'High end' SF hotels will take your money and then not talk to you
The newspaper examines the practice of outsourced concierge service in the context of San Francisco, and the results are surprising.
Outsourced concierge service is where the hotel doesn't actually have a concierge, but lets a biased company like a tour bus line or travel website operator stand in its lobby, at its desk and hand out advice to gullible tourists.
What struck me about the Bay Guardian story is how many hotels that outsource their concierges have been on a spending spree lately, ostensibly trying to upgrade to the upper hotel tier:
- The Westin Market Street has gone through many different outsourced concierge companies and is now looking for the newest one, according to the Guardian; yet the company recently spent $29 million renovating its rooms and building out a new restaurant, Ducca. It now bills itself as "an oasis of sophistication."
- The Sir Francis Drake is trying to become a four star hotel, a representative of its owner Oxford Lodging told me recently, and has undergone a $20 million renovation that saw the installation of a new lobby bar. It continues to operate with an outsourced concierge.
- San Francisco boutique hotel company Kimpton finished the Argonaut in 2002 after a $40 million renovation of an historic building and as part of unique partnership with the National Park Service. It is arguably Kimpton's leading property in San Francisco.
- The Hyatt Regency Embarcadero is considered an iconic city hotel in a prime location and was acquired earlier this year for $200 million. No spare change for a concierge?