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Review: InterContinental O2 hotel, London (part 2)

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This is Part 2 of my review of the brand new InterContinental London O2 hotel.

Part 1 of InterContinental London O2 review can be found here and focussed on the location and the high quality of the rooms.  Here I will look at the club lounge, gym, pool and restaurant.

The executive lounge at InterContinental O2

Two HfP readers happened to be staying in the InterContinental London O2 at the same time and I met them in the Club Lounge so I could take some photographs.  It is an impressive facility.

I should, in retrospect, have paid the £75 supplement as an Ambassador to get access.  The hotel charged us £94.50 for restaurant breakfast – £21 + 12.5% compulsory service charge (it was a buffet …..) x 4 people.  We didn’t even get a discount for our 5-year old.  It would have been more sensible to pay £75 for the lounge, especially as that allows you to eat breakfast in the restaurant anyway.

InterContinental London O2 review club lounge

There was a decent hot and cold canape selection as well as a range of drinks – I had an English sparkling rose which is not something you see every day.  What is not pictured, because it was very dark, is a large dining area which is actually bigger than the sofa area shown.

InterContinental London O2 review executive lounge

The problem with the lounge is that the food and drink stop as 7pm.  For a hotel aimed at the Canary Wharf finance community, this is ludicrous.  (Not my words, but the words of one of the HfP readers in the hotel who happens to work in the Canary Wharf finance community.)

The gym

I don’t ‘do’ gyms, but this one is seems OK.  The InterContinental London O2 gym even has a bit of natural daylight.

InterContinental London O2 review exterior

The pool

The spa (ESPA) and pool are on the ground floor.  The pool is stunning as you can see:

InterContinental London O2 review pool

There is also a jacuzzi out of shot.  Children are restricted to two 90 minute slots per day.  Most parents, including us, seemed to be of the opinion that if kids are banned for the remaining 21 hours of the day then they should be able to do what they like during these two periods so it got a little wild.  I would keep away during those hours if you don’t have kids!

The restaurant

Because we had the kids with us, we didn’t eat in either of the restaurants or visit the rooftop bar (I’m not even sure if it is open yet – the doors were locked at 6pm when I went up to take a photo).   Dinner was via room service, which was perfectly fine except for the annoying £5 ‘tray charge’ which is simply a con.  There is some justification if room service is offering a copy of the hotel restaurant menu for the same prices but that is very rarely the case.

It is worth noting that the main Peninsula Restaurant offers 50% off food if you dine between 6pm and 8pm.

The Market Brasserie restaurant used for breakfast is bright and spacious:

InterContinental London O2 review breakfast

…. and the food was very good – although £94.50 for two adults and two small children is obviously a joke.  Note that £94.50 was for continental breakfast only and we had to promise not to order any a la carte options.

Service

Everyone we dealt with was courteous, warm and friendly.  That said, housekeeping walked into the room our kids were sleeping in at 9.30pm for turndown, which is about three hours too late in my book.  The receptionist only gave us keys for one of our two rooms as they were interconnected – but she didn’t know that, without the EXACT room key for a room, you cannot turn on the lights. 

The two HfP readers I spoke with – one was on his fourth stay – also reported issues.  One had ordered an Eggs Benedict for breakfast which bizarrely came made with turkey, for example.  Another had ordered a burger from room service only to be told that the only option was ‘well done’ – presumably because the burgers are pre-cooked and reheated, which is not exactly five star material.  There were other stories, mainly linked to the staff being very young and almost exclusively not native English speakers.

Conclusion

InterContinental London O2 is a very accomplished hotel.  Ignore my little gripes which should disappear as the hotel settles down.  Sitting on your very comfortable bed, in your light and modern room, looking out through the ‘floor to ceiling’ windows at the river and Canary Wharf, is very pleasant indeed.

The fact that you can do this on a Friday or Saturday night on some weekends in June or July for as little as £104 makes it remarkable value for money.  I would be tempted to pay the extra for a Club room as long as you will be there between 5pm and 7pm for drinks and canapes, as well as for breakfast.  Come, use the pool and take it easy – there are worse ways to spend your time.

Apart from location, there genuinely isn’t anything about it that the InterContinental London Park Lane does better, at often 4 x the price.  The only thing I would change immediately is extending food and drink in the lounge beyond 7pm.  In time, it also needs to upgrade the access routes from the tube.

The hotel website is here if you want to find our more or book.


IHG Rewards update – July 2021:

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Comments (36)

  • Blair says:

    The first time I read about the Jacuzzi I missed the don’t in the last sentence. I got quite a different impression of what wild meant!

    Most parents, including us, seemed to be of the opinion that if kids are banned for the remaining 21 hours of the day then they should be able to do what they like …so it got a little wild. I would keep away during those hours if you DON’T have kids!

  • Anon says:

    Oooo, the pool is a huge win over staying at the Hilton at Canary Wharf (big fan).

    And of course the location is awesome for seeing a concert….

  • Alan C says:

    I was an additional HFP reader staying at the weekend. Saturday only. Used a free accelerate night from last year and not disappointed. Went for this IC as we had a Child with us and preferred the pool to the Park Lane property. Paid the £75 Ambassador fee for the Lounge. Not welcome gift either. As Rob said a lot of teething issues – nothing major – but more staff training issues than genuine ‘problems’. Would I return ? Yes but the Park Lane Moet was a miss 😉

    • Yuff says:

      I still haven’t received my ambassador pack, from January, yet! 🙁

  • Ian says:

    Thought I would try a night next weekend or the weekend after
    Deluxe club £370 per night
    Cannot se any good offers

    • Rob says:

      Friday 17th is £104 for Superior with likely upgrade with status or Ambassador. Could pay for lounge on top.

  • Simon says:

    The pool looks good.

    Are there any Ambassador upgrades that get you lounge access free here?
    Have had lounge access at other ICs without paying a supplement. £75 is very steep if you are only having the breakfast.

    • Wilson says:

      I was given a king club IC room as part of my ambassador spire elite upgrade and, although the room usually has lounge access, they said that I had to pay a £75 supplement in order to gain access.

      IC O2 also said that only Royal Ambassadors get free lounge access. Only negative point about my stay here! Quite disappointing as other schemes (hilton diamond) give complimentary breakfast and lounge access.

      • Leo says:

        The IC Madrid also requires you to have booked a room which provides lounge access to actually get into it – upgrades TO that level get you the room only. I checked this direct with the hotel. This means you end up being upgraded to a junior suite and getting lounge access but defeats the point if you didn’t want to spend the cash. Anyway in a fit of pique I decided to go elsewhere.

    • Rob says:

      Don’t think so because suites do not come with lounge access by default. (Many hotels give club with suites automatically.) Even a suite upgrade as an AMB – as we got – does not get you in.

      Park Lane and Paris Le Grand work the same way.

  • Edd says:

    Has anyone received welcome amenity points while staying here? Have stayed here twice and both times that I asked about the points I was looked at like I was stupid.

  • Mark Cleverly says:

    Hi Rob,
    I was there whilst you were in the lounge, you seemed deep in conversation so I didn’t want to interrupt. Agree entirely with both parts of the reviews.

    • Rob says:

      There were 3 groups of HFP readers then. You should have said Hi, I could have worked in some of your stories for the review as well! My Mrs also popped in at one point.

  • Alan says:

    Thanks for the comprehensive review, Rob.

    Price for the room seems pretty good but breakfast ludicrous, esp charging full price for your kids – I would have disputed that a bit! Location (if not going to the O2) also doesn’t sound great, but I guess they’ve recognised that in the price.

    Re the burger – given it is ground meat (it outside churned to inside) it really should be cooked right through anyway (mainly to kill Listeria) so I’m with them on that. For a steak you can have it how you like on the inside as the outside is cooked.

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