Axiom Hotel review, San Francisco
A tech-conscious hotel in downtown San Francisco perfect for those who love to stay connected.
When The Axiom first opened in January 2016 its slogan was "stay at the centre of next", which is a little ironic considering its facade is that of a 1908 heritage building in downtown San Francisco.
Open the door, however, and you'll uncover a completely contemporary, if not futuristic world. Its check-in desk is styled as a library, its Wi-Fi is high-speed fibre optic, its business lounge features arcade games and its room service is staffed by a robot.
I won't lie. I requested toothbrushes that I didn't need just so I could test him out.
That's the tech, but how does the rest of the hotel stack up? My husband and I were invited by The Axiom and San Francisco Travel during our whirlwind trip through the US to experience it for ourselves.
The Axiom, San Francisco review: The details
- Where: 28 Cyril Magnin Street, San Francisco
- When: 16-20 August 2019
- Room type: Mono King (king bed), 2 guests
- Cost: From US$325 ($480) per night including tax (August rates)
- Hotel star rating: 4-star
- Book: The Axiom
TL;DR: Stephanie's review in short
- Stars: ★★★★★
- Cost: Average for a 4-star hotel in the area. Rooms start from US$325 ($480) in peak season.
- Location: Right in the heart of downtown San Fran with easy access to the cable car, trains and buses.
- Decor: Minimalist and stylish.
- Check-in/check-out process: Effortlessly smooth despite there being only two check-in queues.
- Rooms: Spacious (kings range from 19-31 square metres) and airy, but may face inwards overlooking other guests' rooms.
- Food: Meals are served by The Turn Cafe downstairs, which offers good, standard cafe fare by day. It transforms into a bar at night.
- Facilities: A well-equipped and quiet gym is housed in the hotel basement, while a casual communal area with arcade games and a widescreen TV is located on the mezzanine.
Let's get this out early: accommodation in San Francisco during the summer is not cheap. A quick flick through our options before we set off returned tiny 2-star hotel rooms with shared bathrooms from $170 per night and luxurious 4-star hotel options from $400 per night.
At $480 per night, The Axiom is on the pricier end of the scale, but for the comfort of your own bathroom and the space to stretch out, it's a cost that returns itself in spades.
Located in the buzzing downtown area, The Axiom is the place to stay to cover a wide variety of districts in San Francisco.
Not only is it on the doorstep of the Powell Street cable car turnaround, which takes you north to the piers, but it's also less than a 5-minute walk to the Muni and BART trains stations and bus and tram stations. It's also a direct BART ride from San Francisco Airport.
To give you an idea of distance by the numbers, Lombard Street and Pier 39 are 30-minutes by cable car, the Golden Gate Bridge is 30-minutes by bus and the foodie Mission district is 15-minutes by BART.
Around your local, you can walk to SFOMA, the Ice Cream Museum, Union Square and Chinatown.
The Axiom is light on the old and heavy on the new, with only the basic bones of the building it once was surviving behind closed doors. Remaining are those incredibly high ceilings, select heritage florals and a magnificent wooden staircase.
Highlights of the new include golden industrial lighting, wide heavy-set couches and ottomans, minimalist wardrobes and industrial-inspired artworks.
The check-in/check-out process
Unlike your conventional hotel, the check-in counter is a small affair of two counters within the library lobby.
If you enter via the Cyril Magnin door, you'll walk a narrow corridor directly to it. However, if, like us, you find yourself at the Powell Street entrance, you'll walk through The Turn Cafe before you hit the counter.
The line for check-in and check-out was short and the wait never long. Fresh faces always met us with a smile. They delivered succinct details, but if you have questions, say, about where the gym is, you'll have to ask, as this didn't seem part of their welcome routine.
We were blessed with an inside-facing corner room which was so generously sized that it boasted enough living space to open a suitcase on the floor.
Something to keep in mind is that the sizes of The Axiom's king rooms differ greatly. They range from 19 square metres to a whopping 31 square metres. I didn't measure it, but I felt we'd been graced with a 31-square-metre room. Our room also featured a bathtub and shower combo, making me believe it was an accessible room, as a standard king has a walk-in.
Other than this and the lowered furniture and rails, the room inclusions should remain the same in other king rooms.
We found the bed comfortable and the bathroom always spotless. There was a two-seater couch and a handful of books stacked in the wardrobe to give the space a homey feel, while polished floorboards made the room feel larger and were a godsend for our allergies. Unfortunately this meant that you could hear the clopping of shoes on wood in the room above. Outside of this, however, sound was never an issue.
For the eco-conscious, The Axiom prides itself on its environmentally-friendly efforts. In lieu of a minibar, empty carafes are supplied to fill up at the filtered water stations in the hall. Bathroom amenities are refillable to reduce waste.
The only minor disappointment was that our room faced inwards, which meant little natural light. It also faced into other guests' rooms, so we kept the blinds closed throughout our stay.
For those seeking a view, I suggest you request a street-facing room, which overlooks the cable car turnaround.
Unlike conventional hotels, The Axiom's food is supplied by the attached Turn Cafe. It's a small cafe with a door that spills into the line for the Powell Street cable car, so it welcomes a good chunk of the general public. It's for this reason that, if you book the breakfast package, you won't be provided with a set or buffet breakfast but with a food voucher.
We tucked into breakfast one morning and found the coffee to be standard (mind you, we're coffee snobs) and the bagel to be delicious. The service was impressively speedy and the space was airy and inviting – just what you want to start your day.
The cafe also turns into a bar at night with a happy hour that unfortunately we never made it to.
From its high-speed Internet to its robot butler, all of The Axiom's facilities come with the tech-savvy traveller in mind.
The Internet was quick and never failed and there were ample casual spaces to chill out in. This includes the library lobby and "the Cloud" on the mezzanine, which features meeting tables, a TV and arcade games. My only criticism is that the games are old so they wigged out on us. Not a major issue as we didn't play for long but this could be frustrating if you're keen on that high score.
The fitness centre was well-equipped for cardio, core and strength workouts. Being housed in the basement and locked to guests only, we found it quiet and clean during both our visits.
For something a little different, there's Astro. We discovered him hanging around the lobby one evening and had to test him out ourselves. In short, he's a robot butler that delivers small items like toilet paper and towels upon request. This makes him a time-saving element for staff and a novelty for me whose toothbrushes were delivered with a friendly electronic smile.
The Axiom is a 4-star boutique hotel that honestly has everything going for it. It's stylish, spotless and well-connected to tourist hotspots like Pier 39 and the Golden Gate Bridge.
On top of ticking all those modern-day tech boxes, what also impressed is that it's pet-friendly and is an eco-friendly LEED-certified hotel that uses energy-efficient systems to preserve electricity.
Stephanie and her husband stayed at The Axiom as a guest of the hotel and San Francisco Travel.