My wife and I have just spent 10 nights at the Intercontinental Hotel, San Francisco (Howard Street). In hotel-speak, 10 nights is defined as, a long-term stay. So then, what can the long-term guest look forward to at this particular hotel?
Well, as the title of the review states- “it’s the little things that count.” So let me start with what some might consider the ‘littlest’, the in-room coffee machine.
This device is as rare and endangered in most American hotel rooms, as a Bengal tiger in Kerala India. Most American hoteliers think it’s far more sporting to make their guests, get dressed, scramble out of their room of a morning looking like death-warmed-up (with hair and breath too match). Go usually to the ground floor, collect two radioactively hot paper cups of coffee, jam a cream-cheese bagel in their mouth, and newspaper under their arm, and just hope to god that they don’t meet anyone in the elevator on the return journey.
Not so in this hotel. The hotel saves its guests the embarrassment of any potential “wardrobe malfunctions” on the return journey in the lift, by providing said machine in the room- bravo!
We had a corner room on the 28th floor which was just lovely! Far and above the standout feature of the room was the bay window. This provided us with our own private Cyclops with which we could observe, unnoticed- the ‘mortals’ below.
The room was matchlessly clean. The bathroom fresh and modern. The bed, firm and understanding. There was however one ‘interesting’ piece of furniture in the room.
Next to the bed, there was a straight-backed sitting chair with a large light that hung low over it. This had the effect that every time you sat down, your head was encircled by the light shade. So often you weren’t sure if you were in the salon awaiting an emergency weave repair, at the doctor’s office undergoing some minor laser treatment or just waiting for “Scotty” to beam you up. The chair, like San Francisco itself was a quirk of amusing mirth.
During our stay my wife and I had access to the club lounge located on the 6th floor. Overseen by Shehani, this space was a welcome and warming refuge at the end of a day on what was during our stay, the very cold streets of San Francisco. Every team member to a person connected with this part of you’re: “Intercontinental (Howard Street) Experience” was warm, friendly and a credit to the professionalism of the hotel.
During the time of our stay, San Francisco was invaded by our “good friends” from Wall Street, J.P. Morgan, who were hosting their annual conference. Choosing to pay the extra and stay in a club room is as much an exercise in economics as it is anything else. In short, is it “worth” paying the extra for the privilege? Yes it is! The food and service, coupled with the ambiance of the space were all divine.
At the end of your stay your bill is an amalgam of many contributing factors, staff wages, room overheads, state taxes et al. Among the most important components of any hotel bill is [in my opinion] the ability of a hotel to provide a quality concierge service.
My wife and I are happy to report that two of the finest, Bill and Will, man the desk at this hotel! With the surefootedness of Tibetan Sherpa’s, they guide guests expertly on where are the best places to eat and drink in the city. (And boy there are a lot of them!!). All delivered with a relaxed, laconic sense of humour- which wouldn’t go-a-miss, in any production of Oscar Wilde.
If there is a single department in a hotel, with the ability to make or break a holiday, then for me its concierge.
Good advice and you feel you’ve got what you paid for. Bad advice and you want to kill. Great advice (which all of theirs was) and you feel that you have really touched the city, as well as been touched by it.
Back to more “little things.” When we arrived there was a bottle of very good local sparkling wine in our room. On another night when we returned, there was a tray of handmade chocolates waiting for us. Another evening there was wine and cheese in the room and not forgetting “Mexican night,” when my wife and I received corn chips, dips, beer and tequila in the room.
More hotels could learn from this approach to guest appreciation (both for long and short stay guests!!)
My wife and I met the hotel CEO, Peter a couple of times during our stay. The role of a hotel CEO is to map out both the corporate direction as well as the hospitality experience of the place that each guest can expect to experience during their stay. Peter’s friendly affability and approachability imbues the entire place.
In the immortal words of a now somewhat discredited ex-Californian governor, on the strength of the above-
“We’ll be Back!!”
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.