Recycling is great for household goods but as it turns out it’s even better for hotels. Formerly the Best Western Miyako Inn, the Tomo is part of America’s great surplus of cheap-but-uninspired mid-century budget hotels, re-designed and re-purposed into a boutique hotel that takes its style cues from contemporary Japanese pop culture.
That “Best Western” isn’t still in the name as some kind of ironic joke — the Tomo, oddly, is a partnership between the venerable cheap-motel chain and Joie de Vivre, the hip and homegrown San Francisco boutique hotel group. And if the words Best Western still put you in mind of floral bedspreads and Gideon bibles, you’ll be quickly disabused by one look inside this place.
It’s not just the crisp lines and bright futuristic furnishings; it’s the murals on the walls, the video installations in the lobby, the iPod docks and LCD televisions in the rooms, and in the “gaming suites,” the PlayStation 3s and Nintendo Wiis. There’s a vending machine in the lobby selling t-shirts and toys from Giant Robot, and the shop itself is just blocks away — you’re in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown. What there isn’t is anything that could rightly be described as luxury; this is still a Best Western, after all, but pretty much anything you’d need is close at hand, from a wealth of restaurants (Japanese and otherwise) to the Kabuki Springs & Spa.
1800 Sutter St, San Francisco
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