Intercontinental San Francisco

Every now and then, I’d receive an email offer to upgrade my IHG membership to Intercontinental Ambassador.   Last month, I had a stay at the Intercontinental San Francisco.  I finally decided to give Ambassador a try.

The reasons?  I wanted to see what a “guaranteed upgrade” means for this stay.  From the T&C, I know it could just be an upgrade to a room with a better view or a higher floor.  Unlike the  invite-only Royal Ambassador membership, I also know the membership doesn’t include club access (even if you are placed on a Club floor).

Let’s just say that I tempered my expectations before the trip.

First contact with hotel

Prior to the trip, I contacted the hotel with two requests. 1) connect my IHG account to the reservations and 2) request a late check out.

For whatever reasons, my IHG number wasn’t linked to my account.  Due to work and a late afternoon departing flight, I also needed a late checkout (which is a “guaranteed” benefit of Ambassador).  A couple of days later, the hotel responded and handled both requests.

Before my arrival, my IHG app showed that my “standard room” was upgraded to a Premium King Corner Room.  I was excited about this upgrade!

Arrival and Check-in

Getting to the hotel from the SFO airport is about a 20-25 minutes taxi ride.  For those who need assistance, there are concierge/bellhop services available at the main lobby area.  Check in was uneventful.  I was assigned a corner unit on the 24th floor, in a 32 story building.

In Picture

a room with a tv and a bed









The room is spacious.  The wall to ceiling windows made the room feel even bigger.

The bathroom is nice, although the placement of the toilet by the large windows is odd.    The shower is fine; the water pressure could be better.  For some reasons, I was expecting a stand-up shower (modern hotel; modern bathroom?)

a bathroom with a window and a toilet

Bathroom View

a bathtub with a towel from the shower
















The bed is comfortable.  The room comes with automatic controls for the window blinds and sheers.

a bed with white sheets and a wood headboard

Comfy Bed

a white rectangular device with a black screen on it

Windows Control















The views from the room are spectacular, when you are in a corner unit.  You can see the city on one end, you can see the inbound/outbound traffic on the highway from the other window.  Although one side of the windows needs to be washed (blurry)  which I imagined doesn’t happen frequently given how high the building is.

a city skyline at dusk

Room views

a tall building with many windows

Room views








a window with a city view

Elevator View














In addition to a regular bottle of water, this complimentary glass bottle of Evian water was also waiting for me in the room (which I confirmed to be a benefit of the Ambassador status, along with a $20 dining credit at the hotel (for the stay, not each night).

a bottle with a label on a table











Other areas of the hotel:

There are comfortable looking chairs and sofa chairs in the lobby area for meetings.

a room with purple chairs and a television on the wall









For the healthy-focused guests, there is a pool (and a hot tub in the corner) and a smallish fitness room.

a swimming pool with a blue water


a room with exercise equipment




















And then there is an access to outdoor area on certain floors for lounging/working:

a building with a glass wall and benches

Private outdoor space










There is a Bistro 888 Restaurant on the ground floor, where you can have breakfast (buffet) or a la carte.

The award winning Luce Restaurant is also on the ground floor, though I do find its location to be a little strange (which appears to just be a separated section in the hotel lobby).

Overall Impression

The hotel and services are phenomenal and the room was comfortable.  I was able to get some good sleep and wake up to exceptional views.

Of course, being in a high rise building in a city with fault lines, the thoughts crossed my mind — “what would happen in the event of an earthquakes?  Can this building withstand the tremors”?

Also, given all that the more recent news about crime and safety in San Francisco, I had my worries and concerns as well.   If you keep aware of your surroundings and keep your wits about you, you should be OK.  For the most part, I did not feel unsafe.  It’s possible that my opinion may differ, if I wasn’t staying during a busy work conference.

All in all, the Intercontinental San Francisco is located conveniently and I had a great, restful stay.

Lastly, would I say that the corner views worth the costs to upgrade to Ambassador membership?   “Absolutely”.  I’ll write more about the Ambassador program in a separate post.


Did you recently stay at this hotel?  How was your experience?