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Fodor's Northern California 2014
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Sir Francis Drake Hotel
At a Glance
- can't beat the location
- free in-room Wi-Fi
- on-site restaurant and bar are moderately priced
- renovation added needed zip to a formerly faded queen
- small baths
- some complaints about unresponsive service and cleanliness
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Sir Francis Drake Hotel Review
Beefeater-costumed doormen welcome you into the regal lobby of this 1928 landmark property—newly unveiled from a $30 million renovation—decked out with chandeliers, Italian marble, velvet furnishings and a sparkling new centerpiece bar hugged by silver stools and a pair of Renaissance-inspired murals; the cumulative effect is of an Italian castle restored to her former glory. The renovation was just what this ole gal needed, injecting her with new life and energy. Though quarters are fitted with typical technological amenities, the rooms are meant to evoke Sir Francis Drake's era with regal headboards atop beds draped in blue, white, red, and gray. Bathrooms are, unfortunately, still tiny. But something else that hasn't changed—the first-rate locationand its rich history, including Harry Denton's Starlight Room, on the hotel's top floor. A tribute to faded 1920s glory, it's one of the city's best-known skyline bars. The hotel's surprisingly affordable restaurant, Scala's Bistro, serves better-than-average food in its somewhat noisy bi-level dining room.
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