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“A series of disappointments”

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InterContinental Boston
Ranked #4 of 83 Hotels in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Washington DC
Level Contributor
37 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“A series of disappointments”
Reviewed July 1, 2013

We booked a room at the Intercontinental in Boston as a bit of splurge after a particularly arduous travel schedule during the previous two weeks. There are definitely less expensive properties in Boston that offer high-end amenities and service, but we wanted to spoil ourselves a bit. As you can guess from my two-star rating, that did not happen.

First, let me say that the Intercontinental is a spectacular property, from the modern mirrored facade to the grand lobby and nicely appointed rooms (I particularly liked the large soaking tub in the bathroom with sliding panels that opened to the room, with a separate shower stall). The problem is with the service. We encountered a series of blunders and oversights during our stay. Individually they would not have been significant (I certainly understand that sometimes things go wrong and it's nobody's fault), but all of them together made our stay an unpleasant experience. It suggests that there may be a systemic problem in the training of the staff that needs to be addressed.

The problem started at check-in. We are a same-sex couple and had booked a king-size bed. I gave the desk clerk a printed copy of my reservation, which clearly stated that we had reserved a king-size bed. She first asked whether we wanted two rooms, and I said that we wanted only one room. She then said that she assumed we wanted two double beds, and I had to tell her that, no, we in fact wanted a king-size bed. I also reminded her that the details of our reservation were included in the printed copy in front of her. She looked down and said nothing--no apology nor acknowledgment that she had made a mistake. This may seem like a trivial issue, but it's not always comfortable to have this kind of conversation at the busy front desk of a high-end hotel.

When we arrived at the hotel we had told the porter on the street that we preferred to carry our own bags. However, when we turned around after checking in we saw that a porter had already loaded our bags onto a trolley and he told us to follow him to the elevator. We once again had to say that we did not want his assistance and asked him to give our bags back to us. As I said, our room was very nice, although I was a bit disappointed to find that our "deluxe view" room on the 9th floor (of 12 floors) looked onto the facade of the building across the street.

I was very surprised to learn that the Intercontinental charged about $13 per day for internet access. At these prices, it really ought to be complimentary. I'm not cheap, but I was not about to pay $13 to simply log into my e-mail to let a friend in town know that I had arrived and would meet her for dinner the next evening. Instead, I went to a nearby Starbucks.

We asked about laundry service at the front desk, and the clerk told us we could call housekeeping when we got to the room. However, we found no phone list or dialing instructions in the room. There was also no laundry slip, no list of TV channels, and no menu of hotel services and prices. It seemed as though our room had not been fully prepared before our arrival, even though we checked in at about 6:30 in the evening. We called the hotel operator and asked for housekeeping (since there was no indication of how to reach housekeeping directly). I asked about the prices for laundry service and was told that we could send our clothes for laundering and that they would tell us the prices after they were done. I then requested that they send a price list to our room, and she told me there was already one in our closet. I assured her there was not and repeated my request.

About 30 minutes later, a member of the housekeeping staff appeared with two laundry bags. I told her I wanted a price list, and she said it was in our closet. She came to look personally and confirmed that it was indeed not there. She then returned with a price list a few minutes later. After all of that, we decided not to have our laundry done. With a charge of $3.50 to wash a pair of underwear, I would prefer to simply buy new ones.

We had noticed the very appealing bar at the rear of the lobby and the outdoor seating area on the water and had hoped to return there for a late drink after returning from dinner. However, when we got back at about 9:00 p.m. the lobby and bar had become a throbbing nightclub and we decided to give it a pass--it was not at all conducive to conversation.

We left the hotel at 9:00 the next morning for a day of sightseeing and put on the "please make up room" sign. (The housekeepers were next door and saw us leave.) We returned at 3:00 after a day of sightseeing to shower and change to meet a friend at 4:30 to find that our room had not been touched. I double-checked and confirmed that we had correctly set the "make up room" light and then called the front desk to request service. (Speaking of staff in the halls, we noticed that they almost went out of their way to avoid making eye contact. A pleasant "good morning" would have been much better. It almost seemed like they considered hotel guests an inconvenience that had to be tolerated.)

While we were waiting for the room to be made up, we spoke with the wonderful Front Office Manager Edward Woods about our concerns with the service we had received. He listened very attentively, asked appropriate questions to get more details about our concerns, and he was sincerely sympathetic and concerned about what we had experienced. I had the distinct impression that Mr. Woods intended to follow up with the staff members to address the issues we had raised to ensure that they were corrected. His highly professional demeanor and genuine concern made me feel much better about the Intercontinental, and I hope that proper training can get this relatively new hotel on the right track with the assistance of dedicated managers like Mr. Woods. He offered us free drinks at the lovely waterfront bar that evening, which was a very nice gesture.

A fire alarm woke us up at 1:00 in the morning on our second night in the Intercontinental and we had to evacuate due to a possible emergency on the floor above us. I realize, of course, that this was not the hotel's fault, and I have to say that the staff did an outstanding job getting everyone out in an orderly manner and keeping us informed of the situation as it developed. (Thankfully, it turned out that there was no fire, and we were back in the room by about 1:45.)

It may seem like I'm making too much of some seemingly trivial issues. As I said, however, it was not the individual issues that concerned me, but the fact that there were so many little mistakes. When I'm splurging on a luxury property like the Intercontinental, I expect the service to be nearly flawless. I could have had a very good experience at any number of other hotels in Boston at a lower price--and that's exactly what I intend to do the next time I'm in town.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank wbpld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ICBoston, General Manager at InterContinental Boston, responded to this review, July 3, 2013
Dear wbpld,

Thank you for taking the time to share the details of your recent stay at InterContinental Boston. Please accept my sincere apologies for your disappointing experience. Let me assure you that the issues you encountered during your stay are not trivial; we understand that the little details make a big difference in a guest's stay and regret that we fell short in meeting your expectations.

I have shared your full review with our team and will personally address each comment with the appropriate department manager. If you would like to discuss your experience in further detail, please contact me at your convenience at ian.pullan@ihg.com. Although we never want to read that a guest's stay was less than perfect, your feedback gives us valuable learning opportunities and helps us make necessary improvements to our service.

We greatly value your feedback and hope that you and your partner will allow us a future opportunity to provide a flawless, five-star experience.

Sincerely,

Ian Pullan
General Manager, InterContinental® Boston
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Saint John, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 1, 2013

Good location, on the water, close to South Station subway. We were able to walk to the aquarium and Quincy market. We took the subway to Prudential center and Fenway park.
We got a good deal on Expedia, so we were happy with the price.
Concierge was very helpful with our questions and was happy to print us off maps of the subway and local attractions.
Check-in was fast and efficient. The staff we encountered were very nice and helpful.
Nice rooms and bathrooms, well maintained.
We asked for a room with 2 beds because we had our daughter with us, I wish the beds had been queen sized, they were only double.
We enjoyed the pool, very clean with nice views.
We did not eat at the hotel as breakfast was 26$ per person for a regular breakfast...no thanks. We walked to a diner 5 min away.
Wi-Fi is not free (which is crazy!! You can walk to the waterfront and connect there for free), parking was expensive (although not surprising in Boston).
On our last night there the fire alarm went off, woke us up from our sleep and we had to evacuate the building. I found the announcement to evacuate unclear, other guests were also unsure if the message stated we needed to evacuate or not, we left anyway. The incident scared my daughter as we were unsure what was going on, I guess it was a false alarm. It took a while to get back to sleep after all the commotion and with the noise of the guests returning to their rooms. Hopefully they will make their evacuations/fire alarm announcements clear in the future.

Room Tip: Ask for high floor(unless you can't walk down all the stairs in the event of a fire alarm) and a...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Emapema
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newton, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
26 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2013

Overall, my wife and I enjoyed our stay. We book our king room for $180 (inclusive of all taxes and fees) on Priceline Express Deals (super value). Check-in experience was superb, as the staff showed a very positive attitude. I asked for a higher floor and got one of the highest floors. I asked for a water view (but without upgrading) and got a room with a partial water view. Throughout the hotel's construction and furnishing, it exudes a 5-star experience. Thick carpeting, tasteful decor, nice finishing details, well-appointed room. Even the closet doors were made of heavy solid wood. We especially liked the bathroom layout that opens into the bedroom. Very romantic.

Now for the minor flaws. The hotel is located in the Financial District, which means the area shuts down after work hours and on weekends. Quincy Market and North End are about 20 minutes away on foot (through quiet and sometimes dark Financial District streets). At night, it's probably safer to take a taxi or use the subway (South Station).

The 10th floor view was nice, but it took awhile for hot water to reach us in the morning--literally a couple of minutes, so turn on the hot water and go make yourself a cup of coffee.

Our room was generally quite and sound-insulated. As part of a suite arrangement, however, we were able to hear noises through the locked common door connecting our room to the neighboring one. It started with a loud clang in the evening, followed by iPhone alarm at 8:30am and loud arguments.

Watch out for the mini-bar refrigerator. We used the fridge to cool down fruits we brought with us. In jest, I also showed my wife the ridiculous $8.00 can of M&M's. At check-out, the hotel got the last laugh as an $8.00 charge showed on my account. It turns out that the mini-bar fridge is equipped with electronic sensors that detect movement of its contents. Fortunately, the friendly staff removed the charges, but I was annoyed that I needed to take extra time to check out.

In spite of these small annoyances, we thoroughly enjoyed our mini-cation stay at $180.

Room Tip: As for partial water view for no additional charge.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank BosAnonymous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterloo, Canada
Level Contributor
124 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed June 28, 2013

To start with we were upgraded to a Jr. Suite on the harbour side which was perfect in every respect. Large comfortable room & bathroom. Fruit and water provided each day. Restaurants were busy but service was great as well as the food. Concierge was very helpful for all our requests. Would definitely stay ther again on our next trip to Boston. Highly recommend it as you are in the heart of Boston a short walk to the Market and downtown

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MurrayC915
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
150 reviews
141 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 358 helpful votes
Reviewed June 27, 2013

Busy and impressive with a good location both for business and leisure. Nothing not to like, reasonable size room and bathroom, comfortably furnished with a good bed. All well maintained. The previous positive reviews have it summed up accurately. But of course such luxury comes at a price and with extras. My only gripes are the expensive Wi-Fi, charged even in the bar and lobby area. The patio restaurant which has a good outside location was chaotic, with resulting poor dinner service.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank OleDunk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, Scotland
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 26, 2013 via mobile

Excellent hotel and location. Room spacious and comfortable with great views. Stayed a couple of nights before and after a trip to Cape Cod. Only disappointment was having Platinum status meant nothing other than acknowledgment at check-in.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Dognuffin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed June 25, 2013 via mobile

First I would like to thank Mr Ditterline for a job well done. We were impressed from the start. I stay with Intercontental hotels and this one top notch.It was my wedding anniversary and we flew to Boston to meet my new son in law.Every part of the stay went great, we were able to get rooms next to each other with a great view. The staff was great from the time we pulled up from the airport to the time the hotel dropped us off at the cruise terminal. THANK YOU

Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank Mark H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about InterContinental Boston

Property: InterContinental Boston
Address: 510 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02210-2210
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Massachusetts > Boston > Downtown
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Boston
#3 Luxury Hotel in Boston
#7 Business Hotel in Boston
#7 Romantic Hotel in Boston
#7 Green Hotel in Boston
#8 Family Hotel in Boston
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — InterContinental Boston 5*
Number of rooms: 424
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This breathtaking, modern Boston waterfront hotel stands on the site where a late-night tea party ignited the American Revolution. Located between the financial district and the booming Fort Point Channel, find yourself at the heart of the city and take in waterfront views from Miel, Boston's first Provence-themed brasserie. An urban retreat, relax and revive with an indoor lap pool and full-service spa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Intercontinental Boston Hotel Boston
Boston Intercontinental

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