RIU enters San Francisco with an iconic hotel on Fisherman’s Wharf [Infographic]

by | 04 Mar 2020 | Portfolio

The new RIU Fisherman’s Wharf boasts the ideal location in San Francisco. (Photo RIU)

Spanish hotel group RIU grows its Plaza brand with an impressive property in the heart of one of San Francisco’s top visitor hotspots – Fisherman’s Wharf.

Luis Riu, CEO of RIU Hotels & Resorts, says that transformation of an existing hotel to become the RIU Plaza Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most important moves the group has ever made.

We find out about this career-defining purchase in one of San Francisco’s most desirable locations.

RIU and Fisherman’s Wharf, a love story

When Luis Riu visited San Francisco five years ago, he entered into a tale of unrequited love, with a property that had it all: the perfect location a block from Pier 39, the perfect size at over 500 rooms, and the perfect facilities in its occupation of an entire city block.

It was his dream to buy this property and turn it into a RIU Plaza hotel. But the dream was not to be, as the property was sold to someone else.

However, love got a second chance, when Riu heard that the hotel was back on the market. And the rest, as they say, is history. In transit, Riu made a call that would forever tie him to Fisherman’s Wharf.

“I know that we always comment on how agile the decisions in RIU are, but they really are taken in record time. In this case, the decision was practically made while on the way. I remembered perfectly the characteristics of the property of the first visit and in this second I was going to see it even improved, thanks to the integral reform of its facilities that the property had done,” says Riu.

A revamp in record time

Within a whirlwind time frame of just six months, Riu’s dream property became a reality. The works to transform the hotel into a RIU Plaza started almost immediately, and the property officially became the RIU Plaza Fisherman’s Wharf November last year.

Works are ongoing, and from an operational point of view, RIU’s staff were drafted in from Europe, allowing the brand to bring years of experience to bear on this new venture.

It is also a positive thing in terms of the staff being able to form a relationship with upper management, who until now have been a distant presence across the Atlantic.

RIU’s mass appeal

Following the sell-out success of the RIU Plaza Espana, the group hopes for the same phenomenon to overtake the RIU Plaza Fisherman’s Wharf in advance of its opening.

Riu says, “When all the work we are doing now pays off, we expect to have guests from Latin America, especially from Mexico and Argentina; Asians from Japan and Korea; as well as Europeans with a majority of Germans and British.”

“We hope there is a balanced mix between people who visit the city for tourism, as a city break, and executive travellers who visit the city during the various international conventions that are held or who come to the hotel to celebrate their own events,” Riu went on to say.

The hotel’s location means that it will be ideal for leisure and business travellers alike, while also appealing to a diverse age range as well as being appropriate for families.

According to the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION online database, there are the top 10 cities in the United States, San Francisco comes in 10th place:



RIU Hotels & Resorts was founded in Mallorca, Spain in 1953 as a small summer business for the Riu family, and is currently owned by TUI and the Riu family, and run by the third generation of the family.