The Fairmont San Francisco

The Fairmont San Francisco is a luxury hotel at 950 Mason Street, atop Nob Hill in San Francisco, California. The hotel was named after mining magnate and U.S. Senator James Graham Fair (1831-1894), by his daughters Theresa Fair Oelrichs and Virginia Fair Vanderbilt who built the hotel in his honour. The hotel was the vanguard of the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts chain. The group is now owned by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, but all the original Fairmont hotels still keep their names.

It has been featured in many films, including Petulia and The Rock. Exterior images of the structure were used as stand-ins for the fictional St. Gregory Hotel in the 1983 television series, Hotel.

The Fairmont San Francisco was added to the National Register of Historic Places (#02000373) on 17 April 2002.

1906 Earthquake

The hotel was nearly completed before the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Although the structure survived, the interior was heavily damaged by fire, and opening was delayed until 1907. Architect and engineer Julia Morgan was hired to repair the building because of her then-innovative use of reinforced concrete, which could produce buildings capable of withstanding earthquakes and other disasters.

United Nations

In 1945, the Fairmont hosted international statesmen for meetings which culminated in the creation of the United Nations. The United Nations Charter was drafted in the hotel's Garden Room and a plaque at the hotel memorializes the event.

Tonga Room

Among its attractions is the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, a historic tiki bar dating from 1967. In January 2009, the Fairmont’s owners submitted plans for a condo conversion in an adjacent tower, which showed the space where the Tonga Room currently is but did not show the Tonga Room itself. No construction is planned until at least 2012. Meanwhile, a group plans to file an application to make the Tonga Room an official San Francisco landmark.

  • Views of the Fairmont lobby

Building Activity

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