The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco put the finishing touches on a $12.5 million renovation that included the conversion of more than a dozen rooms into suites.

The hotel, which opened 15 years ago in a landmark building on Nob Hill that previously had housed an insurance company, converted 17 of its 500-square-foot rooms into suites by adding seating areas during the renovation. The total number of suites at the hotel rose from 42 to 61 as a result of the conversion.

The renovation of each of the 336 rooms, including 59 suites and two presidential suites, at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco was top-to-bottom, including new carpeting, wall coverings and furniture.

"We wanted to keep the traditional European feel that customers expect from us, but we wanted the rooms brighter with lighter colors," said Angela Jackson, the hotel's director of public relations.

Upscale amenities

Guest rooms are now decorated in pale yellows and taupe, while suites feature soft blue and gold. Furniture, meanwhile, is in rich hues of walnut, mahogany and rosewood with inlaid patterns.

The hotel installed 32-inch high-definition, flat-panel TVs with dual speakers along with DVD/CD players in all rooms, added finer linens on bed and provided wireless Internet access throughout the hotel. Club Level suites have a second flat-panel TVs in bathrooms. Executive suites also have iPod docking stations.

The new flat-panel TVs allowed interior designers to do away with armoires that previously housed televisions, giving the redecorated rooms a more open and spacious look, said Ed Mady, vice president and area general manager at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco.

The addition of the flat-screen TVs, fine linens and wireless Internet were a result of research of frequent business travelers conducted by a market research firm on behalf of the hotel.

"Those were the top three items that people [who were surveyed] said they wanted," said Jackson.

The new bedding consists of 400-thread-count, 100% combed-cotton Frette linens. There are also "rain" showerheads and in-room gourmet coffeemakers, another item topping guests' wish lists.

"This was something that surprised us," said Jackson. "We thought the Ritz-Carlton guest would like to call and have their coffee brought [to the room] but they prefer the convenience of making their own."

In the hotel's two presidential suites there is even more luxurious bedding, in the form of 1,000-thread-count Frette linens. Those two suites also includes a second high-definition, flat-panel TV above the bathtub and a high-end, 10-speaker stereo system.

The larger of the two presidential suites comprises 2,800 square feet plus a 1,200-square-foot balcony with views of San Francisco's Financial District.

Just business

The suite includes two bedrooms and sells for $8,000 a night, the second-priciest suite in the city (the Fairmont Hotel's Presidential Suite is the largest and most expensive in the city, at 6,000 square feet and $15,000 a night).

The renovation brought other new features to the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco.

A new business lounge is located on the Club Level, offering guests on that level 24-hour wireless Internet access at two workstations with printers and a comfortable space to watch TV on yet another 32-inch, high-definition, flat-panel unit.

The hotel also expanded its business center for all guests, located on the third level of the hotel. It features workstations with computers and printers, wireless Internet access, copy and fax machines and a support staff Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center is accessible via room key 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To contact reporter Laura Del Rosso, send e-mail to [email protected].

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