The Sir Francis Drake Hotel to expand and open under new management, but will not reopen until 2022

The oxen may or may not be back at Union Square’s luxurious and historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel, as the joint was quietly sold for $ 158 million in April and is undergoing a “thorough renovation” before it reopens.

Any recent trip to the historic luxury of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel will have shown the place completely boarded up, without any of its distinctive bellboys in ox costume up front, and wooden planks covered in flower murals all over it. its ground floor doors and windows. And like almost all luxury hotels in the city center, it had no reason to be opened during the pandemic as the local tourism industry remains in a coma.

But it turns out that these flowery wooden planks aren’t just for window protection. They hid something. The 416-room Prohibition-era hotel was quietly sold in February for $ 157.6 million ($ 379,000 per room!), As reported at the time by the SF Business Times, which industry analysts still viewed as a low price. And now the Business Times reports that the place is in the midst of “in-depth renovation”, but the new owners are discreet about its reopening date, saying only that it would “reopen soon” (through their website) and “later this year” (through a LinkedIn job offer) or “2022” as they told the Business Times.

The new owners are a hospitality company called Northview Hotel Group, whose wallet is not large, but skews luxury. You’re probably more familiar with the Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which have run the place for the past decades, although the Drake has been owned by the Pebblebrook Hotel Trust since 2010.

“The Sir Francis Drake has been undergoing renovations since Northview acquired it in April,” reports the Business Times. “The hotel representative declined to comment beyond the target opening date.”

You, a Bay Area resident, probably don’t care about the lower 21 floors of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, which serves tourists. You can worry about the top floor though, Harry Denton’s former Starlight Room. It is now called Lizzie’s Starlight room, and is also currently “temporarily” closed. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him change brands.

And it’s unclear what will happen with the downstairs food court, which for years housed the (sometimes) acclaimed Scala’s Bistro.

And maybe also because of a rebranding? The Sir Francis Drake hotel himself, as he was a slave trader. As SFGate explains, Drake’s legacy involves “the enslavement of about 1,300 Africans, which probably means about three times as many deaths.”

Related: New boutique hotel The Alton prepares to open in old Holiday Inn in Fisherman’s Wharf [SFist]

Image: Google Street View

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