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The new InterContinental Bucharest hotel is now open

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A year after pulling out of its original high rise Bucharest property (now rebranded as Grand Hotel Bucharest), the InterContinental brand is back in Romania.

The InterContinental Athenee Palace Bucharest hotel opened on Monday.

This not a new hotel, far from it. It originally opened in 1914, originally in art nouveau style but with its exteriors later reimagined in art deco.

InterContinental Athenee Palace Bucharest

Following a massive refurbishment in the 1990’s, the hotel was managed by Hilton for 25 years until an overnight rebrand this week.

There are reports that some of the rooms were renovated in 2021 but it isn’t clear exactly what work has been done to bring it up to InterContinental standards. It is operated by the same group that runs the existing Crowne Plaza Bucharest. Rates are currently very low with rooms from €136 per night.

The hotel website is here.

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Comments (111)

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  • JohnG says:

    I’m genuinely conflicted on charges for things like pools. As an absolute minimum I think if a hotel is going to do it they need to either not advertise having a pool or make it very clear it is chargable. Beyond that I’m less sure. We’re seeing plenty of hotels just shut down the pools entirely, or hive them off into a separate spa/gym business which aren’t part of the “hotel”, so not charging may just mean no pool whether you’d pay or not.

    • His Holyness says:

      No need to charge if the Health Club is profitable, I suggest it’s not competitive versus the Marriott and other city locations.

  • Erico1875 says:

    It’s just a prelude to USA style resort fees imo

  • NFH says:

    What next? Will beach resort hotels start charging to use outdoor pools, probably selling it as an improvement to stop guests reserving sun loungers with towels?

    It’s all a ruse to facilitate a misleading indication of price, Ryanair-style. Advertise rooms with a low headline price in order to appear misleadingly competitive, and then charge lots of additional fees for everything that guests reasonably expect to be included – pool, in-room safe, sun loungers on the beach etc.

    • Michael C says:

      Hilton Diagonal Mar, on the beach in Barcelona, charge for sun loungers by the pool. Or rather, the private company that operates them does.

  • His Holyness says:

    Pool has not been refurbished, just some superficial work and changed the Jacuzzi. Spend was on the gym- which remains free.

    Local GM decision of guy who used to be area manager, a bit of a cost cutter.

    Lounge is rubbish, tiny plates brought by staff. Nothing self service except cheap wine and beer. Spirits served as singles and hard to obtain due to staff shortages.

    Unless you get a deal, I’d avoid. DT better location and lounge setup.

    • dundj says:

      Last I remember is the DT was one plate of food though 3 small canapés, though all drinks were still self selected barring spirits which were brought through from the staff area.

  • Daniel says:

    There is a 10€ charge for the sauna and pool at the Westin Leipzig as well – hit us upon checkout, which is annoying.

  • Paul says:

    20,000 people in my Town – you want a swim, you pay for it. Why should I subsidise you.

    Same as an airline or airport lounge – you want luxury then pay for it.

    I dont see why a hotel should be different. I dont want to swim so its great if I get £2 off my room (or avoid the £2 increase) if swimmers pay for their luxuries.

    Of course, it can then be built into Loyalty programmes (like airmiles and credit card lounge awards) to encourage repeat business.

    • Blenz101 says:

      I think you miss the point. It is a price gouge. The hotel doesn’t save any money by you choosing not to use the pool. There is no additional cost per guest if the hotel is going to continue to operate the pool.

      As others have pointed out, there is a reasonable expectation by hotel guests that the facilities a full service hotel offers are freely available to residents and only chargeable to non-residents.

      Plenty of facilities you can make the same argument over… bring your own towels, pay extra for soap, additional charge for a tea and coffee making facilities, use a digital key or pay extra for manned check in and physical key, charge for bag storage, charge for daily cleaning etc.

      If you argue you are happy for a discount for the above then you are in the wrong hotel chain to begin with.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Exactly it’s a nonsense argument.

        I don’t use the shampoo or conditioner I don’t expect £1 off my room rate there’s just a level of service you expect

      • Londonsteve says:

        In any case, if the room rate is £100 and you know the pool costs £10 to use, how do you know you’re getting the room for £10 less than you would otherwise pay? You don’t, either way they’ll charge what they think they can get away with while trying to fill the property to capacity. You’ll pay £100 whether the pool costs £10 to use or is free for hotel guests. Charging for pool access is utterly daft as few people will pay these high fees, the costs of running the facility remains the same while they run a demonstrable risk of selling fewer rooms, certainly to the not insignificant number of guests who’d like a swim and will instead book with their competitor. Either comp access for hotel guests or close the facility entirely. What’s the point in maintaining it if virtually nobody swims due to punitive fees, while the occasional spendthrift paying £10-20 to go for a swim isn’t ever going to cover the running costs. Who cooks up these deeply misjudged wheezes? Before anyone asks, I do know what I’m talking about, I used to work as a hotel manager.

        • Paul says:

          PMSL “Hotel Manager”

          I owned a seafront Hotel and sold (most of) it 1 month before Covid, keeping an annex of holiday flats.

          With cost increases and the continued “everything for nothing” mentality of guests, we will see more added charges.

          I used to put the heating on 5am to 10am and 5pm to 10pm – the times 95% of guests were there. If a guest wanted heating between those times, they could hire a radiator for £5/day. Worked perfectly.

      • Paul says:

        Turn it on its head.

        If the hotel had no pool, you pay for your room.

        If the hotel builds a pool, it costs money to operate so charge for it.

        Why should I pay if Im not using it.

        Just because its an existing pool, doesn’t mean it is cost free to the hotel.

        • DaveJ says:

          A lift costs money to maintain.

          Maybe charge people to use the lift instead of the stairs?

          Why should I pay if I’m not using it?

        • blenz101 says:

          I just made this argument to you already. A full-service hotel is not operated on a pay as you go basis where you only pay for the facilities you expressly take advantage of and get to pick and choose.

          You could pick almost any other aspect of a full service 4 or 5* hotel and say it costs money to operate but you may or may not use it. The costs are spread out across the whole operation. The fact that one guests takes a long hot bath, sets the A/C to 25oC and goes out leaving the TV on all day does not make your room any more or less expensive just because you put on a jumper, shower when you get home and watch your iPad rather than the TV provided.

          I think everybody has argued that if the hotel can’t afford to operate the pool they should close it or hive it off to an independent operator and no longer advertise the hotel as having such a facility.

          Everything costs money to operate in a hotel but it should be included in the advertised room rate. Food and beverage being the understood exception, but this is also sold in well understood packages i.e. room only, B&B, half board, full board, all inclusive.

  • Mikeact says:

    I guess UK hotels have seen what’s going on in the States and have decided that to increase revenue , they will try the same. You will find a raft of extras over and above the room price in many hotels, some very questionable…eg,12.5% Environmental tax, and this is before tax/es are applied to the TOTAL bill.
    I don’t think we charge VAT on the 12.5/15.00% service charge

    • Blenz101 says:

      Well any genuine tax or mandatory charge in the UK would need to be included in the room rate so they can’t actually play that game.

      Hotels in the UK can only add charges for discretionary items so the debate here is slightly more nuanced where much of game hotels play is around reducing headline costs to reduce commissions to OTAs and a public that is culturally used to adding sales tax and service to ticketed prices.

  • grex9101 says:

    As one of the few “5*” hotels in Glasgow (quotes intentional), you’d expect a far superior hotel to what, in all honesty, is an absolute dump of a place.
    The Hilton Glasgow is in a crap location, the rooms are tired, and the pool area is (to use a “weegie” phrase) “pure boggin'”.
    There are numerous other hotels in the city centre which are far “better” than this crapshoot of a hotel.
    Long story short? Thanks for the gouging, makes it even easier to choose somehwere else. Thanks, Hilton!

    • John cork says:

      The Hilton Glasgow has actually had a total refurb from top to bottom all rooms were fitted first and are actually quite nice for the price charged . The swimming pool and gym were the final stage. I stay there regularly but won’t be returning while they charge for the swimming pool. The exec lounge has been down graded also. Cost cutting on a grand scale.

      • John cork says:

        Also it is only a 4 star hotel and has been for about 6 or 7 years now..

    • His Holyness says:

      The rooms aren’t tired, but the refurb was done a bit on the cheap and it won’t last. It’s not a dump but yes, the location is crap.

      I’d like to know if the lease was extended. The reason why Bucharest and Glasgow were refurbished is because it’s in the management contract when it comes to an end. Bucharest chose not to renew and Glasgow (?) I don’t know.

      Bucharest pool was a real Commie shocker. Tiny and very old fashioned. Reminds me of a Soviet Bus Station with the small square thick glass windows.

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