Name: Susana Araujo, Front Desk Manager at Westin St. Francis on Union Square
San Francisco is one of the most well know gay-friendly cities in the world. To most, San Francisco is otherwise known as the capital of the LGBTQ community.
What are the top five reasons for LGBT travelers to visit your city and stay The Westin St. Francis?
1. San Francisco is home to one of the most powerful community/political leaders within the LGBTQ community, Harvey Milk.
2. San Francisco is the base to the Castro District; known as one of the most LGBTQ friendly districts in the world.
3. A huge pro to visiting the San Francisco Bay Area as a member of the LGBTQ community is the acceptance received when in public with your partner.
4. PRIDE events in June are a must for any member of the LGBTQ community residing or visiting the San Francisco area!
5. The Westin St. Francis prides itself on welcoming the LGBTQ community members with frequently discounted rate options for LGBTQ events throughout the city. The Westin St. Francis is also known to fly the PRIDE flag during PRIDE weekend and represent the LGBTQ community right in the heart of Union Square.
What sets The Westin St. Francis apart from other hotels in your area?
The Westin St. Francis offers not only the best views of the Union Square but also the wonderfully diverse and inclusive staff that are hospitable to all communities traveling to the hotel.
We know that Westin WORKOUT Fitness Studio is a state-of-the-art, 24/7 facility, offering countless opportunities for guests to remain active. What are some of your favorite machines/features of this more-than-a-gym gym?
The Westin’s Peloton bicycles are one of the highest in demand to date.
The Westin St. Francis receives phone calls from people specifically requesting to reserve a room in order to guarantee a ride on our Peloton bicycles!
The Oak Room, The Westin St. Francis’ exclusive restaurant, offers a HUGE variety of options for everyone. What do you love most about this spectacular on-site favorite? How about Celebrity Chef Michael Mina’s Clock Bar? Caruso’s?
Their inclusion is definitely one of their highlights. During PRIDE weekend, they catered to the LGBTQ community with themed drink specials and menu options which were great!
Other than The Westin St. Francis’ restaurants, what is your favorite place to grab some grub in San Francisco?
There are a variety of great restaurants in the San Francisco area that it is difficult to pinpoint. For a great steak, I would recommend a wonderful steak house just across the street at Morton’s. Their service is spectacular and the food is just as on par with their level of service.
What is your favorite bar/club in the area? Any LGBT-specific attractions?
There are various bars within walking distance of the Westin St. Francis that are highly recommended but nothing compares to the bar that is located within the Westin St. Francis, Michael Minna’s Clock Bar. The drinks are made with elegance and are made with a level of high sophistication.
The Westin St. Francis prides itself on being an LGBT ally; it also is happy to offer a vast array of wedding services. Do you recall witnessing any same-sex ceremonies at your property? If so or if not, why should LGBT love birds choose The Westin St. Francis and San Francisco for their special day?
There is nothing more romantic than to be married within the scenic views of the city that the Westin St. Francis. The Westin St. Francis prides itself in being a strong ally to the LGBTQ community and same-sex ceremonies are treated with the same respect and levels of service that the Westin St. Francis offers to all of their guests.
Favorite place to unwind on the property? How about off the property?
The best place to unwind would be in the lounge booths within our Caruso’s Café located right across from the Front Desk lobby. Caruso’s offers seating with food and beverages while playing the top watched sports events and news to entertain.
Where’s the best place to enjoy the outdoors?
The Golden Gate Park is a wonderful spot filled with outdoor activities, picnic grounds, and even sporting areas to play in. One of the most wonderful secluded spots within the park is the Japanese Tea Garden. This area of the park include pagodas and lovely florals all year round.
What’s one thing that your San Francisco offers that you can't find anywhere else?
Spectacular views! The hills in this city provide the best views that any city can offer. Any hillside that you take whether to visit a house, a restaurant, or even a monument such as the Coit Tower, nothing can compare to a San Francisco view.
Does your city have a”gayborhood”? If so, please tell us about it!
The San Francisco “gayborhood” is located within the Castro District. The ‘Castro’ as many locals nickname it, is home to various bars, bookstores, parks, and highly recommended brunch spots to toast with those wonderful mimosas on a lovely Sunday afternoon!
What three things do I have to pack to enjoy San Francisco?
This would depend on the time of year that you would choose to visit because
San Francisco’s climate does tend to fluctuate. The ‘must pack’ items all year round would definitely be:
1. A travel jacket; preferably Patagonia as they offer light jackets that can bundle up well and also serve as waterproof for any uncalled for rain.
2. A backpack, as you see, many residents and travelers take advantage of the amazing transit system in the city and with that, you have to have all your items with you, therefore, a backpack is a must!
3. Comfortable shoes. One reason why,hills! It is very important to wear comfortable shoes when walking through the streets of San Francisco because you never know when your travel destination comes across various hills along the way.
What is the best time of year to visit?
For those looking to enjoy the marvels that the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer the LGBTQ community, the month of June would be the best time of year to go! Within the month of June, there are many LGBTQ festivities thrown throughout the city, especially within the Castro District. You can also find the entire city proudly flying the rainbow flags everywhere, especially at our Westin St. Francis!
I’m in town for 24 hours. What are three things I absolutely must do?
If I landed in SFO and had 24 hours in San Francisco, I would go directly to North Beach to get a cup of delicious espresso coffee (North Beach is known as the Italian District). I would then head over to China Town nearby to peruse through the local shops. For lunch, I would head to the Castro District to grab lunch at a local café or restaurant and eat on the freshly cut grass of the nearby Dolores Park under the sun. To conclude my day, I would get a ride to the top of Twin Peaks to get the most picturesque views of the city at sunset.
What’s something people would be surprised to learn about San Francisco?
As a person who’s lived in various cities throughout the USA, I believe people would be surprised of how un-phased San Franciscans are of the openness of the LGBTQ community. With this said, PDA and inclusive events are not only respected in the city but given a warm welcome by all ages. It is a city where little girl scouts sell cookies to drag queens and kindly give a thank you hug after, it is a city where the LGBTQ community are recognized for their same-sex parenting, and it is definitely a city in which hotels do not stop for a second when it comes to not catering to the LGBTQ community but also opening their doors to a same-sex ceremony that brings in love into their lobby doors such as the Westin St. Francis.View More Interviews Articles