Hotel Review –  The Phoenix San Francisco

Hey, Mr. Mariachi Frog
Because every hotel needs a Mariachi frog.



OK.  This place is cool. Old-School Americana meets laid back SanFran meets Oasis of Calm meets great little music hangout bar cool. Yes, we’d stay here again, and we’ve only been through the door five minutes.

What’s happened here at the Phoenix is that some enterprising soul has decided not to tear down one of those 1950s motels that used to be everywhere in America and instead has renovated, updated and added a layer of hip and hippy chic that, for us at least, just works. Imagine a pastel-shaded motel by the beach,

How awesome is this?

and then place it bang in the middle of all the grittiness and street life of the Tenderloin district, so named for the nice cuts of meat the local cops could afford with the extra danger money in their paycheques. Now make sure every musician in town comes over, and you’re on to a winner.  From the outside, you’d barely look twice, from the inside.. all we can do is stare.

So what do you get for your money? Well, you get a lightly and sympathetically refurbished sixty year old motel room, a nice big comfy bed, fridge, coffee making area with Wolfgang Puck coffee, ironing gear and a small bathroom with amazing toiletries from Lather.  You get a cool music bar and grill (that’s closed Mondays – as we found out checking in on a Monday). You get a small pool heated to 88 degrees. (31c) and open till 10pm.  You get free parking, which in this town is a huge bonus.  There’s sluggish WiFi for two devices, (who knows why

Mmm, Comfy!

two, but you can add a third and more speed for a few bucks).  But most of all you get the history and the cool and the never seen anything quite like it factor.  You get a place frequented by musicians (ones you’ve heard of…they’ve all stayed here) and artists, and you get a great friendly welcome, too, from some of the most laid back front desk staff you could ever meet. You’re greeted like an old friend, albeit one that needs to pay a small deposit against expenses.

The view from our room – are we still in San Francisco?

The rooms are located on three sides of the pool area. You never feel cramped despite their relatively compact dimensions.  The beds are big and comfortable, although quite firm, still suffering jet lag we slept pretty well,  and you have a full width floor to ceiling window with opening slats for ventilation.  There’s a ceiling fan and a floor heater in lieu of air conditioning. There’s a bathroom that might be a squeeze for some

It’s a bit tight but not awful


– we had no problem but it could be a struggle to get through the door sit down –  with small bathtub and a decent shower.  (There are accessible rooms poolside if the doorway might be a drama). All in all it’s cozy without being claustrophobic.   There’s a good sized TV and a small desk with an open sided chair.

The poolside rooms could be in Santa Monica or Miami – you look out over palm trees to the pool area and all is wonderful.

Breakfast was included – at 0730 prompt the kitchen staff appeared by the pool with Danish Pastries, muffins and hot drinks.  It was all very tasty and we set off into the day well fed.    The hotel was happy for us to check out slightly after the usual 1200 as we were going to Alcatraz for the morning, and also to leave our car in their spacious lot while we went to a nearby spot for Lunch.  Brenda’s is a tenderloin legend and everyone said we should eat there.  Boy were they right!

Please note – we paid for our room ourselves and received no incentives for this review except for a bottle of wine that we’re still not sure we’d have got anyway!

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