San Francisco is loaded with history. Some of it’s hidden, but some spots – like the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, tower over the City by the Bay in plain view.
Opened in 1926, on the site of the former Mark Hopkins mansion, this hotel has welcomed a dozen presidents, celebrities and royalty. In the 1940s, big bands performed in its Peacock Court ballroom, attracting lines of WWII GIs looking to dance in the famous setting.
The charm of this grand dame is apparent from the moment you arrive. With a stately entrance and adorned doormen, her exterior oozes elegance and grace. With its pair of sparkling crystal chandeliers, grand piano and gold adorned furnishings, the lobby has an opulent look.
I stayed in King View room, located on the hotel’s 14th floor. The room was especially spacious and comfortable, albeit it a bit dated. Heavy wood furnishings contrast patterned gold wallpaper. From lamps and a mirror, to picture frames hanging above the headboard, gold accents abound.
The room’s large single-hung window provided stellar San Francisco views that even heavy fog couldn’t stymie. The window also opened a few inches, allowing fresh air inside, a rarity in San Francisco high-rise hotels.
The bathroom featured a single sink (with a glass shelf above that provided ample room to spread out toiletries) and a shower/bathtub combination. There’s also a second, small window in the bathroom that opens a touch for ventilation.
In addition to a 24/7 fitness center, there’s an unexpected game room located steps off of the hotel lobby. Along with a ping pong table, you’ll find foosball, corn hole, chess, and a small collection of books. The Museum at the Mark details the hotel’s rich history, showcasing fun artifacts like dinner menus from the 1940s that boast shrimp cocktail for $1.05. It’s a small spot that only takes a few moments to explore; folks who enjoy learning a bit of history when they travel will enjoy the walk back in time.
In 1939, hotel owner George D. Smith converted the hotel’s 11-room penthouse to a cocktail lounge. Located on the 19th floor, its glass walls provide 360-degree views of San Francisco. Top of the Mark was an instant hit and still attracts a crowd.
Top of the Mark serves cocktails and light appetizers including Cheese & Charcuterie, Tuna Tataki Tacos, and Short Rib Sliders. For a taste of wine country, indulge in a vodka and chocolate pairing featuring Hanson of Sonoma and Napa Valley based Kollar Chocolates. For those looking for something savory, there’s a vodka and caviar offering.
The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco hotel is a short walk from Chinatown and Union Square. Its Nob Hill location guarantees some hilly walks, however just outside the hotel is the only place in San Francisco where each of the historic cable car lines cross.
King View rooms start at $200. Pets are complimentary at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco. Book your stay directly at the hotel website or go through an online booking site such as Hotels.com or Expedia.
Review and photos by San Francisco Bay Area travel writer and television correspondent Dana Rebmann. Her stay was organized by the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.