Intercontinental San Francisco


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I spent very little time in this hotel so it won’t be as thorough as I’d like, more of an overview than a full-length review.

Hotel

Located in the SoMa neighborhood at 888 Howard Street, it’s across the street from the Moscone West Convention Center. The hotel has 550 rooms including 14 suites. One of the biggest draws to the hotel is the Michelin 1-star restaurant Luce. I’ll touch on Luce’s a bit later in the review. There are a couple things to note: they charge a $50 early departure fee and valet parking is a crazy $64.98. I’m a realist, I’d pay $50 for valet without batting an eye in a big city but this place wanting to charge $64.98 is absurd. You can find a parking garage close by if you don’t mind walking a few minutes.

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Booking

I had a free IHG anniversary night that was expiring one day prior to me booking this hotel so I called IHG and asked if they would extend my free night by a week. Lucky for me, they extended the free night and booked me in a standard room. When I checked in the receptionist said they upgraded me to a King Premier View room. I hold Platinum status with them because of the IHG credit card, so I’m sure that’s why I was upgraded. As you can see below the rate was $385.44 plus tax. So, if you were paying full price and parking your car with their valet you’d be paying close to $500 for the night I was there. Lawd have mercy, I hope no one paid that much.

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Check-in

I checked in at 12:30pm and had no problem getting an early check-in. The receptionist was polite and always had a smile. She thanked me for being a Platinum member, informed me of the room upgrade and I was on my way. Unless I’m checking into a nice 5-star hotel or resort this is my type of check-in, quick and easy.

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Lobby

I didn’t do much of a tour of the lobby. From what I saw there were a few seating areas, a grappa and wine bar called Bar 888, and Luce.

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Room

The room is advertised at 330 sq feet. It was pretty standard, not much to say about it.

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One thing Intercontinental always does well, in my experience, is the bed. The beds are always soft and the bedding and pillows are great.

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The nightstands had outlets on each side. 🙌🏽

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The TV was huge! Not often you find a 60 inch TV in a hotel room.

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Below the TV were the mini bar, snacks, and the Keurig coffee machine. If you are going to charge this much for a room and not have a Nespresso machines you should be called out.

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Here’s the mini bar menu. Selling can sodas for $5 is outrageous. We aren’t in the Maldives.

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The desk had plenty of outlets if you needed to do some work and the chair was comfortable.

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The closet was located by the door. I can appreciate the two robes and slippers.

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I can’t for the life of me remember what floor I was on. I normally write it down but it slipped my mind. I think it was the 30th but not sure. Anyhow, the view was pretty good.

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The one annoying thing about the room was every time you closed the door it would slam shut. Doors slamming early in the morning should not happen but there was no way around it.

Bathroom

Standard issue bathroom.

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The toiletries were Eco-Boutique. It’s been awhile since I’ve stayed in an Intercontinental so I’m not sure if this is standard but I couldn’t find anything on the internet about them. I was a fan. They smelled great and seemed like high quality.

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Since I have a thing for hair dryers here is the one used here. It’s the Voyager 1875. I mean who hasn’t heard of the Voyager 1875, Classic.

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There were two issues I had with the bathroom. First, in the shower, you had to actually get in the shower to turn on the water. Getting blasted by cold water is not fun. It blows my mind when hotels design their showers like this. The second issue is I had the hardest time figuring out how to work the water controls. Mind you, I had to stand in the shower the whole time while I figured it out. This might be the worst designed shower I’ve ever come across at a hotel.

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Fitness

The fitness center is open 24 hours. It has plenty of cardio equipment and weight machines.

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Pool

In the room next to the gym were a lap pool and jacuzzi tub.

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The water was cloudy, much cloudier than what the photos show. It did not look very inviting. But I suppose if you were just wanting to swim some laps it would do.

On the same floor as the gym and pool was an outdoor terrace.

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Restaurant/Food

Bar 88 and Luce are located on the first floor. I did not enter Luce but did have a few bites from their menu at the bar.

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I was super excited when I found out the bar was a grappa bar. Grappa is one of my favorite liquors behind moonshine liquor (Lt. Aldo Raine voice). I’m kidding, bourbon is my favorite liquor but I do love grappa so naturally I had to order a grappa flight.

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Here’s a menu for all you grappa fans. I’m pretty sure there were a few more pages.

For dinner I had the homemade sweetbread ravioli with crispy sweetbreads. 8.1/10. I thought they used too many mustard greens.

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The last dish I had was the hand-cut beef tartare with confit egg yolk. 8.9/10.

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The bartender was great and food arrived fast. The best decision I made while at the hotel was going down to the bar that night. Highly recommended.

Service

I’ll give service a 7.2/10. I went down to get an Uber soon after I arrived and the bellhop asked if I needed a taxi. I told him I had an Uber coming, bad mistake. The bellhop goes on this three-minute rant about how taxis are better than Uber. For one, I couldn’t care less about this guys opinion about taxis and secondly he was completely wrong. Taxis are the worst. It made me think he probably get some kind of kick back from the taxi guys if he gets them rides.

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Luckily I had a great experience at the bar and the bartender really helped bring the service score up.

Overall

I would not recommend staying at this hotel but would recommend you go to restaurant Luce and Bar 88. The hotel was missing so many little details that it all added up to being a subpar stay. With door slamming, the bad shower, the cloudy pool water and the bellhop lecturing me, I had had enough. For the price they ask for this place I could find a better place to stay.

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On a side note, if you’re ever in San Francisco you need to head over to Swan Oyster Depot for lunch. The lines are long but if you get there early you can get in without waiting too long. Get the crab back. GAME CHANGER!

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Categories: HotelsTags: , , ,

8 comments

  1. We did love checking out “Top of the Mark” at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel. Lots of history and old Hollywood elegance with beautiful views. Nightly band which is usually old jazz with dancing on a beautiful round dance floor and Best Martinis ever! http://www.intercontinentalmarkhopkins.com/top-of-the-mark.aspx Located at 999 California Street, San Francisco, California 94108 I encourage you to check out the website and read the interesting and long history of this hotel once mansion.

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  2. Great review. And I love the hairdryer reviews, don’t forget to always include those! Recently in San Francisco, our group ate at The Stinking Rose. http://thestinkingrose.com/sf/index.html Which was highly recommended by the bartender. I just can’t say enough bad things about it! From the greeting to the service to the recommended “Hot Tub of Garlic” and ending with garlic ice cream. And wine was not a good selection. If you are going to have bad food you better have great wine!

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  3. I have had much better experiences in the boutique hotels in San Francisco than in the large chain hotels for the reasons you list.
    And I totally agree with you on Swan Oyster Depot. My favorite is the crab salad with the Louie dressing.

    Liked by 1 person

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