Perhaps it’s the location on mid-Market close to Civic Center and the Tenderloin, not atop glamorous Nob Hill or in bustling Union Square, but despite its history and grandeur, Hotel Whitcomb doesn’t have the same cachet as the other century-old landmarks. And that’s too bad, it should.
An opulent lobby resplendent with Austrian crystal chandeliers, Tiffany glass, Italian marble columns and floors, and Janesero wood paneling opens onto Market Street across from the Orpheum Theater. Above, 460 airy rooms have high ceilings and are appointed with beautiful furnishings.
On the mezzanine floor, the Crystal Gallery showcases vintage photos of the hotel’s unique history on the site of a gynormous 71,000 square-foot marketplace called the Crystal Palace Market that opened in 1923. A few years before, the Hotel Whitcomb had served as a temporary City Hall from 1912 to 1915 after the 1906 earthquake.
Off the lobby are a few options for refreshments. There is a Starbucks, Florinda’s Market Street Grill, and of The Tavern, a lovely Victorian piano bar that hosts a lively happy hour and is a popular meeting place for theater goers.
Still privately owned, Hotel Whitcomb is also affordable. A recent check of rates displayed a range from $79 for a “petite double” to $488 for a king parlor suite. Maybe it’s time the Whitcomb is allowed to bask the limelight seemingly reserved for the other San Francisco grand hotels. Your travel and tour agents can easily arrange an itinerary that includes a stop at this historical place when you visit San Francisco.
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San Francisco, CA
1231 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103
Photos by Lisa Dion