Sneak Peak: Sir Francis Drake Hotel Renovation



The iconic Sir Francis Drake hotel just off Union Square in San Francisco is undergoing a renovation and I was hired to capture the new design.  The outside is staying the same—both the Gothic Revival exterior and the welcoming Beefeater-style doorman that greet you as you enter.

I’m relieved that they’re keeping the Beefeaters.  Where else can you get a fully festooned doorman in a red velvet outfit and matching cap to help you unload a car full of camera equipment?!

It’s inside the changes are afoot—starting with these two model rooms designed by Dawson Design Associates. Here is a sneak peek at the room styles.


They’re Kimpton-style boutique-chic with stunning details: the pulls on one lacquered dresser are French Regency inspired Foo Dogs. I love the glam full-length mirror leaned against a wall (more loft than chain hotel).  The rooms are jewel toned and feature pops of color to keep it fresh (like the bright red glass table lamp on the desk).   Each room has different lamps and side tables flanking the bed—a nice change from the same ol’ you see at most hotels.


I dig the over-the-top headboards:  architecture finials with braids in one room, and faux crocodile Rococo in the other.


A harshly cropped image of Queen Elizabeth with that obscene Victorian collar looks a lot less comfortable than I was in the royal blue suede occasional chair with embroidered graphic.


John Ellis creates images of the design world- showcasing products, interiors, architecture, people and the lifestyle they purport.  More of his work can be seen at 


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