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A Night in a Luxury Hotel InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco

Travelblog Gone with the Wine

Travelblog and lifestyleblog. Life under the Californian sun - Gone with the Wine. Trips, food and wine from all over the world. Solo and family adventures.

A Night in a Luxury Hotel InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco

Paula Gaston

Last weekend we had an opportunity to stay the night in one the legendary hotels in San Francisco; The InterContinental Mark Hopkins. It is said to be one of the true luxury hotels in San Francisco. 

When I started my blog, I decided that I wont be doing hotel reviews like most travel bloggers do. The reason for that is, that I don't like to read them myself. I would rather read fun travel stories or introductions to the hotels, and then I read the reviews from the sites that only do those. So that is why I wanted to tell you our story of spending a night at Nob Hill. 



The Mark Hopkins Hotel was opened in 1926. At first, this was the location of a luxurious mansion of a man named Mark Hopkins. His mansion burned in a fire caused by the big San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Later, the Mark Hopkins Institute of Arts was opened at the same location, and it was there until George D. Smith bought the building and decided to build a hotel to replace it. Over the years, the Mark Hopkins Hotel has undergone several renovations. It was built in the Spanish Renaissance and French chateau styles.

Many US. presidents and celebrities have stayed at the hotel. For example: Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones have been guests there, as well as Prince Philip of England and Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. The Mark Hopkins used to host a popular dance club and event venue. It has always been a popular wedding venue. 

Today the Mark Hopkins hotel is registered as California Historical Landmark #754.


Our room was on the 6th floor facing the courtyard of the hotel. In my opinion, the best part of the room was absolutely the view, even though I'm sure that the rooms facing the back of the hotel had even better views. I can imagine what it would feel like to look at the Golden Gate or Bay Bridge from your room. The room itself was pretty standard, clean but old. Everywhere in the hotel you could see how old it is, and maybe it could use a little facelift in order to hold on to its reputation as a luxury hotel.


We only stopped at the room briefly to leave our things and then headed to the cocktail bar upstairs. But before that we went back to the lobby downstairs to see the little exhibit which showcases old items from the hotel's history. There is also a fun detail next to the elevators in each floor; a mail chute. By putting mail into it upstairs, it would drop all the way down to the lobby to wait for the mailman to pick them up.

Old items at the lobby

Old items at the lobby

Mail chute

Mail chute


We arrived at the top floor cocktail bar, Top of the Mark, right before sunset. Also kids are welcome there until 10 pm. The Top of the Mark is said to be one of the best views around San Francisco since the hotel is also on top of Nob Hill. Since it was still early, we got a nice table with a view. We ended the fun day with some cocktails and enjoyed watching the sun go down. Everywhere you turned, you could see people taking pictures of it. 

The Top of the Mark was opened in 1939 when the owner George D. Smith decided to transform the top floor penthouse into a restaurant. He was not sure if the guests would actually be willing to take the elevator all the way to the 19th floor, but the bar became an instant success. The rumour is that he was not able to come up with a name for the bar, and he told someone that he didn't know what he should call the top of the Mark. People then pointed out that it should be called "Top of the Mark". 


While I came back home with the kids, my husband stayed longer in San Francisco. I wish I could have stayed too and see the rare super blue blood moon and the eclipse from the hotel. Oh well, it was still very pretty.