Saturday, January 26, 2008

If you stay at the Chancellor Hotel...

The Chancellor Hotel is a great little hotel in a great location, right on the Powell Street Cable Car Line, overlooking Union Square. The hotel was built in 1914. While the hotel has been very well maintained over the years, and we just finished a complete room refurbishment, it is a 94 year old building. They built things a lot differently almost 100 years ago. The best way to think about it is like a classic old car. A Ford Model T could be in perfect shape and work fine. It could even have some new parts and additions, but it is still a Model T. It could run fine and get you from point "A" to point "B" but is doesn't go as fast and clinks and clanks down the road. However, it is fun to drive and a great way to experience the way things were. But, it is a lot different than a Ford built today! The Chancellor Hotel offers great accommodations in a great location, but it is far from the typical American hotel of today. If someone stays at the hotel, they should expect to experience a lot of the character and charm (clinks and clanks) of a classic original. The one thing the Chancellor Hotel is very proud of is that it is a true San Francisco original. We think that is really the best feature.

Don't be mislead by our high rating on TripAdvisor. It does not mean we are better than the hotels that are not as highly rated. I think our high rating means that most of our guests have done their research and selected a hotel that was right for them, and they were happy. The Chancellor Hotel is not the best choice for a lot of people. We are a classic and not everyone wants a classic. We have nothing to hide and want our guests to be happy. If you are not sure if the Chancellor is right for you, give us a call. Ask your questions. We'll give you the honest answers. We don't need to "sell" someone on the hotel. We want people to select us because we are what they will be happy with.

The Chancellor is a 3 Diamond hotel. There are 1 & 2 Diamonds below us and 4 & 5 Diamonds above us. We are right in the middle. If you want a 3 Diamond hotel, we are a great one. If you want a 4 Diamond hotel, but select us because we are highly rated on review sites, you will be disappointed.

The Chancellor Hotel is what it is and we do not want to change. We are not perfect and make mistakes. If we make a mistake, we will make it right. However, if you don't like us because you think the room is too small or because we do not have air conditioning, that is not our fault. That is how we are and even the slightest bit of research would communicate those characteristics of the hotel. With the Internet today, all the information is out there. And, since everyone uses the Internet to book their own travel, they are responsible for their own choices. In the olden days, we used travel agents to help us decide. We could blame the travel agents in the past for hotels that were booked that we didn't like. In my humble opinion, if you book your own travel, you only have yourself to blame if you don't like your hotel.

Feel free to make requests as well. Why leave things to chance if you know you want a view? Why leave things to chance if you are bothered by even the smallest of noise? Request a view room. Request a quiet room. You have a better chance of getting what you want if you ask for it. Of course, a request is a request, but we do try our best to honor all requests. Again, there is a better chance of getting what you want and being happy if you tell us in advance.

We want you to have a great visit in a great city. If that is at the Chancellor Hotel, that is wonderful. If it is at one of the many other hotels, that is good, too. We just want you to have a good time regardless.

Friday, January 25, 2008

There is such a thing as a FREE Lunch!


Luques Restaurant & Bar inside the Chancellor Hotel on Union Square would like to thank you for voting on February 5th.

Bring in your ballot receipt and lunch is on us.

Thanks for voting!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Chancellor Hotel Welcomes...

The Chancellor Hotel welcomes two new faces, Brittany and Miguel from Ida B. Wells High School.

They are students joining us for a short, 90 hour training internship. The purpose of the program is to provide some work experience and a reference for them to break into the working world.

The students will be working in Housekeeping and the Guest Services Department. If you see them, say hello.

Pictured above: from left, Wes Tyler, General Manager; Miguel, Brittany; Ollie Rodriguez, Executive Housekeeper

Friday, January 18, 2008

This is not a Joke.

Are you ready for this one? The San Francisco Board of Supervisors have put an initiative on the February Ballot in San Francisco to ask the voters if it should be the policy of the City to buy Alcatraz from the U.S. Government and turn it into a "Global Peace Center." Here is the actual proposition:

Proposition C Adopting a Policy that the City Acquire Alcatraz Island to Make it a Global Peace Center -- City and County of San Francisco (Initiative Policy Delaration - Majority Approval Required to Pass)
Shall it be City policy that the City should explore and facilitate the acquisition of Alcatraz Island from the United States Government to transform it into a Global Peace Center?

This is no joke.

The San Francisco political leaders are so out of touch with reality that they want to take the #1 tourist attraction and turn it into a Global Peace Center. Now, I am not against peace, but give me a break! What's next, get rid of the cable cars? I am sure there is no way this could ever really happen, but when the City Government takes the time to do this type of thing and thinks it's a good idea, makes me wonder. But, I guess that is part of the reason San Francisco is the "special" place that it is. Come see for yourself.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Please read what you are signing

Over the years, we have added rules and policies on our registration form for guests to acknowledge because when there was an issue, the response was "Nobody told me..." We want to make sure several house policies and rules get communicated up front to avoid any misunderstandings. Of course, now, we get the excuse that they were tired, didn't read it, or we just told them to initial, so they did. Each one of the rules and policies we are trying to communicate has a story behind it. Please read before you sign or initial!

Do you know how many times the bathtub has overflowed because they started the water and went to sleep despite signing that unattended tubs will overflow and it could cost them $1,000?

How about the time someone put a silk cloth over the light to make the lighting softer and it caught on fire? They put it out on the bed spread and carpet. That was a few hundred dollars in damage.

How about the time the dress is hung on the sprinkler head and it sets off the sprinklers?

The common one is not paying attention to the check out date when they initial and it is wrong. We make mistakes. Guests make mistakes. That is why we ask the check out date to be verified at check in. That is when it can be corrected without any problems. Do you know how many times people initial the check out date when it is wrong because they don't pay attention? It is important! Then, they initial that if they check out earlier than the date they initialled above without 24 hours notice, there is a charge. Then they initial that if they stay longer than the check out date initialed above, we may remove their things from the room. These are important policies we are trying to communicate. Do you know how many people are surprised when we act based on their initials indicating they understand our policies? We just had another one over the weekend. Initialed everything, but did not check out. Very upset that we removed their things (which I understand), but we communicated that up front. What are we supposed to do when someone else wants to check in? If we can ever avoid moving people's things, we do. We wait until the last minute. However, when we have promised a guest that room, they have arrived and we have initials about not checking out on time, we are going to do what we have to do.

It is also upsetting for both sides when we have to charge an early departure fee because someone is checking out a day earlier than the check out date they initialed.

Please pay attention to what you are signing and initialing at check in. It can really ruin your day when something goes wrong. I know it is very uncomfortable for us. Thanks for listening.

Friday, January 11, 2008

San Francisco is Not Car Friendly

A common complaint people have when staying in San Francisco has to do with parking and driving a car. San Francisco has a transit first policy and private cars are discouraged. When I look at TripAdvisor, I see complaints about parking at nearly every hotel. The common complaints are about the price of parking and issues with moving a car around.

Parking is expensive in San Francisco. There is no way around that. The parking tax a garage pays is 25%. Luckily a tax increase to 35% was just voted down. Also, labor is expensive and valet parking is very labor intensive. Most of the hotels, the smaller ones in particular, do not have onsite parking and sub-contract the service. Even hotels with onsite parking contact the service out. The higher-end hotels charge upwards of $55/nt for valet parking, plus 14% tax. We charge $35 plus tax for a regular sized car. I always find it funny how people complain about the excessive cost of parking at the high-end hotels. When people are paying $300-$500/nt for a room, breakfast is $40 a person and the internet is $9.95/day, why wouldn't the parking be just as overpriced? For us, we charge what the valet company charges us with a small mark up to cover our costs. $35 for a regular car and $45 for an oversized vehicle is on the lower side of the average. We don't set the price, the valet company does. There is nothing we can do about it. They need to charge what they need to charge to do business.

Regarding driving and delays in the City, it happens. As long as we order the car as requested, we have done our part. Whenever a person moves from one point to another, there is a chance of a delay. There can be a traffic delay anywhere, anytime. In a city, there is even a better chance of traffic delay situations because it is so busy. Be surprised when your car arrives within 20 minutes, and be understanding if it takes longer. The valet company serves many hotels in the City. When a car is ordered, it is delivered as quickly as they can. Of course, there are peak times when delays are most likely such as Fridays at 5pm, 12 noon check out time, Sunday morning check out time, holidays and special event periods. When a lot of people are doing the same thing at the same time, delays will occur.

If you don't like our valet service and think "I am going to stay somewhere else" Guess what? The valet service for that hotel may be the same one you are trying to escape at the Chancellor. Our valet provider serves many of the hotels around us. The Chancellor does offer two parking options which not many other hotels do. You can always use the 450 Sutter Garage to park your car which is only $22/nt plus tax and never has delays because you go to your car to get it. That is our offsite option.

When arriving at the Chancellor Hotel by Car: There is a white zone in front of the hotel for guest loading and unloading. Pull your car into the white zone leaving as little space between cars as possible. Be sure to CURB your wheels! From there, when you register, we will offer valet parking or the offsite garage. In those rare occasions when there is not room to park in the white zone when you arrive, do NOT double park or leave your car unattended at a red or yellow curb. You must circle the block and/or have another person in your party run inside the hotel to ask for assistance. The white zone is available on a first come first serve basis and is busiest during peak check in and check out times.

If all that is not bad enough, San Francisco is looking at a congestion pricing program. That is a system to charge everyone a fee that drives a car into a certain zone during certain hours. Stay tuned.

The good news is that at the Chancellor Hotel, you do not need a car. The hotel has an excellent location right on Union Square. Union Square is the Heart of the City. All transist leads in and out of the Union Square Area and most of the popular sights and attractions are within an easy walk. Use the links below to see if you can avoid a car.
Helpful Links:
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Door to Door Share Ride Shuttle

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Eve at the Chancellor Hotel

Happy New Year!

We rung in the new year with new rooms, great food, bubbly champagne and a lots of decorations.
New Year's Eve started out as a beautiful clear day with lots of people on the streets. Union Square was alive with the end of the year spirit.

Here is a view from the hotel looking down Powell Street. Union Square is off to the left and you can see the Christmas Tree at the edge of the picture. The tree is left up until after the new year now. The front desk was decorated and the guys were ready to check in the revelers. We had great packages that included dinner in Luques Restaurant, New Year's Day brunch or both. Everyone was treated to a nice bottle of champagne and souvenir glasses.

In the bar getting ready for the count down.

Luques Restaurant was Puttin' on the Ritz

Our New Year's Eve Menu

It was a great success and everyone enjoyed their special dinner.

The Chef, Lidia Valledor and her assistant working hard to put out her wonderful menu
The Pink Peppercorn Seared Ahi Tuna, Potato Rosti with Sauteed Spinach Circled by a Gingered Carrot Sauce in the Window
Mao taking out the second course selection of a Melange of Crab, Avocado and Tomato with Tobiko Caviar on a bed of Frisse Salad lightly drizzled with an Avocado Lime Vinaigrette.
Our New Year's Eve Packages are the best deals on Union Square. If you would like to join us next year, call 1-800-428-4748 and mention you saw the blog. We will take an extra 10% off.
Wishing you the best for 2008!