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Hotel Diva
Union Square, San Francisco, California

R Sky Kagachi - Click to Enlarge


R Sky Kogachi

Sr. Writer, Contemporary Styles

If you want to hit San Franciscos Union Square shopping in style, dont just think about the clothes; think about where you will hang them. The recently renovated Hotel Diva lives up to its name both outside and in. This moderately priced hotel sports a hot location just on the edge of Union Square across the street from the ACT Theater and Curran Theater, known for its productions of Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. Also in walking distance is SoMa - the south of Market area, and two blocks from the cable car on Powell, which can take you to Fishermans Wharf and Chinatown.

After giving your car to the valet for $22 per day (the going rate for daily parking in the city) with in-and-out privileges, you step through the striated glass facade. The noise of the street disappears into quiet contemporary Italian design. The stainless steel accented granite-floor lobby is small, but large enough to accommodate the complimentary afternoon wine reception. Service is professional, courteous, and gracious - enough to make a diva feel right at home.

The front desk captures the space with a black granite countertop and backlit alabaster front. Also in black granite behind the front desk is the junior video wall (with four television screens), usually showing whatever the knowledgeable concierge is watching - after all, not only the guests are divas. Two stainless steel elevator doors await you at the end of the lobby to take you up to your room.

The rooms are small, but the attention to detail is fabulous. Above the designer bedding is a stainless steel headboard split down the center and folding out at the top to create the signature V logo from the name Diva. Even the mirror in the living area folds off the wall as though someone was gently turning the page. A small maple wood table with Bertoia Diamond chairs provide a place to sit and rest. The metallic powder coated lateral files provide a creative pragmatic flair - store your clothes and your papers at the same time!

And speaking of details, the clear soft plastic case in the bathroom holds bright, colorful liquids to brighten your mood as you clean yourself. Although the individual air conditioning-heating units provide a high degree of control over the room temperature in each room, it was a bit noisy for the otherwise quiet atmosphere. Other amenities include a wet bar (very convenient), swivel wall mounted televisions in each room, VCR (with a video library in the hotel), Nintendo, iron with ironing board and honor bar with bottled water, juices and snacks.

In the morning, the paper waits at your front door, and most floors have a complimentary continental breakfast waiting in the apple room, so-called because of a center piece of green apples at the table. Served is light pastries, anemic muffins, delicious granola and milk, bananas, and of course, apples. If their coffee doesnt suit you (Im not a coffee drinker, so I had the apple and orange juice), Starbucks is accessible from the lobby. California Pizza Kitchen is also accessible from the lobby, or can be ordered through room service. There are also other restaurants nearby, a few with 24-hour service.

If you are taking advantage of the great restaurants the city has to offer, then you better take advantage of the 24-hour fitness center - adequate for calorie burning, though disappointing for a real fitness buff. For the serious business minded traveler (my only business there was shopping), the rooms have voicemail and data ports, and there is also a meeting room for up to 60 people and a complimentary business center with access to PCs and laser printers; copier and fax access available for a nominal charge. If you need to get that suit cleaned, they offer same day laundry and dry cleaning services.

At night, you can have a fun (even noisy) time in your room and not wake your neighbors, but dont expect to have that same level of sound proofing from the hallway. When I walked out the door one evening, I found my neighbor was a bit of a snorer (or at least Ill attribute the sound to snoring). Lucky for me, I couldnt hear anything from the comfort of my own room.

Bringing an entourage with you past midnight is a no-no... there is a curfew  for non-guests - but Im sure this is selectively enforced.  Dragging eight people behind me probably looked suspicious. Believe me, they were only with me to see the room - which they saw and loved. Jealousy is so easy to conjure when you stay at the Hotel Diva.

If you are looking for affordable accommodations, creative atmosphere, and contemporary style in Union Square, (or anywhere San Francisco), Hotel Diva is the right place to be.

Hotel Diva
440 Geary Street
San Francisco CA 94102

Between Mason and Taylor

Phone: 800-553-1900 or 415-202-8787
Fax: 415-885-3268



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Email: R Sky Kogachi

R Sky Kogachi understands contemporary styles. He holds degrees in Architecture, East Asian Languages and Culture, and Industrial Design from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Waseda University in Tokyo, Cambridge University in England, and Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Besides practicing architecture, interior, furniture and graphic design, he also writes food, wine and travel articles, as well as poetry and short fiction. Sky draws the large picture from the small details, through hawk eyes, heavy research, and active contemplation. His professional core is balanced with his personal passions - swimming, rock climbing, snow skiing, cooking, nutrition and protecting the environment. Sky walks the earth; this is his home.


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