The Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel opened Monday morning after more than a year without guests due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a hotel spokesman.
Prior to reopening, the hotel displayed a five-day illuminated countdown to the moment the first guests walked through its doors.
"It's an important message for not only our guests, but the many surrounding businesses in our neighborhood letting them know that we're back and ready to welcome them even at a safe distance," said Terry Lewis, the hotel's general manager.
On Monday, the first tourists - an Arizona family - since March 2020 checked in at the hotel.
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"It’s been kind of cool seeing all of the businesses back open and people walking around and just enjoying themselves. It’s been nice," Justin Belzner said.
The hotel's general manager, Terry Lewis, said deep cleaning had to be done before accepting tourists back in.
“We had to clean all of the rooms, and get all of the mechanics working again that weren’t and retrain everybody, because they haven’t been here," he said.
In addition to a new cleaning and disinfecting regimen, the hotel is offering guests contactless check-in and check-out using digital keys and mobile devices.
According to the city's hotel council, nearly 200 of the 214 hotels in San Francisco are now open.
"The majority of our hotels right now are already open, and if they’re not, they’re going to be ready in the next few weeks to be open to really start working with the summer travelers that we have coming into the city," council executive director Kevin Carroll said.
Tourism is the city's economic engine, and Carroll said it will probably take several years before San Francisco sees the return of conventions and international visitors that made it a world destination before the pandemic.
Room rates start at $199 per night and event spaces are also opening back up. Hilton San Francisco Union Square is located at 333 O'Farrell St, San Francisco.