Sternlicht’s luxe hotel brand opens with green fanfare on SF’s Embarcadero

200-room 1 Hotel replaces Hotel Vitale, touts environmentally sustainable decor and dining

Starwood Capital Group's Barry S. Sternlicht (SH Hotels & Resorts, 1 Hotel San Francisco)
Starwood Capital Group's Barry S. Sternlicht (SH Hotels & Resorts, 1 Hotel San Francisco)

A luxury San Francisco hotel near the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero has been spruced up as environmentally friendly and reopened under a new name.

The new 1 Hotel San Francisco replaces Hotel Vitale at 8 Mission St., the San Francisco Chronicle reported. It’s the first in the Bay Area run by international luxury hotel chain SH Hotels & Resorts.

The Miami-based chain, an affiliate of Barry Sternlicht’s global private investment firm Starwood Capital Group, reopened the waterfront hotel after a $25 million renovation by Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, which bought the property in February 2020, according to SFist.

Its 1 Hotel bills itself “as the first mission-driven lifestyle hotel brand inspired by nature.”

The new Embarcadero hotel preserves much of the historic space of Hotel Vitale, which opened in 2005, while adding a focus on sustainability.

The 1 Hotel San Francisco has 186 rooms and 14 suites, and like the Vitale before it, there’s a rooftop spa. Its green addition is a rooftop garden with herbs, produce and beehives. Rooms run from $529 and up, according to its website.

Its earth-tone design includes terracotta accents and native plants. Its lobby floor is fashioned from reclaimed lumber from barns and industrial buildings. Its corridors are decked in reclaimed redwood from the original San Francisco Bay Bridge, according to the hotel. Its rugs and carpets in the rooms are made with natural plant fibers and recyclable wool.

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“We’re bringing nature indoors to reconnect with it,” Raul Leal, chief executive officer of SH Hotels & Resorts, which also runs Treehouse Hotels and Baccarat Hotels, told the Chronicle. “Sustainability should come naturally to us and guide our journey.”

The 221-seat restaurant once known as Americano has been reborn as Terrene, a farm-to-table restaurant with an outdoor patio that aims to source most ingredients from within 50 miles of the Bay Area. Its menu tilts Latin American and Mediterranean, with an agave bent to a “zero-waste” cocktail selection.

A dinner menu, with dishes priced from $11 to $38, features such dishes as an $18 plate of roasted carrots from Marin County’s Star Route Farms with tahini mousse whipped up from leftover chickpea cooking liquid. It’s topped with spiced local honey, chervil and dill plucked from the rooftop garden.

Hotel guests can attend yoga and meditation sessions on the terrace and borrow e-bikes to partially peddle around the city.

The opening of the hotel comes during a rebound of the San Francisco hotel industry as tourists and business travelers flock back to Bay City. Hotel demand rose 118 percent during the first quarter, compared to the same period last year, according to the city’s tourism bureau.

[San Francisco Chronicle, SFist] – Dana Bartholomew

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