Sunday, December 30, 2007

Quiet Rooms

I saw this article in one of my hotel news letters and it seemed to make a lot of sense. Not everything applies to the Chancellor Hotel, but after a guest just commented on a noisy night during a holiday weekend, I thought I would pass it along. Whether you are a noise maker or the noise hearer, you should have a better understanding of what you can do to avoid it or how you can be a bit more courteous to your fellow guest.

A quick guide for finding a quiet hotel room
Marshall Loeb, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Luxurious Egyptian linens, Mo√ęt in the minibar, an oversized Jacuzzi: They're all nice, but not of much use if you can hear noise in the hallway, doors slamming shut at all hours or the honeymoon couple in the next room. The key to peaceful sleep on your next trip is finding a quiet hotel room.
Travel Smart, a newsletter for travelers on a budget, offers these tips:
Search for a quiet neighborhood. Avoid hotels next to a nightclub, fire or police station, or a major highway.
Look into construction projects. Is the hotel being remodeled? Is it adding a new wing? Or is it upgrading its restaurant? If so, ask for a discount or go elsewhere.
Inquire about windows. Are they soundproof? You'd be surprised how many luxury properties have single pane windows.
Find out if there are "quiet zones." For example, all U.S. and Canadian Crowne Plaza Hotels have at least one "quiet zone floor." There is no housekeeping Sunday through Thursday (forget vacuums and noisy carts) or maintenance from 9 p.m. to 10 a.m. unless you request it. Rooms have special auto-closure doors that don't slam shut, and children and groups are not booked on these floors. Also, airport hotels are often surprisingly quiet because considerable effort is put into making them so.
Avoid party weekends. Do ask in advance what rooms are available if it's spring break, a major sports weekend, college reunion time or wedding-reception season. Fun events tend to be noisy.
Request a room on a high floor. And make sure it's away from the main entrance to avoid street noise, as well as far from the maid's supply closet, the ice and vending machines, and the restaurant or bar. Pick one that faces the inner courtyard if possible but not the garbage pick-up zone.
Finally, when you arrive, do not unpack until you're assured you're in a quiet room. If the room is near an elevator shaft or has a connecting door to an adjacent room, request another one.

I thought the line about "fun events tend to be noisy" was true. Many people are staying for "fun events" in San Francisco. We should all keep that in mind on Holiday Weekends, Halloween, New Year's Eve, Bay to Breakers, and the like. It's not always the hotels that are noisy, sometimes it's the people staying in them. We try our best to provide quiet accommodations, but the our guests do not always cooperate.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Chancellor Hotel Holiday Party

December 21st was the Chancellor Hotel's Holiday Party. We had a great turn out, abundant food, good drinks, music, lots of fun and gave out our annual employee awards.

Below are a few pictures from the event.
The front desk ladies - Lyz, Desiree & Shamina

We had a beautiful buffet dinner with all the trimmings

Housekeeping Ladies -May, Lisa, Ivy & Lina The Front Desk Guys

The Chancellor Hotel Employee of the Year - Francisco Arevalo
Francisco is the lead cook at Luques Restaurant. He has been with the hotel since 2002 and has done a great job day in and day out. We are very lucky to have him as part of the Chancellor Family. Congratulations Francisco!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

January is a great time to visit!

Rates are low, the City is less crowded and there are plenty of things to do. Here are a few events that are worth coming for alone:

KOOZA Through January 13, 2008

KOOZA is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil. This spectacular show combines two circus traditions, acrobatic performance and the art of clowning, and highlights the physical demands of human performance. KOOZA will wow you with acts that challenge the senses and keep your pulse pounding.AT&T Park24 Willie Mays Plaza Tickets: (800) 678-5440Click here for more information

Dine About Town 01/15/2008 Through 01/31/2008

The ever-popular Dine About Town event is right around the corner, and this year’s explosion of flavors might just be the tastiest yet. During Jan. 15–31, dozens of favorite and new San Francisco restaurants will offer creative yet affordable three-course prix-fixe menus at $21.95 for lunch and $31.95 for dinner. This is your chance to savor some of the nation’s most talked-about cuisine at SF’s hottest restaurants without breaking the bank. Book your travel plans now and make your restaurant reservations ASAP — time slots during these two weeks will fill up fast! Click here for all the delectable details including a list of participating restaurants. ===========================================================

01/19/2008 Through 01/19/2008 PIER 39 San Francisco Fishermans Wharf Free Admission

Anniversary of the Sea Lions' Arrival PIER 39 commemorates the seventeenth anniversary of the sea lions’ arrival. Through the years, these playful pinnipeds have taken up residence to the delight of thousands of spectators. Each January, their numbers soar as hundreds of marine mammals return for the plentiful herring supply in San Francisco Bay. In addition to enjoying hundreds of sea lions in close proximity, visitors can talk with knowledgeable Marine Mammal Center docents and stop by the Whale Bus for a thorough educational experience. PIER 39’s K-Dock has been declared a “Watchable Wildlife” viewing area by the California Watchable Wildlife Project. Time: Saturday 12:00pm-4:00pm(415) 705-5500Email:mailto:info@pier39.comURL:

Visit Alcatraz
Fewer crowds, mild temperatures and easier-than-ever online ticketing make right now the time to plan a visit to Alcatraz Island. If you have any doubts about whether a trip to “the Rock” is worth it, rest assured there’s a reason why it tops lists of San Francisco must-sees and why Forbes Magazine says a visit to Alcatraz is “worth every penny.” You’ll tour the island’s former federal penitentiary; hear chilling stories told by former prisoners and wardens; be amazed by gardens, tide pools and bird colonies; swoon over the sweeping bay views; and learn some surprising history about the island. Click here to book your tickets now!

Call us 1-800-428-4748 for reservations! New rooms and great winter specials!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Take Advantage of Some FREE Bus Rides

The San Francisco Chronicle Newspaper reported today that San Francisco's Municipal Railway (MUNI) will be testing some double decker buses to see if they want to add them to their bus fleet. The best part of the story is that rides on the buses will be FREE! The bus routes are listed at the end of the story.

The article said "Muni will be running the double-decker bus, on loan to the city by a British company, on various routes through Jan. 8 to test public reaction, which will help agency officials decide whether to put the buses on their wish list for future purchase. If the first day of the pilot project was any indication, Muni will be adding double-deckers to its fleet, and the fact that rides on the 83-seat bus are free during the test phase isn't hurting.
"This is like an early Christmas present," said Roberto Martinez, who settled in on the top deck next to his girlfriend for a ride down Mission Street. From the view to the cloth seats, the 34-year-old waiter declared, "I like everything about it."
The approaching bus seemed to take most people by surprise as they waited for the 49-Van Ness/Mission. But they got on - some eagerly, some reluctantly - when it stopped to pick them up and they saw the Muni logo on the side.
"I thought it was a tour bus at first," said Edith Lam, a 23-year-old home-care aide who boarded near City College and quickly climbed the stairs for a seat with a view. "What a great idea. I love it."
If nothing else, the test run looks like it will give Muni - oft the subject of grumbling because of its problems with reliability and overcrowding - a public relations bump. But city transit officials are looking beyond that.
Double-decker buses, which are part of the public transit systems in London, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Washington state's Snohomish County and closer to home in Davis, have several benefits.
They can transport a lot of people without taking up too much space on some of San Francisco's notoriously congested streets, and they're easier to maneuver than the double-jointed articulated buses used on the busiest corridors. They also will take up less floor space in the maintenance yards, which already are jam packed.
On the downside, they have a reputation of taking longer for passengers to get on and off. And that's not good news, considering that Muni buses travel at an average speed of 8 mph, already making it one of the slowest transit systems in the nation.
As for how it handles, veteran Muni driver Donald Jordan, who took the wheel of the bus Wednesday, said he didn't see much difference.
"A coach is a coach," he declared. "It's just taller." It reaches 14 feet.
He did, however, pay extra attention to avoiding overhanging tree limbs. "I don't want to tear a hole in (the bus) or break a window."
Probably a good idea, considering the $800,000 bus is on loan from the British manufacturer, Alexander Dennis Ltd. The company's goodwill gesture in San Francisco may translate into a lucrative business deal.
Hilda Dompe, 65, a visitor from Nicaragua who was in San Francisco to visit her sister, clapped in joy as she sat in the coveted front seat on the top deck and said she hopes the city buys more double-deckers. "San Francisco is so beautiful. What a great way to see the city."

Where to find the double-decker
-- Dec. 13-15 and 17 on the 49-Van Ness/Mission line, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
-- Dec. 18-22 on the 38-L Geary line, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
-- Dec. 24, 26-28 on the 1BX-California line, 6:49 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
-- Dec. 24, 26-28 on the 14-L Mission line, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
-- Dec. 24, 26-28 on the IBX-California, 4:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
-- Dec. 29 on the 14L-Mission, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
-- Dec. 31 and Jan. 2-5 on the 38-Geary, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
-- Jan 7 and 8, lines to be determined.

If you're visiting and want to ride the bus:
The 38L is a nice ride out to the Cliff House/Ocean Beach
The 1BX California would be a fun ride as well
The 14L will take you out to the Mission District

For more information and to check for schedule changes go to

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Chancellor Hotel's 2007 Holiday Reception

For a variety of reasons this year, the annual Holiday Stroll in Union Square was put on hold. It has been held on the first Thursday in December for the last 4 years, and we have always really enjoyed it. With the Holiday Spirit still gushing at the Chancellor Hotel, we really wanted to do something in its place - and did we!

We decided to have our own Holiday Reception-Open House and invite the Union Square Association Members from all around the Square. We dressed things up, moved things around and Chef Lidia Valledor prepared some wonderful hors d' oeuvres that made for a great event.

Below are a collection of shots from the reception

A Lobby Full of People Eating, Drinking & Being Merry
The Chef's Gingerbread Chancellor Hotel - Our annual tradition

Moved things around in the dining room to accommodate everyone and put out some great food.

Before and after

If You Missed It, Come Join Us Next Year!

December 4, 2008

Friday, December 7, 2007

We try

This time of year, we get a lot of special requests from our guests and everyone arrives early and departs late. We have many folks who come year after year and want a particular room or location. We have others that come with friends and family that want several rooms together. Sometimes, we have requests for several rooms together, on a particular floor in a particular location. That's tough to deliver, but we take the request and do our best. No hotel tries to honor every request more than the Chancellor. It takes a lot of people to coordinate together and insure a lot of steps are followed. However, the bottom line is that a request is a request and there is no way any hotel can actually guarantee a particular room, location and the like. The fact is, there are too many variables that are out of a hotel's control. A simple example is that a request can be noted on a reservation, the room pre-blocked for the guest and everything in order for the guest's arrival only to have a major maintenance issue cause that room to become unrentable the day of arrival. People have said, "but I made my reservation months ago!" Unfortunately, everything can be in perfect order right up to the day of arrival, then something goes wrong. If the other rooms that meet the requested criteria are already occupied, there is nothing that can be done. Unfortunately, people don't check out as scheduled, rooms get damaged, maintenance issues can occur and there are a lot of opportunities for human error. Please understand we are doing our best and failure to honor a request is NEVER from lack of trying.

Another issue is the 3pm check in time. If a guest wants to check in by 3pm, we will guarantee it. We will nearly always have a room available for a 3pm check in. However, if a guest has requested a particular room, location, etc., the 3pm check in guarantee does not apply. If a guest wants a room, we will provide a great room for check in by 3pm. If a guest has some specific requests, that changes the deal and our ability to honor the requests may require extra time. However, the choice is always the guests'.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

60 Years of Participation

At the Annual Luncheon of the California Hotel & Lodging Association on December 4th, at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, the Chancellor Hotel was recognized as a Six Decade Member of the Association. The California Hotel & Lodging Association is the largest state hotel association in the country and the Chancellor Hotel is proud to be one of the few members out of the nearly 1,600 that have been a member for more than 60 years.

Above, Ollie Rodriguez, Executive Housekeeper, accepted the award on behalf of the Chancellor Hotel. Ollie has been with the hotel for 26 years.

The Chancellor Management Team at the Luncheon From left: Rick Moorhouse, Engineer; Darla Snodgrass, Group Sales; Wes Tyler, General Manager; Monica Dardon, Catering Manager; Ollie Rodriguez, Executive Housekeeper; Yuko Okumoto, Hotel Manager-F&B; Ellen Tsai, Controller; and Lidia Valledor, Chef

Monday, November 26, 2007

Renovation Completed!

We started renovating 1/2 a floor per week back in May 2007 and slowly but surely moved through the building top to bottom. We did it with almost no disruption and complaints. A special THANK YOU to our Chief Engineer, Rick Moorhouse and the Executive Housekeeper, Ollie Rodriguez. They are the reason everything went so well.

One Queen Bedded Room


Two Twin Bedded Room after

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Yesterday was Black Friday topped off with the Macy*s Christmas Tree Lighting. The City was alive. The decorations are up, Union Square was buzzing and everything was good. Here are a few pictures from the day.
Lots of people on the streets & SFPD Mounted Patrol

Macy*s Christmas Tree is now Lit through the Holidays!

We hope you will come spend a night with us in the City and check out the "buzz" for yourself. We have great mid-week rates and packages including FREE parking and more. Everyone at check in gets a shopping coupon package. Call us at 1-800-428-4748
for reservations.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why Bother Sometimes?

Below is a review that a guest posted on TripAdvisor. They requested a renovated room and when they checked in, they got one of our last rooms that still had not been renovated. It was one of those rare cases when there was no other room available. Elmer, who was working at the front desk, called me that night when they checked in and complained. We discussed the situation and we decided to offer them a free night to stay in the "old" room or we would pay for them to stay at another hotel. Way, way above normal protocol. Typically, a request is a request and if it can not be honored, oh well. "Sorry" is all you get. To offer to pay for a room at another hotel when we would have a room go vacant is unheard of in the business. When I came to work the next day, I enquired about the guest, what happened, etc. I noticed we also gave them a $25 food and beverage credit to have breakfast on us. I heard nothing. Usually, someone will say something at check out or again during their stay if they are not happy. It is our policy to make everyone happy to the best of our ability and if they had said something, we would have done more. We are not perfect but if we make a mistake we will make it right. I thought we did that in this case. I just don't understand how someone can be so unforgiving when we try so hard to make things right. How can someone be so spiteful that they feel the need to post such a thing after we gave them a choice, they chose and we did exactly what they wanted. They very easily could have gone to another hotel. It is very frustrating to think we could have said, tough luck and done nothing and the posting they made about us would not have been hardly any different. People like this ruin things for everyone else and make it difficult to serve the rest the way they should. So it goes...

Here is the posting off TripAdvisor:

San Francisco: Chancellor Hotel on Union Square: "Don't Stay Here!"
advocate73, El Dorado Hills, CA Nov 19, 2007

My experience with this property took place in: November, 2007

We booked a recently renovated room. What we received was a room with a worn, dirty bedspread, dirty bathroom floor and tub, and soiled furniture. The bed was so brick hard and uncomfortable that we were unable to get any sleep. We asked for the newly renovated room that we booked or a suite, and were told that none was available. The desk clerk did have a cleaner worn bedspread and better linen put on the bed, but the bathroom floor and tub still looked dirty and worn. The bathroom was so small that you could barely sit on the toilet without bumping into the sink. The remote didn't work for the TV, but it didn't matter because it was an old model with bad reception. Since it was my birthday, they did give us a nice bottle of wine. Also, they offered to comp our room or let us find another hotel. We chose the compensation since it was too late to find another hotel, but it was a miserable night on a brick hard bed. The room picture on the internet must have been taken a long time ago, because it did not reflect the actual room.
Oh and by the way, if they had used TripAdvisor to research their hotel before staying, instead of using it to "get even" after their stay, they would have seen the comments about the pictures and known the bathrooms are small.

What do you think? Tell me if I am out of line or click on their TripAdvisor ID and tell them.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Week

As we approach Thanksgiving this Thursday, the hotel is quiet and everyone is gearing up for the Holidays. Macy*s Christmas Tree is up and they are getting it decorated for the big lighting ceremony this Friday the 23rd at 6pm.
Of course, the Friday after Thanksgiving is a big one on Union Square. The day, known as "Black Friday" because that was the day the retailers were in the "black" and the holiday sales were the profits. Good holiday sales meant good profits. Not really the case anymore. However, still a huge shopping day in Union Square. Other groups have declared "Black Friday" in Union Square as their day as well. Animal Rights groups have named it Fur Free Friday. They usually protest against buying fur in front of Nieman Marcus and Saks 5th Avenue. The group, In Defense of Animals, will be out from 8am to 3pm. Two other groups, Women in Black and Do Nothing/Buy Nothing, will be out protesting around the Square along with other smaller groups. Busy day, lots of traffic and people. To me, with the decorations, store windows and all, it is a lot of fun and a very high energy day that is capped off with the Tree Lighting at 6pm. One of my favorite days on Union Square.

Friday, November 16, 2007

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is one of our busiest times. We always sell out and this year we have some great deals. We have several packages such as:

$300 New Year's Day Brunch Package
Welcome bottle of Champagne, a great room with one queen bed or two twins, New Year's Day Brunch and Late Checkout at 2:00pm.

$325 New Year's Eve Dinner Package
Welcome bottle of Champagne, a great room with one queen bed or two twins,New Year's Eve Prix Fixe Four Course Dinner for two at LUQUES Restaurant and Late Checkout at 2:00pm.

$350 New Year's Brunch and Dinner Package
Welcome bottle of Champagne, a great room with one queen bed or two twins,New Year's Eve Prix Fixe Four Course Dinner for two at LUQUES Restaurant and New Year's Day Brunch and Late Checkout at 2:00pm

Call 1-800-428-4748 For Reservations

The dinner package is the best deal. The room only rate is $275/nt plus tax. For only $50 more, you get a 4 course dinner for two that we are charging $75 per person for PLUS tax and gratuity.

New Year's is a busy time in the Union Square area. The restaurants, theaters and streets are all very busy. That is my longest night of the year. I usually work from mid-morning until 3-4am the next year. We have extra security procedures in place and only our registered guests are allowed into the guest room areas. This procedure keeps out the parties and allows our guests to get a pretty good night's sleep whenever they are ready.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chancellor Holiday Giving

This holiday season, the Chancellor Hotel has two ideas to spread the joy of the season. The first one is to adopt a family that we will help have a special Christmas. The family of 4 will prepare a wish list and everyone at the hotel will chip in to get them everything on the list. This is a new community effort and we look forward to seeing how it goes.

For our second year in a row, we are also soliciting food and money for the San Francisco Food Bank. We have barrells in the employee break area where everyone can put donated food. The picture to the right shows our cook, Jose, donating some food. Thank you, Jose!

Last year, we accumulated over 1,000 pounds of food and several hundred dollars in cash.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Welcome to my new Blog. I am the general manager of the Chancellor Hotel on Union Square. I have been at the hotel since 1993. I am an active participant on TripAdvisor, however, with the restrictions and rules they apply to the hotel side, I wanted to have another format to openly discuss the joys and frustrations of being a hotel manager. I hope you enjoy my thoughts.

Serving people has got to be one of the most interesting things that can be done as a career. Everyone is unique in this world. - - The servers and the serve -ees. - - What is right or wrong, liked or disliked is only in the mind of the people being served and the people providing the service. Matching our service and product with the likes and dislikes of our guests is the challenge we face every day. Not only is it difficult to meet the expectations (the likes and dislikes) of all these unique people, but we have to do it without making a mistake. That is impossible. I have yet to meet the perfect person - the one who never makes a mistake. Thus, there is not a more imperfect situation than people serving people. This Blog will be the story of us dealing with this imperfect situation.