Japantown Is Hip Again

photography by Ricky Camargo at rickycphotography.com

Greetings chums,
Another weekend is upon us, and I've just discovered the coolest spot to hang out in: Japantown. Yes, this ’hood is cool again thanks to some new restaurants like bushi-tei, the reborn Kabuki Theatre and a hotel or two that have received massive makeovers. For example, the once deathly dull Best Western on Sutter is now bursting with life and personality as a result of a Joie De Vivre makeover.

With Joie de Vivre hotelier Chip Conley.

A biker and Tomo party girl ... plus the artist Heisuke Kitazawa with swordfighter.

Yes, Chip Conley's Joie De Vivre group has done it again, making something really special out of nothing. He first did it with the Phoenix Hotel. Many moons and 34 hotels later, Hotel Tomo, this former nondescript spot in Japantown, now has a big personality.

A hint of Japan in every room ... all this for just $125 a night.

Cakes, cakes, cakes ... and Japanese treats for all.

Anyone for tea?                                             Sake2Me for 2.

The rooms are fun and affordable, many from $125 a night. WOW. As Chip told me, "You don't have to spend a fortune to stay here." 
I ventured to the opening party of Hotel Tomo, a hotel with guest rooms that feature the stunning work of Japanese pop artist Heisuke Kitazawa. His work is playful and yet serious with messages of nature over technology and reminders that we all need to be just a tad kinder to the planet. Kids and adults alike with love his work.

And you will love the hotel. Pop in and check it out. I hope you enjoy these photos from our evening of fun and frivolity at Hotel Tomo.

PR power gals minding the artist's wife ... plus the missus with Heisuke.

Hooman wants an autograph.                     More art by Heisuke.

Enjoy and have a mad, fab weekend.
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