Built after the great earthquake and fire in 1906 and authentically restored and maintained since 1972, the San Remo Hotel at 2237 Mason Street in San Francisco is adding to its reputation for transporting guests back in time with special promotions from April 16 through May 11.
The 62-room North Beach Victorian hotel — in partnership with the Wax Museum at nearby Fisherman’s Wharf, The Urban Safari tours and Fior d’Italia Restaurant — will launch “Portal to the City’s Past,” a collection of value-added guest experiences celebrating its role in the city’s rebirth following the devastating quake.
Guests will have a rare chance to view how rooms were used 100 years ago, when they served as temporary housing for residents displaced by the quake and as lodging for seamen and workers recruited to rebuild the city. An on-site room exhibit, designed by the Wax Museum, will recreate a four-person family, complete with 1900s garb. Adding to the realism, hotel staff will be decked out in vintage clothing.
Located between Chestnut and Francisco Streets in North Beach, the three-story San Remo was constructed by Bank of America founder A. P. Giannini, a visionary financier who realized that new lodging near the northern waterfront, site of the city’s early piers and shipyards, would be essential for the city’s economic recovery.
Top guidebooks have praised the hotel’s meticulous renovation, scenic location, modest pricing and its Old World ambiance — quiet rooms without phones; brass beds; stained glass skylights; shared baths down the hall with deep claw-footed bathtubs, antique fixtures and pull-chain oak toilets. Details like these, common in 1906 but nearly impossible to find today, contribute to the “time machine” effect reported by San Remo guests.
The Urban Safari, an innovative San Francisco company that specializes in local tours off the beaten track, will introduce hotel guests and city visitors to behind-the-scenes locations that marked the city’s revitalization in the first decades of the 20th century. Starting inside the hotel, customized tours will focus on architecture, historic photos and archive news articles lining the hallways. Moving downstairs to the ground level, guests will visit Fior d’Italia, America’s oldest Italian restaurant and a North Beach institution since 1886.
Fior d’Italia Restaurant is an ideal complement to the San Remo, with distinctive turn-of-the-century decor, spacious main dining area and massive hardwood bar, handcrafted over a half-century ago. A spectacular hand-painted Italian mural covers a banquet room’s back wall, and photos of North Beach personalities, events and civic organizations date back to the 1800s.
A motorized trip through the vibrant streets and quaint neighborhoods surrounding North Beach will round out a memorable excursion into a colorful bygone era.
During this “Portal to the City’s Past” promotion:
• The San Remo is offering a special $19.06 rate for a third night during any three-night stay. Standard room rates, between $60 and $90, apply to the first two nights.
• The Fior will present San Remo guests and The Urban Safari tourists with a “Turn-of-Century Special,” priced at $19.06, for lunch any day of the week and dinners Sunday-Thursday.
• And hotel guests may join The Urban Safari customized tour for only $80, a 20 percent deduction off the company’s usual rates.
Details about this first “San Remo: Portal to the City’s Past” promotion can be viewed on the hotel’s web site.