San Francisco part 3 – The InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel

View from the top of California street, San Francisco

Following a conversation with the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel on Twitter, their lovely PR lady, Erica, arranged a free night’s stay for us and two additional nights at a barganious rate. Obviously we jumped at the chance.

(I’d just like to say at this point that they never, at any time, asked me to write a blog post about my experiences. I’m writing this post purely because I had such a wonderful time there.)

The hotel is absolutely breathtaking. At the top of the highest hill in downtown (trust me, the walk up-hill is daunting so be prepared to take it slow or pay for cabs!), it really can boast the best views of the city.

Outside Mark Hopkins hotel San Francisco

Entrance of Intercontinental Mark Hopkins hotel San Francisco

Outside of InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel, San Francisco

View from the top of California street, San FranciscoThe hotel is at the top of Nob Hill. This is the view down California towards the Bay bridge (check out the hill!)

I love finding out the history behind places like this, so was delighted to find a mini museum within their grand lobby.

Lobby Mark Hopkins hotel San FranciscoLobby of InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel

Mark Hopkins was one of the founders of the Central Pacific railroad in 1861 that ran from California to Utah. In 1875, his wife convinced him to build a 40 room mansion at the top of Nob Hill but he passed away before the build was completed, leaving his estate to his wife.

In 1891, Mary Hopkins also passed away, leaving her entire $70 million (can you imagine how much money that was in those days!!!!) estate to her 2nd husband. In 1893, he donated the building to the San Francisco Art Institute so that it could be used as a school & museum.

Although the Mark Hopkins mansion survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, it was destroyed in the three day fire that followed. In 1925, a mining engineer purchased the site and built the luxury hotel that we see today.

In 1973, InterContinental signed a long-term management contract for the hotel and spent $12 million renovating it in 1982 before finally purchasing the hotel in 1986. They then proceeded to renovate again in 1988 and spent $1.5 million renovating the Top of the Mark in 1996.

According to Wikipedia, the hotel also features prominently in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Vertigo (although I haven’t seen it myself so I can’t confirm!)

Okay, history lesson over. Sorry, I’m sure that wasn’t half as interesting to you guys as it was to me! I spent ages in the little room watching the videos and reading all the old messages and menus from the old days!

On arrival, we were greeted personally by Daniella Koch, the Rooms Division Manager who was very lovely and informed us that we had been upgraded to a suite for the duration of our stay. As you can imagine, I was beyond excited!

Our room had a lounge/dining room with the most breathtaking views and a bedroom with en suite and the comfiest bed known to man. We also had full access to the club lounge which provided a buffet breakfast and drinks on tap.

Suite on 14th floor at Intercontinental Mark Hopkins hotel San FranciscoOur suite on the 14th floor

Bedroom in a suite at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins in San FranciscoBedroom view on 14th floor at Intercontinental Mark Hopkins hotel in San FranciscoView from our bedroom

Bathroom in suite on 14th floor Mark Hopkins hotel San FranciscoBathroom in a suite at Intercontinental Mark Hopkins hotel in San Francsico

I cannot describe how incredible it was to be woken up by the sun beaming in, full and bright and golden, glinting off the Transamerica Pyramid and straight into our bedroom.

Sunrise view from 14th floor, Mark Hopkins hotel San FranciscoSunrise over San Francisco from InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotelSunrise view from the lounge

We also got a couple of lovely surprises in the evenings when we arrived home. One night we returned to a full cheese plate, a bottle of California red and a hand-written card from the manager apologising that he couldn’t be there to meet us and another night we came back to a chilled white wine and a platter of chocolates with the most amazing little chocolate statue of the Mark Hopkins hotel itself. So cool.

Cheese plateChocolate plateIt goes without saying that we were very glum when we had to check out. I would recommend this hotel to everyone (but seriously, consider the hills, there’s no way of avoiding them and they are super steep! Take it slow or get a taxi!)

Night time view from 14th floor at InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel San FranciscoLook at that big bright moon! 

They also have an incredible restaurant right on the top floor of the hotel called Top of the Mark with huge glass windows giving a panoramic view of the city. I’ll talk about this in another post in a few days time.


  1. says

    It sounds amazing, my boyfriend’s talked about going to San Francisco a few times so I’ll bear this in mind if we do go.

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