Opened in 2008, the Intercontinental San Francisco stands at one of the most strategic locations in the city. Its South of the Market address makes it easy for leisure and business travelers alike, with the perpetually busy Union Square and headquarters of several tech companies a short walk away. Powell Street station – one of the busiest transport terminals in the city – is about a 5 minute walk. During a recent weekend, I returned to the city by the bay after an 11 year absence and stayed at the Intercontinental San Francisco.
My check-in experience was the most impressive I’ve had in a long while. The front desk associate was extremely polite but more importantly she was also highly knowledgeable and efficient – spelling out for me all the benefits I had as an IHG Rewards Club Elite member, down to the type of welcome amenity I should be expecting. I was given 400 points and a box of chocolates from The San Francisco Chocolate Factory during check-in. After a long 12-hour flight, it is definitely a relief to check-in without any hassle and to be shown to my room as soon as possible.
Table of Contents
Corner King Room
I was kindly upgraded to a Corner King room which was totally unexpected. Entering my room for the first time, I was greeted with panoramic views of the famous San Francisco skyline thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows that cut across two sides of the room! As I was on a high floor, my view stretched from the Bay Bridge on one side down to Noe Valley on another. At approximately 365 square feet in size, the room was spacious and had a square-ish cut. It felt much bigger than its actual size due to the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The 60 inch HDTV in front of my bed was one of the largest I’ve encountered in a while. Upon my arrival, I chanced upon my welcome amenity laid out by the TV – an ensemble of chocolates with an image of the Golden Gate Bridge made from syrup. After 11 years of being away (and a long flight from Asia), I thought it was a moving welcome back to San Francisco.
There was a small foyer as I entered my room which had a door to the bathroom as well as space for a wardrobe cabinet.
The bathroom was above-average in size, considering I was in space-deprived downtown San Francisco. The décor was in keeping with other Intercontinental hotels (think: off-white tiles contrasted against marble). There was a large bathtub. Toiletries were from Eco-Boutique, a departure from the usual Agraria I see in other Intercontinental hotels.
One of the highlights of the Intercontinental San Francisco is undoubtedly its club lounge which guests can access via their key card. I was pleasantly surprised when the front office associate handed me the club lounge schedule. Not only did it offer the standard continental breakfast and evening cocktails, but throughout the day, there was also time allotted for hot soup, afternoon tea and even late-evening desserts. However, as I had a packed day in San Francisco, I was only able to come in for breakfast and evening cocktails.
Here is the club lounge schedule:
- Breakfast: Mon to Fri 6:30 to 10:30am / Sat to Sun 7 to 11am
- Soup of the Day: Mon to Fri 11am to 3pm / Sat to Sun 11:30am to 3pm
- Afternoon Tea: Daily 3:15pm to 5:30pm
- Hors d’Oeuvres (evening cocktails): Daily 5:30pm to 7:30pm
- Sweet Dreams (desserts): Daily 7:30pm to 10:30pm
For a club lounge breakfast, I initially did not expect much. There was a decent spread consisting of standard breakfast fare such as scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, cereal, pastries and fruits but I was pleasantly surprised that the lounge staff even offered a few special items on a pass-around basis. This was a first for me.
The club lounge itself wasn’t very big but it had sweeping views of the San Francisco skyline thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. I could count perhaps less than ten tables across. There’s a small PC and printing station on one corner where guests can surf the net and print boarding passes.
The associates at the lounge were very attentive. They instantly recognized me during my return visits, greeting me by name.
The food selection during evening cocktails was pretty modest but they offered some items from the Michelin-starred Luce downstairs such as mini sliders during the night I visited. If you’re too tired to head out for dinner, the evening spread should be sufficient for a light meal.
The hotel’s facilities are concentrated around the sixth floor as with the club lounge. There is a spacious gym with plenty of treadmills and stationary bikes and I never found the room crowded at anytime during my stay. The gym overlooks the hotel’s indoor pool and is open 24-hours.
Having been spoiled by hotels in Asia, I was still pretty impressed with the Intercontinental San Francisco. Having a corner room with sweeping views of the city really served to enhance my stay and this was compounded by the efficient service I received all throughout – from the front desk to the club lounge. Even the bellhop would take the time to make small talk with me whenever we took the same lift. I would have loved to stay in the hotel all day to check out all the lounge offerings as well as the Michelin-starred restaurant downstairs if my schedule only permitted. That being said, it would also be a shame not to head out – with many of downtown San Francisco’s delights right at my doorstep!
Intercontinental San Francisco
888 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
+1 415 6166500
Official Reservations Website
I was hosted by the property. However, all opinions are my own.