In 1911, William Randolph Hearst completed the construction of a new office for what was then a small newspaper, The San Francisco Examiner. The original building was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fire, but Hearst decided to rebuild it even larger than before. The 13-story Hearst building is still on the corner of Third Street and Market Street, which became known as the “Newspaper Corner”. The auditor worked from this building until the 1960s when it became a multipurpose office.

Now, however, the grand European-style structure is becoming a new Auberge Resorts hotel, the Hearst Hotel, due to open in 2023. The luxury resort group will maintain the integrity of the original structure and adapt the layout to the respective conditions 150 guest rooms, a spa, social rooms, a restaurant and a bar on the roof. Despite this restructuring, it is important to Auberge that the building retains its character while incorporating the culture and amenities of modern San Francisco.

The facade of the Hearst Building in downtown San Francisco.

Courtesy of Auberge Resorts

“”[The Hearst Hotel] In one fell swoop, you step back into history, capturing some of the theatrical aspects of your past, protecting design integrity, trying to incorporate some of the nuances of the time and yet still making it very suitable for the modern San Francisco and US community that is there “said Craig Reid, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Auberge Resorts Collection, to T&C.

Although Auberge owns resorts in Northern California, this will be the company’s first hotel in San Francisco. When choosing a property, the team looked for a combination of character and location. Hoping to find a unique space for the group’s urban foray, Reid said the Hearst building had the perfect combination of a central location and “a character and personality that was rich.”

To preserve the history of the building, Auberge is working with the Hearst family on the renovation (Hearst also owns Town & Country). The hotel will even use some Hearst family antiques, including large coats and light fixtures throughout. The design team Roman and Williams, also behind La Mercerie and Le Coucou in New York, manage the interiors. According to the resort group, the Hearst Hotel will combine William Randolph Hearst’s interest in European architecture with a modernized “relaxed, eclectic life on the west coast.”

Hearst building

Cast bronze animal medallions adorn the entrance to the building.

Courtesy of Auberge Resorts

Reid also says the designers plan to keep much of the existing structure in the grandest areas of the building, from the palazzo floor to the grand lobby to the large windows in the guest rooms. The facade, with 20 cast bronze medallions of animals and a coat of arms above the front entrance, also remains unchanged. “There’s a certain amount of drama. It was a time of architecture that was much more ornate than architecture today,” he says.

While the property won’t open until 2023, travelers will have plenty of time to plan their trip to San Francisco. Reid doesn’t feel that far away. “We get dizzy when we walk into the building,” he says. “2023 seems far away – for us it feels like tomorrow.”

Message writer
Annie Goldsmith is the news writer for Town & Country, where she covers culture, politics, style and the British royal family.

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