The Phoenix's retro appeal paired with the sweet pool, überhip restaurant, and fun bar scene makes this a magnet for the hip at heart and ultracool. This isn't the best choice for those seeking peace and quiet (or anyone put off by the hotel's location). Little Richard, Elijah Wood, Sean Lennon, and members of R.E.M. and Pearl Jam have stayed here, and in the evenings the crowd from Chambers eat + drink populates the cabanas and pool. The friendly staff is as cool as you'd expect.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel is located in the Tenderloin District (a common destination for those down on their luck). Some might find the streets a bit rough for their tastes.
Rooms feature bamboo furniture, fresh white bedspreads, and original pieces by local artists, as well as modern amenities like iPad/iPod docking stations. Standard rooms face the courtyard, a warm, azure-tile pool, and the collection of sculptures in the garden.
Tiled baths are small and most include tubs.
Don't let the subdued lobby fool you, beyond the brown carpet and aqua tiled walls, the heart of the property is the central pool area and garden. In summer, lively parties, yoga classes, and evening drink-fests make this one of the hottest tickets in town.
The centerpiece of the property is the black and white tiled pool. In summer DJs play on weekends and hundreds pack the garden to dance and dive into the heated water.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Officially the pool area closed at 10pm.
The emblematic Chambers Eat + Drink is one of the city's best kept secrets. Vinyl lines the walls of this dark eatery, which serves brunch on weekends and dinner Tuesday-Saturday. Snacks like fried brussels sprouts or oysters can also be enjoyed by the pool. The massive pork chop pairs well with their beer list.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel puts out complimentary pastries and coffee in the mornings.
Fun takes on traditional cocktails from around the globe populate the drink menu at Chambers Eat + Drink. Their beer and wine menus are not to be overlooked. Guests can drink by the pool, a fun perk not found in many other San Francisco restaurant/bars.
The hotel offers complimentary parking for one vehicle per room (tour buses cost extra). The neighborhood can feel rough after dark, so many travelers opt to hop in an Uber or Lyft. During the day, walkers can easily get to nearby Hayes Valley, Civic Center, and the Mission. Muni buses stop within a block from the property, connecting travelers to train stations, and neighborhoods like the Castro, Mission, and Haight.
Hungry eaters wait for eons for fruity pancakes, or red beans and rice at Brenda's French Soul Food Cafe (1-minute walk). The beloved Saigon Sandwich (1-minute walk) slings thick hunks bread filled with a variety of Vietnamese-spiced meats or veggies.
Prince once graced the stage at the nearby Great American Music Hall (4-minute walk), where the drinks are strong and the high-voltage fun is in effect. Writers and fans of Guinness clutter the historic Edinburgh Castle Pub (6-minute walk), especially on trivia nights or when local writers might engage in limerick battles.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Favored by rockers, this former motor inn provides some fun in the sun with a lively pool, great drinks, and funky interiors.