fairmont perspective

in honor of bygone eras, i'd like to share with you a then-and-now perspective on one of san francisco's most famous hotels. the fairmont hotel, atop nob hill, was designed by julia morgan (who also designed hearst castle for william randolph hearst, one of many important commissions for this innovative architect in her career). it opened prior to the 1906 san francisco earthquake, but was completely refurbished soon thereafter. after world war II, high style decorator, dorothy draper, redesigned the lobby and interior spaces in her formidable style, in venetian glamour. the hotel was restored in 1999 and 2000, returning the public spaces to the original julia morgan design. here we have photos of the dorothy draper interiors in 1950 on the left, with the 2008 {julai morgan-esque} interiors on the right.

and tonight i'll be getting happy hour with friends here before heading to arkansas for the services with my family. i wish we could get drinks in the cirque room, but unfortunately it no longer exists. still, we can imagine what it must have been like, can't we?{the cirque room, which was the first bar to open in san francisco following prohibition. it was decorated by architect tim pflueger in a beautiful art deco style with an incredible bar, and murals by the celebrated bruton sisters. before the venetian room was opened, the cirque was the place to go for entertainment in the city}

all photos & info from srk1941, alameda info, and the fairmont hotel website


Calie Anderson, C.I.D. said...

I have a vivid memory of being in that lobby when visiting SF as a little girl. I remember sitting on the circular velvet couch and feeling amazed. Funny how we remember things.

dianamuse said...

Oh, I hardly recognize it. You see, I was born and raised in San Francisco. Seeing the 'before' pics of The Fairmont brings back such glorious memories. I hardly recognize it now. Last time I was in the Bay Area (probably mid-90s or so), we stayed at The Huntington and had the luxury of gazing out the window at this spectacular architecture.

My thoughts are with you. Safe travels.

tangobaby said...

I haven't been to the Fairmont in a long time, so your post makes me want to have another visit. It's so opulent and grand.

I'm a big fan of the Palace Hotel, and sitting in the Pied Piper Bar in front of the gorgeous Maxfield Parrish mural is one of my favorite San Francisco treats.

studio wellspring said...

hi calie ~ how lucky you are to have been there when you were little. i bet you felt like a princess sitting there. :o)

dianamuse ~ thanks so much for your kind sentiments. and, yes change is hard to see especially when so much emotion can be attached to a space like this. dorothy draper's style just can't be beat.

tangobaby ~ i love getting manhattans at the pied piper for friday happy hour. we should go together some time!

tangobaby said...

You're on! And we can get a tuna tartare appetizer. Or the fries with truffle oil. Mmmmmmm.