Palace Hotel San Francisco | old and new

The Palace Hotel in San Francisco is one of the historic hotels of the City by the Bay. Originally established in 1875, it was destroyed in the massive 1906 earthquake that leveled much of the city and caused fires that devastated everything else. Rebuilt after the earthquake, the Palace opened its doors again in 1909. The hotel is on the National Historic Register and is an historical treasure.

Of particular note is the Garden Court, pictured above, a Beaux Arts room whose dazzling stained glass ceiling will make your breakfast or lunch something very special indeed. (We had lunch there and enjoyed their signature Crab Salad). The ceiling was fortuitously saved from destruction during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, having been disassembled during a renovation that was taking place at the time.

The Palace is in the midst of a thorough renovation that will be completed by the end of August, 2015. All guest rooms will have been converted to the new room product by the end of May. These side-by-side pictures give a sense of the transformation that awaits, from the old cream walls with red carpeting to cool light blue walls and plum carpeting that endows the property with updated elegance while preserving the hotel's classic design.

I was able to inspect two Deluxe rooms. The Palace's inclusion on the Historic Register means that the original walls of the hotel cannot be moved, and so room sizes are reminiscent of classic European hotels. Measuring 330 square feet, Deluxe rooms are sized more like Superior rooms, but the shape of the room (more square than rectangular) creates a pleasant residential feel, not the "long and narrow" feel of many hotel rooms. The original bathrooms are small with a single vanity, shower in the tub (most with glass doors), and toilet. But the rooms are attractive and well planned with plenty of electrical outlets, a well planned work area with a surge protected power strip, USB port, and ethernet jack.

In addition to the renovation, the Palace Hotel has employed Forbes to train hotel staff in their distinctive five star service standards. With upgrades to both room product and service, the Palace is committed to becoming one of the top luxury hotels in San Francisco ... and this writer would not be surprised to see them admitted to Virtuoso. As a member of Starwood's Luxury Collection, my clients receive complimentary Luxury Privileges at the regular room rate:
  • Daily buffet breakfast for two in the Garden Court
  • one-time $100 F&B credit
  • Upgrade if available on arrival
  • Early check-in, late check-out, subject to availability
  • complimentary standard in-room internet
copyright (c) 2015 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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