Situated in the center of the USA’s largest Japantown, this Joie de Vivre Hotel unveiled a $32 million renovation in May 2018. While the property’s historic exterior hasn’t been changed—it was once a 1960s Community Center and the former Japanese Consulate—the interiors have been redone by Brooklyn-based MARKZEFF Design with custom leather furniture, shibori accents, and contemporary Japanese art. Each of the 13 new Garden Suites face the Japanese zen garden that includes a koi pond, firepit, and a custom Godzilla mural by San Francisco
-based artists Yukako Ezoe and Naoki Onodera of Bahama Kangaroo. At the center of the renovation is the living-room like lobby decorated with mid-century couches and lit with vintage factory pendants. The seasonal cocktail menu at the lobby bar focuses on Japanese whiskey and sake, while the bar menu includes Japanese-inspired bites like shishito peppers and chicken katsu sliders. There are happy hour specials every weekday from 4 to 6 p.m. and every Monday between 5 and 6 p.m. the bar hosts a vinyl hour where you can pick a record to play from the hotel's collection of classics. For wellness-minded travelers, the new 3,000-square-foot fitness center located one level below the lobby looks out onto an open-air tea garden and features a yoga room and a Peloton bike (guests also have complimentary access to the nearby Kabuki Springs & Spa communal baths).