We spent 6 wonderful nights at the Intercontinental San Francisco in November 2011. We had a perfect stay and I highly recommend this modern and very clean hotel! My husband was in SF for a conference and I came along with our 5 year old and 1 year old. We arrived very late at night, exhausted and bedraggled. (The kids had been crying. My husband lost his cell phone at the airport. We got lost trying to find the correct train. Couldn't get out of the downtown train station with all our luggage b/c the elevators had been locked so had to drag kids, stroller and suitcases up the stairs. Yes, THAT kind of day.) The lady at the front desk was SO sweet to us. When I asked if we could possibly have a high-up room so my daughter and I could experience the city view, she upgraded us to a better room on the top floor at no extra charge!!!! She was also very kind to my two young children, giving both of them little stuffed sea lion toys and coloring books upon arrival. Wow, this really made our difficult travel day all worthwhile. More than that: it made our whole trip extra-special. Really, the great room was a highlight for me and the kids ...and you should have seen the smile on my face when I saw the room.
Let me tell you, the view was magnificent! The room itself was beautifully decorated and spotless. The long dresser and desk plus multiple tables meant there was plenty of room for unloading all the stuff you accumulate when traveling. Lots of lighting options were a bonus, too, so I was able to dim the lights perfectly at the kids' bedtime but still leave enough light for myself. The bathroom had a nice, quiet sliding door which I loved, but this was in a handicapped-accessible room, so perhaps not all rooms have that. Large walk-in shower, spacious bathroom not like some hotels where there is hardly room to turn around. We loved the large vanity space, which leaves plenty of room for toiletries. Excellent lighting. The shower was incredible! The beds were about the most comfy hotel beds I've ever slept in. I spent many hours in the evenings after the kids were asleep just enjoying the cushy bed and drinking in the stunning view. The walls appear to be nice and thick: I never heard a peep from other people around me.
We particularly loved the Keurig machine with easy-to-use coffee cartridges and quality coffee. I drink a lot of coffee and also had friends come up to the room for coffee a couple of times, so I went through a lot of those cartridges. I called several times to the front desk to request more of them and they were so courteous and always rushed them right up. Months later we still joke about how we miss that machine!
Room service was, like all big city hotels, very very very expensive. But I did indulge a little and was delighted with what we got. Fresh, fresh, fresh. Quality ingredients. Large servings. I recall I had white bean garlicky soup with sourdough bread. Not only was it out-of-this-world delicious, the serving was huge, a complete meal. I also ordered a decadent chocolate dessert, but I was so full after the soup and bread, I saved it for the next day! The fresh fruit plates were similarly, extremely well-done and very generously sized. I ordered sandwiches and milk also for the kids and, okay, I never want to pay that much for PBJs and milk again! But on the other hand, upon our arrival we were too exhausted to go out again, and for the price it wasn't too horrific: huge glasses of very cold milk, large sandwiches on very fresh bread. All gorgeously presented with white linen and shining silverware and fresh flowers. The splurge was worth it in my book, for a once-a-year treat.
I did not like the mini-bar. It is nothing but a pain when you have little kids who constantly want to open it up and take things out. Also, there was only a tiny space in there for our own stuff. But I can live with that since many other business-oriented hotels do the same.
Another complaint: having to pay a daily charge for Web access. Really, it should just be free with the room in this day and age. But, again, virtually all big city hotels do the same, so I can live with it and we did pay for the convenience a couple of days.
Another thing I didn't like: the tv was a huge-screen HD, which was awesome - the kids were mesmerized by it, lol! But it always seemed to revert automatically to the pay-per-view option when you turned it back on. So then you had to punch buttons and scroll, scroll etc to get to the regular, free tv channels. Argh. And it was very slow, several seconds delay to change channels. Does this bug anyone else? I'm not a big tv person anyway, but it was annoying to me and I imagine it would annoy others as well.
The only service glitch we had was that the crib we had requested in advance took a while to arrive. First the front desk said they had no record of that request, but would send one up. Well, I waited and waited (and by then it was extremely late at night) and in the end I had to call the front desk and I think the message had gotten lost along the way, so they requested it again and eventually a crib was delivered to the room. By that time, my exhausted toddler had fallen asleep on the bed. No big deal, and the front desk staff were very apologetic. These things happen.
I did not try out the restaurant, bar or gym - having two little kids certainly restricts how much of that you can do, unfortunately, but everything was buzzing and looked great whenever we walked through the lobby. This hotel is not huge on the ground floor. Not a con from my point of view, but it does not have the opulent, soaring, huge lobby that you'll see in some mega hotels. Just thought I'd mention that.
The Intercontinental staff were without exception courteous and helpful and friendly.
We used the concierge desk once, getting advice about taking a sightseeing bus tour. The woman who helped me out was amazingly friendly and made it so easy for me, even taking care of the booking for me so that all I had to do was turn up at the bus stop at the right time. Nice - I was very grateful. My little ones were meanwhile rolling on the floor and trying to bang on the spotless windows etc all the while I was talking with her and everyone was so nice, smiling at them and generally being very tolerant, which as a mom I appreciated very much!
Must mention, of course, the location is awesome. The hotel was a short walk from all the shops, the conference center, the playground, just a bit further to Chinatown and to the water.
This was a trip we'll remember fondly forever. This hotel really was the icing on the cake!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC