I stayed at the Hotel Whitcomb for 8 days during the Apple WWDC. The first thing that I noticed was the location. Being on the "Tip of the Tenderloin" and near city center, I didn't expect the surrounding area to be extremely nice. However, the area seemed a little worse than I had expected. On the walk to the Union Square area, which is about a 4 block walk (long blocks), you will definitely encounter multiple homeless people, drunks, drug addicts, hookers, etc. Usually, these people won't look twice at you, as long as you keep your head down and don't stare, but other times you will be involved a little further. In my experience, this ranged from being yelled at to just simply asked for spare change. The worst experience in the area is when an addict was injecting meth into his groin right beside me, as I waited for a city bus. However, that was the worst of it and I didn't ever feel physically threatened. The hotel is around a 6 block walk to Moscone East, where my convention was held. I found that walking down just two blocks to Mission Street made a much safer walk overall than travelling down Market.
Room wise, I got what I paid for. The beds were actually quite nice, and so were the pillows. The only problem was the creaky bathroom door (due to age, most likely) and the loud air conditioner. This thing woke me up time and time again, and the sound could best be compared to being right behind an airplane during takeoff.
The wifi in the room sucked. I had brought along my various wifi devices hoping to be able to browse the internet whilst in the room, but that idea was shot down pretty quickly. In the off chance you connect to "Wandering Wifi", be prepared to receive 2kb/s download speeds. Ugh. Luckily, there is a Starbucks attached to the front lobby, which provided a speedier connection.
The service was alright. The people at the front desk are quite old and have thick accents, and I wouldn't try talking with them more than you have to. The front desk isn't all bad though. "Colton" from Texas was very nice and helped make my check-in swift and simple. One downside is that if you want to speak with someone at the front desk, you have to wait in the check-in line. For some reason, my key got deactivated two days before I was to checkout, and if it wasn't for a nice housekeeping lady, I would have had to wait probably 2 hours before I could speak to a human being.
If you do stay at the Whitcomb, make sure to check out "Munch Haven" across the street. I ate breakfast there, and it was well-sized, cheap, and the staff was incredibly nice. Also, make sure to purchase a bus pass. There is a bus stop, as well as a BART station right beside the Whitcomb. Having a bus pass (only $26 for a week) allowed me to travel up and down market, to Fisherman's Wharf, and basically everywhere else in the downtown without hassle. Also, it included cable car rides which were, although touristy, quite fun!
Overall, the Hotel Whitcomb gets the job done. As soon as you exit Market and walk in, you feel more than safe. It is just making it to the hotel that is the sketchy part. The beds were comfy and aside from a couple issues in the room, there were no major problems. I had great sleeps, (for the most part, if the air conditioner didn't wake me up), and the large closet in each room was a nice addition. Stay at the Whitcomb if you want a good hotel for the price, and don't mind a rough, but close to many things, area.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC