Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dine About Town June 1-15!

It's like you've dined and gone to heaven. Dine About Town is back - again - for 2008! Now you have a second chance to try the restaurants you may have missed in January. Save on a specially prepared 3-course lunch for $21.95 or dinner for $31.95. Dates and times of participation vary by restaurant. Menus subject to change.

This is a great deal and should not be missed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Big Myth

One of our long time guests sent me the following email asking if it was true. IT IS NOT TRUE! It is an fake scare email.

Hotel keys are not coded with personal guest information. Check for more information on the myth:

Here is the email that is going around:
This is pretty good info. Never even thought about key cards containing anything other than an access code for the room!
Ever wonder what is on your magnetic key card?
Answer: a. Customer's name b. Customer's partial home address c. Hotel room number d. Check-in date and out dates e. Customer's credit card number and expiration date!
When you turn them in to the front desk your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner. An employee can take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device, access the i! nformation onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your expense.
Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an employee reissues the card to the next hotel guest. At that time, the new guest's information is electronically 'overwritten' on the card and the previous guest's information is erased in the overwriting process.
But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it usually is kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!
The bottom line is: Keep the cards, take them home with you, or destroy them. NEVER leave them behind in the room or room wastebasket, and NEVER turn them into the front desk when you check out of a room. They will not charge you for the card (it's illegal) and you'll be sure you are not leaving a lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily lifted off with a! ny simple scanning devic e card reader.
For the same reason, if you arrive at the airport and discover you still have the card key in your pocket, do not toss it in an airport trash basket. Take it home and destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the electronic information strip!
If you have a small magnet, pass it across the magnetic strip several times. Then try it in the door, it will not work. It erases everything on the card.
Information courtesy of: Pasadena Police Department PLEASE FORWARD to friends and family.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Love is in the Air on Powell Street!

Mario Lopez was next door at Borders Books doing a book signing and Tina had to run over and get her booked signed.

It was all she talked about all day.

Back to work, Tina!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Be a Part of Change - Don't Give Change. Use the new Homeless Parking Meters

San Francisco is finally acknowledging what I think is one of the most important aspects of dealing effectively with its "homeless" population - NOT TO GIVE MONEY TO PEOPLE ON THE STREET! It doesn't help them and keeps them begging because it works. If the money was not there, they would use the services available or go somewhere else where they will get money.

It kills me to see local workers or tourists giving people money on the street because doing that only keeps that person on the street a little bit longer. And, a great majority of the time, that money is used for drugs and alcohol. Tourists and local workers are some of the most common people complaining about the problem of people panhandling and when they give money, they are just maintaining the problem.
If you want to give or help these folks, give to the organizations that provide services to them via the new meters. Look for them when you visit. Give to the meters and pass the folks on the street begging guilt free.

Here is the story as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

Rather than tossing loose change into a panhandler's empty cup, San Francisco officials want you instead to slide your spare quarters and nickels into a homeless meter.
The city's latest attempt to deal with one of its most vexing problems will be announced in coming weeks in the form of 10 old parking meters installed in some of the most heavily panhandled areas, The Chronicle has learned.
Money deposited in the meters would go directly to charities that help the homeless. The goal, officials say, is to reduce panhandling and to educate tourists and residents about the problem of giving money directly to people on the streets.
"The reason people are panhandling is because there's a market for panhandling," Mayor Gavin Newsom said Monday. "We're not helping these individuals by handing out cash. If there was strong evidence to suggest this helped people turn their lives around, we would not be using this approach."
The bright orange meters, donated by the city's Department of Parking and Traffic, will be scattered along places like Market Street and Van Ness Avenue that typically attract a steady stream of panhandlers every day. The meters will be accompanied by signs telling people how they can give money to help the homeless.
The slogan for the program and accompanying advertising campaign will be plastered on the meters: "Be a part of change. Don't give change."
The plan is to have the Department of Parking and Traffic employees who collect money from parking meters also collect money from the homeless meters. The money would be divided among local nonprofit organizations, Newsom said.
A handful of cities around the country, including Denver and Baltimore, have installed homeless meters in recent years. And while the programs haven't necessarily been lucrative, some cities have seen less panhandling as a result.
Newsom and his homelessness czar, Dariush Kayhan, say it's worth a try.
"This is not going to solve poverty," Kayhan said. "But it is another strategy to see if we can save lives out there."
Local advocates for the homeless, however, laughed - and gasped - when told about the idea Monday.
Sister Bernie Galvin, executive director of Religious Witness with Homeless People, called the meter idea "utterly ridiculous." She said it was based on a stereotype that all panhandlers use every nickel and dime to buy drugs and alcohol.
"Forget the children, forget the mothers who are struggling to raise their family homeless or in inadequate housing," she said. "Will the city never give up on trying to find ways to make the lives of homeless people harder?"
Homeless advocate and community organizer James Chionsini liked the idea at first - until he realized you don't actually get parking for your change. Then he said it sounded like a political stunt that would have very little impact on funding homelessness programs or stopping panhandlers.
"I'd rather give it to a panhandler than put it in a meter personally," he said. "At least if you give it to them personally, you're going to get a smile." Newsom contends that most of the panhandlers in San Francisco aren't actually homeless but are supplementing government assistance with the money people give them.
Over the years, city leaders have struggled to curb the panhandling problem, which is largely centered around tourist areas and downtown. City officials estimate that about 150 panhandlers are on city streets on any given day.
In 2003, the San Francisco Hotel Council funded a $65,000 billboard campaign that linked panhandling to drug abuse and sexually transmitted diseases.
One ad read, "Today we rode a cable car, visited Alcatraz and supported a drug habit."
Homeless advocates said the campaign was mean-spirited, and then-state Sen. John Burton took out ads of his own reading, "Jesus gave money to poor people on the streets of Galilee."
Also in 2003, then-Supervisor Newsom authored Proposition M, a voter-approved measure that banned aggressive panhandling in public places.
Paul Boden, director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project that deals with homelessness issues, recalled attempts under previous mayors to place jars by cash registers in businesses and sell coupons for services that could then be handed over to panhandlers. He said the meters idea was especially "asinine" and San Francisco's all-time second-worst idea to curb panhandling.
The worst, he said, was a failed proposal during Willie Brown's administration to equip homeless people with credit-card machines like those used for retail purchases. People could swipe their cards and choose how much to donate, with 80 percent going to homeless programs and 20 percent to the individual panhandlers.
"It's not fair for the government to create this incredible level of poverty and then turn around to the rest of the community and say, 'Harden your hearts and give the money to us,' " Boden said. "Human beings when they see other human beings are going to give a little change, and that's good."
But Newsom asked doubters to keep an open mind. He said aggressive panhandling is by far the top complaint he hears from people.
"I ask them to give us a chance," he said. "If it doesn't work, show me the evidence, and then we'll abandon it."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Union Square vs. Fisherman's Wharf

It seems this question comes up a lot and I wrote a piece for the TripAdvisor Inside Pages on the topic that others have added to. It has now evolved into a point-counter point for the question. I thought I would post it on my blog since we just got a review from a guest on the topic. I can count on one hand the number of times someone has said that they wish they had stayed at Fisherman's Wharf instead of Union Square, but there are many that echo the comments in the review below.

Here is a portion of the review from the guest we just received on TripAdivsor:

“Lovely hotel”

May 4, 2008
We initially wanted to stay in Fisherman's wharf, but couldn't because the hotel was booked up. When we got to San Francisco we were SO glad we were staying in Union square instead! We chose this hotel based on the reviews on Trip Advisor, and it certainly met our expectations. On booking the room, we had asked for a room... more
Here is the Point - Counter point on the question:
People coming to visit San Francisco often ask "What area is best to stay in?" Although there are many great places in the city to stay, the most commonly recommended locations are Fisherman's Wharf and Union Square. Everyone is different, but here is the point-counter point in the age old battle of UNION SQUARE vs. FISHERMAN'S WHARF
The argument for Union Square -
Union Square is the premier area of San Francisco. The Wharf is a great place to spend the day, but Union Square is the Heart of the City. Union Square is to San Francisco what the French Quarter, Times Square, Michigan Ave and the Riverwalk are to their cities. Union Square offers a variety of hotels, cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, etc., that are unique to San Francisco.
Fisherman's Wharf, with a few exceptions, is filled with chain hotels and restaurants that have no character and once you walk inside you might as well be in Iowa. Union Square is in the center of it all. You can walk from Union Square to Yerba Buena Gardens, MOMA, Metreon, San Francisco Center, Chinatown, the Theater District, and Nob Hill. You can walk a little further to North Beach, the Ferry Building, the Embarcadero and Fisherman's Wharf or they are easily accessible by Street Car or Cable Car.
Union Square is a center for transit and all other areas are easily traveled to via bus, street car, metro or taxi. Check out With regard to safety, there is no difference other than at night. There is more activity at Union Square into the night with the cable cars running until 1am or so, the theatres letting out and bars open. This means there are more people out and about and most people feel safer in active areas. Fisherman's Wharf gets quiet at night and there are not as many people on the streets around the hotels and things.
The argument for Fisherman's Wharf -
Fisherman's Wharf has the fog coming in on the bay, the fishing boats and the sound of water. It FEELS like vacation, for many travelers! And yes, it does have t-shirt and novelty stores, as well as chain restaurants -- the Bubba Gumps, the Hooters, the Rainforest Cafes -- that you find in every tourist center.
For those who have heard of it or crave it, this is the one place you can get an In-N-Out Burger in San Francisco. It's a short and easy walk to the Alcatraz ferries and to Pier 39 to visit the sea lions who have taken over the decks nearby. If you have more time you can take a beautiful walk along the waterfront to the Ferry Building further down along the Embarcadero.
When you make a grand circle by coming down Market Street up to Union Square, you can take a cable car back to your hotel, or a historic streetcar along the waterfront back. Fisherman's Wharf is San Francisco's connection to its rich maritime history, just right under your nose if you look for it. The Maritime National Historical Park is here, the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien, one of the last of the Liberty ships of World War II is docked at Pier 45 for tours. One can also tour the USS. Pampanito, a World War II submarine at the same pier, and the tall-masted ship the Balclutha, the 1895 schooner the C.A. Thayer are berthed at the Hyde Street Pier. Teaching sailboats are berthed there. That's another local's perspective on the particular charms of Fisherman's Wharf.
Conclusion -
A lot of people like the Wharf as a place to stay and a lot like Union Square. That's why there is chocolate and vanilla. There is no right or wrong answer. As long as you are in San Francisco, it's all good. For families traveling with young kids, the Wharf is often a good choice. For international visitors who want to do the touristy things then being slap bang middle of the wharf is a great time spend your vacation whilst taking the cable car to the Square. For people traveling as a couple or alone, Union Square is an ideal choice. And for everyone else, remember San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods. There is an ideal one out there for you.
Remember, there are other areas where tourists also stay, for a variety of reasons, from North Beach, to Japantown, to the Marina district (which abounds with motor lodges with free parking for those with cars), Pacific Heights, to the out by the ocean on the Great Highway. Not all may be convenient or ideal for a first-time stay; it just depends on your travel style. Additionally, a third, popular location often recommended after Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf is the Embarcadero, which boasts waterside proximity, convenient public transit, and the Ferry Building a short walk out the door.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Chancellor Rates Highly with Expedia Guests

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The list includes just the top 1% of all our hotels and resorts—so you know they must be great.Check it out today!

We are proud and honored that The Chancellor Hotel is number 695 on the list of 900. Higher rated than the 5 star St. Regis. Higher rated than the Fairmont and the only 3 star hotel on the list in San Francisco. Not bad for a little, independent, family owned and operated hotel.

Thank you!