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San Francisco’s Union Square Landmark

Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel Awning photoOne of San Francisco’s traditional landmark hotels on downtown’s Union Square, referred to by locals as simply “The Drake”, with its famed iconic Beefeater uniformed doormen greeting guests for 94 years. The hotel was built in 1928, to greet the rich and wealthy of grand society, unfortunately opening just a year before the great stock market crash of ’29. A legend in its time, the Sir Francis Drake hotel has hosted long list of the famous and infamous from around the world, movie stars and sports stars, foreign heads of state, and 5 U.S. Presidents. In the 1980s the hotel was acquired by the Kimpton Group of luxury boutique hotels, and its guestrooms and public spaces have just undergone a renovation and redesign in 2011, recapturing the splendor and classic grandeur which defined the hotel in its heyday. The hotel has had a fresh facelift with a bold and contemporary interpretation of the classic style to compliment the original Regency and Gothic revival style of its 1920s architecture.

The Sir Francis Drake mixes old San Francisco with a contemporary hipness, attracting a youngish crowd for its grand lady San Francisco chic. Climb the grand staircase and make an entrance into the sumptuous Rennaissance hotel lobby with its crystal chandeliers, gold gilt ceilings, and floor to cieling lobby bar back case, taken back to another age. Visitors looking for a romantic gourmet dining experience can enjoy the culinary delight of Scala’s Bistro, with its executive chefs, Jennifer Biesty and Tim Nugent recognized from their appearances on Bravo’s Top Chef show, leading a culinary tour of Northern Italy and the South of France.

Stairway at Sir Francis Drake Hotel Lobby photoThe Sir Francis Drake Kimpton is conveniently located in the heart of San Francisco’s downtown shopping area, on Powell Street with Gump’s, Barneys and Gucci just around the corner. Chinatown is within walking distance, the Moscone Convention Center is only three blocks, and the Powell Street line of the San Francisco cable cars trundle past the front doors to begin their ascent over Nob Hill to the Wharf. The 417 rooms and suites have been transformed in a modern update of the linens, carpets, artwork and and lighting which will delight both new and returning guests. Even the notorious Harry Denton’s Starlight Room, on the 21st floor, with sparkling panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline, serving its creative original cocktails along with entertainment and dancing, has had a stylish refit, definitely worth a stop for a Martini or two and a turn on the dance floor. And if up nearly all night, don’t forget the Drake’s $5 breakfast.
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