Friday, December 7, 2012

Guest Room Door Locks Vulnerability

There have been reports of guestroom burglaries attributed to suspects using laptop computers and key cards to open Onity guestroom door locks. The device can be concealed in an iPhone case and a Dry Erase marking pen body and plugs into the door locks.

Thankfully, the Chancellor Hotel does NOT use Onity Locks and is not vulnerable to the problem.
There was a story on the Today Show about the situation.  It looks very concerning.  Whenever I am in a hotel room, I always use the chain or secondary latch.  However, the ability to gain access with the Onity locks is not preventable if you are out of your room.  Of course, the odds of you being a victim are very small, but it is still scary.
We always suggest our guests follow the American Hotel &Lodging Association’s Guest Safety Tips.  Here they are:

NBC News reporter Jeff Rossen explains in a segment on the TODAY Show (click below) highlighting Onity lock vulnerabilities. In the report, security consultant, Jim Stickley, demonstrated the hacking device and the ease with which it can be used to gain access to hotel rooms.

Click here to see the story on the Today Show -   Today Show story on Onity Locks

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square Returns!

I received the news letter and I wanted to pass on the information about the ice skating rink in Union Square...

Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square Presented by Alaska Airlines

Returns to San Francisco with Festive Events for All Ages

City's Most Bustling, Festive Holiday Locale Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Winter in San Francisco would not be the same without gliding across the ice with family and friends at the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines. The ice skating season begins Wednesday, November 7, 2012 and runs through Monday, January 21, 2013. Nestled among the vibrant lights of San Francisco's most popular shopping destination, the ice rink in Union Square is the premier location for outdoor holiday ice skating. A portion of proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco and San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.

"We are so happy to be celebrating our 5th Anniversary of the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines in the heart of San Francisco," says Willy Bietak, Safeway Holiday Ice Rink producer and president of Willy Bietak Productions. "Ice skating in Union Square provides the perfect activity for families, couples and dates. Everyone will be charmed by the festive lights and holiday magic."

The ice rink will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., with the exception of closing at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, December 31, 2012. Ticket prices for regular admission are $10 and $6 for children eight years old and under. Ice skate and hockey skate rentals are $5.

Advance tickets can be purchased NOW by clicking here. Starting Wednesday, November 7, 2012 tickets will be available at the ice rink ticket window in Union Square. Group rates and private parties are also available.

Dates to Remember:

November 7 - Opening Day

November 8 - Giants' PRIDE Night

November 14 - BGCSF Youth Skate Program

November 23 - Tree Lighting Ceremony

November 29 - Icebreaker: SF Single's Night

December 6 - Drag Queens On Ice

January 1 - Polar Bear Skate

January 21 - Last Day to Skate


This holiday skating season, the ice rink will present some exciting events including Opening Ceremony featuring Disney's THE LION KING, Icebreaker: San Francisco Single's Night, the return of Drag Queens on Ice "Bigger, Better and Bawdier!" - and the first ever Polar Bear Skate.

Opening Ceremony

Wednesday, November 7

9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines will kick off the holiday ice skating season with a special opening ceremony featuring Disney's THE LION KING. Grab your scarf and mittens and make your way down to the ice rink to view a local professional ice skating group performing to Disney's THE LION KING's "Circle of Life" sung by Buyi Zama who portrays "Rafiki." This is a must attend family event!

Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco Youth Skate

Wednesday, November 14

4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Icebreaker: San Francisco Single's Night

Thursday, November 29

8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Love is in the air at the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines. Join us for "Icebreaker: San Francisco Single's Night," where the first 100 singles to arrive with their favorite ugly holiday sweater will receive a special gift. Grab your single friends and head down to the ice rink for a single's night mixer! You might just meet your swoon-worthy New Year's Eve kiss!

Drag Queens on Ice; Bigger! Better! Bawdier!

Thursday, December 6

8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The lovely drag queens of San Francisco are returning to the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines for an event that is "Bigger, Better and Bawdier!" The Bay Area's most colorful drag personalities will be returning to the ice for an evening of laughs, lip syncing and lipstick! Drag queens and kings across the bay are encouraged to don their most "gay apparel" for a chance to be honored as "2012 Ice Drag King and Queen."

Polar Bear Skate

Tuesday, January 1

2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines is putting its own spin on Canada's "Polar Bear Swim" with the San Francisco-Style Polar Bear Skate. With California style in mind, ice skaters are encouraged to come in their favorite bathing suit and beach blanket apparel. The first 100 ice skaters will receive a special polar bear skate gift. There will also be a polar bear dance off and a contest for the craziest holiday polar bear bathing suit. Get your shades, bathing suit and best polar bear attire and come to the ice rink to take the plunge!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day in San Francisco

Only in San Francisco...

While most people wear red, give teddy bears or big pink hearts on Valentine's Day, this guy is trying to protect himself from the celebration.

He must have scared some people too. Right before I took this picture, he was just sitting at the tables outside Starbucks on Powell at Sutter Street enjoying his coffee when a fire truck, ambulance and police all speed up with their lights and sirens going. As it turns out, he was just protecting himself from the Valentine's Day air that was filled with love.

Breath deep...Love is in the air!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Another Ghost Story....

I don't need to write a blog, I let other people do it for me because they do it so much better.

Here is a story that a VIP Account of ours received from an out of town visitor that they had booked at the Chancellor. It is too good to keep to ourselves. Enjoy...

Do you have any haunted hotel stories? I do…
Every year, I travel to San Francisco at least 2 or 3 times to shoot for a client of mine… But this past trip (1/30-1/31) was exceptionally interesting…
I landed in San Fran on Monday, Jan. 30th around 9pm and arrived at the hotel I normally stay at, The Chancellor Hotel in Union Square. I checked in, got my room key, took the elevator to the 14th floor, put the key card into the door of 1401.. and as soon as I opened the door… the window to the fire escape flew wide open. The wind blew the long pale curtains into the air just as if out of a scary movie, as if someone had just jumped out the window to escape! Shocked, I took a quick look around to make sure no one was in the room, peeked out the window, thinking I might find a homeless guy on the stairs or something. I closed the window and bolted for the door!
Feeling a bit uneasy, I went back downstairs to the lobby to request a room without access to the fire escape. The young woman at the front desk assigned me to room 1309, evidently a corner room on the other side of the building that wouldn’t be near a fire escape. So I hesitantly accepted the new room key and took the elevator to the 13th floor… (Yes I know, the 13th FLOOR!!!!) The key didn’t work the first few tries but finally when it did I entered the dark room, turned on some lights, sat down on the bed, and tried to unpack some of my things. As I began to get settled in, I noticed a constant knocking on the wall near the far end of the bed, a kind of rhythmic tapping, almost like the sound of a rocking chair hitting the wall. The strange thing was the tapping on the wall wasn’t coming from the wall that was connected to the neighboring room, it was coming from the opposite side wall that had NO room next to it bc this was a corner room. Getting annoyed from the endless patter and having NO idea where it was coming from nor how to stop it… I gathered up my things and went back downstairs once again.
” You’re going to think I am crazy” I said “… but there is a constant tapping on the wall upstairs in that room and I really just need to get some sleep for my shoot tomorrow so may I please just try one more room?” She gave me a exhausted look, barely made eye contact, and attempted to search for a new room that might be available…but it almost seemed routine for her, as if she had heard these complaints on several occasions… so I asked her semi jokingly… ” This place isn’t haunted is it?! hah” .. she looked up, not laughing at all… ” Well… we have only really heard about sightings and strange things happening on the 13th & 14th floors….Oh boy, I have goose bumps just thinking about it!” she said as the hair stood up on her arms.
I was thinking in my head… but trying to keep my cool… (ok fine my jaw dropped… TO THE FLOOR) I said, ” YOUR JOKING right?!?! Are you SURE its ONLY the 13th and 14th floors??? What about the 15th floor or other floors below?!” She assured me it was only those two floors so she assigned me to a room on the 5th floor. I tried to take a deep breath, took the elevator AGAIN to my new room, tried to get settled, called my best friend and told her everything that happened and of course she says ” OMG dude!!” she shrieked,” The whole place is haunted for sure!!! Are you crazy?! Get out of there!”
Game Over. When your bestie tells you to run, you RUN!!! I was already completely freaked out before talking to her, whipping my head around towards every single little sound in the room…but nowwww I have my friend freaked out too!? That amped up my fear level from a 6.5 straight up to a 10!! I shoved my stuff back in my suitcase, stumbled out of the room, pounded on the “down” elevator button in a panic and then bolted for the hotel front doors.. if its one thing I DON’T want to mess with it’s ghosts!!!!
I took my little carry-on suitcase and wheeled it across the street to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. I went up to the guy at the front desk and said ” Listen, I just had a few creepy experiences at the Chancellor hotel next door and I really just need to sleep in a hotel that isn’t haunted, can you help me?” I smiled in hopes that he might be able to calm me down some, but instead he replies semi laughing ” Well, do you want me to tell you what you want to hear… or the truth?”
“We definitely have our fair share of strange stories here too Mam, but that’s only bc most of the hotels are over a 100years old.. ” he began to tell me. ”Whats the NEWEST hotel in San Francisco?!” I asked dead seriously. He directed me toward the W hotel.. it sounded ghost proof so I began on my journey. Alone, tired, and lost in ghost town, I ran across the Four Seasons Hotel where instead of getting directions to the W, I got some answers to my questions. “WHY IS SAN FRANCISCO SO HAUNTED?” I asked dramatically hoping to get a laughing response and hear him say he had no idea what I was talking about.
Ohhh nooo… Instead he began to answer my question with a straight face. ” Well, it is build on a cemetery dating back to the Gold Rush days. The Four Seasons was renovated in 2006 so we haven’t heard as many strange stories since but.. Haven’t you ever heard of the ratio 6 to 1?” I look at him in astonishment wondering why I never learned about this “6 to 1” ratio that he is so surprised that I never heard of… “6 to 1 what?” I asked in confusion… ” There are 6 dead people to every 1 living in San Francisco, you didn’t know that?”
Officially freaked out, I left the hotel and as a last resort I called my sweet and wonderful clients to tell them about my adventure. They insisted that I jump in a cab and join them at their home for a glass of wine and to stay the night in their guest suite… didn’t sound too shabby and as long as it wasn’t haunted I WAS THERE.
I told them the crazy stories over a nice glass of white wine, and then out of curiosity, we decided to google the Chancellor Hotel to see if there were any other creepy stories we could find online… and low and behold we found several stories, but one in particular was a story about a ghost sighting in room 1501 that was posted on the blog of the hotel itself!!! At the end of the story that a guest had submitted to the hotel manager, the hotel commented: “We have had a few people over the years make comments about ghosts and strange occurrences, but this is the most serious, detailed encounter I have ever heard of at the hotel.”
Check out the blog post here:
Do you have a haunted hotel story?? Feel free to share!

Is the Chancellor Hotel haunted? You decide. I was born in San Francisco and grew up in the bay area, but I have never heard of the "6-1." I have heard that when San Francisco was growing, they moved all of the cemetaries to Colma in the 1900s. I have heard that Colma has more people underground than above ground, but not in San Francisco. Not true or logical.
Makes for a great story, though.