Phoenix Hotel, Tenderloin San Francisco, CA ***

Q: What is it? A: Built in the 50s that was turned into a “rock’n’roll hotel” in 1987 and has since seen Sinhead O’Connor, Linda Ronstadt and Tracy Chapman as its guests. It’s survivable, but the staff sure has an attitude.

This pool was even closed for a brief time due to a controversy over the mural.

The former Caravan Motor Lodge looks like this in daylight. On the bottom of the pool there’s a mural by artist Francis Forlenza titled “My Fifteen Minutes.”

The Phoenix at night – when there's no party going on at the hotel

The former Caravan Motor Lodge looks like this at night.

The entire Phoenix Hotel is now a non smoking property.

Doors, plants, deck-chairs… what else do you need at a hotel?

The neighbourhood is… quite interesting.
The Tenderloin District in San Francisco offers a spectacle to any visitor. People from the less sunny side of the street are all over the area. And most visible are those freelancing as women despite the fact that they were born men. The area is not well polished but a bit jaded. In the middle of all this, surrounded by larger office buildings, you’ll find the Phoenix Hotel, formerly the Caravan Motor Lodge. It’s a trip back to the early 70s. It’s a pale, very hung over rocker in leather pants who decided to take a nap among tourists working on their tan.

The management will tell you that the Phoenix is a rock’n’roll-hotel.
I get the feeling that they will play the rock’n’roll-card whenever there’s a complaint. Management are living up to their own myth by letting the bartender play loud music in the restaurant, the Bambuddha Lounge. They have also gone through the trouble of hiring people with glasses that are way too cool for them. If you ask the film student manning the reception a question, you will get an irritated face as a reply. The feeling of rock’n’roll gets very tangible in rooms that are not smoke-free. Avoid those if you want to sleep without the aid of an oxygen canister.
UPDATE: The Phoenix is now a completely smoke-free property.

Not very cool, but desperate hipster cool.
Despite all this, the Phoenix is still a decent alternative if you want to do San Fran and if you can stand a place that feels a little bit like a caricature of itself. It’s an OK place to stay at a fairly modest price. And the pool is a blessing after breakfast. And it has free parking! But those rock’n’roll stickers are not rock’n’roll. They honestly feel a little Bon Joviish.

Phoenix Hotel
601 Eddy Street
San Francisco, CA
United States


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