Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Redwood Room at the Clift Hotel San Francisco

Vintage photos of famous hotels in US cities are a favorite pastime of mine. When I was age 9 or so I used to write letters to the Pierre, the Plaza, the St. Regis, etc. in NYC for brochures and rates and I had a nice collection of color brochures from luxury hotels. The rates came on separate bonded embossed sheets of paper and were often labelled Tariffs. A bygone age. I must have thrown these away when I was a teenager in the early 70s but I still recall the color photographs of public rooms, lavishly decorated suites. The St. Regis brochure had several photos of the grand Watteau suite with tapestries hanging on the walls designed from Watteau paintings and classic French antique furnishings. The Pierre Hotel brochure used the typical sixties cartoonish color drawings to illustrate the luxury and style of their hotel. I wish I could track these down today on ebay but they are literally gone with the wind. Later when I moved to NYC I visited all these grand hotels. From the mid-90s when I arrived in the city there were still vestiges of the past glory of the grand hotel era. More on the St. Regis in another post.

These are photos of the Redwood Room in the Clift Hotel in San Francisco. On a visit with my
partner several years ago we had drinks in this classic room which has not been altered as it's on the national historic registry. The rest of the hotel has been completely spoiled by a depressing Philippe Starck treatment. How quickly these trendy hotel makeovers date. Compare all the photos below with
the last photo of Starck's redo. What do you think?

View of the formal dining room from the Redwood Room

More of the Redwood Room. Beautiful rare Redwood panels
all round with Art Deco sconces. The bar is behind the diners at
left of this photo. 

Reverse view from The French Room into the
Redwood Room adjoining. You can see the bar
against the back wall.
Note the marquetry and inlaid woods in the Art Deco panelling in this classic
Yuck. Starck somehow got permission to add the backlit shelving
with impossible to reach bottles. He also added the chunky
seating at awkward angles and bizarre overscale vases scattered
on the floor.  Somebody tell me why? 

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