Intercontinential Mark Hopkins

Intercontinential Mark Hopkins

The Mark Hopkins certainly has a prestigious address: 1 Nob Hill, one of the highest points in San Francisco. It was built on the remains of Central Pacific Railroad tycoon Mark Hopkins’ mansion which survived the 1906 earthquake but burned in the fire. Subsequently the location of the San Francisco Art Association, the 19 story Mark Hopkins opened on December 4, 1926. The luxury hotel is a mixture of Spanish Renaissance and French chateau architecture. For the grand opening in 1926, artists Maynard Dixon and Frank Von Sloun’s installed their nine spectacular seven foot high murals depicting early California in the Room of the Dons banquet area where they can still be seen today. The hotel was designated as a California Historical Landmark in 1961.

The Mark Hopkins was built with two wings giving most of the 380 rooms and suites breathtaking views of the city and the San Francisco Bay. A total renovation in 2001 was the first work done on the historic hotel since the 1950’s. The guestrooms, suites, corridors, lobby, as well as Nob Hill restaurant and the celebrated Top of the Mark Lounge were upgraded and reconfigured. The rooms range from standard (but still elegant, plush and extremely comfortable) to a fabulous 1484 foot penthouse suite and the luxurious Mark Hopkins suite which has its own solarium. One drawback to the place involves the elevators: they are tiny and slow. The hotel is known for catering to convention attendees but the rates are very reasonable for the everyday traveler. For frequent guests of Intercontinental hotel properties, it may be worth to cough up the $150 Ambassador membership which gives you guaranteed room upgrades, free weekend night, 4 p.m. late check-out, single rates for double occupancy, complimentary internet, and fresh fruit and mineral water in your room.

Since 1939, Top of the Mark, the sky lounge with incredible 360 degree views of San Francisco from the 19th floor, has become a legend. Be prepared for a $15 cover charge and men must wear a tie. But it’s worth every penny for the view and the sumptuous cocktails like the Chopin vodka and vermouth with pickled green tomato ($13) from the 100 Martini menu. The bar is first-come first served but reservations are necessary for dinner. California cuisine is featured and a nightly 3 course prix-fixe dinner is offered. Sunday champagne brunch is very popular, even at $64 for adults and $35 for kids 4 -12. 415/616-6916

Rooms start at $209/night. Valet parking is $57/day.

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