The Sir Francis Drake Hotel in SF's Union Square, closed since the start of the pandemic, will reopen next month fully rebranded and renovated, under a new name and with new owners.
The 416-room hotel changed hands last year, with Kimpton Group selling it to Northview Hotel Group for $158 million. Kimpton had already been considering a name change after uproar in different parts of the Bay Area over streets and institutions named to honor 16th Century explorer Sir Francis Drake, who was also a slave trader. And as the Chronicle reports, Northview has gone ahead with a complete rebrand and concept change, and is currently renovating the interiors with the help of Oakland-based architects Arcsine. It will reopen as the Beacon Grand in March.
SFist first reported on the renovations and coming name change in October.
Northview has not revealed anything else about what to expect in terms of changes to the hotel lobby bar or other spaces. The attached restaurant Scala's Bistro has also been closed since the start of the pandemic, and Northview also hasn't said what the plans are for the iconic Starlight Room on the hotel's top floor — which for many years was named Harry Denton's Starlight Room. (Denton passed away last April at age 77 around the time that the hotel was sold.)
More should be made public in the coming weeks.
As KRON4 notes, multiple other things around the North Bay have had Drake's name stripped from them in the last two years, including a segment of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Fairfax — it is now called the Coastal Miwok Trail, in honor of the Indigenous people of Marin County, with whom Drake reportedly had some friendly dealings when he landed on the Marin coast in 1579 and "claimed" the area for England.
Following weeks of protest in June 2020, Marin County officials removed a 30-year-old statue of Drake that had stood near the Larkspur ferry landing. And last May, the Marin school board voted to rename Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo after beloved former teacher Archie Williams, who competed in the Olympics in 1936 and died in 1993.
Other segments of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard still retain his name in Ross, San Anselmo, Larkspur, and Marin City.
Photo: Google Streetview