The Axiom Hotel aims to reflect the city that it’s in. Being tech-forward is the focus of this six-story, 152-room hotel, which opened in February 2016. Developed by Host Hotels & Resorts and managed by Kokua Hospitality, this property in the heart of downtown San Francisco opened as the Axiom after about a yearlong renovation of the 1908 building once home to the Powell Hotel. The tech touches are laudable — iPad check-ins, fast and free fiber-optic Wi-Fi and breakfast tables featuring places for each diner to plug in a gadget, for example.
Two blocks from the restaurants and shops of Union Square and steps from the historic cable car turnaround at Powell and Market Streets, the hotel is centrally located. About 20 minutes by car from San Francisco International Airport and near the Powell Street BART stop, it’s also a short walk from Moscone Center, the convention and exhibition complex, and the Financial District.
My “Nano Queen,” the basic category, had the feel of a dimly lit box. The queen-size bed took up most of the room, which had cream walls and nondescript brown furnishings on a sleek dark floor. My solo slender window looked out on an internal courtyard, open to the sky. Though optimistically labeled the Light Well, the courtyard cast only a scant amount of natural light into the room. The alarm clock, kitted out with plugs for charging various devices, and the comfortable robe made of sweatshirt-like fabric were nice touches — as was the ability to order room service and sync your phone to listen to your own music via the 48-inch LED Smart TV.
The space was surprisingly large — its footprint was about one-third of the size of the bedroom and included a spacious glass-walled shower and an expansive sink area. The bamboo-lemongrass shampoos and soaps by Lather were refreshingly tangy.
A gym, a 1,000-square-foot meeting room and a closet of a business center with two computers and a printer were in the basement, though the mezzanine level boasted a station of vintage arcade games and a foosball table. The lobby had a cozy library (which doubled as the reception area) lined with books on San Francisco food, architecture and culture. The cheeriness of the hotel was charming, if a bit excessive at times — staff members wore name tags that described their personal passions. Jarnetta, the receptionist, for example, loves “shower singing.”
The Turn Cafe in the lobby provided room service and its offerings included Kilobytes (small plates) such as coconut shrimp and kale chips, Megabytes (sandwiches) and Gigabytes (burgers). My burger order arrived within 30 minutes — handily delivered in a paper bag. Breakfast at the cafe meant eating at a table in the lobby walkway, in the fray of the morning hubbub. Egg dishes and healthy options like avocado toast filled the menu. The Sexi Mexi (fried egg on a bed of chorizo, tomato and onions, with queso fresco and tortilla) that the server highly recommended was delicious.