My stay at the Mark Hopkins

Discussion in 'IHG | Rewards Club/Ambassador' started by JSpira, Jun 4, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. JSpira
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    JSpira Silver Member

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    I recently stayed at the Mark Hopkins for three days and it was a very enjoyable visit.

    I had a great one-room suite with wonderful views. I particularly liked the miniature chocolate version of the hotel that was delivered to me after check-in (along with a superb cheese platter which pretty much made dinner unnecessary that night).

    On a tour around the hotel, I saw the mural with Queen Califa (very cool) in the Room of the Dons.

    The ground-floor lounge was without question one of the better lounges I've frequented and the lounge attendant addressed me by name even the first time I was there.

    Service was generally excellent with one exception: I was somewhat disappointed with breakfast in the Top of the Mark (I thought it would be great for the views even though I could have just breakfasted in the lounge) but the food was so-so as was the service.

    A longer report with a few dozen photos (on the 2nd page of the review) is online here.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Thanks for sharing this. I used to love the Mark Hopkins, I haven't stayed there since around May 2006 and I was upgraded to a lovely Terrace Suite (glass enclosed outdoor terrace!). That was booking a club room on a AAA rate for 3 nights and using a BOGO cert.

    Then they got a manager who seemingly resented Royal Ambassador members. They carved out a special room type just for Royal Ambassadors, the standard room with a fax machine that they thus called a business room, and argued satisfied the minimum requirements for RA upgrade (to an 'executive room or suite').

    Fortunately my understanding is that's no longer the policy. But the new Intercontinental in SF was opened, and it's consistenly excellent, so it's a hard argument to return to the Mark Hopkins. Though it's a lovely, special, old grand dame of a place in a city with many outstanding hotels.

    Still, I do have fond memories of it, I spent a short while living on Nob Hill as a teenager and went there often.
     
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  3. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Enjoyed the report! Thanks for posting!:)
     
  4. JSpira
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    JSpira Silver Member

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    I'm glad it brought back fond memories. I truly enjoyed my stay there and love the area. I hope you get a chance to go back and try it soon.
     
  5. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    I'm going to throw an alternate view out on this property.

    While I too hold a nostalgic spot in my heart for this hotel, having stayed a number of times in the 1990s, when she was still holding together - including a few romantic visits (during my single days), my last two stays here, both in the last three years, as well as a recent visit to the public areas in April 2011, I'm sad to say, reinforce the view that this is a property that is well past its prime.

    It has a great view - except for the part blocked by the Fairmont, which is both taller and directly across the street, between the MH and the Golden Gate Bridge. Though you can see most of the bridge from the MH, but the view is much better from across the street at the Fairmont (itself not that special of a hotel). Service at the Mark Hopkins is decent, but not as good as the new IC. Rooms are ok, but nothing will knock your socks off.

    The OP was in a suite, which, based on the photos, appears much more deluxe than the run-of-the-house rooms. This review paints too rosey of a picture of the property.

    This hotel is San Francisco the way the Waldorf or Plaza is NY; as much as it pains me to say this, if you are seeking a view, book the Fairmont and visit the Crown Room (their top floor - not yet renamed Sky Club ;) ) - or if you're seeking a proper luxury hotel, there are a number of good ones just a few blocks away down the hill from both properties.

    * * * * *​
    Separately, I had a client who was named Mark Hopkins a few years back. He was an executive at a big insurance company on the east coast. I immediately inquired on his name - and he said I was one of the few people from the east to raise the connection. He said he stayed only once in SF he said - at the Fairmont - and he said they gave him a bit of a hard time checking in, thinking it was a pseudonym - till he showed ID. (I think his visit was in the mid/late 90s, when ID wasn't always a requisite to check in.) Still makes me chuckle. Too bad he wasn't traveling with Mr. Waldorf Astoria...or Mr. Players, Mr. Game Players, who I understand normally prefers the Westin Bonaventure.​
     
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  6. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    I think that the excellent reviews and comments in this thread encapsulate much of what is right (historical character) and too often wrong (room condition, lack of amenities) with legendary, 'grande dame' properties. Loyalty program recognition also can vary widely at these properties.

    I have no problem with travelers who care not a whit about history and only want the new and the shiny (and their expected upgrades) ;). For IC elites in San Francisco, it's nice to have a choice (although I don't like the IC SF's Howard Street location unless I'm attending something at Moscone).
     
  7. TheBeerHunter
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    TheBeerHunter Silver Member

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    As a local (of the south bay) staying in SF quite frequently....I have my own opinion. For whatever reason (proximity to my husband's clients probably, plus the fact that they have a spa) we tend to stay at the IC SF more frequently than we do the Mark Hopkins. But having checked in recently for the first time in probably a good nine months, I think I am once again charmed by the Mark Hopkins. We booked the cheapest room, and we were upgraded to a one bedroom suite which has happened more frequently here than the IC SF (granted, they do have more options here). Room was ready when we checked in a bit after noon (rarely at IC SF, though I understand they can't control guest check-in or out). They acknowledged my frequent stays at check in, whereas I am always asked at the IC SF whether we have stayed there before by those at the desk (lounge staff, to their credit, always remembers us). Lounge is lovely, one of my favorites because of all the different spaces available to guests. The bubbly on offer is of higher caliber than the IC SF. Unfortunately they don't have Luis (the best lounge host in the system at the IC SF), though the staff here is perfectly lovely. They have finally upgraded to flat screen TVs in the rooms, which was one of our big pet peeves about the place. And they still have that InterContinental video/song on the hotel welcome channel, which the IC SF got rid of a bit ago. For all these reasons, I am now giving the edge to Mark Hopkins over IC SF. And staying at the IC SF a lot, I do feel this carries "some" weight. Though please understand, this is splitting hairs: they are both great.
     
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  8. JSpira
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    JSpira Silver Member

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    I´ve been to the Bay Area three times this year so far (living in NY) and stayed at both the Mark and the IC. I agree with your assessment and, at this point, I typically base my selection on where I need to be, because I like both.
     
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  9. TheBeerHunter
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    TheBeerHunter Silver Member

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    A couple of negative niggles about our recent stay at the MH:

    -- our Amb/RA gift didn't arrive til after 8PM (we checked in around noon). However, MH has always offered a nice little local gift (chocolates -- used to be Ghirardelli, now it's TCHO)
    -- at breakfast, they didn't have any hot offerings of eggs or bacon/sausage -- just a lot of bread products, cereal, fruits, smoothies, smoked salmon, meats, cheese, etc. This was a little disappointing.
    -- their new flat screens come with a new hotel TV interface -- which includes no PPV movies. But, they do offer Showtime and/or HBO. We were a little disappointed, though, since we had planned to watch a movie in the morning before we left.

    Still, like I said, this is splitting hairs. Both hotels have the same GM, both hotels treat RAs (and hopefully As and Plats!) well. It was just a refreshing change to go to the MH having been staying all the time at the IC SF -- it felt a bit more "special" if that makes sense.
     
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  10. JSpira
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    JSpira Silver Member

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    absence makes the heart grow fonder?
     
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  11. TheBeerHunter
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    LOL perhaps that is it. Though the service quality overall felt better, more professional across the board. IC SF is a bit more hit or miss.
     
  12. foxberg

    foxberg Gold Member

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    I posted this in another thread, but here's my two cents regarding IC MH:
    "I really didn't like IC MH in SF. Very old, outdated hotel with CRT TV's in the rooms. I didn't get a lounge access there although I was PC PL AMB. I had to move to a different room because the first one smelled awful. And if you are not driving in SF be prepared for a good workout walking back to the hotel from the Market St. I would rather recommend a new IC in SF on Howard St. I've stayed there a few times and was always upgraded to a nice corner room on a high floor. Just pick the side opposite from the SF Chronicles building."
     
  13. TheBeerHunter
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    When was your stay, foxberg? They have updated the TVs to flatscreens. That was a big plus I noticed!

    Also, what's your status with PC? Are you an AMB or RA? That tends to have an effect on perception, too, I think. :)
     
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  14. foxberg

    foxberg Gold Member

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    Ah, so they finally realized it's 21st Century and customers need something better then a tube that looks like it came out of 60's. I stayed there last year in January. I'm an AMB, but even if I was an RA that wouldn't change my perception that the hotel is just too old fashioned for my taste.
     
  15. lotso-bear
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    lotso-bear Silver Member

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    I had a stay here last night, as I used an expiring PC VISA Reward night. I was in town for the Aziz Ansari show at the Masonic. Very funny man.:)

    Excellent property for an award night...as an RA, they upgraded me to an Executive King (a big room sectioned off with a sitting area; some hotels would've called this a junior suite), gave Club and internet access, and allowed minibar benefits. We liked that the windows opened to allow fresh air in, and the good selection of tv channels, including numerous HD channels. The bed was comfortable, but the bathroom was a little small.

    Unfortunately, our actual time in the hotel and dinner hours did not allow a trip to the lounge, but it appears to be well-regarded, despite the lack of hot options at breakfast, truly continental, I guess. It's a classy joint, and would recommend to SF visitors.
     
  16. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    Can you compare the Mark Hopkins to the InterContinental San Francisco? Both hotels get good reviews on Trip Advisor. I know the Mark Hopkins is an older style hotel; and my wife and I both like that feel, vs the newer standard InterContinental.

    I'm using a free night stay from the credit card. Location doesn't matter since I've been to the city multiple times.

    One last question. Any cheap local overnight parking close to either of these hotels?

    Thanks.
     
  17. foxberg

    foxberg Gold Member

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    Read my reply to this post of yours on FT ;) Definitely IC by Moscone.
     
  18. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    I searched your screen name on FT. The last thing that came up was early 2013. Link please. ;)

    dh
     
  19. foxberg

    foxberg Gold Member

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    I sent you a PM
     
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