Iconic ambience at refurbed InterContinental San Francisco

One of the 14 suites at the InterContinental San Francisco.

From the comfort of a velvety wingback chair, I watched as motorized drapes rolled open to reveal a spectacular San Francisco scene. Floor-to-ceiling windows wrapped around two walls of my 27th-floor room at the InterContinental San Francisco, opening to views extending from the city's freeway-striped southern neighborhoods, past its beautiful beaux-arts City Hall, across the famous hills, to the towers and cranes of the downtown financial district and the waterfront beyond.

Renovations to the InterContinental's 556 rooms and 14 suites wrapped up in early 2019, as the property marked its 11th year in San Francisco's South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood. Modern, moody guestrooms now draw from iconic city features: fog-gray textiles; sea-hued blue and teal accents; and bed skirts lined with international orange, the very color of the Golden Gate Bridge. Local artists created the prints that hang on the interior walls. And, during my recent hosted stay, cards left with chocolates at turndown shared the stories of Coit Tower, the Presidio and other San Francisco landmarks. 

That sense of place carries through to the property's 43,000 square feet of updated meetings and event spaces, which are named for the city's streets and neighborhoods. Clustered on the third, fourth and fifth floors, the conference rooms, reception venues and two ballrooms feature flexible layouts and a Ketra lighting system that changes throughout the day to mimic natural light. 

On the sixth floor, the Club InterContinental Lounge provides special culinary offerings, cocktails and amenities for members and paying guests. Down the hall, travelers will find a fitness center with Precor equipment and a light-drenched, indoor lap pool. 

The property's mix of leisure amenities and business-minded conveniences suits its location near several technology companies and adjacent to the newly updated Moscone Convention Center. A four-year, $551 million expansion of San Francisco's convention facility unveiled this year added lobby, ballroom and terrace venues with views of the city and surrounding Yerba Buena Gardens.

The hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Luce.
The hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Luce.

The building also received Platinum certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the green building rating system. The InterContinental's own renovations, together with the recent openings of the nearby Virgin Hotels San Francisco, San Francisco Proper Hotel and Yotel San Francisco, extend the district's appeal as a business travel destination. 

The InterContinental is also two blocks from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which reopened in 2016 after its own expansion project. Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team, and the new Chase Center, where the Golden State Warriors are playing their first season, are a short drive away.

Renovations also updated the InterContinental San Francisco's Michelin-starred restaurant, Luce, with warm hues and brass accents. A private dining room seats up to 20. Seasonal ingredients and global flavors influence the New American menu created by chef Daniel Corey. 

High-backed booths and sculptural fixtures outfit the InterContinental's neighboring lobby lounge, Bar 888. The casual space serves a refreshed menu featuring California wines and beers, burgers and local seafood plus cheese and charcuterie plates.


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