Modern Business Travel at the InterContinental

San Francisco's innovative InterContinental hotel allows guests to soak up the City's vibe through blue-tinted glasses
 Guestroom at the InterContinental  InterContinental skyline view  Luce, the InterContinental's signature restaurant  A bathroom with a view  Bar 888

Click here to read this story on our interactive reader in the February issue of Business Review USA!

The word “spectacular” is used far too often. It’s been used to describe things that are pleasant or enjoyable, but we think a word like “spectacular” should really be reserved for life’s most outstanding experiences.

After our recent visit, we can confidently say the InterContinental San Francisco qualifies as spectacular.

Located in the City’s lively South of Market (SoMa) district, the InterContinental is a towering landmark infused with the perfect balance of technology and intimacy.

The InterContinental was built in 2008 and has the distinction of being San Francisco’s newest hotel. Before the InterContinental’s arrival, the City hadn’t seen a new hotel since the Marriot Marquis was built in 1989.

Its 32 floors and 550 guest rooms are wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows that have a cool, blue tone on the outside and provide access to dazzling sunlight and views of the City from within.

“We give guests opportunities to experience San Francisco without even leaving the hotel,” says James Gregg, InterContinental San Francisco Associate Director of Sales.


Signature restaurant Luce (appropriately named for the Italian word for light) attracts not only guests of the InterContinental, but travelers staying at other hotels and local residents as well.

Its 140-seat dining room is outfitted with plenty of windows to make the most of natural sunlight but private dining areas are available to those who prefer to feast in a more secluded space.

For the last three years, Luce has been awarded a Michelin star for its seasonal, organic, farm-to-table-focused menu. Executive Chef Daniel Corey has created a variety of phenomenal dishes, including handmade sweetbread ravioli, butter-poached Maine lobster, and a natural New York strip loin with glazed short rib—a favorite of President Obama during his past two stays at the InterContinental.


The InterContinental’s forward-thinking vibe is present in every one of its services and amenities, including its bar. Bar 888, located on the hotel’s lobby level, specializes in grappa—the fragrant, alcoholic beverage made from the pomace (skins, pulp, seeds and stems) left over from winemaking.

Grappa was originally produced to prevent waste, but it’s gained popularity as an edgy, spirited and chic cocktail component—which makes it a perfect complement to the InterContinental’s style.

Bar 888 offers over 120 different hand-selected grappas and a variety of grappa-based cocktails, including enlightening originals and innovative takes on classics like the Mojito and the Sidecar.

Be Green

It’s not easy to do, but the InterContinental integrates energy conservation without compromising guests’ comfort.

In fact, the InterContinental was LEED Gold certified in April 2011 and is the 3rd largest LEED Gold recipient in the United States. The property’s earth-friendly initiatives range from simple things, like providing guests with green bath products and recycling stations, to more complex levels of involvement. The InterContinental is the only hotel with two charging stations for electric/hybrid vehicles and 90 percent of the hotel’s lights are LED bulbs.

Through motion sensing technology, the thermostat in each InterContinental guest room shuts off when a guest has left for 25 minutes, then turns on again when the guest walks back inside.

“We really looked at ways we could be green while still providing guests with a luxurious experience,” Gregg says.

Be Merry

It’s no accident that the InterContinental is a business traveler’s paradise. The hotel’s original design incorporated feedback from business travelers and 250 building planners.

As a result, each guest room includes:

-Plenty of outlets for electronics

-42-inch flat screen televisions

-Unobstructed views of the City from the sixth floor up

-Lots of drawers for storage

-Safes large enough for laptops and tablets

For those who need to schedule more time for work than play, there are three terraces on the property that can be used as outdoor function spaces and all indoor meeting spaces and ballrooms are above ground with floor-to-ceiling triple-paned glass windows.

When it is time to relax, you can head to the InterContinental’s I Spa or indoor pool, break a sweat in its 24-hour fitness center, or just sit in your room and take advantage of its location and views (including a full shot of the fireworks after a Giants game at AT&T Park).

Oh, and we almost forgot one of the best things about resting in your InterContinental room—the same motion sensors used to control your thermostat are used by hotel staff to detect whether or not you’re in your room. If you are, they won’t interrupt unless you’ve asked them to. How’s that for modern comfort?

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