Karen Doolittle dreams in color. So when this Oakland-based shutterbug—recently named one of Refinery29’s 30 photographers to follow on Instagram ASAP—wanted a staycation across the Bay, we were thrilled she chose to stay with us.
Karen’s feed is full of rainbow-bright patterns and clean lines, playful portraits and Roy G. Biv gummy bears all in a row. She says she found ample inspiration during her weekend in San Francisco, split between the rock-‘n’-roll Phoenix Hotel and the retro Hotel Del Sol.
“Hotel Del Sol has this cute 1950s motor-lodge aesthetic, with wonderful painted murals throughout. My room’s communal area had a lovely, warm palette. And the Phoenix was a color dream!—from the striking blue and green doors to the vinyl selection, unique swimming pool, and plants everywhere.”
With so much to see, this adventure-seeker didn’t make a habit of hanging out in her guest room too long…
“Hotel Del Sol is in the Marina, a part of town I don’t have the opportunity to visit often. I didn’t realize how close this hotel is to the Bay! It was a short walk to Fort Mason, where you get one of the most beautiful views in the city, plus super interesting architecture.”
“The Phoenix in the hustle and bustle near downtown, where I spend a lot more time. I must’ve walked past Chambers, the restaurant attached to the hotel, a hundred times before. And after my stay, it’s my new favorite spot in the neighborhood! The brunch and cocktails I had were amazing. I can’t wait to go back.”
“It’s tough to pick my favorite shot from the weekend. I really love them all. If I had to choose, I would say the photo of my friends in the living area of my room at Hotel Del Sol. It’s pet-friendly, the colors were so great, and the spirit of fun and relaxation really comes through.”
After 48 hours spent exploring this foggy city, we declared Karen our resident expert on the quick-and-dirty San Francisco tour. Here’s her dream itinerary for those doing a touchdown, turnaround:
“This is the smallest big city I’ve ever been to! It’s only seven miles in any one direction, but there’s still so much to see and do. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for almost ten years and I haven’t done it all… Not even close. There’s Golden Gate Park, Haight Street, and the Mission District. I could go on and on. I think the best advice I could give a visitor is just to wander around. It’s the most beautiful place you could hope to get lost!”