When I went to VMworld 2010 I just used Van transportation from Airport to hotel and back. Everything is within walking (or stumbling) distance from most of the hotels and Moscone center.
Parking is REAL expensive (compared to Louisville, KY) so a rental car was not worth the cost for me. I didnt do the San Francisco tour (Alcatraz, GGB, etc...) as I was at all the Vendor sponsored events.
Depending on what you want to do a Rental car may be worth it.
Simply on the topic of rental car -- also don't forget that San Francisco has the BART (stops at the airport & near moscone center). I am not from there but have been there for several conferences in the past. My first trip, I got a rental car and returned it pretty much right away because everywhere I wanted to go I could get by BART or the cable cars (also a great way to get around and a must for first time visitors). I stay at the Grand HYATT which is a bit of a walk (few blocks) but a very nice hotel -- parking for example is in the neighborhood of $30-35/day.
Have fun and see you in San Fran!
This will hopefully be my third trip out to San Fran for VMworld and I have never used a rental car. The BART is a great way to get from the airport to the general vicinity of the conference. From there there are taxis and cable cars for anything that isn't within walking distance, but most things are. Fisherman's Warf is great and easily accessible by cable car. One tip I did learn from one of the locals is that the cable cars stop at most intersections to allow people to get on or off, this is a much better place to get on a car rather than waiting in the log lines at the ends of the runs.
As far as hotels are concerned, this by far is the most expensive I have seen the hotels in this area. $500 a night is a bit unreasonable and is far outside of my companies travel policy. I was able to find some hotels a little farther out for around $200 a night and they were still well within walking distance. Word of warning, I stayed at the Mosser my first year in San Fran, and while its a nice and affordable hotel, it has a single elevator, no A/C and unless you ask for something different you may end up sharing a bathroom in the hallway.
Hope that helps.
This year I am staying that the Hotel Milano. Seems like a nice place. Fairly close and less expensive compared to most.
Under $600 with Tax for the complete stay.
- Hotel Fusion is a REALLY good price (< $200/night).
- Transportation: NONE needed. Everything is too close to need. There is a bus line to take you to any place you wanna go on the outskirts of the main part of the city. I took the bus to the beach/ocean in '10. Was awesome. Now, if you wanna go across the Bay to Salsalito or to Alameda, you'll need to get a cab or something like that, but other than that you shouldn't need anything.
- SFO is really the 'preferred' airport.
Christopher Kusek (@cxi on twitter) wrote a "VMworld Tips..." article last Jul that you may want to run through. VMworld was in Vegas last yr, but his post is really venue agnostic. Check it out: http://www.pkguild.com/2011/07/vmworld-tips-tricks-and-prize-winning-vmworld/
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