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The Fairmont San Francisco Announces Restoration Of Legendary Penthouse Suite

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
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Fairmont Hotels
Fairmont Hotels
Hotel Management Group

The Fairmont San Francisco has united a five-star design team led by Champalimaud to revitalize the iconic Penthouse as the world’s ultimate suite. Created in the Roaring Twenties by famed American archeologist and art historian, Arthur Upham Pope, the Penthouse, valued at $20 million, embodies the opulence and distinctive design of a singular period during which the United States reigned as the world’s wealthiest nation. The landmark restoration project will begin in early-August 2009 and is scheduled for completion in mid-September 2009.

Spanning the entire eighth floor of the historic Main Building of The Fairmont San Francisco, The Penthouse offers 6,000 square feet of luxury. The suite features three large bedrooms, a living room with grand piano, a formal dining room seating 60 people, a kitchen, a two-story circular library crowned by a rotunda where a celestial map is rendered in gold leaf against a sapphire sky, a billiard room covered in Persian tile from floor to vaulted ceiling, and an expansive terrace with sweeping views of San Francisco. A secret passageway concealed behind bookshelves on the library’s second floor lends a sense of intrigue to the fabled suite.

The suite’s impressive art collection will feature original works by David Hockney and other contemporary artists as well as a grouping of exquisite Chinese porcelain vases.

A coterie of dedicated personnel; including a round-the-clock butler and team of housekeepers, a chef, a masseuse, a personal trainer and a chauffeur; will stand ready to pamper guests of this extraordinary suite and are included in its price tag of $15,000 per night.

From royalty to rock stars, the world’s elite have called The Penthouse home. President John F. Kennedy, Prince Charles of Wales, Mikhail Gorbachev, King Hussein of Jordan, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands as well as Mick Jagger, Elton John, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole and Marlene Dietrich are just a few of the suite’s famous guests.

“The Penthouse offers an unparalleled pedigree among hotel suites today. As the home-away-from-home for U.S. Presidents and world leaders, the suite has witnessed history-changing events and served as the meeting place for leaders of the Big Four as they prepared to draft the United Nations Charter at The Fairmont in 1945. Plus, it’s breathtakingly beautiful,” comments Regional Vice President and General Manager Thomas Klein.

“Following its restoration, The Penthouse will offer one-of-a-kind accommodations for today’s most discerning traveler as well as the ultimate venue for important events, including extraordinary weddings. If only these walls could talk…,” concludes Klein.

Champalimaud, a leader in hospitality interior design and architecture, will create a luxurious marriage of East meets West in The Penthouse, utilizing the Moorish influence of the billiard room and terrace as its inspiration and adding dramatic design elements such as a hand-painted silver and black Chinoiserie wallcovering to the palatial dining room. Modern sophistication and a transitional mix of styles will combine with storied old-world glamour to create a suite of timeless elegance.

“The Penthouse of The Fairmont San Francisco is like no other hotel suite. This mansion in the sky is a perfect example of the grand and richly detailed residences that were built for families of San Francisco’s great fortunes almost a century ago. In designing The Penthouse, we have inherited a rich history and the eclectic and sophisticated tastes of the suite’s original owners and those who lived here,” comments Alexandra Champalimaud.

Dan Stewart is the project manager for The Penthouse restoration. His design dream team includes Miele and Snaidero-USA, which will work in tandem to create a stunning state-of-the-art kitchen. Miele will install professional grade energy-efficient kitchen appliances and Snaidero will transform the space with sleek Italian cabinetry to complement the kitchen’s new checkerboard marble floor.

Kallista, a division of Kohler, will give a fashionable makeover to faucets and fixtures in the suite’s four bathrooms, including the master bathroom which will now be illuminated by a vintage leaded-glass skylight.
In 1926, John S. Drum, president of the American Trust Company, persuaded the owner of The Fairmont to construct a grand residence atop the hotel, which Drum could lease for $1,000 per month.

Arthur Upham Pope, a pioneering scholar on Persian art and architecture, designed The Penthouse and his exotic influence can be found in striking details throughout the suite.

John Drum lived in The Penthouse until 1938. The next resident was Maude Flood, heiress to a mining fortune. She resided in the suite for nearly 30 years. Benjamin Swig, a former owner of The Fairmont, lived in The Penthouse from 1966 until his death in 1980. In 1981, The Penthouse was opened to the public as one of the world’s most exclusive suites.

When The Fairmont opened on April 18, 1907, exactly one year after the earthquake, it symbolized the rebirth of San Francisco. Today, the landmark hotel offers 591 newly renovated guest rooms and suites, three distinctive restaurants, a health club and easy access to the city’s most popular attractions. The Fairmont San Francisco is located atop Nob Hill at 950 Mason Street. For reservations, please call 1-800-441-1414 or visit www.fairmont.com.

A leader in the global hospitality industry, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a celebrated collection of distinctive hotels, which includes iconic landmarks like Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Québec City, Kenya's Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, and London's The Savoy, reopening later this year following an extensive restoration program. Fairmont hotels are one-of-a-kind properties where sophisticated travelers can discover culturally rich experiences that are authentic to the destination. Situated in some of the most exclusive and pristine areas in the world, Fairmont is committed to responsible tourism and is an industry leader in sustainable hotel management with its award-winning Green Partnership program. Fairmont's portfolio includes 56 world-class hotels, with plans to develop over 30 new properties in the coming years in destinations as diverse as Shanghai, The Philippines and India.

Fairmont is owned by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, a leading global hotel company with 91 hotels worldwide under the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel brands. The company also manages Fairmont and Raffles branded Residences, Estates and luxury private residence club properties. For more information or reservations, please call 1-800-441-1414 or visit www.fairmont.com.
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