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Prominent Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel Unveils Dramatic Renovation
Sophisticated Design Opens Sheraton to New Experiences for Tourists and Groups
            SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 15, 2008 - In a stark departure from the traditional waterfront area theme, the Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf's $33 million renovation here debuts a sophisticated style that opens the hotel up to its surroundings with a bright, flowing design that promotes social interaction.

Eliminating conventional boundaries, the lobby flows seamlessly into a food, beverage and meeting environment, evoking a communal atmosphere in which guests can mingle in adjacent open-air settings. The new design accommodates the trend toward blending tourism with business and creates a community environment that promotes socializing.

The 529-room hotel is one of the largest hospitality complexes in San Francisco's most popular tourism area, stretching from the semi-circular Municipal Pier past Ghirardelli Square, The Cannery, the Maritime Museum and down to Pier 39. Its new design also offers more than 9,000 square feet of flexible meeting space including a unique new ballroom and a landscaped outdoor courtyard for private parties.

Says General Manager Craig Schwan, "Our renovation will enhance the Fisherman's Wharf area by introducing a fresher, more sophisticated hotel experience. Our new open-style lobby design and expanded meetings capacity will attract more organizational and corporate meetings as well as groups of friends and family who want a fun getaway."

Design Open, Fresh and More Colorful
Schwan added, "We've extended this openness and freshness to our guest rooms. What we started in the lobby at check in, we have continued to the colorful, fresher and brighter feeling we have created in our rooms and hallways."

The renovation was designed by James D. Looney, principal of Looney & Associates of Dallas and Chicago, a design firm whose portfolio includes many resorts and hotels, as well as commercial and residential projects.

Looney said the design concept for Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf was "two-fold: to improve the tourist guest experience and to increase the property's appeal to groups. The result is light-hearted yet sophisticated, very colorful and relaxing, like a resort. It has been an extreme makeover. The whole mood, including the artwork, combines to make the whole experience more fun."

"The lobby is the most dramatic change," says Looney. "We have energized the lobby by creating a multifunctional space. The new food bar called Spressi provides a setting where people can meet for coffee at our new community table. They can use their laptops just like they were in a gourmet coffeehouse, but they don't have to go out to get that experience. This will be particularly appealing to Gen-Xers, who are comfortable working, meeting and dining in group settings. You can get coffee, espresso, snacks or, later in the day, the space transforms into a martini and sushi bar in the same place. The traditional lines have been removed between the lobby and the café, though there is a buffet area just off the lobby where guests can receive a breakfast buffet."

The hotel's new breakfast area, Sol, has been redesigned to be a very flexible area just beyond the lobby. It can also be reserved for private receptions and small events. The concept for the Spressi-highlighted lobby area and the Sol breakfast room is that everything should flow naturally to accommodate the needs of various types of guests.

"This openness of the re-design energizes the space," says designer Looney. "Throughout the industry, hotel lobbies are getting smaller, becoming a more intimate and community-focused experience. Guests attending meetings can mingle easily with tourists in such an environment. We're seeing a lot of mingling of tourism and business travel in any case. People are comfortable having other people around them."

He adds, "People staying in the Fisherman's Wharf area want to get outside and enjoy the sights, so they don't need a large traditional lobby. They want a space that is open and light-hearted and becomes a part of their tourism experience."

The renovated hotel also features an outdoor living room that is an extension of the lobby, with fire pits and outdoor seating, so people can gather and relax day or evening. This open setting makes it easier for people to network with each other in between and after sessions they are attending.

Hotel Redesign Can Handle More Meetings
General Manager Schwan says, "We expect to be able to accommodate many more meetings because we are converting our entire space into a much more group-friendly environment. They can extend their meetings out into adjacent spaces, like our new outdoor area that features fire pits around which people can gather either to socialize or to discuss business."

The primary improvement to the hotel's meeting space is the addition of the 2,731 square foot Embarcadero Room. It features natural lighting and a unique outdoor foyer that also includes an outdoor living room and fire pits. The hotels existing meetings space includes the 2,278 square foot Presidio Ballroom and the 2,196 square foot Marina Ballroom. In addition, two breakout rooms are also being renovated to reflect the hotel's fresher, more vibrant design. An outdoor courtyard adjacent to the Marina Ballroom will be completely re-landscaped with the addition of a central grass lawn encompassed by dwarf palm trees. This area will also be available for weddings and private functions.

Sleeping Rooms, Hallways Bright and Resort-like
The hallways have been brightened with bold marine blue and white stripes with lively carpet patterns reinforcing the overall resort feeling. The guest room colors are more neutral, using a soft palette. And more lighting has been added so that the rooms are more open and appear larger. "We used bright, colorful accents in items such as pillows and throws," says Looney. "The carpet is colorful. The case goods are limed oak. The whole atmosphere of the rooms is less cluttered. All of the fabrics and the style are like what you might see in a San Francisco guest house." And with recessed shelving below the sink and a self-illuminated mirror, the new design is a more efficient use of space.

Schwan says, "We're seeing that many people who come to San Francisco for a meeting also want to extend their stay for pleasure, bring their spouse or their whole family. We're perfectly suited to lodge this type of guest. Given our more social design and our convenience to nearby attractions, we expect to host more events such as weddings, social parties, and weekend getaways."

The redesign also adds conveniences to help our guests stay connected while away from home. There are convenient jacks at the desktop to recharge cell phones, iPODs and MP3 Players and outlets at the nightstands for people who want to use their laptops in bed, instead of at their desks.

The Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf is at the foot of North Beach and Chinatown and within just two miles of San Francisco's Union Square/Theatre District, the Financial District, Moscone Convention Center, Japantown, Civic Center and major cultural venues like the Opera House and the San Francisco Symphony.

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