Hotel Kabuki – a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel
What We Love
- Traditional shoji (rice paper murals) framing windows
- Fantastic bonsai garden off the Midcentury Modern glass lobby
- Japanese bathhouse with varied spa treatment menu
- Read more about what to see and do in San Francisco and Big Sur in our magazine section
What To Know
- Percentage of hotel profits go directly to the nonprofit Japanese American Historical Society
- Standard Rooms don’t have Japanese-style soaking tubs
- Valet parking costs a steep $40 per night, but you can use your car whenever; garage parking is $23 per day, but you can’t access the car during your stay (no in-and-out privileges)
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Behind the stodgy 1960s architectural frame the Kabuki is a romantic boutique hotel that takes its Japanese style seriously — the cool bonsai garden off the Midcentury Modern glassed-in lobby is one example. The artful placement of flowers, wall art and furniture, combined with the purposeful use of varying colors and textures, enhances the Zen ambience throughout.
Bed and Bath
Rooms are spacious, especially by San Francisco standards, and mimic classic Japanese themes in design elements like traditional shoji screens, fresh orchids, boxy lamps, boldly colored printed silk runners draped over cushioned but firm platform beds. Bathrooms are done in tile and marble, and all but the Standard Rooms have classic Japanese deep-seated soaking tubs and adjoining showers. The Corner View Rooms have exceptional hill and city views across San Francisco.
Inspired by traditional Japanese watering holes, Hotel Kabuki’s O Izakaya Lounge serves more than 20 kinds of sake and an Asian-Western fusion menu designed for sharing. Kabuki Springs & Spa is also on-site. The authentic Japanese bathhouse – facilities include a dry sauna and steam room, hot pool and cold plunge – is open to guests for a fee. A full spa menu, including Asian and Western treatments, is offered here.
In the Area
The hotel sits in the middle of the funky NoPa/Western Addition area of the city. Walk out the front door and into the heart of the revitalized Japantown, with its bustling sushi bars and kimono boutiques, giftshops and bookstores. Try Tataki for mouthwatering, sustainably fished sushi; the Golden State Roll is the house favorite. The funky triplex New People houses a cafe, cinema, gallery space and boutiques with edgy Japanese duds and design books. NoPa’s best local hangout? NOPA. The wood-burning oven at this buzzy spot serves urban rustic fare, from hearty brunches to late-night burgers.
How to Get There
This was my second stay at the Kabuki within the last year. The renovations have really transformed the place! I love the rooms here. They are spacious, clean, and very well-appointed with the most comfortable bed, amazing rain shower, and huge tv with Netflix and Hulu. Their gym is also incredible and HUGE! Since my last visit, they no longer offer you a bottle of wine at check-in or free access to the Japanese baths which kind of sucks. You also have to pay for coffee out of a machine in the lobby which is tacky for a hotel like this. That being said, I do really like this hotel and will stay here again for sure. Love this area of town. Great food all around if you like Asian cuisine or quick 10-minute walk to Fillmore if you prefer other dishes and good shopping. I stayed on the top floor of the Garden building which is the new wing. Elevator was very slow so be prepared to wait.
The hotel is located in a good location, very clean and with a large gym a hip bar/restaurants. The service is excellent as well. I made a mistake and had actually made my reservation a day earlier than my actual stay. The Manager understood it was a mistake and didn't charge me for the extra night that I hadn't used. That was really appreciated. I will be back.
This is a beautiful hotel. The lobby is breathtaking. We had a corner room, which was spacious and beautiful. Great bathroom with a beautiful walk-in shower. Judging only the looks, this hotel would get 5 stars.
The location also gets 5 stars. Yes, you are not right in the city centre, but you are close to Fillmore street, in the middle of Japan Town and close to public transport.
However, some negative points: Sleep quality was only mediocre. We could hear the street quite well. Also, every time someone closes a door in the hallway, you'll basically jump out of bed.
Room service did not do our room in the first night. Frontdesk staff then noted our room number on a sheet so that they would do it the next day. Do you have to ask for room service in this hotel? We are not sure.
The next morning, room service woke us up, asking if they should do the room. As if: an eye for an eye...
WiFi is spotty at best, I think it worked maybe 50 percent of the time.
Upon checkout, they charged us 5 nights instead of 4. When we pointed it out, the reaction was: so no early check-out as noted on the bill? Well no, we are still here. An apology would also have done it.
Sometimes, the little things make quite a difference. We never felt really comfortable in this hotel, despite the beautiful looks. And we were not alone. At checkout day, the line before us was basically a line of customers complaining about something: Faulty bills, no WiFi...
Also, they charge 1 USD per night for a donation to Japan Town. While I think that's a great idea, it's just rude to charge something you did not ask for. Beginners mistake. Certainly makes some clients pretty angry. Not for the amount, but for the mindset this shows.
Guys handling bags and getting taxis were very efficient and friendly. Organised a pretty cheap group ride to airport for us.
So we don't know what to say. This is not a bad hotel. We paid a reasonable price for a very nice room in a beautiful hotel at a great location. But would we go back? Not so sure.
Hotel is fantastic. Staff are really nice, huge rooms (we did the king corner room with a balcony), and really clean. Only downside is they don’t validate parking but all hotels in San Francisco have pricey parking so it isn’t surprising, I guess. Photos are of the garden and view from our room.
I've stayed at this hotel several times over the last 5-6 years. They have re-modeled the facility so it looks a lot better, but the quality of my stay has gone down at the same rate, unfortunately. No more bath tub, and no more use of Kabuki bath house. During the most recent stay, they introduced a hidden fee, Amenity Fees. They stapled a little note on the bag of key card envelope. So, I asked the front desk person about it, and she agreed to waive it off since I made my reservation before they started this fee. But, at the check out, it was still there. So, I told the front desk person to take it off. He agreed, but he couldn't give me the receipt then because the system was down. He said he would email the corrected receipt as soon as the system is back up. 5 hours later, no receipt, so I had to email them. Then, I got a "revised" receipt, still with the amenity fee. I had to email them again before I finally received the corrected receipt.
They were perfectly willing to waive the fee when I inquired. But, the whole idea of "let's charge the guest and see if anyone complains" seems to be a rather deceptive practice. I image there have been many guests (who made the reservation before they started this deceptive practice) who ended up paying the fee because they didn't ask or they didn't realize they were being charged.
This place used to be the first hotel I check when I visit the Bay area, but it will no longer be the case.