The Broderick Victorian; San Francisco

All too often, the word “Victorian” implies an excess of lace, mismatched floral bedding, and miu-miu-esque curtains. “Victorian” is generally a word I avoid when seeking my kinda accommodations in my travels, particularly when searching for a cozy bed and breakfast.

Contrary to my admitted generalization, San Francisco’s Broderick Victorian, managed by husband and wife owners Sri Jujade and Nisha Yan, is anything but traditional gaudy-Victorian. In fact, it’s rather contemporary, worldly, (tastefully) colorful, and cozy, though one of my favorite characteristics (as if the above were not enough) is the discreteness of the Broderick. So discrete, may I add, that as I arrived, far later than I expected to, I was unable to locate which traditional San Francisco three-story house was my accommodation for the next two nights (which became four when I wasn’t quite ready to leave). So discrete that it blended in seamlessly with its long-established San Francisco neighbors. I liked this quality, not only because a sense of discovery in my travels is something I value, but also because it was that authentic- that San Francisco-real.

The Penthouse at the Broderick Victorian

Being my first visit to San Francisco, I was particular about wanting to stay in a true San Francisco house, something reflective of the Painted Ladies lining Alamo Square that we’re all so familar with- the three story, pastel beauties. I spent several weeks researching local accommodations, but when I came across The Broderick, I knew I’d uncovered a treasure. The Broderick certainly fulfilled that desire and the hospitality of its owners far exceeded my expectations. Let me repeat, far exceeded.

The first three evenings were spent in the Penthouse, which occupies the entire upper floor, with a full living room, a bedroom, a “yoga room” in what I refer to as the ‘princess tower’ and a lovely, small porch overlooking the San Francisco Bay, affording beautiful views of the sunrise and the city. When I first arrived, I was quite taken aback by the expansive, private beauty of my temporary home- an ultra-modern sectional sofa taking residence in the center of the room, tons of original-paned windows that I opened to allow the SF breeze seep in all night and the Asian inspired beddings and sheer curtains separating the “yoga room” with hand-painted murals upon its wall, a wood floor scattered with exotic, colorful pillows and an array of scented candles for relaxation. Instantly, I was in wanderlust.

The yoga room's hand-painted murals

When I awoke the next morning, wrapped in a silk, Asian floral comforter, I sat up in awe- enveloped in my makeshift kimono, realizing in sincere surprise that I was unexpectedly watching the sunrise over the San Francisco Bay directly through the doors of the porch, perfectly aligned with the queen-sized bed.

Sunrise over the San Francisco Bay from the Penthouse's balcony

Being lucky enough to have been the Inn’s only guest for most of my stay (there are just five different rooms or the option of renting the entire home), I ventured to the floor below me to indulge in the daily homemade breakfast Nisha had prepared for me, left with a kind, handwritten note welcoming me. With a full kitchen, large dining room and a snuggly porch, it was a perfect setting to enjoy a solitary breakfast and a single Guinness Draught left behind in the fridge, presumably a leftover of a former guest. (It turns out Guinness nicely accompanies fresh fruit, crisp bacon and thick, egg-soaked French toast, not that I’d discounted the age-old idea that beer goes hand-in-hand with any meal.)

Midas was my other favorite thing about The Broderick. Midas is the house golden retriever (who lives with the owners in their first-floor home), a lovely pooch pal that I invited to spend the night with me (after having a few drinks and misadventures around town- the usual precursors for such an invite); against my wishes, he declined, but not before having a lovely snuggle session.

Following my two nights at The Broderick, I wasn’t ready to part ways just yet. I intentionally missed my flight and booked two more evenings, one in the Penthouse and the other in the Garden Suite, a very private bottom floor room, which was equally as pleasing- a tad more intimate and isolated with a private entrance at its patio.

A traditional Eastern Indian breakfast prepared by Sri's mother

My final morning at The Broderick, I awoke to a traditional Indian breakfast that Sri’s mother, Raji, a native Eastern Indian, had prepared for me in their home on the first floor- a traditional cauliflower dish called sabzi and a savory yellow cake topped with strawberries called dhokla served with a tangy mint chutney. It was a  delightful way to spend my last morning- a communal, San Francisco-sized table filled with colorful, exotic dishes, sincere generosity and a genuine sense of welcome. The Broderick Victorian is certainly a home away from home.

By: Ashley Halligan

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