For roughly four years the yellow star above Union Square’s Sir Francis Drake Hotel remained dormant.
“Does anyone know why the star on top of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel has stopped spinning and hasn’t been illuminated for months (years?),” asked Redditor PhresherThanPhresh in 2016.
Curbed SF asked the hotel for answers. At the time the hotel explained that the twisting star stopped rotating because it was old and in need of a repair that would cost “at least around a quarter of a million.”
Today it spins again. In fact, the star started rotating October 18, which coincided with the hotel’s 90th anniversary.
Unlike the Golden Gate Bridge, Cupid’s Span, or the Golden Fire Hydrant, the Starlight Room’s celestial ornament is an under-the-radar unofficial landmark for many San Franciscans. It also illuminates at nightfall and turns off when the Starlight Room stops serving and closes for the night.
A Sir Francis Drake spokesperson tells Curbed SF that the star was replaced in February of 2018. The current star is a replica of the original.
Outside of hotel rentals in the area, the best place to see the star in action is on the top floors of the Macy’s in Union Square.