The 105-year-old Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel has had quite the makeover.
The hotel, which sits just a couple blocks down Geary from Union Square, closed its doors to guests in September 2019 for renovations to its guest rooms, lobby and the famous Redwood Room.
“This was definitely a hard, down-to-the-studs renovation,” said spokesperson Heather Noll. “The guest rooms and lobby have been completely reimagined – the only thing that remains from the previous iteration of the lobby is the iconic Big Chair.”
See just how much has changed in the before-and-after photos in the gallery at the top of this story.
Right upon walking into the lobby, repeat visitors will notice a big difference. The color scheme is much lighter, with shades of white, gray and metallic accents. The vibe is more modern and less moody.
Inspiration behind the remodel comes from Danielle Steel’s Pacific Heights home. The design team toured the author’s mansion because it was designed by the same architect who built the Clift Hotel, George Applegarth. (He also was the architect behind the Palace of the Legion of Honor.)
“From this breathtaking home, they adopted an intimate, residential style for the hotel remodel and imbued it with it with a clean yet accessible grandeur,” said Noll.
That style was brought into the guest rooms as well, all 372 of which were remodeled. The black headboard, gray furniture and white sheets make for a more modern look than the shades of cream and beige in the old guest room decorations. The rooms’ bathrooms were also enlarged, their fixtures updated, and a period-specific black-and-white tile was added to the floors.
Old furniture from the guest rooms was donated to Compass Family Services, which redistributed the pieces to Bay Area families in need, Noll said.
But don’t worry: They didn’t get too carried away with the renovation. The changes to the Redwood Room, the Clift’s iconic bar, were less dramatic.
The bar has retained its original redwood paneling and moody lighting, but it got a new set of floors and a new set of furniture (though the decor remains in an Art Deco style.) The biggest piece of the bar’s furniture — the bar, of course — is both new and old, depending on how you look at it. It was made by a custom woodworker from an 800-year-old redwood tree. The original artwork on the walls by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt was restored and re-hung.
There’s one more update that hasn’t been unveiled just yet: a new restaurant, called Fredericks, which is set to open in April. The menu will consist of “elevated comfort food,” as well as pastries, snacks and a “high-end coffee program.”
The price of a one-night stay at the Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel appears to be $186 for a king room (or up to $314 for a suite with a king bed) through February 2020. A cocktail at the Redwood Room will cost you $16 before tip. Taking a peek inside the lobby is free.
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