San Francisco Week: InterContinental Mark Hopkins & Top of the Mark History & Charm


Honolulu (KHON2) – For San Francisco Week, Living808 checked into the historic InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco Hotel, a must for its location, views, charm, and traditions for troops. 

The hotel offers spectacular views of the Bay at its unique home atop Nob Hill where three cable car lines cross.

The iconic 19-story hotel opened to great fanfare in 1926 with architecture that combines French chateau and Spanish Renaissance, 383 rooms and 33 unique suites, with state-of-the-art amenities and Bay views.

A museum off the lobby has memorabilia that tells the hotel’s past.

It was the site of the mansion of Mark Hopkins, a California capitalist who helped build the Central Pacific (later the Southern Pacific) Railroad, before it burned down in the 1906 earthquake.

InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco Hotel General Manager Michael Pace welcomed Living808 to learn more about the hotel’s history and its landmark hotspot, Top of the Mark.

Once a hotel penthouse, Top of the Mark is celebrating 80 years as a place to celebrate, dance and drink.

When Top of the Mark opened on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins in 1939, it became the city’s most glamorous destination known for its views, its entertainment and, at the time, its circular bar.

It’s a favorite of celebrities and dignitaries who have come to enjoy its extraordinary views, including Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Prince Edward, Prince Charles, Brad Pitt, and Robin Williams.

“To the people who live here and visitors all over the world, the Top of the Mark is much more than just a bar,” explains Pace. “It’s a landmark, a tradition and an experience.”

For our service members, Top of the Mark represents so much more.

“In 1941 when the United States entered World War II, Top of the Mark was where Pacific-bound servicemen would meet for a toast to the Golden Gate Bridge before shipping out,” shares Pace. “They believed this was good luck and would bring them home safely. Wives and sweethearts would gather in the northwest corner of the lounge to watch their loved ones leave for war, earning this famous spot the nickname “Weepers’ Corner.” To this day, the lounge is a destination for servicemen and veterans coming to raise a glass to their comrades from past and present.”

Servicemen and veterans visiting Top of the Mark are encouraged to enjoy a shot from the Squadron Bottle, a tradition first started during World War II. 

Servicemen would buy and leave a bottle in the care of the bartender so the next solider from their squadron could enjoy a free drink; the soldier who finished the bottle had to buy a new one to leave behind. 

The tradition was revived in 2009 by Lieutenant Mike Hall of the United States Navy. 

Today, a collection of accompanying journals invites servicemen and veterans to preserve the stories of those who have come through Top of the Mark – whether they were stationed in the Bay Area during WWII or have stopped by to visit during Fleet Week. 

You can see and read journals while you visit Top of the Mark.

This historic destination is also known for its romantic atmosphere and has been setting the scene for engagements, anniversaries, and more for decades. 

It is said that at least one couple gets engaged at Top of the Mark per week!  

To celebrate its reputation for creating flawless romantic experiences, a series of packages is available for those celebrating special occasions. 

The 80th Anniversary Package includes window seating – guaranteeing views of the city or bay (when Karl the Fog doesn’t roll in), two cocktails from the Drinking through the Decades menu, house roasted nuts and house made chips for snacking, and a commemorative set of postcards showcasing Top of the Mark through the decades. 

The package is $80 and requires advance reservations. Additional packages feature cocktails, sparkling wine or Champagne – all including window seating and a celebratory dessert.

Another option is the Nob Hill Club, the hotel’s full-service restaurant, Club Lounge and grab and go located off the lobby of the hotel. 

The Club’s commitment to seasonality and sourcing as local as possible is reflected in the menus which feature details on purveyors and their proximity to the hotel. 

The California-centric wine list includes by-the-glass and bottle selections, highlighting wineries from Napa and Sonoma to Monterey and Alameda counties. Guests can get a coffee on the run, enjoy a meal, gather for after dinner drinks or experience the lounge and all it has to offer. 

If you want the ultimate experience, the Mark Hopkins Suite on the 16th floor boasts its own outdoor patio, private roof garden with spectacular 240-degree views of the city. Inside, a spacious bathroom includes a Jacuzzi tub with a view that looks out towards the Golden Gate Bridge. 



There’s an easy way to get to the Bay Area to experience San Francisco’s best spots like the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco and Top of the Mark like Living808 did.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines offers daily nonstop service to San Francisco from Lihue, Honolulu, Kahului, and Kona. San Francisco Week is sponsored by Alaska Airlines offering the most nonstop flights between Hawaii and the West Coast. To plan your next trip, visit

Alaska Airlines Great Escape Giveaway

One lucky viewer and a friend can experience it themselves with a free round-trip to San Francisco or anywhere else Alaska flies. To enter, visit the contest page of and fill out the entry form. You will be entered into our random drawing to win round-trip tickets for two to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies. The deadline for entries is Friday August 2, 2019.

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