Palace Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls

The Palace is San Francisco's oldest hotel, and when it was built in 1875, it was thought to be the world's costliest, most luxurious hotel. The property was demolished in the earthquake of 1906, but reopened, completely redesigned, in 1909.

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Historic Hotels in San Francisco (1 of 12)

 The Palace is San Francisco's oldest hotel, and when it was built in 1875, it was thought to be the world's costliest, most luxurious hotel. The property was demolished in the earthquake of 1906, but reopened, completely redesigned, in 1909.
The Palace is San Francisco's oldest hotel, and when it was built in 1875, it was thought to be the world's costliest, most luxurious hotel. The property was demolished in the earthquake of 1906, but reopened, completely redesigned, in 1909. Eight U.S. presidents have visited the hotel, including both Roosevelts. John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and Oscar Wilde all stayed here, too. Actress Sarah Bernhard once caused a stir when she arrived with her pet baby tiger. The Garden Court restaurant originally served as the hotel's carriage entrance, but was transformed following the earthquake of 1906 into this ornate and elegant space. Built at the turn of the last century and opened in 1907, the Fairmont is one of the oldest hotels in the city. The massive original neoclassical building holds court over ritzy Nob Hill. The Fairmont's grand lobby features enormous Corinthian marble columns, vaulted ceilings, velvet chairs, and a wraparound stairase. Built at the turn of the last century, and opened in 1904, the St. Francis is the second-oldest hotel in San Francisco. The grand old building has hosted dozens of dignitaries over the years, and has been the scene of scandalous affairs: Silent film star Fatty Arbuckle hosted a wild party in his suite (rooms 1219 and 1221), where a young actress named Virginia Rappe died of a drug overdose. Half a century later, Sara Jane Moore attempted to assassinate then-president Gerald Ford as he was leaving the hotel. The St Francis's famous Magneta Grandfather Clock, built in Vienna in 1856, arrived at the hotel for its reopening in 1907 (after the earthquake of 1906). The beloved timepiece was the first master clock in the West, meaning that it controlled all the clocks in the hotel rooms -- until Russian dignataries staying for the U.N. charter of 1945 clipped the wires, thinking they were a bugging device, and destroyed the system. Turn-of-the-century architecture in the lobby at the Westin St. Francis. Ansel Adams photos of the historic hotel hang near the concierge desk. The Ritz-Carlton's stately neoclassical building, built in 1909, is a Nob Hill architectural landmark that recalls the U.S. Supreme Court building. One of downtown's best-known and largest hotels, the Sir Francis Drake is a San Francisco icon (known locally as simply "the Drake") due to its red-coated Beefeater doormen and Harry Denton's Starlight Room, a jazz lounge on the 21st floor. Built in 1928, the Drake was long one of the city's most opulent hotels, with a glamorous clientele. Today it's more of a theme hotel with a grand motto: "Experience the Legend." Opened in 1924 as a luxury apartment tower, the 12-story, ivy-covered brick building was converted into a hotel right after World War II. It's been family-run ever since. Built in 1910, the Hotel Whitcomb served as City Hall from 1912 to 1915 after the real one was destroyed by a major earthquake. The next year it opened to guests and has anchored the corner of Market and 8th Streets ever since. The 459-room property is member of the Historic Hotels of America, but unlike the city's many other iconic hotels, the Whitcomb has let time pass it by.
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