The Best Western Plus El Rancho Inn and Suites in Millbrae, California, just two miles from San Francisco International Airport, is one of the best-kept secrets in the Bay Area.
The hotel offers a park-sleep-and-fly program with built-in flight insurance. Like several other hotels near SFO, they will let you park free on site for a few days if you stay at least one night.
But the El Rancho Inn and Suites also takes care of you if your flight is delayed or canceled. If your flight is delayed for a long period of time, all you have to do is call the hotel and they will send a driver to pick you up so you can enjoy the hotel’s facilities, including its pool, fitness center and spa.
But wait, there’s more! If your flight has been canceled and you have to say overnight, the El Rancho will give you a night for free.
The hotel is perfect no-worry way to get to the airport. The park, sleep and fly service is a great way to start your vacation before you get on the plane. The best advice is to check with your airline before leaving the hotel, so if the flight is delayed, you can wait comfortably at the hotel
Long-term parking at SFO costs $14.95. But the El Rancho Inn gives you 14 nights free with a charge of only $5 a day after that. Rooms on the Park and Fly Package start around $155, but like all hotels, rates vary depending on demand.
You can save $20 on the hotel’s Park-Sleep-Fly package for arrivals before June 1, 2011, if you mention this article. No coupon is necessary to save.
The busiest time for checkouts from the hotel are between 4:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., so to help out those customers, the El Rancho Inn and Suites offers a free breakfast snack and coffee.
If you would prefer to leave your car at home, the El Rancho is still a good way to go. You can take BART to SFO and the airport shuttle will take you to the hotel for free. This solves a dilemma if you are trying to catch an early morning flight. A large number of flights leave SFO between 5:30 and 7 a.m. But the first BART train gets to SFO at 6:58 a.m., making catching an early morning flight impossible by BART.
But you could catch a BART train to SFO the night before and stay at the El Rancho for a free shuttle to the airport. The cheapest non-park and fly rates start at an incredible $88, a great bargain considering the quality of this property. Of course, like any hotel in the San Francisco Bay Area, expect to pay more over the summer and during busy convention times when occupancy is high.
If you are traveling light, you might want to take BART to the Millbrae station. It’s only a mile from the El Rancho Inn, a very pleasant walk, you won’t have to wait for the hotel shuttle, and you will be able to save $4 on the BART fare. (BART soaks passengers traveling to SFO. The one-way fare from downtown San Francisco to SFO is $8.10.)
Which American president stayed at the El Rancho? Which Hollywood blockbuster was shot at the El Rancho? How did Millbrae get its name? Click here for history of the El Rancho and about the origins of Millbrae and San Francisco International Airport.
Click here to view slideshow photos of the El Rancho.
Click here to listen to a great podcast with veteran journalist Tom Wilmer, featuring the El Rancho.