Union Square sees the return of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel with a new name, new everything. The Grand Beacon is ready for customers and a Frenchman, Sébastien Pfeiffer, is driving the effort to open this 400-room icon.
Entirely renovated, the hotel is back in service after two years of intensive renovation and enhancement of its past splendor. It was inaugurated in 1928, back in the days when large hotels were the center of social life.
Beyond expecting 21 floors of renovated rooms, everyone can appreciate the Grand Lobby, a majestic entrance with monumental chandeliers and marble floors that leads to the Beacon Lounge.
Finally, for lovers of cocktails and rare whisky, the Library offers a cozy and warm atmosphere for a more intimate moment.
The Beacon Grand now belongs to an independent hotel group, and it’s Sebastien Pfeiffer, a Frenchman with a truly remarkable and inspiring career who is running the show.
Originally from the East of France, Pfeiffer graduated from the Strasbourg hospitality school at 18 and started working immediately. He joined a 2-star Michelin restaurant in Alsace as kitchen help. He worked his way up through the kitchen hierarchy and his career led him to the Negresco Palace in Nice, then to several Relais et Châteaux including that of Kennebunkport, Maine, where Pfeiffer was the chef for eight years. We didn’t ask him if he had entertained the most famous local Bush family…
The American adventure continued when he joined the Accor group to run the kitchens of the Sofitel Beverly Hills. Encouraged by his management, he moved from the stoves to the hotel management by following various internal training courses. He cut his teeth by managing several departments both within Accor and for the Hilton chain.
Today, with hindsight, Pfeiffer tells us that the kitchen and the hotel industry ultimately have a lot in common: “Being in the kitchen means welcoming and pleasing customers; running a large brigade is a bit like leading a hotel team.”
We are in June, just at the time of the opening, and Sébastien Pfeiffer is optimistic, the numbers are looking good. From what he can see, “People want to travel, and the City of San Francisco is working hard to improve the downtown visitor experience.”
For those who would be nostalgic for the restaurant on Powell, rest assured! It will reopen, and it is Roland Passot who will be offering a cuisine with a very French accent. We were told, among other things, that the menu will propose seafood platters and a long champagne list. But stay tuned, the restaurant should open by the end of 2022.
The same will apply to the Starlite, the panoramic bar which offers a magnificent view of the whole city. The renovation is in progress and should bring a modern and chic touch. Reopening is planned for the end of 2022, but we will tell you about it then.
Finally, a practical note: the Beacon Grand is recruiting. Do not hesitate to consult the website and send spontaneous applications. What a spectacular place to work!
Address: 450 Powell St – San Francisco, CA, 94102
Merci Sébastien Pfeiffer and good luck with this new adventure!