By a coincidence, we (Rob and Anika) each stayed at one of the two London InterContinental hotels over the last ten days. We thought it would be interesting to do a ‘compare and contrast’. Today, Rob looks at the brand new InterContinental London O2 where he spent the Bank Holiday. Click here for Anika’s review yesterday of the flagship InterContinental London Park Lane.
This is my review of the brand new InterContinental London O2.
Why was I here? Good question. A Bank Holiday weekend loomed and the kids wanted to go away. With a flight abroad planned for next weekend, however, the parents didn’t want to go far.
The new InterContinental London O2 was recently cut to just 45,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night. For cash, it can be as cheap as £104 – literally 75% cheaper at times than the Park Lane version.
Feedback from friends was positive and, as it has a swimming pool and is very close to the cable car, we thought it would be fun for a night. The world of the Greenwich peninsula certainly feels a million miles away from the Victorian street we live on in West London. My InterContinental Ambassador status got us a guaranteed 4pm check-out so a one night stay was effectively 26 hours in the hotel. That made it long enough to feel like a bit of a break.
For clarity, we booked this using our own IHG Rewards Club points. Unlike our other recent InterContinental reviews, IHG played no part in arranging the stay.
The hotel has a few oddities which I will go into but, for clarity, this is an exceptionally good hotel with impressively furnished rooms, great views (at least on the Thames side), a lovely pool, a good mix of restaurants and is astonishing value for money at £104 when available.
Once you’re inside the hotel, it is great. You will be a bit worried about what you are getting into until that point.
Coming from North Greenwich tube, you are directed along the side of the O2. First you pass a building site, then you cross the O2 service road and a roundabout, then you walk the rest of the way on a pavement that has not been completed yet and is still rough gravel. When it rains it must be pretty woeful.
Later you realise that there is a pathway from the hotel directly into the O2 (although it is a bit slower from the station). Note that this route is NOT signed inside the O2 so it is tricky to find it when arriving for the first time. Even this is hardly glamorous – this is the entrance hut if you come from the hotel:
And this is the back of the arena which you have to navigate around:
Let’s forget all that. It is best if you check in and don’t leave again unless necessary!
Let’s be clear from the start – there is NOTHING about this hotel which is not an improvement on the InterContinental Park Lane. If you dropped the hotel down in the West End it would be a huge success. Owners Arora (who also own the Sofitel at Terminal 5) are either mad or hugely optimistic!
From the second you walk into the lobby you can tell that serious money has been spent here. There is a clear maritime theme throughout the public areas, starting with this lovely concierge area as you enter:
Our two standard rooms were upgraded to a Riverview Suite and a connecting Deluxe Room. We had to wait an hour for the suite to be ready – it seemed to be the only connecting room available – but we were glad we did. I have Ambassador / Spire Elite status which is what drove the upgrade. It had nothing to do with HFP.
This is the suite (dog not included):
and the bathroom:
The suite came with mouth wash, a razor and tooth brush – apart from that the amenities seemed the same across the two rooms. Toiletries were the Anne Semonine brand, different from Park Lane but the same as I got in Le Grand Paris the week before.
(Disappointingly, the bottle of champagne on ice that was waiting for me in my room in Paris was not repeated at either Park Lane or the O2! Now I think about, I never received my Ambassador welcome gift at the O2 either ….)
Here is a view towards Canary Wharf:
It is all very impressive, especially the artwork above the bed. Apart from the sofa, the suite was not very different – and not massively bigger – than the connecting Deluxe room. I would suggest that a Deluxe Room with lounge access is a better deal (at a similar cost) than a suite without lounge access.
Purely for Anika’s benefit, I will note that all rooms except the basic Superior ones have Tassimo coffee makers as well as a kettle (and some very high quality tea). You don’t even get a coffee machine in a Studio Suite at InterContinental Park Lane.
Unbelievably for a new hotel, they have messed up the plug sockets. The desk only has one free UK plug socket. There is a round-holed 3-pin socket for a light but the hotel then went and bought normal lights which take up one of the two standard sockets!
One side of the bed also has no plug sockets at bed level (there is one if you push the bedside table out the way) which is not acceptable for a new hotel in 2016.
Click here to read Part 2 of my review of the InterContinental London O2.
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