Monday Wake-Up: Sir Francis Drake Reborn, More Free Cookies in Ft. Wayne

● Visitors to the Bay Area, rejoice: the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel has reopened after a $30 million renovation. All 416 rooms have been renovated to bring to life the elegance of the 1920s (the hotel originally opened in 1928), and the lobby and 21st-floor Starlight Room have been revitalized as well. The boutique hotel’s location near Union Square has always drawn in locals as well as guests, but new restaurants, bars, and rooms will help ensure the Kimpton-owned hotel’s legacy in coming years. [Travel Weekly]

● Thailand is courting the environmentally conscious, making green protocols integral to planning and carrying out meetings and events. They’ve already certified eight major conference venues and 170 hotels as officially “green,” all in an effort to attract American business, who increasingly cite green efforts as key in their meeting planning. [Travel Daily] ● Sometimes it’s the little things that count — and at Fort Wayne International Airport in Indiana, those things are free, delicious cookies upon arrival. The program started 10 years ago and has just expanded to late-night arrivals, thanks to a self-service stand where travelers arriving after 8:30pm can help themselves. [Overhead Bin] ● The 2011 Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards were announced last week, and while the entire list is worth perusing in the November issue (on stands this week). Highlights include a new top city in the U.S. (Charleston, S.C.) a new top hotel in the U.S. (the Elysian, in Chicago) and a new top hotel in the world: The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong. [Travel Pulse] ● American Express has long been the gold standard for businesses of all sizes, and now their corporate cards have announced new cardholder benefits — free Global Entry membership to speed your way through security, and 10 Go-Go inflight wireless credits per year. [Business Travel News]

San Francisco: Top 5 Buzz with Vertigo

imageHold tight to that cocktail stem as you drink in the SF scenery …

1. Cliff House & Sutro’s (Richmond District) – Killer ocean view perched atop the cliff. Sunsets to melt the soul. 2. Carnelian Room (Financial District) – Rotating restaurant 52 stories up with 360 views of the cityscape. 3. Empress of China Cocktail Lounge Lounge (Chinatown) – Rat Pack-style charm in the former glorious, now ironic Chinatown enclave.

4. Harry Denton’s Starlight Room (Union Square) – Crushed velvet booths on the 21st floor for Botoxed blondes and graying suits. 5. Fifth Floor (Union Square) – Happy-hour gazing into the glittering bay just a stumble and splash below.