Welcome to the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins. Located in the heart of Nob Hill in San Francisco, this hotel gives you a great base for exploration of the city and some amazing views. The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, built in 1926 has it’s very specific charm and look. The rooms and hotel are kept in a vintage design, which makes it something special in the high-tech city of San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. A lot of you have seen the hotel already but haven’t recognized it when you watched the movie “Need for Speed“.
The Intercontinental Hotels of IHG are on my list for a long time now and this is the first Intercontinental I ever stayed at. The Mark Hopkins has a lot to offer, from the great bar and dining at the Top of the Mark, the great views from the Top of the Mark, the Museum next to the lobby or a restaurant featuring market-fresh products.
For my stay, I used the free night certificate I got last year with the Share Forever promotion IHG was running. The free-night certificate was about to expire and this was definitely a great and easy way to redeem it. The whole booking process took place online and I reserved my Deluxe Room.
Already from a distance, you see this majestic building coming up with the big American Flag on top of it. When you pull up, the Bellman helps you to handle your luggage and you can proceed to the check-in counter. I was traveling light for this one-night stay. When you walk into the lobby you see this wide open and tall room in front of you. Nicely decorated and with lots of seating to hang out and relax. The check-in counter is located to the left after you enter the building.
Check-in was a great experience, everybody was very friendly and welcoming. My concierge checked me in and I asked if it’s possible to get a room upgrade to a suite. He went to the back to check with the manager and I got a room upgrade to a freshly remodeled King Suite. This was the newest and only remodeled suite they had at the time of my visit.
With the room keys in my hands, I used the elevators located directly behind me to get up to the 14th floor. Basically, it’s the 13th floor but as many buildings in the town, this one doesn’t have a 13th floor.
What I didn’t know was that they had a German Delegation staying here. Because I am pretty sure they wouldn’t put out a german flag just for me visiting the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins for one night.
The room number of this suite is 1438 and the suite is facing southwest. The view from here was not bad but the best views are from the north-east wing of the building. You can see the bay and if you are high enough, even Alcatraz Island.
On the wall near the room-door is a light switch for the entry light and two buttons to let housekeeping know if you need service or if you don’t want to be disturbed. If you press one of these buttons the light on the outside either turns green or red.
After you follow the small hallway inside the room the area opens up to a great living room. On the far side of the room, you have a huge table to sit down and work or enjoy your room service. There are windows all along the wall with good views of downtown. I was able to see the Grace Cathedral from my suite. Adjacent to the dining table, on the other side of the living room, is a big screen TV and a sofa along the wall.
In front of the sofa was a small table with a view magazines and a city guide. On the table next to the chair are more books with photos about early San Francisco. The mini bar and coffee maker is located in the cabinet right across the sofa. The selection of the mini bar is not bad and there are even a view snacks if you feel hungry. However, the prices are way to high. Well, luxury comes with a price!
Next to the living room is the bedroom with a big and comfortable King bed. I really did sleep like a king in this bed. The wall next to the entrance door has a closet with PJ’s, slippers, laundry bag and more small amenities. The top drawer has a safe mounted inside for your valuables. In front of the bed is another big screen TV and to the right of the bed is a nightstand with notepad, a classic alarm clock, telephone and an ethernet cord.
From the bedroom, you enter the bathroom. The front desk agent was right, this suite got remodeled. The bathroom was huge and spacious and in a very elegant design. Inside you could find a shower and a bathtub and no I am not talking about one of this combo deals. There were two separate units, one shower, and one bathtub.
On the sink was an amenity kit with everything you need for one night: comb, toothbrush and paste, shaving kit, sewing kit and of course the usual shampoo and body wash. Everything presented very nice and organized.
This is one of the best suites I had so far and inside an amazing hotel with a lot of history.
Views from the Suite
The hotel has a great and big lobby, inviting you to mingle. Next to the lobby is “The Museum at the Mark“, telling you the story about the history of the city and this building as well as its patron “Mark Hopkins“.
The Basement houses the Business Center, which is very pricey to use. You have to pay for every page you print and every minute you use the PCs. This was very typical when not everyone had a PC, but nowadays everyone pretty much has its own laptop or tablet. But overall it reflects the vintage atmosphere of the whole building. Across the hallway from the Business Center is the Fitness Center.
The Fitness Center is well equipped and should handle all of your workout needs. If not, just jog up and down the steep hills around the hotel and you definitely got your workout in.
The hotel grounds right out front offer good photo ops with the entrance and building in the background as well to take pictures down the steep streets. Other than that, whole San Francisco is your playground. You are only one block away from the Powell Street Cable Car line, which takes you directly down to Fishermans Wharf or Downtown San Franciso to Market St and stops right across the Westfield Shopping Center.
There is even a cable car line running right in front of the hotel and if you time it right, you get the hotel and cable car in your photo. The cable car also stops in front of the hotel and continues to run along California St.
A 5-minute walk can bring you to Union Square which houses many shops and restaurants. I can recommend to check out the Cheesecake Factory inside Macy’s. The restaurant is located at the top of the building and offers great views of Union Square and has available outdoor seating.
A view other places which are not far and reachable by walking
- Cable Car Museum
- China Town
- Grace Cathedral
To support your explorations throughout the city, take advantage of the complimentary town car service. Offered from Mon – Fri from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., they will take you everywhere within a one-mile radius. However, this is a one-way ticket. They will only drop you off but won’t pick you up again. That’s still pretty good for a free service, isn’t it?
Parking is expensive in San Francisco and this hotel is no difference. Roughly $65 a night is quite a bit and would also be spent well for a good dinner. For everyone who has to bring a vehicle. Use the Crocker Garage just west of the hotel. The garage is basically right next door and not even a block away. The rates are quite a bit cheaper and will give you some extra spending cash during your stay. A night costs at the Crocker Garage $45 with in and out privileges. To only park your car for a full day, without in and out privileges, you will pay $40.
You have two options for dining. The Nob Hill Club located at the lobby level or the “Top of the Mark” located at the top floor of the hotel.
Nob Hill Club
The Nob Hill Club serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Except on Sundays and Mondays, no dinner is served on these days. For the breakfast, you have the option to order from the menu or choose between a cold or hot breakfast buffet. Be warned, also the breakfast comes with a high price tag if it’s not included in your room rate. I paid about $40 for a hot breakfast buffet with coffee and orange juice.
On the other side, you get what you pay for. The selection is great and features fresh items from local farmers and growers. One of the principles of the restaurant to serve an authentic and local cuisine with fresh products from the local market.
The Nob Hill Club offers a Grab-and-Go service throughout the day.
See the Hours of Operation tab below for more information about dining hours.
Top of the Mark
This is a famous place for locals as well as for hotel guests. If you plan on dining at this restaurant or to have a drink, make sure you make a reservation as early as possible. They have sometimes even a wait time for the bar. You won’t regret dining here. Besides great food and service, you get a fantastic view of the city. Make sure you request a table at the window during your reservation. At nights they have live entertainment on stage to give the whole place, even more, flair. This is really a place you should come and try out. Even if you are not staying here, you are always welcome to come up here and grab a drink or a bite to eat.
This restaurant usually opens around 4:30 p.m. (see Hours of Operation tab below) but on Sundays, they offer a Champagne Brunch from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. here. Check their website or call in to make sure they are open. This place gets closed down for events and parties multiple times throughout the year.
Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco
- Historic Hotel
- Central Location
- Nearby Public Transportation
- Great Views
- Top Floor Dining
- Complimentary Town Car Service
- No Swimming Pool
- Only Valet Parking
- High prices for mini bar and at restaurants
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.