by Kristian Steffensen

The Phoenix Hotel

Offbeat elegance meets Rock’n’Roll.

Absolute Highlight

The sunday poolside post-brunch sessions and and a general funky vibe

In a nutshell

No. of rooms
The design aesthetic is...
Rock’n’Roll mixed with mid century modern re-invented
The typical guest is...
a good chance of being a member of a traveling band.
The sustainability features (ie. plastic free, recycling, green wall, garden) are...
The location is...
central, by SF standards.
Interaction is encouraged by....
the happening bar and restaurant, Sunday brunches, poolside yoga and Drag Queen bingo.
You should stay here because
it’s an offbeat, funky, cultural icon with such a great vibe.
What took you there?

Recovering with a couple of friends after a long week in the desert with 80,000 crazy and awesome people.

What was your room like?

Adorned with vintage rock posters, the design is simple, tasteful with a dash of west-Texas.

What about the venue

I started trying to write a bunch of words about this place to sum it up, but the owner Liz Lambert’s words do a pretty great job, “there’s something so awesome about where elegance meets rock and roll”. That’s what the Phoenix epitomises.

Pulling into the parking lot, I definitely felt like the hotel has a great history – and it does. Like many good things, the original hotel/motel emerged in the 1950s as the Caravan Lodge with the typical drive-in mid-century design, getting its first makeover in 1987. Being central to a number of great SF music venues it became the hangout for travelling musicians in the late ’60s and ’70s and became a counter-cultural haunt. Apparently everybody’s stayed there including Neil Young, Bowie, Cobain….maybe they did, maybe they didn’t… but what matters is that it feels like they would have.

Celebrating it’s travelling musician heritage, the hotel is brushed with pleasing vintage undertones. The lobby is modeled off on an old recording studio, selling memorabilia influenced by the 1980-90s grunge scene. The central courtyard is dotted with cabanas around a landmarked swimming pool (one of only 2 in the US) featuring a mural by artist Francis Forlenza across its bottom… late nights/early morning fraternizing in the cabanas is highly recommended.

The brains behind this delightful abode is the Bunkhouse Group and founder Liz Lambert (such a great story) who have such a fantastic eye and now boast a tasty portfolio of similar hotels mostly around Texas hotspots.

All these ingredients come together so well… and you get the sense the guests really appreciate this, bringing them together to create a fantastic atmosphere and making this such a magical little place to hang-out for a few days – giving San Fran the bit of edge it needs.

Tell us about the destination

The Phoenix is in Tenderloin district of San Fran, and has a certain grit about it… which also means no pesky neighbors calling in noise complaints (an all too familiar trend as cities battle ‘gentifying’ residential NIM(New)BYies).

Who did you meet there?

I became instant friends with our next-door neighbour, long-time Brooklyn nightlife personality and entertainment venue owner… Thank for your the late-night cabana ambushes 🙂

Have you stayed here? Let us know your thoughts!
San Francisco, United States
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Surrounding Activities

Golden Gate Park Buffalo Paddock

Ride around Golden Gate Park and check out the Bison. Plenty of food options around are well documented so for something bit different rent a bike and head to the Golden Gate Park via the Haight to see some beautiful soaring redwood trees and a herd of bison just kicking it.

Golden Gate Park Buffalo Paddock

The Fillmore

Head to a concert and one of the nearby historic music venues. Take advantage of the three historic music venues within earshot: The Fillmore, the Warfield, and the Great American Music Hall.

The Fillmore

Vacation SF

Get yourself some new vintage threads. Plenty of great little vintage shops around. Start with Vacation for racks of well-curated vintage clothing.


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