The InterContinental San Francisco, which debuted in 2008, flaunts that it is the city’s most recent ‘built from the ground up’ hotel. With its eighth birthday quickly approaching, we thought it would be fun to give you seven reasons—one for each year—why you should make this hotel—perched at the corner of Howard and Folsom Streets and boasting 550 modern rooms with fantastic city views, luxurious amenities and really, really comfortable beds—your next SF lodging destination.
1) Location, location, location: Its vibrant SoMa locale is within easy strolling distance to premiere shopping, amazing restaurants, SFMOMA (reopening 5-14-16), Yerba Buena Gardens, Moscone Center, Union Square and the Powell St. cable car line. The InterContinental’s superior concierge team can help you plan your day or evening with their ‘in the know’ suggestions. Saunter up to Nob Hill, for instance, to the InterContinental’s sister property, the elegant Mark Hopkins, and enjoy a classic martini (or two) at the iconic Top of the Mark before heading back to home base.
2) The best of both views: You don’t have to settle for either a Bay or a City view when you can have both. Ask for a corner Junior Suite and you’ll experience breathtaking, nearly 270°, panoramic vistas of glittering skyline. If it weren’t for the chocolate left on your pillow, you might consider cancelling the evening turndown/close-the-drapes service. Even the most jet-lagged won’t want to shut out this view.
3) Michelin-star cuisine: When is the last time you ordered room service from a Michelin-starred restaurant? The InterContinental is home to the celebrated Luce (pronounced LOO-chay), and whether you dine in the elegant and haute first floor restaurant or in your room, your meal will be memorable. Having recently earned its seventh consecutive Michelin star, Luce and Chef Daniel Corey present an approachable menu with local ingredients that reflect the changing seasons – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t miss the Handmade Sweetbread Ravioli with Crispy Sweetbreads and Italian Black Truffles.
4) Go for the Grappa: ‘Google’ the word ‘grappa,’ and the InterContinental’s swank Bar 888 comes up second in search results – a somewhat remarkable feat, as grappa is a centuries old uniquely Italian product. But, having established itself as the nation’s premiere grappa-focused bar, offering more than 100 grappas for tasting, Bar 888, has earned its ‘Google’ search results spot. Lead bartender Ron Armstrong likes to substitute grappa for tequila or rum. Try the customer favorite ‘Italian Mojito’ or the ‘Grappa’s Bay.’ If you’re lucky, Armstrong will deem you worthy of his secret, off-menu ‘Farewell to Arms’ (a mix of Dimmi grappa, lime juice, maraschino liqueur, and grapefruit peel), a drink inspired by his recent reading of Hemingway’s masterpiece, in which several grappa references are found.
5) POTUS was here: Up until recently, and before his presence snarled the traffic patterns in the area, the leader of the free world chose to post at the InterContinental when in town. Was it the beautiful, two-floor presidential suite that he favored? Maybe he appreciated the pet-friendly policy that welcomed Sunny and Bo. Or perhaps he enjoyed the ‘instant service’ button on his in-room phone that allowed for near immediate delivery of items such as extra pillows, blankets, or towels – a service available to all guests in all rooms.
6) 6 is your lucky number: Whether your room is on the 30th floor or the 3rd, the 6th floor is ‘where it’s at.’ This is where you’ll find the gym, indoor lap pool, hot tub, luxe spa and two vast outdoor patios. The 6th floor is also home to the fabulous InterContinental Club Lounge – accessible to all hotel guests for a nominal fee. Enjoy food and beverage offerings throughout the day – from a hearty breakfast, to afternoon tea sandwiches, to late night desserts and aperitifs. A plethora of reading material is also yours for the taking.
7) It’s easy being green: Last but certainly not least, and perhaps the most important reason of all – the InterContinental San Francisco is LEED Gold Certified – that’s the second to highest achievable ranking with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings. The InterContinental is the largest LEED Gold recipient of existing buildings in California, and the 3rd largest in the U.S. The hotel’s director of engineering Harry Hobbs has worked tirelessly to outfit the building with advanced technologies that increase efficiencies without detracting from a luxe experience. Guests are invited to actively participate in sustainable practices, such as via the ‘LEED By Example’ vacation package that can earn discounts for reusing towels, taking public transportation, and opting for in-room Green Eco temperature control. A stay at the InterContinental SF is pro planet and an haute endorsement of environmental stewardship.
The InterContinental San Francisco: 888 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA
Photography by Rien van Rijthoven