The Discerning Service of the Four Seasons, San Fransisco

I arrived at the Four Seasons, San Francisco and everyone knew my name. Upon check in I was greeted as an anticipated friend. I entered my sophisticated, modernly decorated room and a beautiful fruit and snack plate was waiting for me, as if they knew that I would need a little snack after traveling. Impeccable details and service are the things that I relish about the Four Seasons in San Francisco. I was graciously given a beautiful room with a view of San Francisco, as my family and I were there to attend our dear family friend’s wedding. After touring the hotel, I knew this was going to be the wedding of the year!

Please enjoy learning about the Four Seasons, as I had the privilege to spend time with the renowned David Robinson, Director of Catering. The only thing more luxurious than the hotel is the graciousness of the staff. David and his team lead by example, providing families with the utmost service and discerning attention.

Q: Welcome David, and thank you for taking the time to talk with me and our alexisasbe.com readers about the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, a luxury landmark destination for weddings and events.

A: First, let me say I have selected Four Seasons, San Francisco to be on our exclusive “A” List, which is the best of the best, because it is known for its modern luxury and exquisite service.  As you may know in mybestselling book, “At the Altar in Your Underwear: A Brave Guide to Love Before, During and After Your Wedding,” I encourage people to be intensely mindful of how they create a once in a lifetime celebration while starting their lives together.

Q: Tell me about the history and mission of the Four Seasons, San Francisco?

A: Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco opened here on Market Street 11 years ago, and last year, the Four Seasons brand celebrated its 50th birthday.

The Four Seasons Hotel does not have a mission statement per se but they have their corporate values. Which, to summarize, say:

“The company’s guiding principle is the Golden Rule. As such, Four Seasons strives to have a long-lasting, positive influence on the communities where we operate and on the people we employ and serve around the world.”

Q:  Wow, that is beautiful.  Now you have seen weddings and celebrations of all kinds.  Why do you think people select the Four Seasons, San Francisco as the perfect place to get married?

A: We have a very special property here in San Francisco. Our location, the staff, the culinary talent and the dedicated wedding professionals are committed to making a bride’s wedding dreams come true. Besides, who does not want to be part of the exclusive family of Four Seasons brides!

Q:  That makes sense.  You have a bit of experience in creating once-in-a lifetime celebrations. Tell me, what is it you love about working with people?

A: I love working with a family to create their dream wedding. From the start of the process through the entire event, I am able to use my 20+ years of experience to assist them with this once-in-a-lifetime moment. There’s nothing better than creating a vision, so that, when the bride walks into the ballroom, she gasps and tells me this is the best day of her life!

Q:  Something I deeply appreciate about the Four Season brand is your contemporary styling and modern approach to décor.  As a designer, I am always stunned by the exquisite display of art and floral displays throughout the facility.  Can you give some examples of how the Four Seasons customizes each wedding or celebration?

A: Customization is our way of life here at Four Seasons, San Francisco. Based on what our clients want to offer their guests, we will design the perfect experience that will give their guests a “WOW” moment. If guests can walk away feeling surprised and delighted, we have done our jobs.

One of the biggest “WOW” factors is to allow guests to order their entrée table side. Our menus are designed with a restaurant experience in mind – not just how the menu reads, but the design and presentation too. It’s all second to none.

Q:   The hotel has a number of services and amenities available on site without leaving the property, tell me about how this makes wedding planning easy for families?

A: We are a full service hotel, which means, guests can host their wedding here and have that “one stop shop” experience in event planning and services. Not to mention, we have the 120,000 sq. ft. Sports Club LA gym and spa, the Joseph Cozza hair salon and our newly-designed MKT Bar and Restaurant all here in the building. Customization is our way of life here at Four Seasons San Francisco.

Q:  In my book, I talk specifically about the importance of honoring people.  How does the Four Seasons honor families and guests when a couple selects the Four Seasons as a wedding venue?

A: First impressions definitely set the tone. From the first planning meeting, we set the tone by offering the happy couple our best wishes in the months ahead through personalizing signage in the hotel. We also offer them a beverage of choice while we walk the space and discuss all things wedding. We always give the couple a little take-away gift as the part of the final touch so our couples keep Four Seasons top-of-mind.

Q:  Tell us about the most memorable celebration you have had at the Four Seasons?

A: One recent memorable moment happened when the mother of the bride surprised the wedding couple with a 40 person flash mob. It was so current and hip that everyone got in on the excitement! But the most memorable for me is not always the celebration, but the bride and her family. When a bride hugs you before you leave for the night and she thanks you for creating the BEST night of her life, it is a proud memory forever.

Q:  Weddings can be big and small.  Would you share the range of events that the Four Seasons can accommodate?

A: No event celebration is too big or too small. We have hosted as few as 2 guests to over 450 guests for weddings.

Q:  I know you are loyal to the Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco. Do you have another Four Seasons location that you love as much and why?

A: My personal favorites are the Four Seasons in Kona and the Four Seasons in Punta Mita. I love the Four Season in Silicon Valley because I can drive 30 minutes and get spoiled for a night. Even my two dachshunds love the Silicon Valley hotel!

Q:  This has been so memorable. Would you share with readers what the first step is to planning a wedding or event at the Four Seasons, San Francisco?

A: Think about being a part of the Four Season family for the rest of your life and then give me a call. Trust me. I will protect the integrity of your wedding and will respect both the financial and emotional commitment you’ve made to us.

Q:  Thank you, David.  I am happy to share your wisdom and the Four Seasons as one of the best Hotels and Wedding Venues in San Francisco.

I felt like I am part of the Four Seasons family and no matter what city I am in, I believethe Four Seasons would be one of my first choices. In my book, “At the Altar in Underwear”, I emphasize the importance of honoring yourself and others. If you wish to truly to honor yourself and your guests, this is the place for you.

The Essence of San Fransisco; The Westin St. Francis

San Francisco is the city of LOVE. If you are looking for love, look no further. Everything about the city is embodied here at this landmark hotel.
Today I have, Lauren Schardt, the Wedding Specialist at the Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, with us to share some details about the hotel and wedding destination venue.

Welcome Lauren and thank you for taking the time to talk with our readers and me about The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, a luxury landmark destination for weddings and events.

First, let me say I have selected The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco to be on our exclusive A List, which is the best of the best, because it is known for its traditional, legendary location and exceptional service. As you may know, in my best selling book, “At the Altar in Your Underwear – 40 secrets to an Amazing Wedding and A Better You!” I encourage people to be intensely mindful of how they create a once-in-a-lifetime celebration while starting their life together.

Q: Tell me about the history and mission of The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco?

A: The Westin St. Francis has such a rich history and has been an integral part of San Francisco since opening in March 21, 1904. As soon as the hotel opened, it immediately became a part of the social and business heartbeat of San Francisco. That remains our mission today.

In 1906, the hotel survived the earthquake but unfortunately was later destroyed by the fire. After a year of reconstruction, the hotel reopened in 1907 and continued to prosper.

In 1972 the Tower Building opened, doubling the hotel’s capacity from 600 to 1195 guest rooms and adding banquet space including the gorgeous Imperial Floor which is our premier wedding space overlooking the San Francisco skyline.

One of my favorite history details is the beautiful magenta clock that remains in our lobby today. A coin phrase was developed and became very well known in San Francisco, which was “meet me under the clock” hence, the attraction the clock still receives today.

In 1938, one of our most time honored traditions, coin washing, was introduced by our general manager. He insisted that all of the coins at the hotel had to be cleaned in order to ensure ladies’ white gloves weren’t soiled. Today, our very own Rob Holsen is our official coin washer and we still continue this tradition 75 years later at The Westin St. Francis.

Q: Wow, thank you for sharing this, I adore history. Now, you have seen weddings and celebrations of all kinds. Why do you think people select The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco as the perfect place to get married?

A: The hotel is so iconic and such a part of San Francisco history that so many people have special ties back to The Westin St. Francis, whether it’s personal memories such as proms, first dates or even first kisses… to family traditions such as coming to see the Sugar Castle during the holidays, shopping in Union Square or riding the cable car out front. I think these wonderful memories always come to light when planning the most important day of your life.

Q: That makes sense. You have a bit of experience in creating once-in-a lifetime celebrations. Tell me, what do you love about working with people?

A: I love working with couples because you get to see so many special traditions take place during a wedding. The wedding, of course and most importantly, is about the bride and groom. But seeing families come together or grandparents dance after 60 years of marriage is amazing and what makes weddings so special to me. I have the pleasure of getting to know my clients over many months, sometimes years, of planning and seeing them enjoy their wedding just as every detail was discussed. It is truly magical.

Q: Something I deeply appreciate about The Westin St. Francis is the atmosphere and character. As a designer, I love the renowned décor. Can you give some examples of how The Westin St. Francis can customize each wedding or celebration?

A: Absolutely! Each wedding is completely different than the last. When we begin planning at The Westin St. Francis, every detail is discussed so I know what’s most important to each couple and can help highlight those items during the wedding. Beginning with décor, we give couples their choice in colored linen. This makes each wedding look completely different than the last. We work on custom printed menus, ensuring what we place on the dinner tables matches the clients theme and overall feel. We offer multiple planning meetings and walk throughs so we can ensure the cake is placed in the perfect location, the couple and our staff know exactly when the first dance is going to happen and where the bride’s parents are seated so we can extend a very warm welcome to them. Our wedding couples aren’t given lunch or dinner menus to make selections, rather they are given menus for inspiration. Prior to the tasting, I meet with every couple and we talk through their likes, dislikes and their overall vision. Our culinary team then creates a custom menu, ensuring they get exactly what they want. Every step along the way, our mission is to go above and beyond and make every wedding different from the last.

Q: The hotel has a number of services and amenities available. Tell me about how this makes wedding planning less stressful for all involved?

A: When couples book their wedding at The Westin St. Francis they are treated to a complimentary specialty suite the night before their wedding. This allows the bride to wake up at the hotel on the day of her wedding, have her hair and makeup done onsite and not have to worry about a thing. As mentioned, I am here throughout the planning process and can answer questions about how many tables are needed for cocktail hour or when the appropriate time is for the bride’s father to make a toast. I believe having a professional to bounce ideas off of can help make planning much easier. We work to make each wedding more special by providing services like the custom linen, the popular wedding chiavari chair, gorgeous Wedgewood china and a contact whose onsite during the wedding to oversee the timeline we worked so closely on. We want our brides and grooms to enjoy every minute of their wedding!

Q: In my book, I talk specifically about the importance of honoring people. How do you honor their families and their guests when they select The Westin St. Francis as a wedding venue?

A: Before moving into any of the planning stages with a couple, we welcome all family members to join the hotel for a site visit to experience what it feels like to get married at The Westin St. Francis. I want to connect with all of the couples’ families to make sure important traditions are accomplished and carried through each generation.

Of course, the bride and groom are treated like royalty and receive a complimentary specialty suite for their wedding but the parents of the bride and groom are welcomed with custom amenities to deepen the relationship we have built.

Q: Tell me about the most memorable celebration you have had at The Westin St. Francis?

A: It’s always hard to narrow down the most memorable celebration because there is a detail in every wedding that differs from the last or the next but if I had to choose one it would be a couple by the name of Terry & Hans. Terry & Hans said they knew they found the perfect location for their reception as soon as they walked off the elevators on the Imperial floor. After deciding this was definitely the location for their reception, they invited Terry’s mom to see the hotel. She was just as excited as Terry & Hans were and we began planning! The couple had a large guest list of friends they wanted to celebrate with and so did their parents. In order to accommodate the feel of a more intimate celebration they decided to host their ceremony on Treasure Island, invite their parent’s friends for a luncheon in Alexandra’s and then invite their friends and close family for a party reception in the evening on the entire Imperial Floor. It was just perfect! The parents and their friends enjoyed exactly what they wanted, a beautiful luncheon, great conversation and the chance to wish the bride and groom the best of luck. The evening reception, was two hundred and twenty guests that I thought all knew each other from their childhood because of the love and excitement that filled the room. The bride and groom made the evening lively with a dance off grand announcement, the best MOH & BM speeches that had everyone hysterically laughing and the groom topped the show with a serenade to his new bride, as he was formerly a musician that had everyone in tears. The opportunity to have two dream weddings in one day was just perfect. The excitement of guests and the looks on their faces were priceless. The wedding was just perfect!

Q: Weddings can be big and small. Can you describe the range of events that The Westin St Francis can accommodate?

A: The Westin St. Francis has beautiful Specialty Suites which are great for hosting small, intimate receptions or even private dinners. Our St. Francis suite, which is one of the original living quarters of the hotel, offers a lot of historic charm and is an intimate venue option perfect for up to 80 guests. Our premier wedding space is the Imperial Floor where we have two venues, Victor’s Palace which is perfect for receptions up to one hundred and ten guests and Alexandra’s which is ideal for receptions up to two hundred and twenty guests. Both of these spaces have fourteen foot floor-to-ceiling windows and opulent décor that lends perfectly to any wedding! If a couple’s guest list extends beyond two hundred and twenty guests, our Colonial Room, Italian Room and Grand Ballroom are the ideal option. The Colonial Room features balconies that wrap three sides of the room and a beautiful mural that depicts a Tuscany countryside.

While the Grand Ballroom features fifteen crystal chandeliers and a built-in orchestra stage and can seat up to eight hundred guests. One of my favorite rooms often used for wedding ceremonies up to one hundred and twenty guests is the Borgia Room. The Borgia Room is the original chapel of the hotel, offering a hand painted ceiling and original wood paneled walls. It is a must see for couples considering The Westin St. Francis for their wedding!

Q: I know that you are passionate about your facility here in San Francisco. Do you have another favorite Westin location that you love and why?

A: I love warm weather and the summer months so I would like to travel to The Westin Dawn Beach Resort.

Q: This has been so memorable! Would you share with readers what the first step is to planning a wedding or event at The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco?

A: Couples can contact our team at 415-733-1255.

Thank you, Lauren. I am so grateful to have you and The Westin St. Francis as one of my favorite hotels and Wedding Venues in San Francisco. I had the unique privilege to stay here, compliments of the hotel, and attend a wedding in the city with my family. We were all delighted with the historic rooms, service and convenience of the hotel. Union square is bustling with shopping, food and street vendors. I highly recommend staying at the Westin, St. Francis if you have not before. The history, location and décor will capture the true essence of the city of LOVE.

Remember I am your LOVE A.L.L.Y. - all About Love, Life & You!

Peace, Love and tell them I sent you…

Ally