1. Embracing its roots
A perennial underdog rising from the ashes, San Francisco’s Tenderloin is also one of the city’s most underrated communities: a neighbourhood that’s home to unsung artists, towering street murals and an assortment of architectural styles. The Tilden Hotel itself is housed in a 1928 Art Deco building that for years was known as the Hotel Mark Twain, where police once arrested jazz great Billie Holiday on charges for which she was later acquitted. Named in honour of American sculptor Douglas Tilden, whose works can be found in places such as Golden Gate Park and along Market Street, the Tilden Hotel oozes a modern design sensibility while holding on to many of its historic elements – such as steam heating, exposed piping throughout the halls and an exposed staircase that winds its way up through the hotel.
2. Distinctive design and décor
An organic and clean aesthetic by Brooklyn-based design group Studio Tack highlights the structure’s various decades of history, complete with classic cherry wood wainscoting in the lobby and a digital art installation by San Francisco-based Daylighted which brings a museum-style virtual gallery of works to hotel guests. Guestrooms and suites are decidedly minimalist – with an understated black-and-white Art Deco design offset by artist Jenny Kiker’s green-hued botanical watercolours. Meanwhile, plantation shutters help deflect any outside street noise.
3. A venue for local emerging artists
Every other month, the hotel hosts a new pop-up gallery beginning with Tilden Tuesday, a public event in which the featured artist is on hand to discuss their pieces – and where cocktails and gourmet bites are par for the course. Artists who’ve had their work highlighted include San Francisco’s Mike Gosbee, known for his Dada-inspired collages, and Parisa Ghaderi and her pink-hued “Dumpling Girl” screen prints. The displayed works are on sale at the hotel’s front desk, with all proceeds going directly to the artist. A wall of framed art created by students of the Tenderloin’s De Marillac Academy middle school highlights the Tilden Hotel’s deep commitment to its community.
4. Communal spaces galore
If guests are not browsing on their laptops in the hotel’s spacious lobby or playing a game of giant Connect Four from its tufted Harvey Probber velvet sofa and matching armchairs, they’re likely enjoying the fresh air of the hotel’s secluded Backyard, a light-strewn garden with grassy turf, tables and overhangs for shade. The Rooftop Penthouse – open for private events – boasts its own flora-filled terrace with prime views of local murals. For head-to-toe art that’s even more accessible, the interior walls between the hotel’s lobby and backyard garden feature a series of bold, colourful works by a local army veteran.
5. Craft cocktails and local eats
Both guests and local residents alike pour into the hotel’s attached Tilden Café each morning for cups of Equator drip coffee and from-scratch almond croissants and cheddar chive biscuits from the city’s own Jane bakery. While Tilden Hotel’s speakeasy-inspired Douglas Room is currently undergoing some changes, its popular absinthe-rinsed blueberry Sazerac and duck confit wings remain menu favourites.
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This article was originally published in the June 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine