Hotel Online Special Report

 San Francisco Fairmont Hotel Embarking on a 
$72 million Restoration Program 
SAN FRANCISCO - May 25, 1999--The regal Fairmont Hotel is embarking on a restoration program in excess of $72 million to recapture the original splendor of the turn-of-the-century landmark, hotel officials announced today.

Recognized for its high service standards, the Fairmont will continue to offer award-winning accommodations and amenities throughout the 18-month project.

The restoration of Fairmont's San Francisco flagship property has been a major priority of the property's ownership since Maritz, Wolff Co. acquired a 50 percent interest in the hotel in 1998. Maritz, Wolff is a hotel investment partnership that owns several exclusive hotels under various brands. The company controls Hotel Equity Fund VII, a limited partnership that includes SPO Partners, a San Francisco-based investment group headed by John Scully, William J. Patterson, William E. Oberndorf, and members of the Fisher family, founders of Gap Inc. Maritz, Wolff has played and will continue to play an important role in both the funding and project development aspects of the restoration. Kingdom Hotels (USA) Ltd., a company associated with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud also owns 50 percent of the property.

"It's very exciting to be involved in the development of what will essentially be the new flagship for the growing Fairmont brand," said Lewis Wolff, chairman of Fairmont Hotels and co-founder and chairman of Maritz, Wolff  Co. "From the beginning of our association with this fantastic property we've been bringing our development expertise to bear in the process of restoring it for the next century."

"The Fairmont brand has always been the pinnacle of hospitality and luxury, not just in San Francisco but throughout the world. This restoration is a significant chapter in the hotel's evolution, especially as the next century approaches," explained Edward E. Mace, president and CEO of Fairmont Hotel Management L.P. "We are excited about restoring the property to its original 1907 design while adding the amenities most wanted by today's business and leisure travelers."

The San Francisco project marks the final phase of restorations, capital improvements and training initiatives at all seven Fairmont Hotels nationwide, including New York's legendary Plaza Hotel. It caps a total reinvestment in excess of $250 million in the luxury brand of hotels.

"The Fairmont atop Nob Hill continues to play a remarkable role in the development of the City of San Francisco. For nearly 100 years, it has been an important landmark in the community and the restoration of the property will enhance its role as the social and business center of the city," added General Manager Mark S. Huntley.

A Landmark Restoration

The Fairmont has assembled a restoration team of architectural, design and preservation leaders from across the nation. M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. and Associates Inc. has been named architect and Wilson Associates Inc. serves as interior designer, with Page Turnbull consulting on the historic preservation.

Highlighting the restoration is the re-emergence of the Main Lobby as a grand public space. The lobby's bold Dorothy Draper décor will be replaced with the lighter, elegant design envisioned by architect Julia Morgan for the 1907 hotel.

Central to the lobby, the Laurel Court with its three vaulted domes and open spaces will be restored and the sumptuous atmosphere will be further enhanced by the return of the original alabaster marble flooring.

Key elements of the project include:

  • Renovation of public areas -- highlighted by the painstaking restoration of the Main Lobby and the Venetian Room -- and including hotel corridors.
  • Complete furniture, fixtures and electrical (FFE) renovation of the 596 guest rooms and suites in the Main Building and Tower sections of the hotel.
  • Remodel and enlargement of guest room bathrooms with marble, decorative mirrors and wall sconces.
  • Cleansing and restoration of the historic Main Building façade and windows.
  • Refurbishment, replacement and upgrade of building systems, including elevators and data/telecom capabilities.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act enhancements.
Historic Events and Famous Guests

Throughout its 92-year history, the Fairmont has been synonymous with style, luxury and power. Known as the White House of the West, the Fairmont has hosted world dignitaries and every U.S. President since Harry Truman. In 1945, the U.N. Charter was drafted at the Fairmont and, in the 1980s, the hotel was the site of momentous meetings between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev that helped to thaw the Cold War.

Singer Tony Bennett debuted, "I left My Heart in San Francisco" in the Venetian Room and Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Ella Fitzgerald, Milton Berle and Ray Charles are just a few of the entertainers to take center-stage at the Fairmont.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Fairmont operates seven luxury hotels in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, News Orleans, The Plaza Hotel in New York, San Francisco and San Jose/Silicon Valley, offering travelers a choice of 4,267 luxury rooms and suites. 

Fairmont Hotel
Samara Zuwaylif, 415/673-5634 
(Public Relations)
DeVries Public Relations
Don Canfield, 212/891-0422
Also See: In Non-Real Estate Deal Fairmont and Canadian Pacific Hotels Form New Management Company: Fairmont Hotels Resorts Inc. / April 1999 
Fact Sheet: New Hotel Management Company Fairmont Hotels and Resorts Inc. / April 1999

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