This weekend I took another micro-break in London. I am trying to push this concept as it is such a fun way to spend time in the city you live, and I have stayed at the Hilton Syon Park and the Sofitel Terminal 5 so far this year!
I wrote in another post how I managed to get tickets for a sold-out Justin Bieber concert at the O2 using nothing but American Express points. I don’t really like big crowds, so I was reluctant to brave battling my way to the tube after the gig along with the other 15,000 believers. Then I remembered that there is a very recently-opened InterContinental right next door.
I booked a room for the night of the concert using 45,000 points which is only 75% of the regular rate for an InterContinental hotel. I am not sure if there was a reason for it being so low, but I think it might just be because it is a new property. This was not part of any special rate. I am a Platinum Ambassador with IHG and like to email in advance of the stay to ask questions and to confirm upgrades and late checkout. Whilst this is not necessary, I find it makes the process smoother on check-in.
I arrived at the O2 on the tube and was pleased to see that it was well signposted from the station, even if the signs were temporary.
It was disappointing that the path to the luxury hotel was of such poor quality. I spoke with the doorman on my departure, who said that this was because the hotel did not own the land where the path was, which meant they could not just sort it out.
They were currently discussing with the people who own the land to allow them to pave it.
I arrived at the hotel just after 3 o’clock, and there were lots of people checking in who were clearly staying at the concert. This meant that the check-in desk was busy, and despite a dedicated IHG roared club check-in area, I still had to queue and go to the next available desk. This would not be a problem, although faces mean the person checking me in had to go and get some additional information from the particular desk.
My Ambassador status got me an upgrade to an executive Canary Wharf view room.
I am not sure that this is a view that can rival the likes of the Eiffel Tower, but it was a corner room with windows on two sides, making it light and airy.
There was a comfortable bed, a desk, an armchair, and a coffee machine. Later on, the amenity of fresh fruit and chocolates were delivered.
The large bathroom features a good rainfall shower and a full-size bath.
I like that the seal around the shower door was closely fitting so that no water spilt out onto the floor.
I had paid for access to the club, as the room rate did not include breakfast. The breakfast options at the hotel are costly and would have come to about £25 each for the breakfast buffet. I, therefore, felt that £75 for the two of us, which would include drinks, snacks, breakfast and other light refreshments, was a good deal. When I arrived at the hotel, they served afternoon tea which looked very good. Before making my way to the gym, I had an excellent cup of coffee.
The gym is located in the spa complex. It is a well-appointed facility with first-class equipment and lots of natural light.
I really loved the fridge with a bottle of water and plentiful towels.
I worked out for a bit and then returned to the room before heading back to the club for drinks and canapés.
Between 5 and 7 PM, they offer a variety of alcoholic drinks, including wine, beer and premium spirits, alongside a large selection of canapés, crisps and nibbles.
This was really well done and the staff very friendly. After a couple of drinks, we had out to the concert at the O2 next door. As you can imagine, the location was perfect for getting there quickly. A corridor through the back of the hotel leads to the back entrance of the O2.
It had been suggested that this was a covered walkway, which was clearly not the case, but it was close enough.
We had an excellent time at the concert, which you can read about in another blog post, and I was delighted that we had booked in given the speed that we were able to get back afterwards. We took a left from the third floor down to the ground floor and were greeted by a sea of people.
Luckily for us, the hotel is signposted to the left, where a doorman only allowed people through by producing a key card. This meant that we could be back in our room before we would have made it round to the tube.
After a very comfortable night’s sleep, we headed down to breakfast. The breakfast buffet was well laid out with a selection of cereals, fruit, cold meats and pastries.
There was also an extensive cooked menu too.
We both chose something from that menu and sat down to wait. After 30 minutes, I chased the order up with one of the staff. We were told that it would be about seven minutes but had to wait for a further 15. When it eventually did arrive, the Eggs Florentine that had been ordered had been replaced with Eggs Benedict. As a vegetarian, I sent this back, and we had to wait even longer. What was disappointing was the lack of communication from the staff in the lounge. There were only three other tables and whilst I understand that they use the same kitchen as the main restaurant which was, on a Sunday, undoubtedly busy, I feel that they could have done more to keep us updated.
After that slightly disappointing breakfast, we went to the pool for a little swim. It was very well appointed, and we used the steam room before I went to the gym. This was a little disappointing on the second day because there was no water and no towels. I told the lady on the desk that there was no water and asked for some, to which she proceeded to give me a bottle but did not refill the fridge. I showered and returned to the club just after 2pm when they were putting out the afternoon tea service, so I could have a light lunch of sandwiches, a scone and some soft drinks before checking out at about 3pm.
At checkout, I clarified my disappointment regarding breakfast and was pleased that they offered a 20% reduction in the club charge, in effect making the eggs Florentine free, which I felt was fair.
I really enjoyed my stay at the Intercontinental-London the O2. It is a really new and well-appointed hotel which is perfect for anyone visiting the O2 for a concert. Being an Ambassador, which guarantees the upgrade and the late checkout, allowed me to maximise my use of the club. Arrive at 3pm and check out by 4pm the following day. You could conceivably have afternoon tea, drinks and canapés, breakfast and then lunch for your £75 per room, which, for two people, is excellent value, mainly if that is the only cost to this day when using points.
There is a Holiday Inn Express nearby, but at 35,000 points for a night, you would be mad not to pay 10,000 more to stay at the InterContinental.