Thursday, 28 April 2016

REVIEW - INTERCONTINENTAL LONDON O2 SUITE


Intercontinental is the top end brand of the IHG group of hotels, that also includes the likes of Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and Holiday Inn Express.

For many years, there was a single Intercontinental hotel in London, their flagship Park Lane property that I've stayed in on several occasions. A couple of years ago, they opened a new property in the St James park area, however that clearly didn't suit them, because within 18 months it was no longer an IC, and in fact is now a Conrad Hilton hotel.

In January this year, a new Intercontinental opened right beside the O2 in Greenwich (formerly known as the Millenimum Dome). It certainly isn't a great location for a weekend break in London, but for an event in the O2, it's just about perfect. As it happens I had a concert there on Sat, and so....



 I'd booked many months earlier using points. 50K points here is the standard redemption cost, and for that you get their basic room, called a "superior". The IC rang me two days before to see if I had any arrival requests. I imagine that this phonecall is because I'm an IHG ambassador, but it was an unexpected nice touch, as I havn't previously received a pre-stay call when booked into other ICs. After the call, I checked my booking and saw this


I'd been upgraded to a club intercontinental Suite. I really struggled to find this room on the hotel website, I did eventually get it to appear for some random night in 2017, to find that the rate was £445. I'd been lucky enough to get a fantastic upgrade. I couldn't wait to see just what this suite was like.

We had two nights in London, staying in the Hilton Green Park on the Friday night, and transferring to the IC on the Sat afternoon for the ELO concert that evening. The closest tube station is North Greenwich, with the hotel being 7-8 mins walk from the station. If it was a rainy day, you'd definitely end up pretty soaked by the time you arrived, it's totally exposed.

On arrival, the upgrade was confirmed. I had hoped that an upgrade to a suite would include access to the executive lounge, but this was denied even though I pushed a few times. I was offered access for £75, but as I was only really looking this for breakfast, I declined

Our room was on the 17th floor, the top floor with rooms (the 18th floor is a bar), and when I saw that there was a total of six rooms on the 17th, I guessed our room 1703 wouldn't exactly be on the small side. And I was right. My understanding is that there are 3 of these suites, 2 even bigger Terrace suites, and a 2-bed penthouse complete with grand piano. It appears we got one of the best rooms in the hotel.

This is the view that greets you from the entrance hall
This is a genuine 1 bedroom, 1&1/2 bathroom, suite. The living room area is quite a generous size, with good high-end furnishings and it's own 46" samsung TV. Both this TV and the one in the bedroom have Miracast support for sending your own content to them, and support Bluetooth audio. On the living room table was a nice selection of fruit, which is a standard gift for Ambassadors, plus a mini-box of chocolates that went down a treat.

Check out the following video, which I'll agree rather disturbingly starts with a shot of the separate toilet area !



The bedroom, has a comfortable king sized bed with top quality linen, with a large lounging sofa, and a view that looks out over the O2. You can tell this is a new-build hotel, as there are embedded USB wall sockets next to the bedside tables, great for charging your phone/tablet etc. The room was exceptionally quiet, even with the AC on, which was great.

I did say the hotel was close to the O2 !


The bedroom leads into a dressing area, which follows naturally onto the bathroom. My partner throughly enjoyed the bath, and I found the large multi-point Hangrohe shower fantastic, with it's rainfall head, and powerful directional jets. For those into such things, the bath gels etc are Ann Semonin (not that that means a thing to me). The bathroom was fitted to a very high standard. A nice touch was when we arrived back from the concert, the bathroom, had been cleaned, the gels had been replenished and the towels changed.





This hotel could not be handier to the O2 if it tried. They have pretty much direct access. You walk down a hall, go outside, cross a small lane, and you are into the O2. Two minutes from leaving the foyer, you are in the O2, with all of 20 seconds outside. The entrance on the O2 side is a work in progress, and will be tidied up at some stage in the near future. Once in the main O2 "tent", its about 5-6 mins walk before you are in the busy hub of the O2.

When we were coming home from the concert, we had to show our cards before being let back in, clearly they must have a bit of an issue with the hotel being used by non-patrons after events. We were in the hotel bar 15 mins after getting up from our O2 seats, it's that good. Speaking of the bar, it's not cheap, but that's to be expected. 2 drinks, with mixers, and two tiny macaroons, came to £34.


CONCLUSION

We enjoyed our time greatly in the Intercontinetal O2. Yes, it was very much enhanced with getting such a great upgrade, but the convenience to the O2 can't be overstated. Instead of trying to fight for a tube along with 20,000 others, or looking for a cab, it was the shortest of strolls back to the hotel.

I'm glad we didn't stay here for the night before, as you really are out in the middle of nowhere. The walk from the Tube station to the hotel would be a problem in wet weather, but I guess you could make that argument about any hotel in London.

Thoroughly recommended for an O2 concert.

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