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
- Handicap Accessible
- 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
We have been staying at the Hotel Kauki for over 20 years. Love the Japanese Center and many restaurants and shops near by. However, we are confused why they removed the bathroom door after their renovation. They have a door to the toilet but that's it. From the bed you can see into the shower. This might be fine if you are alone but when you are traveling with other people, it can be quite akward. When we filed a complaint, the Hotel put up a privacy screen but the fabric on the screen had small holes so you still can see through the screen when the light was on in the bathroom. We put a towel over the screen to get privacy.
We've stayed at Kabuki many times, usually for a day or two for a weekend getaway. It's a marvelous hotel. While we miss the rice paper dividers and authentic Japanese tubs from the old days, the renovation is fantastic. The rooms are nicely appointed, the lobby area is spacious, the bar is excellent, public parking is convenient and easy (though expensive, like everywhere in SF), and the location is just fabulous...in short, there is nothing about this hotel we don't like.
Except one thing: the ridiculous and useless "amenity fee". For only $27 + tax/day, you get a whole bunch of nothing, including:
1. WiFi: I can't remember the last hotel that actually charged for wifi, but it's been a while, and even back in the day, I don't think I ever paid more than $10.
2. Unlimited local calls! Wow! I think I made one back in 1994....
3. In room coffee and tea! Even the lowest grade hotels offer this, so....
4. Unlimited filtered water! OK...useful, but really, I could also walk literally across the street and buy some for a couple bucks....
5. Gym, group fitness classes, meditation station, city bikes. No thanks. Not interested.
6. Printing services!
7. Daily newspapers - well, at least carry the New York Times if this is to be worth something.
8. Shoe shine!
9. 10% off curated retail?
So, I guess that means I'm paying $27/day + tax for internet. Which basically just pisses me off. Either add the cost to the room to begin with, or drop it. I am not happy paying for stuff that other hotels give for free or in subsidizing things for others. If someone else wants a bike or meditation session, fine, but I don't want to pay for it.
I guess this is where the "hospitality" industry is going, trying to keep up with the airlines in developing imaginative ways to screw over customers while pretending to offer "service." It detracts from an otherwise outstanding hotel.
Loved staying at the Kabuki. Beautiful hotel with lovely staff. Catherine in particular went out of her way to ensure that our stay was as comfortable as possible. The seating area downstairs is great - very cosy and a beautiful place to sit and chill at the end of the day. The hostesses, Dulce and Jamila were so friendly and helpful and again very attentive to our needs. Overall this place has a great atmosphere and excellent customer care.