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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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  • qrfan says:

    Rhy can add this to his list of budget friendly leisure activities…

    • Mike says:

      I think Rhys head has been turned by mixing with the HFP London centric banker crowd – a little financial perspective has been missed recently.

      • Peter K says:

        Sadly, I agree.

      • Charles Martel says:

        Can I suggest a weekend in the Ibis Marseille Saint Charles (not the Styles)? Rooms barely big enough for the bed, phone box sized toilet/shower rooms in a hotel that looks like its not seen much money spent on it since the 80s. Genuinely lovely staff though.

        NB: Not my choice of booking.

    • Rhys says:

      What are you on about 🙂

  • Roberto says:

    When did the lounge at Southampton close? I used it last August.

  • Tariq says:

    Urgh, booked on points here a few days ago for a stay in a couple weeks… grr

  • Capecam says:

    The world has gone mad – Love the hotel but will not return based on those pool charges- A notional charge to keep pool occupancy manageable – But £30 per person is crazy – What are they filling it with ? Krug ?

  • Andrew says:

    Last week the jacuzzi and ice machine were broken. Towels and mess everywhere, no staff cleaning the place. So if it wasn’t already a hard sell…

  • Ken says:

    Frankly mind boggling that anyone can describe £30 as modest.

    It’s accountant led idiocy (and I’m one of them). Someone will pat themselves on the back at the end of the year as a separate pool of income is totted up, but you never see the stays lost because people just think you are taking the piss. The hour limit just takes the biscuit.
    Yes pools are expensive to run and maintain, but if they thought they could have got enough heads in beds in that location without a pool, then they probably wouldn’t have had one at all.
    I’d struggle to see it being used much at weekends at all. The accountant solution to that will be to not open it at all over a weekend.

  • Allan says:

    They also have removed the choice of drinks or points for spire ambassadors (and presumably all levels), instead just giving points.

  • Gordon says:

    “Many high end hotels – not this one, to be fair – have added a 5% ‘discretionary’ service charge to their room rates”

    Reading the article above. Has anyone stayed at a hotel on the vegas strip recently ,Their Nightly resort fees are $45….

    • Spurs drive me mad says:

      But resort fees are illegal in the UK. This is just a way off getting around that ban.

      • Gordon says:

        London being one of the last few capital cities in the world that are not allowed to charge resort fees or the like.It does not surprise me they are trying to get around this….I travel several times a year for Leisure and the majority of properties I have stayed at have a stealth charge.

        • Spurs drive me mad says:

          I agree with you Gordon, others can justify how ever they like but to me it’s a stealth charge and a variation on a resort fee.

    • Mark says:

      I have to say one thing I really like about is that they include resort fees in the headline price, so I can compare on the basis on what it is actually going to cost. I’m hoping with this kind of behaviour they’ll exclude the pool from the list of hotel facilities or add it to the price if pool is included in the search criteria…. I suspect that may be wishful thinking, but at the very least make it clear there is an extra charge which it doesn’t currently.

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