Silent movie stars, presidents and queens

Last week I stayed at the St Francis Hotel in Union Square, San Francisco. Currently operated by the Westin Group, it is a hotel full of history.

Pictures, July 23 1921, Roscoe

Image via Wikipedia

It was the hotel where Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle stayed, in room 1221, on fateful night which resulted in the death of Virginia Rappe during a party. It is also the hotel where Al Jolson, during a poker game, passed away. Also in Room 1221!

Some years back, the Queen and President Reagan both stayed there at the same time. (Behave!). Bill Clinton was there at the same time as me.

More recently, because of a labour dispute, the hotel was invaded by a flashmobbing brass band and people singing ‘Don’t Stay in a Bad Hotel’.

But my experience was different. There were annoyances, like the exhorbitant cost of sandwiches at the lobby coffee shop, but generally, the attitude of staff to guests was genuinely friendly and concerned and they didn’t seem exploited to me.

There was also another picket (this one was by the hotel workers union — not the one by porn stars) but you know, from a foreigners point of view what I found curious, is that none of the people picketing seemed to be staff.

Bill Clinton

Of course I might be wrong. But from what I’ve seen I would certainly stay there next time I’m in SF.

I wouldn’t mind being caught in a (reasonably) good hotel.

But not in Room 1221.

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