InterContinental, the luxury brand inside the IHG Rewards Club portfolio of hotels, has been trialling a new product since January called the ‘Club InterContinental Experience’.
This is aimed at hotels without a private club lounge and is an attempt to offer some of the same benefits despite not having a dedicated space.
The package is currently being used in Amsterdam, Porto and Marseille. I am booked into the Amstel in Amsterdam in June and will hopefully be able to try it, as it seems decent value for money in the right circumstances.
Royal Ambassador members of IHG Rewards Club – which now seems to require an unpublicised $10,000 to $12,000 of annual spend at InterContinental-branded hotels to achieve – will be given the ‘Club InterContinental’ package for free on paid stays and at a discount on reward stays.
Ambassador members (see this article for an explanation of the $200 InterContinental Ambassador loyalty programme) pay a discounted rate.
What do I get for my money?
The benefits below are what is offered in Amsterdam, although they are virtually identical in Porto and Marseille. You would receive:
Priority check-in and a welcome drink
Full restaurant breakfast
Afternoon tea, either in the Amstel Lounge or served in your room, between 3pm and 5pm
Aperitifs (wines, beers, spirits) plus canapes between 6p and 8pm in the A Bar
Hot drinks available throughout the day in the Amstel Lounge
Premium bathroom amenities
Pressing of two items of clothing
Free local telephone calls
Free wi-fi (which IHG Rewards Club members receive anyway)
Priority check-out and 4pm late check-out if available (Ambassador members would get this guaranteed anyway)
The price seems surprisingly reasonable – given that the Amstel is a very expensive and very luxurious hotel, more upmarket than many InterContinental hotels – at €84 per room on Fridays and Saturdays and €76 on other days. These are the prices for Ambassador members. The price for non-members appears to be €105 / €95.
The hotel is probably assuming that most guests will be out during the afternoon, so won’t take the afternoon tea option, and may not even be back in time to take advantage of two hours of drinking in the evening!
If you book in advance you can only book this package as a Best Flexible Rate plus the surcharge. If you don’t need a refundable rate it makes more sense to book Advanced Purchase and make an upsell when you are there.
I’m not sure that this package offers much for the business traveller, since the key thing they want – a quiet area to sit and work in the evening outside their room – is not available. For the leisure traveller, however, it does seem attractive. In my case, it would also be revenue generating since I normally skip breakfast on Amstel reward nights – due to the crazy cost (€40+ IIRC) – and head to the bakers round the corner!
Full details of the Club InterContinental Experience are here on ihg.com.