by Michael J. Shapiro | January 09, 2020
The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel in San Francisco has reopened following a multimillion-dollar renovation. The iconic 372-room property, which had been closed since September 2019, now has dramatically updated guest rooms, a completely redesigned lobby, renovated function space, a restored façade and a spruced-up Redwood Room. This spring, the Union Square-area property will open a new restaurant and café called Fredericks.

The new hotel look was inspired by none other than romance novelist Danielle Steel's home, which is the historic Spreckels Mansion in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood - originally designed by the same architect who built The Clift, George A. Applegarth. The intimate, residential style of Spreckels Mansion was adapted for the hotel's new look, modernizing the grandeur of the original building.

As a result, the new Clift lobby is now brighter and warmer, and outfitted with more modern furniture. The new, adjoining Living Room offers several seating options that lend themselves to work, imbibing, relaxing or people-watching.

All of the guest rooms and suites have received a refined, luxurious makeover, and the classic bathrooms have been enlarged and outfitted with new plumbing fixtures, tiles and other finishes. Meeting spaces now have more natural light as well as brighter lighting fixtures and new A/V infrastructure. Still, they have maintained aspects of their original character: The former Velvet Room, for instance, still has its classic redwood paneling.

The legendary Redwood Room lounge likewise sports its namesake walls, but has added new Art Deco-inspired furniture. A new bar is made from an 800-year-old redwood tree found by a woodworker in Montana, and the classic Redwood Room mural and Klimt artwork have been restored.

The Clift was originally built for the attendees of the Pan American Pacific International Exposition of 1915, and new art throughout the guest rooms and public areas pays homage to that expo and that era.

Fredericks, the new restaurant and café, will open in April 2020 and be helmed by chef Dan Corey, formerly of the Michelin Star-awarded LUCE at the InterContinental San Francisco. Also set to debut this spring will be a 2,300-square-foot private function space called Spanish Suite and the 1,175-square-foot Private Apartment guest room.