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Decades-Old Room Key Delivered to San Francisco Union Square Hotel

March 22, 2017 Hotel News No Comments Email Email

A small envelope brought a flashback of days past to a Union Square hotel in San Francisco last month much to the surprise and elation of hotel associates.

At a time in the hotel industry when room keys are advancing from magnetic keys to RFID key cards to keyless mobile devices, the Courtyard San Francisco Union Square obtained a U.S. Postal Service envelope that contained a true heirloom — a metal key to Room 1102 of the Maurice Hotel, the original occupant of the hotel property. The treasured heirloom tells its own tale of the history behind the Courtyard. Opened over 86 years ago at the same location on San Francisco’s Post Street, the Maurice Hotel followed tradition of the day with metal room keys tagged with return instructions — “Drop in Any Mail Box — We Guarantee Postage.”

Hardly the “Express Checkout” known to today’s travelers, the envelope containing the key was postmarked in San Antonio, Texas and received at the Courtyard San Francisco Union Square in February with $3.27 postage due. The missing key, if removed by a guest, may have been the cause of great stress for hotel staff decades ago when the normal check-out process included leaving the room key at the front desk. Referred to by Courtyard associates as the great-grandparent of today’s lodging, the Maurice Hotel opened in 1930.

Now, as the hotel beckons guests to downtown San Francisco with smart amenities and refreshing designs, discovery of this antique has brought new meaning to the legacy of hospitality found just three blocks from the popular SF Union Square.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, total renovation of the building into a Courtyard was completed in 2015, and included modernization of elevators, new mechanical, electrical and life-safety systems, massive seismic and structural upgrades and a complete rebuild of 166 guest rooms over 17 floors. The full-scale makeover also embraced preservation and restoration of original detailed plaster work of the historic hotel lobby.

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