Some of the best experiences are those you are completely unexpecting. Before checking in to The Buchanan in Japantown, I had been bouncing around for almost three weeks. It was the day after my friends' wedding and all I could think of was I want my own bed and fuzzy socks (I will never travel without fuzzy socks again). I was hungry and needless to say, in an awful mood. I wasn't looking forward to the rest of my trip in San Francisco but The Buchanan and the neighborhood it calls home, Japantown, turned that all around. It all started with a crepe...
The Buchanan generously offered a discounted rate for my stay in San Francisco. While visiting The Buchanan, the hotel was undergoing some reservations but you wouldn't know inside the lobby. Chic, sophisticated and welcoming, this boutique hotel is exactly what you want to walk into when you're exhausted. It wasn't confusing, there was plenty of spaces to sit down and they even have a little water station to re-hydrate. The staff was incredibly welcoming and kind enough to hold my luggage until my room was ready so that I didn't have to either a) sit with it wasting precious time or b) walk around with it. She gave me a map of the local area that included notes of where restaurants, shops and other landmarks were located. If you need any sort of recommendation, the staff is a fantastic resource and very helpful whether you're looking for something touristy or a local hangout.
The suite at The Buchanan was more than I could have asked for. The room was spacious, the bed comfortable and the view fantastic. It wasn't of anything spectacular, just good ol' San Francisco. I could see the top of the Peace Pagoda in the square across the street and the neighborhood which I personally adored. The window seat was probably my favorite feature. A welcome package was waiting for me on the desk when I walked in as well which made me feel even more at home. However, the star of this show is none other than the hairdryer. This might not seem like a big deal to most people but when you have curly hair that needs a powerful tool to tame the mane, it means everything.
A few other perks The Buchanan offers include a pet-friendly environment, happy hour every night in the lobby, plenty of upgrade options, walking distance from fantastic restaurants, shopping and landmarks and much more. The happy hour in the lobby each night includes red, white and sake wine for guests to mingle and question the staff about the next great spot to visit. They really do go out of their way to ensure guests have the best stay possible.
The Buchanan is located by three fantastic neighborhoods: Japantown, Lower Pacific Heights and the Fillmore District. Located right across the street from the square where the Peace Pagoda is located, the Buchanan is practically in the heart of the neighborhood. There are more ramen places than I think I've seen in my life, plenty of specialty shops and more. Just a few blocks away is the Japan Center, a mall with lots of shops and restaurants including Sophie's Crepes. While I was still in my cranky mood, I stopped in for a strawberry nutella crepe and I swear it transformed me. You must visit and get your favorite crepe.
A few blocks in a different direction is Fillmore Street which anyone would love. There are tons of fantastic restaurants, coffee shops, sweet shops and more. It's a quick cab ride to Krissy Field so you can enjoy a picnic and snap photos of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. If you're looking for great places to eat, try any of these recommendations. It's also a 15-minute walk from the famous Painted Ladies. It really is a fantastic location, especially for a first-time visitor.
Have you visited the Buchanan in San Francisco? What about Japantown, Fillmore Street or Lower Pacific Heights? The Buchanan is a Kimpton Boutique Hotel and a fantastic place to stay if you're planning a trip soon.