The front portion of the Parlor contains a picture of Senator James G. Fair who was a big architecture fan and commissioned the construction of this historic property as well of several others in San Francisco. The history of this property gets even more interesting: for nine years the building operated as “Miss Mary Lake’s Finishing School for Girls”, and was then sold to “The Cosmos”, an exclusive gentlemen’s club about which very little is known. It then became the “Girls Friendly Society Lodge”, run by the Episcopal Diocese, which was a home and haven for young working women. The front portion of the Parlor still holds a safe that displays the name of the Girls Friendly Society Lodge in gold lettering. Numerous original Victorian pieces and furniture enhance the Queen Anne Hotel.
The Salon welcomes guests at the Queen Anne Hotel
Every day from four to six pm the Parlor becomes a gathering place for hotel guests when a table is set up with a complimentary afternoon tea and sherry service up that entices with home-baked cookies in different flavours. The Queen Anne strives to make every guest feel right at home.
To the left of the Parlor is Salon or Breakfast Room which is also often used for weddings and other special functions. The décor again features deep rich colours like burgundy, cream and gold. Doors lead out to a courtyard that is decorated with statues and often used as a bar for special events. In the summer this area opens up and guests can enjoy sitting outdoors. The architectural features in this room include an original fireplace with original sconces on the mantle and Victorian ceiling medallions in the shape of little angels. Every morning hotel guests at the Queen Anne enjoy a full American breakfast with fresh fruit, eggs, different types of toasted breads, pastry and a variety of juices and beverages.
The Breakfast Room
Through an impressive staircase my tour continued upstairs to the second floor. At the time of Miss Mary Lake’s School this was the area of principal activity, and the main hallway still features a geometric inlaid floor pattern and five-foot high paneling of carved oak. A stained galls ceiling window floods the area with natural daylight, and original Victorian ceiling medallions surround all the light fixtures in the hallway.
An authentic Victorian-era stained glass window
Michael showed me around a variety of the hotel rooms and suites, and definitely no two are alike. First we visited a Junior Suite that featured a beautiful armoire with an old fire escape outside the window. Like in many other suites, painted cherubs created by a local artist added a little bit of whimsy to the room. All the suites that I saw had comfortable beds, granite bathrooms, flat screen TVs, clock radios and a convenience area appointed with a fridge, microwave and coffee makers. Large desks are also part of the standard features at the Queen Anne Hotel, making it very popular with business travelers.
Large Victorian bedrooms at the Queen Anne Hotel
The variety of rooms that Michael showed me included standard rooms, a one bedroom suite with a separate sitting room, a two bedroom suite on two levels featuring two bathrooms as well as a a private courtyard with a hand-painted mural. One of the crowing jewels was the Honeymoon Suite, an elaborately decorated large suite with a bay window, showcasing the “World’s Smallest Park” across from the hotel. Two fireplaces, a huge mirror and a beautiful bathroom set a very romantic mood for any travelers fortunate enough to stay in this suite. All the rooms were outfitted in period décor with antique furniture pieces and elaborate drapery, providing a glimpse of what Victorian era living was all about.
The Honeymoon Suite
Having quenched my architectural curiosity, I thanked Michael for showing me through the entire hotel. My travel partner Leslie and I were now ready to set off and start our first explorations of San Francisco. Our first explorations were going to include San Francisco’s northern waterfront and Fisherman’s Wharf.