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The Rich History Behind The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco combines storied walls with modern hospitality.

By Diego Gentili

Set within a regal neoclassical building in San Francisco’s swanky Nob Hill neighborhood, if it’s all-out luxury you’re after you can’t go wrong with The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. Don’t let the hotel’s 114-year-old facade fool you either. Inside you can expect all the modern comforts and a classic but contemporary interior – something The Ritz-Carlton does so well.

To celebrate its partnership with Elite Traveler, we spoke to the property’s hotel manager Diego Gentili.

What attracted you to your position at the hotel?

Coming from abroad after opening The St. Regis Venice, Italy, the opportunity presented itself to relocate to a city I had yet to experience and take on the role as director of operations at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. The hotel has a rich history having opened in 1991 led by legendary hospitality leaders such as Herve Humler who was the opening general manager to name one of many.

The legacy left behind by these inspiring leaders attracted me to join the hotel immediately after the pandemic alongside the strong heritage of our brand carried through to this day within the property by Ladies and Gentlemen that passionately enliven what our brand’s credo signifies even after 33 years. The opportunity to carry the legacy of this iconic hotel forward is a true privilege that now as hotel manager I look back with great pride and forward with great motivation.

Tell us about a defining moment in your role that sticks out.

The ability to navigate through the various dynamics of 2023 and sharing the stage with a team that delivered record-breaking metrics for the US and Canada for our brand with guest satisfaction scores putting us third on a list of 43 hotels, employee engagement scores putting us first of 43 hotels and being awarded Condé Nast Traveler’s Best Hotel in San Francisco award.

And what has been the hotel’s biggest challenge during your time there?

The post-pandemic era presented various challenges to the city of San Francisco. As hoteliers and Ladies and Gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, we have made it our commitment to play a role in the city’s recovery by first and foremost ensuring all of our guests have a memorable experience on property whilst visiting the city.

We have found creative ways to offer unique experiences in the hotel by converting our courtyard into our chef’s herb garden that inspires our menus and a Solaire Terrasse by Veuve Clicquot pop-up event for guests to enjoy during the summer months.

The team did a phenomenal job enhancing our iconic Teddy Bear Tea during the holidays to give it a grander experience for our guests who enjoy this sold-out event every year in partnership with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital which is the recipient of the event’s toy drive.

What is it about this suite that separates it from anything else on offer in the region?

The Presidential Suite / ©Ritz-Ca

Some of the distinguishing features of the Presidential Suite that set it apart from suites in the Bay Area are the breathtaking 1,200-sq-ft furnished balcony overlooking the city’s iconic skyline and a dining room that seats eight. Guests have the option to have a custom menu experience created by our executive chef Patrick O’Sullivan. This suite also includes Club Lounge access where guests can enjoy complimentary food and beverages throughout the day (breakfast, light lunch, evening hors d’ oeuvres, desserts and cordials) and the personalized service of our dedicated Club Concierge.

What exciting plans do you have for the hotel that you can share with our readers?

We are excited to soon unveil our new “History in Bloom Gallery” on the first level of the hotel that exhibits historic photography and tells the story of our city landmark building. Originally heralded as the “Temple of Commerce”, the building has been home to some of San Francisco’s most influential businesses and intelligent minds, and we look forward to bringing our building’s history to life to our guests.

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