Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Mixing quirk (check out the campy cabaret, The Rrazz Room), exotic amenities, and Japanese-inspired service, the Nikko offers a little sliding-scale luxury at a fair price.
With its high-ceilinged, sparkling marble lobby meticulously decorated with imperial Japanese design elements and carefully curated artwork, the Hotel Nikko proffers an image of understated, Zen-style luxury. Once co-owned by Japan Airlines, its clientele skews heavily toward Japanese business travelers. An array of distinctly Japanese-informed amenities -- granite soaking tubs in some of the suites, Shiatsu masseuse on-site, traditional on the breakfast buffet -- pay tribute to this.
Standard rooms are affordable and boast fabulously comfortable pillow-top beds with Frette linens. But at 270 square feet, the awkwardly laid out bathrooms stand in stark contrast to some of the older rooms, which have yet to receive a facelift.room (the base-level room type) is little more than a few strange, gauntlet-like corridors and a bed wedged between the window and a small desk. The gorgeous, newly renovated
Many of the features that set the Nikko apart from its competition -- like its huge pool, quirky in-house cabaret and beautiful Japanese design flourishes -- aren't included in the price of a standard room. Unless you've booked an Imperial Club room (which affords access to the Imperial Club lounge, free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast and free entry to the Club Nikko workout and pool facilities), or gone whole hog with one of the two gorgeous $1600-a-night Japanese suites, you don't get a true taste of the hotel's unique offerings. You might as well be staying at the Hilton across the street.
Alternatively, it's worth checking the rates at the JW Marriott, also in , which offers larger rooms, more amenities, and superior service features like its 24-hour butler service. Or, for a more cohesive, traditional Japanese design experience and a better spa, the , though slightly removed from the action in quiet , is a better option.
A Japanese-informed approach translates into genial, anticipatory service -- or so they say.
The Hotel Nikko San Francisco prides itself on its Japanese approach to service, which purportedly means that its staff makes an effort to anticipate guests' needs. Fellow travelers sing the praises of the hotel staff, especially as it pertains to business-related needs (great catering services and responsive event-planning team). While the staff may shine in this regard, other services tend to fall short.
Adjacent to central shopping and public transportation hub,, and the seedy Tenderloin neighborhood; it's convenient, but not scenic.
Two blocks from the upscale shopping mecca and transportation hub,, the Nikko resides on a nondescript stretch of commercial street lined with hotels, divey , and midlevel restaurants. It's convenient but not scenic, and travelers should know that, though it advertises itself as a Union Square hotel, it lies right on the edge of the Tenderloin, a neighborhood rife with panhandlers and vagrants that gets dicey at night.
Standard rooms are spacious for the area and have comfy beds, a big flat-screen TV and gorgeous bathrooms -- nice for the price and renovated in 2012.
The hotel completed a piecemeal room renovation project in 2012. The beautiful, modern bathrooms are clean and vaguely Zen, with large square porcelain sinks, sleek fixtures, attractive black wood shelves and marble counters and showerheads that have great water pressure. Renovated Deluxe Rooms have a modern look with white diamond-pattered walls and furniture, including ergonomic desk chairs and contemporary wingback armchairs. New Deluxe and Imperial rooms have beds with plush white or brown headboards and big, comfy Subarashee Yume pillow-top mattresses. But the older guest rooms have drab beige decor, and most are showing minor wear and tear on the furtniture.
Also, unique to the Hotel Nikko, is that there's aoutside every guest room that changes color to indicate whether the room is inhabited -- a helpful feature for the housekeeping staff, and also one that dovetails with the hotel's multiple green initiatives (the sensors inside the rooms automatically turn off the thermostat if there's been no activity in the room).
"Club Nikko" (one-time fee to access) -- featuring a huge indoor pool, 24-hour gym, and Shiatsu massage services -- and the jazz cabaret, The Rrazz Room, are standout features for a hotel in this price range.
One of the hotel's most impressive bragging rights is the so-called Club Nikko, which encompasses a huge, glassed-in lap pool, small Jacuzzi, an outdoor balcony, impressive fitness center and Zen-designed locker rooms outfitted with a and , plus a Shiatsu Massage Center (really just a one-table room that's open Monday through Saturday). Massages last for an hour and are also available in the room. If you're staying in an Imperial Club room, you get free access to the facilities. Otherwise, a onetime fee applies.
The kitschy, 170-seat cabaret, The Rrazz Room, boasts an impressive, if niche, lineup of acts most days of the week that range from jazz and R&B to gay-friendly comedy acts. The cost of admission can be steep and doesn't include the two-drink minimum.
Kid-tolerant but not kid-friendly, the Nikko's family-oriented offerings are slim.
The hotel mainly attracts international business travelers, so it's not surprising that there aren't any kid-focused amenities on offer, though the friendly staff does what it can to accomodate families with children. The huge indoor pool -- a rarity in -- is a potential draw for travelers with tykes, but the scene is decidedly quiet and relaxed, and seemed geared primarly toward guests hoping to get in a few uninterrupted laps in, pre-massage.
Anzu offers average Asian-fusian fare. Stick with sushi and take advantage of the breakfast buffet's Japanese items.
"Euro Japanese" restaurant Anzu serves breakfast, lunch and dinner that's commensurate with run-of-the-mill hotel restaurants, which is to say: overpriced for food that's merely okay. Thewith pear, Roquefort and pumpkin seeds was fresh, bountiful and seasonally appropriate but the main course of was flavorless, messily composed and swimming in butter. Best to stick with the more straightforward menu items like sushi and steak. Anzu really shines at breakfast, with an extensive array of American and Japanese dishes. A wider variety of food options at all price points is within a few blocks of the hotel and well worth taking advantage of.
Rooms and hallways, but windows don't open to ventilate.
The lobby is sparkling and hallways are shipshape. Some rooms have a persistent stench of cloying, perfumy cleaning products. As far as smells go, it's not so bad, but the odor lingers. Since the windows don't open, there's was no way to circulate fresh air.
Pets under 35 pounds are allowed for a nightly fee
There is a daily fee for pets, and a 40 pound weight limit. You must also notify the hotel in advance if you plan on bringing your furry friend.
Low-flow toilets, low-energy lightbulbs and sensor-controlled thermostats make the Nikko a particularly eco-conscious hotel.
The Nikko has taken pains to appeal to guests with an environmental conscience and has earned a government-bestowed Energy Star award six years running for its efforts. Among its green initiatives are guestrooms outfitted with sensor-controlled thermostats, low-flow toilets, a laundry system that uses filtered, recycled water from second and third rinse cycles, and low-energy fluorescent bulbs in 82 percent of the hotel's light fixtures.
Clean, affordable and quiet, the Hotel Nikko seems more like a boutique hotel than the mid-size chain it is. Its cultivated Japanese-luxe image, apparent in the lobby and pricier suites, doesn't quite extend to all of its guest rooms (though most were renovated in 2012 and are more attractive than the older ones). On-site, for the business set, there's an excellent lap pool, fitness center, and ample business services.