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“If you book a Sauna Suite, this place is awesome”

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Hotel Kabuki, a Joie de Vivre hotel
Ranked #74 of 229 Hotels in San Francisco
GreenLeadersSilver level
New York City, New York
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“If you book a Sauna Suite, this place is awesome”
Reviewed August 23, 2010

Stayed here 5 nights out of total of 15 in NoCal & this was by far my favorite hotel. Here's the breakdown:

- Location stinks UNLESS you're really into all things Japanese (we are) AND/OR you prefer your action to be a short cab/bus ride away versus right outside your door so that you're in a very quiet area at night (we do) AND/OR you're really interested in spending a lot of time in the FiIlmore - which is within walking distance - to catch some music at night (we weren't). So...for us Kabuki's location was pretty perfect; for others, it could be a real hassle (there is NOTHING to do past 7 PM unless you walk over to Filmore or take a cab to another neighborhood)

- Rooms: my sense is that if we had a standard room, we would have been disappointed. The hotel in general feels like it's trying really hard to be a nice place but the staff is working with some fairly old resources (i.e., rooms). However, we booked a Sauna Suite which includes a nice sitting area with sliding doors looking out onto the 'Japanese Garden' (verrrry small and, depending on your room, folks in the reception area could probably look right into your room). This was fine as there were shoji screens that, when closed, let in enough light but provided total privacy. The separate bedroom was large enough but not exactly 'large'. The real winner in the suite was the bathroom: very large counter/sink, separate room with toilet and a very large, glass-doored, tiled shower area with a fabulous shower head and......a separate Japanese soaking tub with complementary bath salts. In addition, there is another door in the bathroom that leads to a private 3-person dry sauna (could probably fit 4 small adults). The sauna was legit: no silly 'safety' devices that kept it from getting as hot as a sauna should be. The entire bathroom area was probably about 1.5 times the size of the sitting room (i.e., it was fairly large) and it is what made the Kabuki a real winner for us. The way we travel, we don't tend to spend much time in the room but instead spending the day being fairly active. The option of coming back to the room after walking several miles in the city and unwinding with a few rounds of sauna followed by a soak in the tub was just awesome.

- The Kabuki Spa: if the Sauna in the room isn't enough, the room comes with complementary passes to a really wonderful day spa and bath house 2 blocks away. I used this a couple of times and was truly impressed with how clean and efficiently run the bath house was.

- Food: have no idea! We didn't eat at the hotel except for a full American breakfast buffet the first morning (which was certainly nice but nothing to write home - or to Tripadvisor - about). There are many Japanese restaurants within a block of the Kabuki but, to our surprise, most of them were pretty mediocre. I'd recommend Ino Sushi in Japantown but other than that, if you're a serious foodie (we are), I'd recommend walking a few blocks or hopping a cab/bus and heading elsewhere.

- The Mall: there is a Japanese mall (actually 2 of them connected by a bridge) that you can access directly from the lobby of the Kabuki. If you're into Japanese culture (Japanese pop culture to be more accurate), this place will keep you busy for hours. My 12 year old daughter is big into the Japanese erasers (Iwaku I believe they're called?) as well as Manga drawing supplies; there were a couple dozen stores for her to explore as well as stationary and origami shops for my wife, and tea shops for me.

- Getting around: taxis a little tough to get without calling but plenty of bus options. Kabuki is 20-25 minute ride from Castro or Mission, 15-20 from Ferry Plaza on Embarcadero (you MUST go have lunch there from one of the outdoor vendors and pick up some fruit during one of the weekly farmers markets), 10-15 minutes from Union Square (if you must go there), 10-15 minutes from Cow Hollow, and 18 light years from Fisherman's Wharf. I.e., while there's not much going on right outside your hotel, you're pretty close to all the areas you'd want to hang out in.

Overall, if you're into the Japanese thing, if you can afford the Sauna Suite (all Joie de Vivre hotels have a price match +10% guarantee on room rates, so shop around and they'll beat the best price you find) and if don't need to roll out of bed and be within a 30 second walk of a Starbucks or other chain establishments, the Kabuki is an absolutely perfect and unique place to stay. If you're a 'tourist' that thinks San Francisco = Fisherman's Wharf, definitely stay away as you'll likely hate this place.

P.S., there's free wifi but it's fairly week in the room; have 3G on my iPad so it wasn't an issue but this could otherwise have gotten to be annoying.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Koanzzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (473)
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  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Princeton, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
142 reviews
99 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed August 23, 2010

If you are looking for a hotel outside of the normal, "touristy" spot in SF, look no further. We found the Kabuki, in the heart of Japantown, to be just the kind of place we were looking for -- a comfortable, reasonably priced ($111 per night plus taxes) hotel, easily accessible by bus or taxi to everywhere we wanted to be. The rooms were nice -- pretty much your standard city hotel rooms, with a bit of an Asian flair. The window, for example, was covered by sliding Japanese style curtains, which in turn was covered by another set of sliding doors, these with Japanese paintings. The bathroom was divided into three areas/rooms -- one had a Japanese soaking tub and separate washing spout, one housed the toilet and the third a sink. Unfortunately all three areas were lit by the same light switch, so that when you used the toilet, the light in the sink area (closest to bed, no door separating the two) also lit up. They might want to consider putting a different light switch in each of these three areas. Otherwise the room was clean and well-appointed. Staff were professional and helpful. We would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank twinssing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed August 16, 2010

The room was amazing, the bed, the bathroom and the complimentary bath products. The building is very nice as well and the complimentary offer of communal bath at Kabuki Springs and Spa made our stay even more perfect. The staff was very nice. Maybe a little bit expensive but comparing to other hotels in San Francisco for the same price, I would choose Kabuki.
There is a parking under the hotel for $16 maximum (so don't be fool to pay for the valet parking).
I would definitely recommend this hotel and next time in San Francisco I'll stay in Kabuki.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank balboa_st
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambria, California
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed August 15, 2010

This is an awesome hotel! Everyone that works there is really nice and checking in is easy and the front desk staff is helpful and polite. The room is gorgeous with a japanese theme. We stay in the Hotel's corner king rooms when we go and it's always nice. The room has silk screens that cover the windows and also japanese art. The balcony is nice and you can go outside and get good views of the city. The bed is really really comfortable, you don't want to get out of it ever! The bathroom is cool, it has a japanese soaking tub which is a little bit deeper and it also has japanese bath salts which are really nice. One of my favorite things about this hotel is how they follow their theme right down to tea cups in the room. Delicious! Whenever I go to San Francisco, this is where i stay.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank CalliLovesMax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lethbridge, Canada
1 review
Reviewed August 8, 2010

I stayed at this hotel because it was where the conference I was attending was located. I imagine it's typical of other downtown San Francisco hotels - high cost, low value. The bottled water in the room was $6.50, there was no in-room coffee (although you could make tea), you had to pay for parking ($45/night if you used valet, $13/night if you used the parking in the attached mall), you couldn't control the temperature (other than whether or not you turned the fan on or off), and the room was a bit cramped. It was clean and quiet enough however, although we were on the 10th floor so were away from traffic. I wouldn't want to be close to the ground. The area is very safe to walk in, and interesting. The Japanese restaurants in the area are all over-priced for what you get, and their menu items all seem the same. However, the San Wang across the street is a Chinese restaurant that is very reasonable and of excellent quality with large portions, as attested to by how busy it is and how many Chinese eat there (and the waitress told us the Korean Airlines pilots and flight attendants come from the airport to eat there on a daily basis). Also try a new Italian restaurant at 1565 Fillmore St. (may not be the exact number but very close, and you'll recognize the awning in the colours of the Italian flag). It's only been open a couple of weeks so they are trying to establish themselves - large portions and cheap prices. Also, walk to the streetcars and take them to the waterfront - parking is exhorbitent and hard to find, and if you drive a standard like me, you'll want to avoid the steep hills as much as possible.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank aquifuhrer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim-Kabuki-GM, General Manager at Hotel Kabuki, a Joie de Vivre hotel, responded to this review, August 9, 2010
Thank you for your feedback. I am sorry that you felt the hotel was expensive. We try and sell ourselves as a lower cost option for an expensive San Francisco. I am happy that you found the hotel clean and comfortable. We do provide coffee makers on request, and would hope that on your next visit we could accomodate that request. Great feedback on the two local restaurants. Both are great. Thanks you again for your comments and business.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
albuquerque, NM
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 5, 2010

We booked two rooms at the Kabuki Hotel San Francisco, in Japan town, via hotels.com, for a substantial discount. When we arrived, it seemed that Hotels.com had mistakenly deleted one of our reservations. The hotel was very gracious and helpful, contacting them and honoring their price. The Kabuki is in a very quiet area, but with easy access to the city via major bus lines. We loved the shoji screens, elegant linens, and especially deep bath. The service was impeccable. Parking at the hotel is expensive but there is an underground lot a half block down the street for only $16.00 per day.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank cathleen2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liege, Belgium
1 review
Reviewed July 28, 2010

Good location, reasonable price, the room was nice and very large, the only negative point was that the room didn't smell very good but just open the window and it's ok after a few minutes ......

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Fred-tripA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Kabuki, a Joie de Vivre hotel

Property: Hotel Kabuki, a Joie de Vivre hotel
Address: 1625 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115-3603 (Formerly Miyako Hotel San Francisco)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Francisco > Japantown
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#16 Spa Hotel in San Francisco
#39 Business Hotel in San Francisco
#41 Green Hotel in San Francisco
#63 Romantic Hotel in San Francisco
#66 Family Hotel in San Francisco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Kabuki, a Joie de Vivre hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 218
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With a unique blend of Eastern and Western influences, Hotel Kabuki offers sleek and serene accommodations in the heart of Japantown. Unwind in style. Our rooms offer a refined and serene ambiance and an aesthetic that marries Eastern and Western sensibilities. Some feature luxurious amenities like Japanese-style soaking tubs. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kabuki Hotel San Francisco
Miyako Hotel San Francisco
Hotel Kabuki San Francisco
Kabuki San Francisco

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