Located at 2 New Montgomery St. in downtown San Francisco, the Palace Hotel was designed by NYC-based Trowbridge & Livingston and erected in 1909 on the site of the original hotel of the same name, which fell victim to the 1906 earthquake.
Sidenote: back in the mid-90s, I was living in the Bay Area and working as a web monkey on some of the earliest commercial web sites, including the design of the first site for ITT Sheraton, a hotel company whose Luxury Collection included the Palace. As I had no first-hand knowledge of anything having to do with luxury hotels, a friend and I opted for afternoon tea in the glorious Garden Court shown above, which was the original carriage entrance to the hotel.
Thus began my love affair with experiencing fancy hotels on the cheap, including visits to the Congress Plaza and Palmer House in Chicago, Cincinnati’s Netherland Plaza, San Francisco’s Fairmont and Marines’ Memorial Club and, in St. Augustine, Florida, Casa Monica and the Alcazar Hotel [which actually now houses the St. Augustine City Hall and the Lightner Museum].
But back to the Palace… The grand opulence of the Garden Court rivals the lobby of Burnham & Root’s Rookery in Chicago:
The crystal chandeliers in the first floor hallway — what can I even say? I pretty much go through life looking up at chandeliers:
With its dark wood paneling, the Pied Piper Bar and Grill has the feel of an old boys’ club. Above the oak bar hangs The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Maxfield Parrish, after which it was named. In 2013, the 16-foot long painting was removed as part of a planned update to the space. It was about to be sold at auction, which resulted in a public outcry that led to its restoration and reinstallation. Some things are better left unchanged:
This relatively diminutive crystal chandelier still drips with luxury; check out that ornate paneled ceiling:
The 9-story building cuts a handsome figure in downtown San Francisco:
The rooftop sign for The Palace as seen from the entrance to the nearby parking garage:
Through San Francisco City Guides, you can take a free tour of this building [I haven’t done it but grealy enjoyed my tours of Coit Tower and the SF City Hall]. Click here for much more information about the hotel and its storied past, including tons of historical photos and ephemera.