Kimpton Buchanan Hotel
What We Love
- Rooms are spacious and airy (all are bigger than 300 square feet)
- The evening wine and sake reception in the lobby
- In-room yoga mats
- Luxury Atelier Bloem bath amenities
What To Know
- There's no room service
- Rollaway beds are available in the rooms with king size beds for an additional per-night fee
- As with all Kimpton properties, the hotel is pet-friendly
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Located at the intersection of three neighborhoods—Japantown, The Fillmore, and Pacific Heights—this Kimpton hotel boasts loads of charm and walkability to San Francisco’s hidden gems. Its minimalist design is a tribute to the hotel’s Japanese roots: each of the 131 rooms, which have a stark yet soothing white-and-blue color palette and feature shibori-print accent pillows and kimonos, feels more like a Zen pied-à-terre than an actual hotel room, while the lobby evokes a Mad Men-era lounge with its dark overtones, curved brown leather couch, dangling macrame plant holders, and statement sculpture made from Japanese whiskey bottles. Don’t miss hanging out in the private interior courtyard, an urban oasis where guests retreat for games of corn hole or lawn bowling and warming up around the fire pit on cooler nights.
In the Area
Though it’s a fair distance from Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf, the Kimpton Buchanan makes guests feel that they’re living like a local for a weekend—or at least be surrounded by locals. The hotel is located within walking distance of culinary gems like Pizzeria Delfina (go for the blistered thin-crust pizza—but be prepared to wait), State Bird Provisions (American fare served dim-sum-style), and Dosa (modern, organic Indian food). A few blocks away, Fillmore Street is filled with some of the best boutique shopping and salons in the city, on a quaint leafy street. But take a detour just a few blocks east from the hotel and you’ll find Lafayette Park, whose hilly lawns, lavender fields, and views of the bay offer a perfect respite from the city.
How to Get There
I chose the Kimpton Buchanan in Japantown on a recent 2-night SF stay because I was tired of dealing with traffic and paying ridiculous parking fees in Union Square. The Buchanan isn't in the thick of things, but is pretty centrally located and a much easier spot to get in and out of. Japantown doesn't seem to have changed significantly in the last 20 years, but has some great restaurants and is walking distance to the upper Fillmore shopping district.
Overall, it was a good stay. The room itself was on the small size, but had nice design details and a really comfortable bed. The biggest drawback for me was the very small bathroom sink area (felt like a train bathroom) with a bathroom door that was on a hinge that opened both in to the bathroom and out to the hall to accommodate the small area. This actually made practical sense given the cramped space, but was pretty clunky to actually close if you wanted privacy. Not a huge deal, but kind of awkward. Other pluses: I really liked the small family-owned Japanese-style restaurant on the 1st floor, with its terrific traditional Japanese breakfast (they also offered matcha pancakes and that super delicious thick white Japanese toast, among other more Western things). What I was kind of annoyed by was the hotel parking garage ($38/night), which was very small and first-come, first-served, meaning, you could pay the $38, go out for dinner and then return to a full garage. In that situation, you're supposed to try to find street parking or park in the Japantown Center lot a block away for another $28 overnight. I felt like the spots should have been reserved for the guests who had paid for them when they checked in. Just my two cents.
One other thing: My husband and I paid approx. $200/night for the room, which seemed about right, but I discovered that the room would usually run in the mid-$200s. Now, I know it’s San Francisco, and hotel rooms are generally very expensive, but would I have paid $250 for it? I’m not sure. I suppose with the savings on parking, you end up coming out ahead, but still.
Last bits: the staff was helpful, the room was clean. No in-room coffee maker, but free coffee available every morning and a wine happy hour in the lobby in the early evening. No idea about the fitness room. Loved the batik print bathrobes.
We have always tried to stay at Kimpton's when we travel and this was no different. I feel the need for Kimpton supporters like us to say this was the worst Kimpton we stayed and the last at this location. Now, I must say the staff was great and very friendly. But, for a Kimpton, the uniqueness as well as the amenities were not there. No robes like other Kimpton's, no raid the fridge for members, no bottles of water and especially in SF, if their garage is filled which is so dark with hardly any light, you have to find your own parking! In San Francisco! We are so disappointed in Kimpton and if this is their new style, we will stay elsewhere.
We have felt completely at home. Friendly and helpful staff, spacious and really comfortable rooms. Complementary iced tea in the afternoons and complementary wine for an hour in the evening. Close to many different areas and attractions.
Such a lovely hotel, nice and clean as well. The staff is excellent and friendly. There is a complementary wine hour, iced tea time in the afternoon, and coffee or tea in the morning. Mums Restaurant is conveniently located within the hotel. Parking is first come- served but we did get a spot.
This is a stylish and comfortable boutique hotel in the heart of Japantown, which is a great location in the city to get about anywhere. J-town is a pleasant, quiet neighborhood that's easy to navigate. Hotel is small but stylish and staff is professional and friendly. Rooms are decently sized and comfortable.