The Buchanan pays homage to San Francisco’s neighborhoods


The Buchanan opened its doors June 23, 2015 as the newest Kimpton hotel in the brand’s hometown of San Francisco. A neighborhood pied-a-terre erected upon the footprint of the existing Hotel Tomo, the 131 guest rooms emanates the warmth and style of a chic, urban apartment, steps away from some of the best food, shopping, drinking and entertainment San Francisco has to offer. The Buchanan provides an urban respite, laced with a sophisticated design scheme and echoing the neighborhood influence with artful elements of Japanese culture. The residential experience features a private courtyard; stylish whiskey lounge-inspired lobby; spacious guestrooms, many of which boast private outdoor balconies with expansive views. 

The first upscale, boutique hotel to cater to the crowds strolling Fillmore Street, The Buchanan is heavily influenced by its positioning among a “melting pot” of neighborhoods. The Hotel rests between disparate but eclectic and culturally rich enclaves of San Francisco. Fillmore brings its deep-rooted history in jazz and music, family-owned retail shops, and ethnic restaurants of all types. Nearby Japantown is reminiscent of the Ginza district in Tokyo, overflowing with shops selling vintage kimonos and Japanese earthenware, noodle houses and sushi. Finally, Pacific Heights adds a sense of urban upper-crust with some of San Francisco’s best dining, high-end boutiques, and savvy locals buzzing about one of the city’s hippest walking neighborhoods. The hotel is nestled among the charming Victorian architectural homes and private alleys that so characterize the iconic image of San Francisco neighborhoods. 

To honor this celebrated history, San Francisco-based NICOLEHOLLIS Interior Design has created an environment that draws on these dynamic local influences and iconography, while celebrating street life, urban culture, and artistic virtuosity. The gritty elegance and unpretentiousness of the fabrics – natural linen, crisp cotton, worn natural leather – lend weight and luster to the interiors, inspired by the vibrant characteristics of the surrounding neighborhoods, while creating an eclectic and completely modern venue. A sophisticated combination of artisanal and cultural influences can be seen in the sultry materials palette, such as the charred wood of Japanese whiskey barrels, the imperfect blue of hand-dyed indigo textiles, the glimmer of whisky bottles, and the raw, earthiness of handmade Asian pottery.

The new hotel blends seamlessly into the creative, cultural hub of the city. Bright, white and open, the design scheme is characterized by classic hardware and linen textiles, curated accessories, chic lighting, and eclectic furniture. The lobby layout is anchored by a feature wall made of reclaimed whiskey barrel staves charred by a traditional finishing process known as Shou-Sugi Ban. In partnership with local ELA Lighting, NICOLEHOLLIS designed an undulating light installation made from whiskey bottles to underscore the moody glamour of the social hub that welcomes guests and locals into the hotel. The lobby space is also characterized by a dynamic collection of local art, including a mural by Kelly Ording, inspired by the Bay Area landscape and Japanese illustration techniques, commissioned for the reception area. For the adjacent communal table, local woodworker Aleksandra Zee employed a painted dye technique relating to traditional Japanese Shibori patterns.


The Buchanan’s guestrooms have a bohemian sensibility rich with custom detailing, residential accents, and curated accessories. Subtle nods to Japanese culture are expressed through artistic techniques, seen in the Shibori-print accent pillows, Kimono-inspired guest robes and colorful prints by local artists. Bespoke furniture includes the platform beds, headboards and casegoods, all designed by NICOLEHOLLIS. Bathrooms feature custom vanities with black quartz countertops and matte black metal frames, with luxury fixtures from Waterworks. The overall color scheme is replete with charcoals, bright whites, and highlights of deep forest green and navy. At The Buchanan, the quintessential Kimpton Robe has become a lightweight, Shibori-print Kimono and Hosted Wine Hour will incorporate Sake Tastings, as nods to the cultural heritage of the property.

Additionally, in catering to the modern traveler opting to skip many of the staid hospitality service elements in favor of a locals’ experience, The Buchanan’s exclusive App Guide was created to aide in the guest experience. From dining to wellness, guests booking a stay at the hotel will have access to a directory of the best San Francisco resources to download on their mobile devices. From food delivery services and local dinner parties to ridesharing and public transportation sources, local attractions and insider’s tips, fitness classes and beauty appointments.