HOSPITALITYDESIGN: Sir Francis Drake Hotel to Reopen as the Beacon Grand


The historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco is set to undergo a thorough renovation and redesign led by architecture and design studio KKAD. Upon reopening this spring, the newly independent hotel will be renamed as the Beacon Grand.

“One’s procession through the Beacon Grand is one through history, evoking the grandeur of the 1920s and ’30s when hotels were ‘cathedrals of travel,’” says KKAD principal Kraig Kalashian. “There is a unique drama created by the multiple levels of public spaces and the grand staircases connecting them. Our work has focused on accentuating this drama. In addition, by removing heavy draperies, choosing paint colors that light up the spaces, and adding lighting to key areas, the extraordinary craftsmanship and rich details of the building now quite literally shine as they did when the hotel first opened.”

The hotel, which first debuted in 1928, retains original Renaissance Revival features, including its grand staircase, chandeliers, and marble floors. The oversized bar in the grand lobby has been removed to convey a greater sense of openness, and new jewel-toned furnishings were added to the space. Overlooking the lobby, the mezzanine accommodates the convivial Beacon Lounge, where an original fireplace and mantle have been restored—allowing it to continue serving as an ornate focal point. Intricate moldings, handmade iron railings, and inlaid ceilings are also complemented by a refreshing palette of warm and neutral hues.

The Library will serve as an intimate new bar concept, while the Starlite Room, designed by Bill Rooney Studio, is slated to open atop the hotel later this year. The property’s former Scalas restaurant space will also be overhauled to host a modern brasserie. The hotel’s 17,000 square feet of meeting and event space is also being updated and an artwork program by Kevin Barry Art Advisory will enliven interiors with a residential ambiance.

All 418 guestrooms and suites will showcase updated finishes like European oak hardwood floors and railroad shower tiles. Custom wallpaper inspired by the city will echo the original timbre of the building, forming a backdrop for bespoke furniture conceived to maximize flow. High ceilings and openable windows will further accentuate the sense of openness.

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