InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco Review

By Jonathan Spira on 1 June 2011
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As I headed over to the InterContinental Mark Hopkins, I looked at my watch.  It was nearly 4 p.m. The fog would soon be rolling in over the Golden Gate Bridge and the hotel’s Top of the Mark lounge was (according to my mother, who knows such things) THE place to see it.

Perched on the southeastern peak of Nob Hill, a neighborhood in San Francisco that, by the late nineteenth century, had become one of the city’s most fashionable, the hotel is steeped in the city’s post-earthquake history.  It was built on the site of the original Mark Hopkins mansion (which was destroyed in the fire that followed the earthquake) after the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.  The Room of the Dons has nine seven-foot-high murals depicting aspects of California’s history, including Queen Califia accompanied by two of her warriors (the state’s name comes from the mythical Island of California, which was first described by Spanish writer Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo, who created Queen Califia’s character in the same novel).


My one-bedroom suite had a separate bedroom and a generously-sized living room/dining room area.  An elegant gift box on the bed held a discount card for local shopping.  The bed itself was supremely comfortable and I woke up energized and ready for my meetings.

The elegant marble bath had a soaking tub with relaxing whirlpool jets as well as a separate shower.

A miniature chocolate version of the Mark Hopkins appeared in my room shortly after check-in.  While chocolates are de rigueur welcome gifts at many hotels, I don’t think I have ever gotten to taste a chocolate hotel before.  It was, in fact, a very faithful rendition of the building and also very tasty.


While my suite was very conducive for meetings (my guests enjoyed the view immensely), there was no real desk (the Ethernet cable for high-speed Internet as well as the telephone were on a small side table along the wall).  Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.  The Internet itself was fast and is reasonably priced at $12.95 for 24 hours.

The dining room table made for a great desk and the chairs were quite comfortable, but the lack of a convenient electrical outlet near the table made it necessary for me to string the electrical cord somewhat precariously back to the closest wall outlet.

A hidden gem (perhaps not so hidden) is the executive lounge, which is one of the best lounges I’ve visited in any hotel.  Located on the ground floor near reception, it has its own receptionist (who greeted me by name even on my first visit).  A scrumptious buffet breakfast is served in the lounge and light food is served throughout the day including afternoon tea as well as sushi and warm canapés in the evening.  A nice variety of soft drinks, beer, and alcoholic beverages is available at a self-service bar. The lounge is a very pleasant place to hold a meeting or two.

The fitness center is open 24 hours, which is a good thing if you indulge in too much food or drink in the executive lounge.

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