Hotel Tomo San Francisco

3 out of 5 stars3 Stars

1800 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California, 94115, United States
Hotel Tomo, a Joie de Vivre hotel
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Satisfaction Excellent
Very Good

Value Score Poor Value

Costs 71% more than similarly rated 3 star hotels

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Good For Families
  • Families91
  • Couples85
  • Solo85
  • Business78

More about Best Western Hotel Tomo San Francisco

Hotel Tomo - great in Japantown

by TripAdvisor Member Serialnerd

When you arrive at the hotel you are greeted with a long couch that looks like a Puli dog dyed blue. Blue fantastic.

They have a Giant Robot vending machine with sweatshirts & tshirts. Which is about the coolest thing to have in a hotel.

You are right across the street from the Japantown center with it's own little mall. Quite a lot of fun.

Rooms were each like new-Japanese wave paintings & art. No stuffed animal on the bed like in the photos but most people bring their own. Mini fridge in room as well as free internet access. A blessing for sure!

The front desk staff is very welcoming and quick. As long as you ask nicely they will also print your boarding passes (for our air travelers).

We had issues with the heat the first night so we switched rooms at 1:30am but again, they were helpful and nice about it. The second room had the same problem until we figured out you have to turn on the "air" to get the heat to work. ** note to guests - on the switch that says Air Conditioner, simply turn the knob to lo or hi. Then adjust the temp on the thermostat. It will kick in within 5 minutes.

We also had an issue with the toilet not working properly but it was within a few hours of us leaving. They were gracious and accommodating at the register.

Total stay: 3 nights
Type of room: Balcony Queen
Overall expereince: Quite good
Would stay again: Yes, for sure

Interesting Concept, Terrible Service

by TripAdvisor Member nyaa29

I've recently stayed at the Best Western Hotel Tomo and had a horrible experience. I chose to stay at this property after staying at another Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel in which I had a wonderful experience.
The hotel had a modern J-Pop concept and the lobby was small
but interesting. The front desk staff was not friendly or helpful at all. No one at the desk ever greeted or acknowledged me and I went to the desk a number of three times, once at check-in, once to ask for directions and for toiletries, and lastly at check-out. It always seemed like an inconvenience for them to assist me. Peter at the desk was especially cold and very rude. I have never encountered such horrible service before.
I thought that the layout and location of the hotel was generally good but the management should consider training their staff on being hospitable, on guest relations, and customer service.
Overall I would not select the Best Western Hotel Tomo again when staying in San Francisco and would not recommend to family or friends.

Tastefully Creative

by TripAdvisor Member cromocat

This is the second time I stay at Hotel Tomo... the first time I stayed there was over a year ago, when it was still the Miyako. as te Miyako, it was dark, dreary and overall yucky... This time, as the newly remodeled Hotel Tomo it was clear, crisp and a joy to stay at.

From the pictures on the web I thought perhaps we might find the colors and in-room mural a bit over-exciting, maybe making it hard to relax, but we were nicely surprised to find that the color scheme is not neon or shocking, it was actually quite appealing. It felt like the furniture and decorations are something you would find at IKEA, but with a Japanese flair. We absolutely loved it!!! You don't have to feel like you're Japanese or into Anime to really enjoy the main part of the experience. NEWLY REMODELED ROOMS AT A GREAT RATE... now in San Francisco, that means a lot. Quality hotel accomodations without having to shell out a fortune. Everything in the room is new, including the bathroom fixtures, tiles, floor, etc...

The room (#711) had a great view (West) so we were able to appreciate a beautiful sunset over the hills. The hotel is just across the street from the main plaza in Japantown so "convenient" is an understatement. It's close to restaurants, theater, the Kubuki bath house, parking, the center of the city, and just about all the main attractions in San Francisco.

If I were wealthy and money were no object, I might stay somewhere else, perhaps with complete royalty treatment, spa included. But for me, the average traveler on a tight budget, I felt pampered. Perhaps even somewhat surprised that i had found this clean, beautiful room with a FANTASTIC view for only $110/night.

The staff is friendly.

If I had to do it again, I certainly would.

I can consider myself now a "regular" at the Hotel Tomo.

Fun Hotel!

by TripAdvisor Member julianmom

Just got back from spending 5 days at the Hotel Tomo. I didn't know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. The hotel is in Japantown and has an anime theme. The rooms have anime murals, the decor is very colorful and clean. The hotel overall is clean. I love the toiletries, the smell so clean and fresh! Housekeeping was very good, and I was lucky to have a very nice lady leave a plug-in air freshener which made the room smell even fresher! We had a balcony facing Buchanan, it was nice to be able to open the door and let some air in. There is a restaurant in the lobby, not my cup of tea, but many people seemed to love it. The hotel is near Fillmore street, so there were many restaurant and shops to choose from. There is also a little shopping center across the street. Also, if you walk a couple of blocks, you can catch the #38 Geary bus and head down to Chinatown. This was great for us since we didn't rent a car and needed to get around using public transportation. The only negative about the area (not the hotel) is that most shops and restaurants open late, and close pretty early. The only late night restaurant we could find is Denny's - being that we were in town to catch some concerts at the Fillmore, we were disappointed that most places closed early. Other than that, we LOVED the hotel and the area and plan to return next year.

One of the best

by TripAdvisor Member heavybuddy

Many older hotels are remodelling and upgrading their guest rooms, but not many are investing extra time and effort to give their rooms some style and personality. The designers at the Tomo in Japan Center went out of their way to create rooms that are comfortable and relaxing but also fun to be in, with big hand-painted murals on the walls and artwork suggesting various Japanese pop culture images: Godzilla, Hello Kitty, and various anime characters. Upon arrival I was greeted in the lobby by television monitors showing Japanese cartoons and old Godzilla movies, and I was immediately handed a free sample of cold flavored sake. Definitely the nicest greeting I've ever experienced. The desk clerk honored my request for a room at the back. The room on the 7th floor contained a king-size bed, flat-screen TV (which only got a few channels and even those were fuzzy), and all the stuff you expect these days in a mid-range hotel. The decor was basically modern Japan, with some unusual touches, like the mural depicting a monster (not Godzilla) attacking Tokyo, and a large photograph of a woman's eye. Even with the artwork the room was extremely comfortable, and I knew right away I would enjoy a good night's sleep. The location was so quiet I could have easily kept the window open all night, weather permitting. For a little over $100 this was an incredible bargain for a room of this quality in San Francisco. I parked overnight at the nearby Japan Center for $15, still a great deal. This neighborhood is packed with great restaurants. Between Japan Center and the restaurants along Fillmore you've easily got a week's worth of great dining, all within a five minute walk. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone visiting SF: business travellers, families, honeymooners, anybody. The unique decor (and the low rates) should appeal to anyone.

Not the best of San Francisco...

by TripAdvisor Member OffSpinner

Stayed for 5 days. Were given a 'brand new' room on the newly remodeled eighth floor. Good view. Furnishings were new and standard BW quality. Bath room was clean. Terrible noise problems though. Either there were no door closers on the eighth floor or they were not adjusted at all. If you let the door close itself, it would bang and shake half of the floor. Guess what? Our room was shaking by these closing doors around us, till midnight and again after 5 AM. So that'll be your window of sleep if you are a light sleeper. Reported the problem to the manager, in person. She was defensive and did nothing to alleviate the door banging.

Seems like terrible work has been done in 'remodeling' the hotel. The walls have little sound insulation. We could hear the TV and conversations in the next room and it appeared the sounds were coming through the electrical cutouts in the wall.

They advertise wireless internet available but don't tell you that it is only in the lobby area on the sub ground floor, where there are only four electrical outlets. If your laptop is the fifth one, take a wait and it will be long. Or bring a laptop with fully functioning battery and be prepared to squat on the floor.

I travel extensively around the US and this is the first BW I've seen where there were several power extension cords around the room. One behind the TV console and two either side of the bed. Don't know how the SF fire marshall can allow this in a hotel. Again shows poor remodel. Seems like the owner did all the design work himself. No architect worth his salt would miscalculate as to how may power outlets are needed in a hotel room. So this place maybe a safety hazard for you and your loved ones if something like this worries you.

Unique Japanese Decor!

by TripAdvisor Member Angie43

We just stayed at Tomo for a company function, and we were very impressed with the unique Japanese decor ! We booked the hotel through Best Western directly. They "held" the room for me at $119/night, and a week later when I called back to reserve the room, the online price had dropped to $107 and they gladly matched the price. When we arrived, there was an error on the rate sheet, but they fixed at as soon as we pointed it out. We arrived at noon and parked at the hotel parking ($15/day), and our room was ready! The parking lot is small - but since we know this ahead of time, we planned on taking a taxi to our destination. After reading all of the reviews, I had high expectations, and I was not disappointed. The hotel was clean, safe, and quiet. The toiletries DID smell great and the room had a plug-in water kettle for tea/instant coffee. (Not a problem since we found a wonderful french pastry shop/cafe down on Filmore street). The staff was friendly. Overall, Japantown had great food and shopping - it was such a treat! We will definitely stay there next time!

Tomo was fun

by TripAdvisor Member Sydney_8

This hotel was very fun.

The room looked exactly like the photo, very clean, funky design and well proportioned. Location was great, quiet, safe and clean with easy access to the Muni and 10 minutes from upbeat cafes and shops .

The staff were helpful and friendly. The only drawback was that the wireless internet was down during our stay and internet access was only available from the lobby.

Clean, Quiet and Cool

by TripAdvisor Member cooksjourney

We stayed here for 1 night after the trip from Sydney to San Francisco. Found the hotel through trip advisor and picked it mainly because of price and the promise of a new fitout. It was fantastic. And the rooms even looked like the pics promised on the hotel website. The taxi cost about $35 from the airport to the hotel.
We arrived earlier than expected but our room was ready and we were moved to one on the upper floors. The staff were extremely helpful and welcoming. And it was entertaining watching the little kids in the foyer play with the big cushion! Everything in the room was new, clean and fresh and the big TV and i-pod dock was great.
The hotel was in easy walking distance of Union Square, in fact the day was so nice that apart from an obiligatory ride on a cable car we walked everywhere.
After a big afternoon and evening of exploring - delicious lunch at Yank Sing, Union Square, Fishermans' Wharf, a ferry trip on the harbour, and an entertaining hour or two at the Bourbon & Branch (!), we were ready for a light meal and a good nights sleep. The Japantown (or J-town as our cab driver called it) location was perfect - we got our fill of action on the walk back with the streets getting progressively quieter the closer we got to the hotel.
We could have eaten in-house (it was popular, very long queues to get in) but we decided to cross the road and explore the little square area. There was a good sized group of restaurants with plenty of choice. We found one which served a hearty and healthy bowl of tempura udon soup for about $US8 - just the thing!
Check out was quick, the staff were still smiling and the taxi arrived within minutes.
For just over $100 a night for 2 it was perfect. And the Joie de Vivre website is a wonderful resource for a visitor. We passed the Hotel Carlton, which is further along Sutter Street, and that looked great too. Would absolutely recommend this chain.

Absolutely Perfect

by TripAdvisor Member sarahbrom

I cannot think of any reason why anyone would be dissatisfied with this hotel. I found it clean, modern and friendly. On top of all this the price was very low. As I walked into the room I immediately felt very cheerful because of the light, bright colour scheme and the interesting mural on the wall.

A lady, who I think was called Gill, who works at the front desk went out of her way to be extra helpful and friendly.

One thing you should know: Tomo is not in the bustling centre of San Francisco, it's in a more residential area (I personally liked this because I always like to see how the true residents live when I visit a city). I saw a couple of other hotels in the centre and they seemed to be a lot older (old buildings, old interiors) and were, of course, hugely more expensive. In comparison, Tomo was in a lovely condition. There's a bus that stops outside the hotel and gets you to the centre in less than 10 minutes and costs $1.50.

These are the only two reasons why you may not love this hotel:
1. You're old and it's too 'trendy' for you.
2. You want to be right in the very centre of San Francisco, ie. next to Union Square.

Tip: If you stay here, turn right out of the hotel and after about 3 blocks you'll reach Fillmore street which has lovely little shops and restaurants. If you walk up Fillmore street, where it meets Broadway, there's a view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. I only found all this by accident when I got off the bus at the wrong stop!

And one more thing, there's cool, big beanbag in every room!


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Forum Posts

Public transit to San Jose from Japantown

by Hyperness373

Hi Again everyone,

We are hoping to see an NHL game at San Jose on 16 October, we will be staying at Best Western Hotel Tomo San Francisco (188 Sutter Street) and we are wondering how easy (and how expensive) it will be to use public transit to get from our hotel to HP Pavilion at San Jose?

Re: Public transit to San Jose from Japantown

by bocmaxima

The cheapest way to do it is to take a MUNI bus to the Caltrain depot south of Downtown, then take that to San Jose Diridon station and walk to HP Pavilion (pretty much across the street).
MUNI fare ($2) + Caltrain fare ($7.75) = $9.95 one-way

It would be a bit quicker to take the bus down Van Ness to BART, then take that to Millbrae and transfer to Caltrain, but that would add $4 one-way.

Re: Public transit to San Jose from Japantown

by Hyperness373

Ok thanks, that sounds do-able. Any idea on how lonng this journey might take?

Re: Public transit to San Jose from Japantown

by yvr

Look at the Caltrain website for schedules, there are some express trains with limited stops and local trains with many stops.

Re: Public transit to San Jose from Japantown

by Badger1492

Bocmaxima's suggestion is good. One thing though: you have to be aware of the time schedules. Caltrain is a commuter train service with very limited hours after the normal workday. So, check the schedule carefully. If the Caltrain schedule doesn't work, the only other option I can think of is renting a car for the day.

Re: Public transit to San Jose from Japantown

by yvr

On Sat. Oct 16, last train N/B to San Francisco departs San Jose 1030pm


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 Hotel Tomo San Francisco

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Best Western Hotel Tomo
Best Western San Francisco
San Francisco Best Western
Best Western Tomo

Address: 1800 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California, 94115, United States