The biggest hotel in California is set to reopen its doors.
For most of the last year, a big heart has been lit up on the Hilton San Francisco's main tower. As kind of a love letter to the city during the pandemic.
But for the last few days, a series of numbers have taken its place. The numbers represented the countdown to the reopening.
"We're counting down to our big day tomorrow so, 5,4,3,2 and tonight it's going to say One and tomorrow we open our doors,” said Terry Lewis, Hilton Union Square General Manager.
Over the last two weeks, employees have been returning to work after being furloughed for 14 months.
Lewis told NBC Bay Area Sunday that it's been emotional to greet so many of the staff after not seeing them for so long.
"The first group that came in, when I started to speak, and I got tears in my eyes, because it was joyful, seeing their faces,” she said.
With about 2,000 rooms, the Hilton San Francisco is the biggest hotel west of Las Vegas.
So, the reopening is a big deal for downtown San Francisco, especially for businesses that survive on catering to guests.
"We are looking forward to it. We are applauding that they are opening. It will bring in a little bit more traffic around here,” Ranjan Dey, owner of the New Delhi Restaurant.
Dey reopened his restaurant about six weeks ago and has been surviving by serving customers who usually drive in from around the Bay Area. He's scraping by at about 18% of the revenue he used to bring in. But there are still several other hotels in Union Square and Downtown San Francisco that remain boarded up.
San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney says the Hilton’s re-opening is an important step as the city looks to return to normal.
"This is the biggest hotel in California. For them to say, we're reopening, we're ready. We can do it safely and we believe that people want to come back is I think going to mean all of the other hotels following suit,” he said.
According to Lewis, the demand seems to be strong with Hilton that she said they are well booked through Memorial Day weekend.