Palace Hotel, San Francisco

The current ("New") Palace Hotel (opened in 1909) is an historic hotel located in San Francisco, California, at the SW corner of Market Street and New Montgomery Street, immediately adjacent to BART's Montgomery Street Station, the Monadnock Building, and across Market Street from Lotta's Fountain. It replaced the original Palace Hotel which stood at the same location from 1875 until it was destroyed by fire on April 18, 1906, as a result of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

The original Palace Hotel

The original Palace Hotel, the construction of which was primarily financed by Bank of California co-founder William Ralston, offered many innovative modern conveniences including an intercom system and four oversized hydraulic elevators which were called "lifting rooms." The most notable feature of the hotel was the Grand Court that served as an entry area for horse-drawn carriages. (This area was converted to a palm filled public lounge a few years before the 1906 earthquake.)

A palace truly! Where shall we find its equal? Windsor Hotel, good-bye! you must yield the palm to your great Western rival, as far as structure goes, though in all other respects you may keep the foremost place. There is no other hotel building in the world equal to this. The court of the Grand at Paris is poor compared to that of the Palace. Its general effect at night, when brilliantly lighted, is superb; its furniture, rooms and appointments are all fine, but then it tells you all over it was built to "whip all creation," and the millions of its lucky owner enabled him to triumph.
Andrew Carnegie, Round the World

1906 earthquake

Although the hotel survived the initial damage from the early morning April 18, 1906, San Francisco earthquake, by late that afternoon it had been consumed by the subsequent fires. Notably, famous tenor Enrico Caruso (who had sung the role of Don José in Carmen the night before) was staying in the hotel at the time of the quake, and swore to never return to the City.


The Hotel was completely rebuilt from the ground up, re-opening largely in its current form in 1909 and resumed its role as an important landmark and host to many of the City's great events. The Grand Court was later transformed into the Garden Court to serve as a banquet area.

Details of the Hotel

The Ralston Room, named for co-founder William Ralston, is off the main corridor to the left. The hotel is also notable for its Pied Piper Bar named for the large painting by American artist Maxfield Parrish that adorns the room.

Notable events at the Hotel

The hotel served as the stage for several important events. Kalākaua, the last reigning king of the Kingdom of Hawaii, died at the old Palace Hotel in 1891. In 1919, Woodrow Wilson gave speeches in the Garden Court in support of the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations. President Warren G. Harding died in office while visiting the Palace Hotel in 1923. In 1945, the Palace Hotel hosted a banquet to mark the opening session of the UN.

Modern renovations

The Palace Hotel was renovated from 1989 to 1991 and currently has a proposal to add a 60 story 669 to 680 foot (204 - 207 m) residential tower called Palace Hotel Residential Tower or Two New Montgomery. The hotel is presently owned (since 1973) by the Kyo-Ya group, a large hotel and resort company based in Hawaii and Japan, and operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

Guided Tours

Free guided tours of the hotel are led by volunteers of the San Francisco City Guides, a program of the San Francisco Public Library.


External links

Search another word or see Palace_Hotel,_San_Franciscoon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature