Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square, Kimpton Sir Francis Drake Hotel has completed an $11-million property-wide renovation. The comprehensive upgrades and enhancements offer a modern refresh with rich layering, luxurious textures for a clean, contemporary style that simultaneously showcases the opulence and historic character of the hotel and the property’s role as a longtime social hub.

“We wanted to create a narrative that would lend a playful nod to Elizabethan England and one of the Queen’s favorite paramours—Sir Frances Drake,” said Andrea Sheehan of Dawson Design Associates. “We layered in lots of playful references. A famous intimate letter written by Drake to Elizabeth that is scripted across a custom pillow, playfully abstract portraits of Elizabeth that speaks to her progressive nature. It is a nod to a powerful female leader that left a lasting impact on the world–and the man who served her. We think it is relevant especially in today’s political culture. Spaces speaking to the past but at the same time, projecting an independent and contemporary spirit. After all, Drake did land in San Francisco Bay and claim the land for England.”

Updates include: custom fabrics and upholstery in pearl, cranberry, bronze and pewter colors in the lobby; new bed frames, lounge chairs and sofa beds in guestrooms; guest bathrooms with custom millwork, Kohler fixtures and many with expansive showers in place of tubs as an on-trend update for the modern traveler; polished stainless steel bar stools and custom glass dining tables in the suites; and new patio design for the presidential suite.

Additionally, to celebrate this exciting time at the hotel, guests can now book a collection of fun-loving experiences, including: Shower, Spa, Repeat (a bath amenity basket from Bay Area-based Yuzu Soap to further enhance the new bath experience); High Tide Tea (a playful take on a classic, this tea service is made for bath time in the newly renovated spaces); and Suite Slumber (an indulgent slumber party with a truly local slant to be enjoyed in the newly renovated suites)

“This is a historic building that was built long before electronics,” she said. “Walls are plaster and lath with layers of existing trim. Adding power was near impossible. We had to get really creative to find ways to add power to accommodate today’s guest needs make the room really user friendly. The guestrooms are petite and vintage. Blending old with new had to be done very carefully and strategically. Scale was very critical. The design is very intentional, but it also very relevant to its namesake. We needed spaces that were fresh and interesting enough that they would appeal to younger guests who may not know the history of the Hotels famous namesake. We wanted to get them engaged and interested.”