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San Francisco-based Greystone Hotels recently completed a renovation of the King George Hotel, a 153-room boutique hotel located on Mason St. in the heart of Union Square. The $5.5-million top-to-bottom remodel has set the stage for a new level of comfort and style to the lobby, guestrooms, corridors and bathrooms.

The centerpiece of the King George Hotel is the newly introduced Mason Social Club, which unites the lobby, bar, hotel living room, technology center, and new games room into one cohesive, multifunctional space that is reminiscent of an English inn.

Designed by Jacqueline McGee, principal of Ealain Studio and formerly of Perkins + Will, the 5,600-sq. ft. space combines English charm with 21st century technology and features distinct areas for relaxation, productivity, socializing, and entertainment.

In a Q&A with InspireDesign, McGee talks about the inspiration behind the redesign.

What was the inspiration behind the newly revamped spaces?

The King George Hotel, a boutique property in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square, seemed to demand a mix of metropolitan style and the charm of a classic English inn. We built out our storyboard to focus on the lobby’s central bar—the real heart of any British gathering—and ultimately exposed an open, multifunctional lounge concept from there. The hotel team wanted to create spaces for relaxing, socializing, working, and playing, so we were able to have a bit of fun weaving together our ideas of British traditions, sports, pubs, and more.

King George Hotel

How do you go about curating pieces for the hotel’s spaces?

We wanted to retain the British influence within the hotel and were drawn to the classic English derby hat for our initial inspiration. A collection of these bowler hats was retrofitted into a custom light fixture above the lobby’s community table, so finding—or creating—unique pieces for each space is central to our philosophy. We worked with Grand Image consultants in Seattle to curate some of the new artwork, and while the King George needed to remain clean, classic, and functional, we also added a bit of whimsy with the super-scaled throne and red phone booth in hopes of encouraging guests to truly interact with the space and decor around them.

King George Hotel

What story did you want to tell in terms of the new look?

The purpose of the Mason Social Club is to welcome visitors and offer a little something for everyone. The oiled wood floor, bronze fixtures, and blackened steel details were designed to create a simple armature for the many games and activities of the space, while the custom rugs, decorative pillows, and plush seating reinforce the comfortable and relaxed ambiance of the lobby. I hope that the story we tell is one of personalization, entertainment, and accommodation.

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