Our Uber driver Alvin picked us up from the temporary Transbay Terminal and dropped us off in front of the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel’s portico. The time was a little past 11AM when we arrived and I was assuming that our room would not be ready yet. Before leaving on this trip, I joined Intercontinental’s Ambassador Membership which costs $200/year but comes with many benefits some of which are guaranteed room upgrade, 4PM late checkout, welcome gift, bottled water and more. Since early check-in isn’t one of the benefits, I figured that we would have to check-in, leave our bags and then come back after lunch when our room was ready.
Once inside the hotel lobby, I headed over to the front desk to check-in at the dedicated line for Ambassador Members. I was greeted by a female front desk agent who welcomed me to the hotel and after checking my ID, she pulled up my reservation and informed me that our room was ready. This was a nice little welcome surprise since my parents and I have been up since 2AM to catch the the Amtrak San Joaquin train from Bakersfield. Once I had our room keys in hand, I thanked the front desk agent and went over to the seating area to grab my parents and head up to our room.Our room was on the 15th floor which I believe was the highest floor with standard rooms. First impression when we stepped out of the elevator was that this hotel is definitely old. We chose to stay at Mark Hopkins because of its history and its location so this was expected. When we entered our room, I was quite surprised at how roomy our two double bed room was. Generally, older historic hotels have smaller rooms so the big size of our room was a pleasant surprise. The room itself was clean and the beds and furniture modern, but the walls, moulding and the curtains gave the room a “OLD” feel to it. Again for someone like me who came to this hotel for the location and history, this was not an issue but I could see this being a disappointment for people who stay here without taking the 90+ year history into consideration when booking their rooms. Also, the double-hung windows in the rooms are small when compared to modern newly build hotels where the windows generally run from one end to the other. One of the main reasons we chose to stay here at Mark Hopkins was for its spectacular view from high floor room, and the view from our room did not disappoint. Our room faced California Street and from our window we had an enviable view of San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. In front of the hotel, many tourists hung around on Mason and California Street to get a glimpse of San Francisco from the top of Nob Hill at street level, but the view from our room blows any street level view to smithereens. The window in our room opened couple of inches which was enough for me to take couple of shots of the view without the glare from the window getting in the way. On top of the two double beds, our room had a desk and chair, TV, TV stand which contained a minibar, nightstand with a radio/clock combo that had the outdated iPhone/iPod dock built into it. The bathroom was decently sized and contained Agraria bath products. Also, there was a container which contained combs, sewing kit, shoeshine kit and a bunch of other items. Inside the closet, were bathrobes, slippers, a safe and a umbrella for use during your stay at the hotel. Instead of the usual plastic laundry bag, there was a nice looking cloth one hanging on one of the hangers. The iron and ironing board was mounted on one side of the the wall inside the closet. Around 5PM, a fruit basket, bottle of mineral water, and box of chocolate was brought to our room by hotel staff who was going around to each room with guests that were Ambassador Members. Also, as an Ambassador Member, the two 1 litter bottles of Evian Water in our room, which are normally $7.00 a bottle, were free. The Evian Water was not refilled the second day, so I had to call room service to request the free two bottles, which we were entitled to as a Ambassador Member. In the evening, housekeeping came by for turndown service and second housekeeping if the room needed it. All of the decorative items were removed from the bed, the corner of the sheet and comforter folded over, and the TV remote and small Ghirardelli Chocolate squares were left on top of the comforter. And finally, the radio on the nightstand was set to classical music on low volume for winding down for sleeping.
The bed and pillows were comfortable but not as comfortable as Westin’s Heavenly Bed. Unlike at many other hotels, each bed had only two pillows instead of the typical four. This wasn’t a big deal for my parents since they only need one pillow each but I had to stack the two pillows on my bed to get comfortable. Since the pillow covered only half the bed after I stacked up my two pillows, rolling between the two halves of the bed wasn’t as convenient as on a bed with four pillows.During our first night at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, my parents and I went up to the Top Of The Mark restaurant / lounge which is located on the 19th floor of the hotel. We took the single elevator which goes up to the 19th floor and when we arrived, we were greeted by two hosts who took down my name and informed me it would be couple of minutes before we would be seated. They also informed me that there was a $15 per person cover charge for non hotel guests and that all we needed to do was show our server my room key to have the cover charge waived. When we visited, live music performance was going on at Top of the Mark. My parents and I were eventually seated but unfortunately we were not given a window seat. I ordered a bottle of white wine, a dessert from the menu which was described as a “macaroon donut,” and a order of the potato chips and dips. Since we were seated in one of the inner tables, we were not able to get a clear view of the city from where we were sitting. I contemplated going up to one of the windows to checkout the view but I did not want to be a bother the people sitting at the window tables. Overall I think the experience was good, but not having a window table really did bring down the experience couple of notches.
In conclusion, we loved our stay at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel. For anyone looking for modern sleek hotels, Mark Hopkins Hotel will probably not fit your needs. You will probably be better off staying at the new Intercontinental San Francisco instead. If your into historic hotels which is located at the most prime location in San Francisco, then you will love Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel.