We stayed here in October, 2010 for a couple of nights. Overall, it was fine, but the hotel bills itself as a 5-star place. It did not match the quality of other 5-star (or even other 4-star) hotels that I have stayed in, especially from a service perspective.
The stay got off to a bad start. We arrived around 10:30p. Upon arriving, we were not offered assistance with our luggage as we entered the hotel's lobby, nor was the door held for us (I'm fine with that at a Hampton Inn, but this place bills itself as five-star. Walking in the door without being greeted or offered luggage assistance would not happen at, say, the Four Seasons). Our check-in experience was not pleasant. The clerk barely spoke English, and she was only half engaged in our check-in because she kept inserting herself into the check-in happening next to us (where the guest was complaining). This kept up until her colleague working with the other guest silenced her, saying, "I've got it."
I am a Platinum member with Priority Club, the loyalty program of InterContinental. As such, I expect that, like other hotel chains, I'll be treated pretty well during my stay in thanks for staying with the chain a lot. This includes my room and reservation preferences being honored. I had requested, using award points, a non-smoking room with one king bed. My room preferences call for high floor, away from elevator. The clerk attempted to check us into a smoking room with two double beds on the first floor -- I can understand that the hotel might not be able to meet the high floor request, but come on: a smoking room with two beds, when the reservation is for a nonsmoking room with one bed? Give me a break -- awful for ANY guest, particularly bad for a guest who's in the top-tier of your loyalty program. When I raised this issue with the clerk, she began this whole line of saying, "well, you're here on points," as if using the points I'm awarded by the hotel chain makes me some kind of second-class citizen. When I pressed for a better room, she began to talk about how full the hotel was, etc., but then when I refused the room I'd been assigned she magically found a king room, non-smoking, on a high floor! (Magic!) I then had to endure a lecture from her about how "lucky" I was to get such a nice room. Spare me.
Obnoxiously, upon check-in I was also offered the chance to access the hotel's concierge lounge. For 95 British pounds a night! 95! This doesn't really bother me -- I wasn't expecting lounge access because I know InterContinental to be stingy with it, but it's in such contrast to a stay I had at a Hilton property in London only a few days before, where -- despite staying on points (gasp!) -- I was put, with the hotel's compliments, on a concierge floor, given access to an amazing lounge, and my room preferences were met. All without having to ask. Makes clear which loyalty program I should stick with -- Hilton made clear its priority was customer satisfaction, while InterContinental made extremely clear through the check-in process that its priority was revenue.
Admittedly, the room to which we were assigned was very nice -- elegant furnishings, high-quality finishes, a fabulous view of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, etc. It was tiny, however -- cruise ship size. The bathroom was very nice, with a great rain shower. Linens were also very high quality.
After our late arrival and lengthy check-in experience, we ordered room service. It was a rip off, which I've come to expect at hotels like this. I was willing to pay for the convenience after a long day of travel. The food, however, was awful. We both ordered sandwiches that came with French fries, and after waiting the standard half-hour for delivery, we were given ICE COLD French fries. Literally no heat on them at all. The sandwiches were mediocre. This was bitterly disappointing -- like I said, I've come to expect rip-off room service at places like this, but if you're going to charge $25 per sandwich and fries, then serve them hot. Hardly "5 star."
The hotel's other facilities were fine. Nice lobby, interesting decor. The fitness center had a good range of equipment, but only two televisions that got about two channels each because of satellite troubles. No natural light in the fitness center, either.
Service throughout the stay was hardly five-star. The bellmen at the hotel's main lobby inconsistently opened doors and generally had nothing to say (only one was good about saying "good afternoon" or "enjoy your day"). Check-out was fine, as was the process of getting a cab.
Location is good for many London attractions; the Tube is next door, Hyde Park is across the street, major (expensive!) shopping close by, etc., so no complaints on that front. The neighborhoods surrounding the hotel are ritzy, but lovely, and despite the concentration of wealth in the area you can find a variety of restaurants and cafes.
Overall, I would not return to this hotel. The regular room rates are very expensive, and the level of service doesn't justify what they charge. I didn't feel particularly well taken-care of, and I've had far, far better service at many other properties, including in London.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Once the site of a royal residence, InterContinental London Park Lane is now the epitome of modern elegance. Located between Mayfair and Knightsbridge in view of Buckingham Palace, the hotel is not far from the Tower of London, Big Ben and Trafalgar Square. Also worth seeing is the Victoria and Albert Museum, Madame Tussauds and The National Portrait Gallery. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Hotel London
- InterContinental London Park Lane England