Pet-friendly rooms with dog beds and bowls available (no extra charge)
Free Wi-Fi for Kimpton Karma members, and newspapers
Secured self-parking (for a fee)
Discounts for airport transfers
Wi-Fi free only for Kimpton Karma members (a free program)
Far from Fisherman's Wharf and certain other tourist sights
Renovations ongoing until 2016
With 131 rooms, The Buchanan (The Kimpton Buchanan), is a hip mid-range boutique hotel with bohemian style and a prime location in the heart of Japantown. Shabu shabu is served in the restaurant and bar, and the hotel has a small fitness room and bicycles for its guests to explore the city. Spacious rooms -- most of which are pet-friendly -- feature trendy interiors, mini-fridges, and Keurig coffeemakers, though not all are updated. Some also have patios adjacent to the stylishly furnished courtyard with a fire pit. Travelers seeking a hotel that's closer to the waterfront should check out the Pier 2620 Hotel Fisherman's Wharf.
Mid-range stylish boutique hotel with Japanese accents
The Kimpton Buchanan is an eight-floor boutique hotel, formerly the anime-themed Tomo Hotel, with a hip, bohemian lobby designed by Nicole Hollis. The hotel is in the midst of renovations into 2016, and is Kimpton Hotel property now. Interiors are described as "zen-meets-boutique chic” with vintage-looking leather sofas, Japanese-style artwork, eye-catching light fixtures made of whiskey bottles, and a dark-wood rectangular conference table surrounded by orange swivel chairs in the small lobby. Sayings like, “I was born to be awesome, not perfect,” are placed throughout the property, adding a quirky charm to the ambience. With its reasonable rates, the hotel draws a mix of tourists and business travelers, although prices rise when conferences are going on in the city.
In San Fran’s Japantown, with views of the Peace Pagoda
This hotel is on Sutter Street in Japantown, a good location for travelers who want to be near great karaoke and Japanese food. Shops and Japanese bakeries are just a two-minute walk from the hotel at the Japan Center, which is by the Peace Pagoda. Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights is about two blocks away from here as well. It’s a 30-minute walk for the ambitious, or an eight-minute drive, to busy Union Square, which has tons of shopping. The Powell-Market Cable Car Turntable is the same distance from the hotel and cuts through Chinatown past Lombard Street to Fisherman’s Wharf, where travelers can walk to Pier 39. By cab, it’s a 15-minute drive to the Golden Gate Bridge and Haight-Ashbury District. The hotel can arrange discounted shuttle service to the San Francisco International Airport, which is a 30- to 45-minute trip.
Mostly trendy rooms with mini-fridges and Keurig coffeemakers, some with Japantown views
Rooms at the Kimpton Buchanan are spacious -- about 315 to 350 square feet (29 to 33 square meters) -- and most feature hip, dark interiors, Japanese artwork, shibori-patterned pillows, and quirky details that include flat-screen TVs on easels and old-fashioned alarm clocks. Blue wardrobes hold irons, umbrellas, mini-fridges, yoga mats, and safes. White duvets with black embroidery look sharp on beds that sit under wood-plank headboards. That being said, a small percentage of the guest rooms have yet to be given the Kimpton treatment, and guests should check ahead regarding on-going renovations. Keurig coffeemakers rest on bistro tables, but rooms lack proper desks. Pets are allowed in most rooms, and dog beds and food bowls are available on request. White-and-black tile bathrooms have shibori-print bathrobes and shower/tub combos. Windows overlook Japantown or the courtyard, and upgraded rooms have furnished patios or balconies. Members of the Kimpton Karma Rewards program, which is free to join, get free Wi-Fi and totes with water and snacks. Some noise issues from neighbors and city traffic can be an issue in certain rooms.
Japanese restaurant, a charming courtyard, a fitness center, on-site parking, and bike rentals
The Japantown staple Mum’s Restaurant and Bar is on the hotel's second floor, with Japanese anime murals, shabu shabu, and bento-box lunches. A spacious courtyard offers sofas and Adirondack chairs around a fire pit, and pets can frolic on the artificial grass. In early 2016, the hotel will add a meeting space, the Fillmore Room, that can fit up to 30 people, and a small fitness center, the Little Gym, which has cardio machines, and bench press, and free weights (at the time of our visit it was only sparsely furnished). Secured underground parking, for a fee, is provided on-site. In the lobby are loaner bicycles, and two computers and a printer are in the lounge for guests. In-room massages and spa services can be arranged, and the hotel can provide discounts on airport shuttles. Wi-Fi is free for Kimpton Karma members.
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