Hotel Whitcomb

1231 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94103-1411

Hotel History

The Hotel Whitcomb echoes the graciousness of turn-of-the-century San Francisco. Named after wealthy San Franciscan A.C. Whitcomb, it served as a temporary City Hall and jail after the original City Hall was destroyed by the 1906 Earthquake. In 1916, it officially opened as Hotel Whitcomb.

BIG's Role

In 2000, the guest rooms of this landmark San Francisco hotel were redesigned in an elegant and traditional style. BIG worked together with Sage Hospitality Resources, an acclaimed Colorado historical development company, to create a colorful alternative to traditional to decor art that drew upon the Hotel’s historic roots. Historical photographs from the time the Hotel was first built were researched for consideration by the design team and owner. The guest room artwork selected used this history as subject matter, resulting in the integration of the artwork with the hotels historic market position.

Content Development Process

Three images were selected to be reproduced in various combinations and sizes as necessary to accommodate varying room configurations. Each image was first hand-tinted using transparent aniline dyes. The next step, was to perfect the image and calibrate its color to the room package. This was achieved by digitizing the images at high-resolution and then carefully retouching the image. This process removed undesirable artifacts that were in the original scene and enabled us to precisely size and style the images. Color tonality was calibrated to match the interior finishes by examining the projects material samples alongside the computer monitor to better coordinate the color to the room finishes.

Economy of Scale and planning

Artwork for guest rooms and public spaces
of hotels should be selected through careful planning. Images in the guest room are especially influential to the guest experience and can effect decisions to return as well as overall impression and "word-of-mouth" recommendations. Images are strategically chosen to express the market position and brand of the hotel.

By making hundreds of each reproductions,
we were able to use this economy of scale to dramatically reduce the cost of both the artwork and framing. Further, the budget for digitally mastering the images and the hand-tinting and content development was spread over the total project as well, making the process an affordable alternative to purchasing "bulk" or conventional hotel room art that typically has no special connection to the property.


In addition to the photographic images, the room package was completed by our producing oversize beveled mirrors. Using a 4" wide and deep Italian molding, we created elegant mirrors for each guest room that served to create a larger visual impression of the room size.

Total Service: content through completion

Business Image Group provided the Whitcomb with a single-source solution for this project from the research, hand-tinting to the digital reproductions, elegant picture framing and mirrors and installation services.

Market St. viewing West from 2nd - circa 1900
(hand-tinted © Bennett Hall)

South side Market Street between 3rd & 4th - 1905
(hand-tinted © Bennett Hall)