Of the nation’s 58 national parks, most have lodges or inns offering overnight stays to visitors: the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite, the Paradise Inn in Mount Rainier National Park, and the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone are just three examples.
Until this year, the Presidio of San Francisco has not been on that list.
Since 1996 – when Congress created the Presidio Trust – park directors, administrators, board members, and interested neighbors have laid out plans for lodging that would befit a national historic landmark.
On April 1, 2012, Pershing Hall, originally an upscale bachelor officers’ quarters, will open as the Inn at the Presidio. Located at the corner of Funston and Moraga Avenues near the Main Post and Officers’ Club, Pershing Hall was built in 1903. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the classic revival brick building is located in a neighborhood of barracks that have been transformed into offices but otherwise untouched.
The inn is the first hotel to open in the Presidio. Since no historic building is being removed or demolished, the inn is generating excitement in the Marina community.
“Waterford Hotels and Inns was chosen [as the project developer] based on their experience with historic hotels, their dedication to customer service, their sensitivity to the environment, and their long history of successfully working with a variety of owner groups,” said Joshua Bagley, the Presidio Trust’s project manager.
As with any new Presidio endeavor, the inn is being built as a LEED-certified project. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) provides independent, third-party verification that a building project is environmentally responsible, profitable, and a healthy place to live or work.
While the Presidio is a destination point for visitors who may now explore the dozens of trails, historic buildings and archaeological discoveries, and enjoy dining, bowling, and programs such as preschools and the Disney Family Museum, guests were unable to wake up in the Presidio. With so much to see and do in the park’s 1,491 acres, there is also an abundance of shops, restaurants, pubs, and beautiful sites in the Marina within walking, biking or driving distance of the inn. The Presidio’s free bus, the PresidiGo Shuttle, and Muni also operate in the park.
Terry Haney is the newly appointed general manager of the inn. Haney brings to the position a wealth of hospitality industry experience. His career began in 1982 as restaurant manager at the Hyatt Regency in Fort Worth, Texas. Since that time he has held a number of management and director-level positions at premier hotels, including the San Francisco W, where he was director of operations, and as general manager of Hotel Rex, also in San Francisco.
Speaking of his new position at the Inn at the Presidio, Haney said, “There’s an excitement in the air, a rush of adrenalin knowing you’re about to embark on a totally new adventure … this project is much more special because it’s not about building something new, or even remodeling. It’s about repurposing a historic site.”
The inn will have 22 rooms, with a long exterior balcony that connects all of the rooms. At about the hour that shade covers the front of the inn, a newly built deck in the rear will be bathed in sun. The deck includes a fire pit as well as tables and chairs. A daily continental breakfast will be served to guests.
The interior design reflects the Presidio’s rich history with Presidio memorabilia and furniture reproductions, along with historic photographs and contemporary regional art featuring the park’s experience. Each room has a map depicting areas of interest with a method for using a GPS to get to a particular spot. Some added benefits include bicycles available for rent and a package including some of the Presidio’s attractions, such as The Disney Family Museum. Children and pets are welcome as well.
The list of amenities matches that of most high-end hotels and can be found on the inn’s website, www.innatthepresidio.com. Room rates range from $195 to $350 with no charge for children ages 12 and under.
While April 1 is the designated opening day for reservations, many weekends are already taken, according to Haney.
“There is a wedding taking place in the Presidio later in the year and the bride assured me that her guests from out of town would fill the inn,” Haney said.
Craig Middleton, executive director of the Presidio Trust, praises the addition of the inn.
“The opening of the Inn at the Presidio is an important milestone for the park,” said Middleton. “I am pleased to welcome visitors to our first overnight accommodations in the Presidio, and so proud of the beautiful rehabilitation of this historic building.”
A Marina resident who is a true fan of the Presidio is delighted with the addition of the inn. “I am so excited about the restoration of Pershing Hall. Over the years, I was saddened to see its slow decay – especially the sagging upper balcony,” said Dr. Stephen Hufford. “It is a joy to see the glorious restoration, especially the attention paid to historical detail. I can’t wait to stay there myself,” Dr. Hufford added.
For additional information and reservations, please visit www.innatthepresidio.com or call 415-689-4287.