The Clift Royal Sonesta | San Francisco

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation announced their entry into the San Francisco market with the addition of The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel to its portfolio.

The Clift has 372 guest rooms, which range from studio suites to a private apartment resembling a turn-of-the-century home with a modern twist.  Hotel amenities and features include entertainment centers in every guest room, complimentary use of bikes, a 24-hour fitness center, access to a neighboring full service fitness club with a swimming pool, and high-speed Wi-Fi. At the hotel’s historic Redwood Room locally inspired cuisine and cocktails are served. Guests looking to simply read, relax, or just people-watch can enjoy the English club-inspired Living Room lobby lounge.


In 1913, Frederick C. Clift, commissioned a 300-room hotel on an inherited lot. The architect, was George Applegarth, who also designed the Palace of the Legion of Honor. The hotel opened on February 1, 1915, to serve attendants of the Pan Pacific Exposition. Advertised as the first hotel in San Francisco to be fire and earthquake proof, with its 1924 addition of 3 floors, it became the largest hotel in the state. The hotel’s iconic Art Deco Redwood Room bar was added in 1933, paneled with wood from a single redwood tree.

Four Seasons Hotels acquired an interest in the hotel in 1976, and began managing it as their first US property. In 1995, Four Seasons sold their interest in the property and it became The Clift, a Grand Heritage HotelIan Schrager Hotels took over management in 1997, and the hotel became simply Clift. Schrager bought the hotel outright in 1999, for $80 million. Soon after, he oversaw a $50 million complete renovation, which involved the restoration of the iconic Redwood Room, and the gutting and redesign of much of the rest of the hotel, by Philippe Starck. Starck’s modern lobby featured his trademark eclectic furniture collection, including chairs from Ray and Charles Eames, furniture by Salvador Dali, and a surreal stool by Roberto Matta (inspired by RenĂ© Margritte).

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One Comment

  1. Evelyn Andrea Myers

    What an absolute travesty to lose the historic architecture of this once grand hotel. The lobby used to have ornate wood ceilings and beautiful plaster work, only to be replaced by cold sterile concrete columns. Heartbreaking truly and there goes another piece of history, never to be repeated again. The lobby should have been a protected room, not just the Redwood Room. The designer shouldn’t be proud of this monstrosity, he should be ashamed of destroying true art.

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