The Handlery Union Square Hotel & Exotic Entertainment at Asia SF
After our interesting introduction to local history as part of the Victorian Homes Walking Tour we had to switch hotels for one night and grabbed our overnight bags to move to The Handlery Union Square Hotel in downtown Geary Street, just next to Union Square. It was now late afternoon, it was drizzling and the streets downtown were packed with revelers participating in the Chinese New Years Celebrations.
We settled into our elegant suite, and I then located Karen Dominguez from the hotel’s marketing department to find out a little more about this venerable institution. The Handlery is family owned and operated, and in 2008 the Handlery family is celebrating 80 years of hotel ownership and operation in California.
The Handlery Union Square Hotel
Composed of two earlier hotels, The Handlery today is an upscale hotel that is located right in the heart of San Francisco, just minutes away from the cable cars, the theatres, the Museum of Modern Art, the Financial District and the Moscone Convention Center. Union Square, the 2.6 acre large plaza, is just steps away and features a variety of upscale boutiques, souvenir shops, art galleries and salons. The entire area is a mecca for shoppers and features department stores such as Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. High-end fashion is represented by Dior, Gucci, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Lacoste, Bulgari, Hermes and many more.
Front desk at the Handlery Union Square Hotel
Two famous cable car lines (the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde lines) are a stone’s throw from the Handlery Hotel. Public transportation is also easily accessible through the Muni Metro and BART subway system at the Powell Street Station on Market Street.
Another view of the lobby
Immediately to the northeast of this area is Chinatown and just one block north of Union Street is San Francisco’s French Quarter, an area that is populated by many out-door cafes and French restaurants. Two major theatres are represented in this central area just a few steps west of The Handlery: San Francisco’s Theatre District is anchored by the Geary and Curran Theatres, built in 1909 and 1922 respectively. The Tenderloin, an area that is still a little rough around the edges, is located west of the hotel; Nob Hill, an upscale residential neighbourhood, is located to the northeast of the area. The Yerba Buena Gardens and the Financial District are within easy walking distance. Leisure and business travelers alike appreciate the location and amenities of this central hotel.
Our gorgeous hotel room
Karen took me on a tour of the hotel which underwent a $10 million renovation in 2003. We started our walk from the Daily Grill restaurant which is located on the main floor and offers New York-based cuisine. She filled me in on some of the amenities and special services, which include an outdoor heated pool, a rarity in downtown San Francisco. The Handlery Union Square Hotel features wireless Internet, a sauna, access to fitness facilities as well as a barber shop that has been here since 1928. We thoroughly enjoyed the location, right in the heart of downtown San Francisco.
A historic letter box
Our evening was promising a lot of excitement: we were planning to visit Asia SF, a restaurant/ night club that is a popular venue for birthday celebrations and bachelorette parties. This restaurant features upscale Cal Asian cuisine and a prize-winning wine list. What makes Asia SF unique is its catwalk, the domain of the beautiful and talented Ladies of Asia SF, all world famous gender illusionists.
Chip Young (right) and his bartender at Asia SF
Skip Young, one of the co-owners gave us an overview of this unique entertainment venue and indicated that several additional locations are planned throughout North America, including Hollywood and Toronto. He mentioned that this establishment was founded 14 years ago as a true celebration of diversity. Today 60% of the customers are women who truly adore the concept of gender illusion performances, without an ounce of jealousy.
Beauty at Asia SF