The Rich History of Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa
In 1885, William Barrett, Secretary-Treasurer for the San Francisco Gas and Electric Company and his wife Clara built a lavish "casa" on a hillside overlooking the center of Sausalito, CA. The location offered a wide-angle view of San Francisco Bay Area, which teemed with the powerful freight ships, elegant yachts, and sidewheeler ferryboats. In 1906, Barrett sold his home to attorney John Patrick Gallagher - who converted it into the original Casa Madrona Hotel. For nearly 40 years, it was a very successful San Francisco bed and breakfast and hotel.
In the early 1940s, the Gallaghers sold Casa Madrona, and during World War II, the property was used as temporary lodging for military families in transit. After the war, however, it fell into disrepair, and became a "crash pad" for city's burgeoning "beatnik" population. But salvation came in the form of the French Deschamps family who immigrated to California in 1959 and began extensive renovations. The Deschamps also opened Le Vivoir Restaurant onsite. The eatery instantly garnered critical and commercial praise and drew celebrities such as Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Warren Beatty, and the rock band Pink Floyd.
In 1973, Casa Madrona's foundation was severely damaged by a series of mudslides, declared unsafe by city officials, and scheduled for demolition. John Mays took charge of the mansion and grounds in 1976. During the successful restoration process that followed, 16 hillside cottages were added to the property. In 1980 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a treasured landmark. In November 2003, this San Francisco historic hotel saw the addition of Poggio, an increase in the number of hotel rooms from 34 to 63, while also introducing a spectacular, 3,000-square-foot spa, a boardroom, private dining room, and three new function rooms .