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InterContinental London The O2 adds a £30 pool fee

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I have a soft spot for InterContinental London The O2. It is a good quality hotel which can be excellent value on certain dates.

I took my family there for a weekend break once when it was £100 per night, even though we live across town, because it has a good pool and we thought we’d show the kids a bit of east London.

I doubt I’ll be doing that again in a hurry though ….

InterContinental London O2

As of yesterday, InterContinental London The O2 added a huge fee for using their swimming pool. It would now cost £90 for my wife and I, plus our two children, to have a dip for an hour. You literally just get a one hour slot for that price.

This is what the hotel website now says:

“From Monday 25th April 2022, we will be inviting guests to use our facilities at The Spa by making a booking with the relevant prices below:

The Swimming Pool, Steam Room, Sauna, Jacuzzi

(All booking slots for the swimming pool are only available for 1 hour of use)

Hotel Guest Prices:

  • Hotel Guests (Adult): £30
  • Hotel Guests (Child 5-18 years old): £15

Children can only be booked at the Kids Swimming Pool Hours:

  • 9:00 – 11:00AM
  • 3:30 – 17:30PM”

There is a £5 discount per person if you a member of the ($200 joining fee) InterContinental Ambassador loyalty scheme. The fee is waived entirely if you are a member of the ‘invitation only’ Royal Ambassador programme.

This pricing is, frankly, madness. It’s certainly a very impressive pool – I called it ‘stunning’ in my 2016 review – but the pool is the only reason that many people stay here if they don’t need to be at the O2. I can’t believe many families being prepared to pay £90 for a one hour slot.

This isn’t the first post-covid money grab we have seen from a London hotel, of course. Many high end hotels – not this one, to be fair – have added a 5% ‘discretionary’ service charge to their room rates as we covered here. Because it is technically ‘discretionary’ it does not need to be shown in the headline price whilst booking.


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Comments (131)

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  • James W says:

    Literally stayed @ the IC the weekend gone. Was quiet and only a handful of people in the pool. No way would I be paying £90 to use it. It is clear IHG are trying to claw back some loss of custom over COVID. I had 2 rooms booked and only got 1 drinks voucher. Previously I got 1 per person. Little disappointed with that but all in all still a good hotel.

    • chrism20 says:

      Thats progress with the drinks voucher. When we were there in February we were flat out told its 600 points, no drinks.

      • Dilbert says:

        Stayed there weekend before last and was told exactly the same.

    • Darren says:

      I question whether there is any lost revenue from covid though because it was closed and was a getting paid to be a quarantine hub for travellers (mine and other domestic bookings cancelled a result)

  • @mkcol says:

    Currently booked into a 1 king bed classic room on Thursday for 2 nights at the IC O2.

    Am Spire Diamond.

    Can’t decide whether it’s worthwhile going for the standby upgrade options of £14/night for a deluxe room or £59/night for a king deluxe suite. I do appreciate more space in my room, but unsure if Spire Diamond will likely get me something/anything.

    • Dave R says:

      I have always received fairly rubbish room upgrades here as Spire Amb, usually just a slightly better view.

    • chrism20 says:

      If you intend to stay in another IC within the next year I would personally negotiate the upgrade to the suite at the front desk in return for purchasing Ambassador status.

      You would also get the £15 F&B credit as an AMB on the stay plus obviously the BOGOF voucher which might be able to be used on your next IC stay.

      I’m sure the King Deluxe Suite is the old name for what is now the junior suite. It is a bigger room and the desk is in a separate area but other than that there isn’t big difference tbh. The Deluxe Room is what is now known as the classic high floor and unless you really want a high floor I wouldn’t waste £28 on it, you might even be able to blag one at checkin by asking for a high floor anyway. If they do give you any type of Spire/Diamond upgrade it will be the deluxe/classic high floor room at best I reckon. Also re the space the classic rooms are for London a decent size, they aren’t on a par size-wise with ICPLs classic shoeboxes for instance.

      • mkcol says:

        Am already ambassador too.

        • chrism20 says:

          Ah I wasn’t sure from your original post.

          AMB should get you at least the deluxe room by default. Unless you really want the extra space I’d wait to see what you get when you arrive and negotiate with the front desk.

          • @mkcol says:

            So I got a comp upgrade to 1 king bed corner club room, city view. On 8th floor so it’s decent enough. I presume this doesn’t get me access to any lounge there may be.

            Amenity offered: points or 1 drinks voucher. I went for the booze!

          • Rob says:

            Shouldn’t, under IC rules, but no harm going along and pleading ignorance (assuming the lounge is even open).

  • SRTravels says:

    Wow £30 per person! Staying with a family of 4 in August – at £120 it wouldn’t cost that much more to pop down to Folkestone, hop on the Eurotunnel and go to Aqualud in Le Touquet for a day!! (Eurotunnel £50 each way, Aqualud €56 for family of four).

  • TGLoyalty says:

    The charge per hour is absolutely disgraceful

    £30 pp per stay or at a push per night but this is beyond words @ 1hr access.

  • ADS says:

    £30 will get you a day pass at some reasonable looking spas in central london

    But that’s a “day pass” not an “hour pass”

    https://www.hussle.com/gyms-in-london/rena-london-st-pauls-gym-details

    • mutley says:

      C’mon guys, slip the concierge a score and I’m sure that passes for the pool for a family would magically appear.

  • milesandmordor says:

    These extra fees are increasingly being tacked on. A hotel I often use has suddenly started charging £5 a night for parking (previously free). The front line check-in staff are getting a lot of anger and a few walk-outs but no doubt all the accountants will look at is the year end figure of £xxxx apparent “extra income”.

  • Lee says:

    Maybe it’s costing them thousands to keep it heated who knows but as others have said hotels are thinking of all ways possible to maximise revenue.

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