Back in March I wrote about a new product being trialled by InterContinental – the ‘Club InterContinental Experience’ or ‘Club Life’ package.
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 was at the InterContinental Amstel in Amsterdam this week – it was substantially wetter than the photo suggests – and decided to give it a try.
I’m not going to review the Amstel again but you can read a rather flowery full report from my visit in 2015 here. It remains the classiest InterContinental in the world and this is the 3rd year in a row that I have managed to sneak a night into my schedule.
What do I get for my money?
The package seems to have evolved a little since March. This is what Amsterdam is currently offering:
Full restaurant breakfast (usually €36.50 per person)
Afternoon tea, served in the lounge or in your room, between 3pm and 5pm
A drink and canapes, served in your room, between 6pm and 8pm
Water and soft drinks from the mini bar
Two pieces of clothing pressed
4pm late check-out
These appear to be the changes since March:
They have stopped serving evening drinks in the bar, and changed it for an in-room order of canapes and a drink
You no longer get ‘free hot drinks throughout the day in the Amstel Lounge’
You no longer get ‘premium bathroom amenities’, which to be fair must have been tricky to arrange if you bought the package at check-in. That said, the websites DOES still say you get them, so perhaps they do come if you pre-book. Although when I’ve had a suite at the Amstel I still got the same ‘own brand’ Agraria toiletries, so ….
Overall the package has been downgraded a little. However, to be clear, it still represents excellent value for money for a couple.
If you are at the Amstel with your partner, and you will be around during the day and evening, I highly recommend you upgrade to this.
You may need to prod, however. When I checked in, despite the fact that there was a leaflet advertising the offer on the desk, the agent did not mention it to me. To be fair, as I was on my own, she may have felt I wouldn’t be interested as the price is per room and not per person.
This was my afternoon tea, which may or may not be a one person portion – I failed to check what a couple would have been given:
Served in the lovely riverside lounge, which seems to have had an overhaul since I was here last year:
This is the plate of canapes I got in the evening. I asked for, and was given, a two person portion. Foolishly I forgot to ask for a 2nd glass of champagne! The drinks available included Moet champagne or Lanson rose champagne, which I took.
Breakfast at the Amstel is unlike anything else. You are in a wood panelled Michelin-starred restaurant facing out to the river (the room is at water level). The tables are huge. Unlike every other hotel breakfast you’ve ever had, there are unlikely to be more than 2-3 other tables occupied.
There is a small buffet – with unlimited Moet champagne – but it is mainly a la carte. You can order as many items as you want. If you have eaten there before, the staff will have memorised your previous order and will suggest it to you again. If you want to push the boat out, you can try their specials:
- Scrambled eggs with 5 grams of caviar (+ €30)
- Fried eggs with truffle shavings (+ €20)
- Egg omelette with truffle (+ €20)
Holiday Inn Express this is not. Frankly, even at €36.50 (the standard price) it is worth it as a special treat. Buy the Club Life package, however, and breakfast for two is included which is a genuine bargain.
Here is my eggs benedict from yesterday:
What does it cost?
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 (I paid €76). These are the prices for Ambassador members. The price for non-members appears to be €105 / €95.
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 or a reward night and make an upsell when you are there, although you may need to prod to be offered it.
I’m not sure that this package offers much for the business traveller, since the key thing they want – a quiet lounge area to sit and work in the evening outside their room – is not available. They are also unlikely to be around for afternoon tea.
For the leisure traveller, however, it does seem attractive. In my case, it was also revenue generating since I normally skip breakfast on Amstel visits due to the cost.
Full details of the Club Life / Club InterContinental Experience are here on ihg.com.
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