My eyes rested on the dusty, fake flowers as I waited for my tour of the Chancellor Hotel. A landmark building, it was built in 1914 for the Pan-Pacific Exposition and these flowers look like they could have been original. My first impression of the busy lobby — tired, bland, worn.
Mary Orsorno, who handles PR for the family-owned hotel, came to show me around to some of the 137 rooms. While small by today’s standards, the rooms were impeccably clean and newly renovated in with coats of fresh emerald green paint and new carpeting.
The renovation included comfortable, pillow-top mattresses and 380-thread count sheets. A “pillow menu” offers 12 types of hypoallergenic pillows to choose — a charming and unique amenity I’ve not come across before. Rooms include 32-inch flat screen televisions, irons and ironing boards, personal safes, umbrellas, ceiling fans and hair dryers. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and a small business area is near the front desk.
The bathrooms feature deep-set tubs, Lord & Mayfair bath salts and products, and rubber duckies, another sweet touch.
The rooms were surprisingly quiet (double-paned windows, thank you very much) especially considering the location in the heart of busy Union Square with cable cars whizzing by out front. Windows actually open for fresh air, again something not found most places, and guests can order breakfast in bed from Lucque’s the restaurant on the premises, open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Room service is available till 9:30 p.m.
Oh, checkout is at a most civilized hour — noon.
Prices range from $125 to $225; two two-room suites are available for families and larger groups. I did however see prices as low as $89 on the Internet. The hotel is currently offering some promos – a romance package, a summer dining package, and a Giants special that includes tickets to a baseball game. Rooms have either queen beds or two twin beds.
The location is unbeatable if you are looking for a traditional San Francisco tourist experience. Union Square shopping is legendary, the cable car is at the doorstep, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a few blocks away and there are tons of great restaurants and bars within walking distance.
The clientele tends to be older — my parents stayed here a few years ago and adored it.
So there you have it — the Chancellor is proof that you can’t always judge a hotel by it’s lobby.