Smart Stay by

Hotel Kabuki

by Katie Hammel
Lobby
Lobby / Courtesy of the property
by Katie Hammel
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Guest room
Guest room / Courtesy of the property
by Katie Hammel
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Meditation Garden
Meditation Garden / Courtesy of the property
by Katie Hammel
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Set in San Francisco’s Japantown (one of only three left in the country), Hotel Kabuki is a boutique hotel with contemporary Japanese design. The 15-story, 225-room hotel covers all the bases with stylish rooms, a convivial lobby, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and two great onsite dining options. 

What You Need to Know

The Look

It's All in the Details

The lobby sets the (cozy, yet modern) scene with calligraphy-motif carpeting, shōji-door wall accents. The 19-foot ceilings are supported by concrete columns, Douglas fir wood beams, and pine floors. There's also comfy seating and shelves stocked with books and vintage vinyl — as well as a Japanese garden with fire pit and koi pond —which invites guests to linger both inside or out. In the rooms, Japanese minimalism mixes with mid-century furniture, and grey slate walls are balanced with bright pops of color from Japanese graphic prints, vintage maps of San Francisco, and art inspired by old Japanese matchbooks. The porcelain-tile bathrooms have large walk-in showers with rain showerheads. Every room is equipped with Bluetooth speaker/alarm clocks, a smart TV with Netflix, a coffee machine, and a mini-fridge. The smallest rooms are 215 square feet. Loft Suites have 450 square feet of space, including a large bathroom, floor-to-ceiling windows looking over the Zen garden, and a cozy sitting area separated by wooden screens. The one-bedroom Consulate Suite is even more impressive, with a sofa bed in the fully separate living room and stunning views of the city. 

The Vibe

The hotel’s (somewhat) off-the-beaten-path location attracts an eclectic mix of guests, including families, business travelers, and couples. The lobby lounge often features guests DJs spinning live tunes, attracting locals and visitors alike. Nari, the onsite Thai restaurant, also draws in locals. 

Who Will Love It

Japanophiles will swoon over the hotel’s east-meets-west design. Plus, intrepid travelers who want to experience one of the city’s iconic neighborhoods will appreciate the eclectic mix of dining and shopping options nearby. 

Who Might Not

Travelers who plan to spend most of their time exploring areas on the city’s east side (think hotspots like Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Alcatraz) may find the location more of a hindrance than a perk. 

Best Amenity 

The hotel takes the art of zen seriously. Guests can rent “meditation stations” that include headphones, an oversized floor pillow, Saje Natural Wellness face mist, and an iPad loaded with guided meditation exercises. The sprawling, 3,000-square-foot fitness center offers daily classes, a spacious yoga studio, Peloton bikes, and views into the tranquil zen garden. Bonus: Guests can score a 25% discount on admission to the relaxing Kabuki Springs and Spa, located right across the street. 

The onsite bar — which serves sophisticated cocktails, Japanese beer, sake, and Japanese-inspired bar bites like fried tofu and chicken katsu sliders — is also not to be missed. 

Money Matters

What’s Included

A fee of $35 per night includes wifi, use of the fitness center, bike rentals, shoeshine, daily newspaper, and discounts at local businesses. 

Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About

Valet parking costs $50 per night; self parking is $29 per day.

How to Get a Deal

Rooms start at around $150 per night for winter midweek stays. In the summer or on weekends, expect to pay around $240 per night. Be sure to check the property's special offers tab for seasonal deals, discounts, and promotions. 

Getting There

In the Neighborhood

Hotel Kabuki is within easy walking distance to dozens of bars, shops, and dining options — including some of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants, such as Octavia and State Bird Provisions (as well as the latter's family-style offshoot, The Progress). Other local favorites include Hinodeya Ramen Bar and Happy Shabu Shabu. If it's nice outside, enjoy the outdoors at the Japantown Peace Plaza or Alamo Square, which offers fantastic views of the "Painted Ladies" row of Victorian homes, as well as the surrounding city. 

Nearest Airport

San Francisco International Airport is around 15 miles south of the hotel. Depending on traffic, the drive can take anywhere from 25 minutes to over an hour. A taxi or rideshare will cost about $40. Alternatively, take the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART for short) towards Antioch and disembark at Powell Street Station. From there, you can take the #38 bus right to the hotel; the whole ride will cost about $13 and take about an hour. 

Nearest Public Transit

Public transportation is plentiful in the area. Muni trains that run up and down Market Street are about 20 minutes away on foot. From the bus or Muni trains, you can easily connect to BART for trips to the airport or across the Bay to Oakland and Berkeley. 

The Bottom Line

Hotel Kabuki offers stylish, relaxing rooms with a Japanese-themed twist. Add in a lively onsite bar, incredible fitness center, and wellness-centric offerings, and it’s a great option in a less-trodden — but not-to-be-missed — part of the city.

It's All in the Details