotel in San Francisco.

New York-based company Common rents rooms for short and long stays at the BEI Hotel in San Francisco.

Courtesy commune

Common right for you? Tshabalala said it “depends on what kind of person you are.”


“There are adjustments that I had to make. You’re in a hotel, you can’t really cook (I have a slow cooker and a microwave), ”he said.

Common is hardly the first company to try to solve San Francisco’s housing problems. Starcity has tried to do something similar with “dormitory style” residences. WeWork launched a program in 2018 called WeLive, in which residents could rent apartments for short stays. And then there’s Anyplace, an online housing platform that allows people to rent short-term space, including hotel rooms.

Common will solve the housing crisis in San Francisco? It is doubtful, and it has been tried by global companies before. But for someone like Tshabalala, who only stayed in San Francisco for a few months – he returned to South Africa on Thursday – Common was the right choice in the short term.

“I think people need to gain the experience, even if it’s only for three months to see how it would change your life,” he said. “We don’t all need to be in mansions. Sometimes all you need is what you really need. You can have a good quality of life.


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