Recently Steve and I spent a long weekend in London. Originally we were three to travel so we booked a ‘Studio Suite with Sofa Bed’ at the InterContinental London – The O2.
The choice of hotel
Why did we choose the InterContinental London – The O2? You have two basic hotel choices in London: cheap but shabby or luxurious but expensive. I’m just barely exaggerating.
Danny introduced me to the InterContinental hotels, with stays in Düsseldorf (Germany), Budapest (Hungary), Bucharest (Romania) and Singapore. IC’s, as we colloquially call them, often have a club lounge and so does the IC London – The O2.
So it was decided. Traveller number 3 is a bit older and we wanted to have a relaxed stay in London. The prospect of a suite, the lounge, a pool, a gym and spa and several restaurant options convinced us.
Luxury does not come cheap: just over a thousand pounds for three nights, plus 65 pounds per day for lounge access is not cheap. But we had three travel budgets so the bill was split in three. Three people, three nights. So we paid one night each.
As the name gives away, the InterContinental London – The O2 is located next to the O2 Arena in Greenwich, a circus tent shaped events hall.
It’s a bit far away from central London and Westminster, but the Jubilee line offers a direct link from North Greenwich Underground Station to Green Park for Buckingham Palace and Westminster Underground Station for well, Westminster.
Architecture and interior design
No, the InterContinental London – The O2 is not a pretty building. It’s shaped like an office building. But it’s spacious. That’s an advantage of being a bit remote. IC had the space to build what it wanted.
You drown into InterContinental greige (= grey + beige) and standard colouring. It’s standard, it’s businesslike. It oozes confidence and intercontinental chic.
We didn’t need the sofa bed, so our room was ready earlier than expected. It allowed us a very early check-in.
The room is spacious with big windows. The king size bed is big enough for fun with three or four, but we were good boys. The bed was very high and comfortable. There’s a sofa and a chaise longue.
The bathroom had one sink, a separate bath and a separate shower.
Obviously there were options for coffee and tea, water and an ironing board. There were many power outlets and USB-ports and a decent desk and decent office chair.
Internet is complimentary, but if you want fast internet, you need to pay. Really? At this level I’m disappointed.
But I paid the £20 for 72 hours of fast internet. Luckily there’s really good WiFi coverage everywhere in the hotel.
The club lounge is located on the second floor. It’s spacious. In the price is included: breakfast; afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones and pastry; and alcohol with canapés from 5PM until 7PM.
The lounge is open until 10PM. Outside the ‘events’ you can have coffee, tea and soft drinks at all time. Not too bad for 65 pounds per room per day. A third person would make that 90 pounds per room per day.
Unlike the lounge in Budapest or Singapore guests are given much freedom at the O2. Just grap what you want. In Budapest and Singapore we felt more watched. No such thing in London.
The gym, pool and spa
The gym, pool and spa are located on the ground flour. The gym is accessible 24 hours a day and the spa and pool from 8AM until 10PM.
The gym is well fitted with all you need for your work-out. There are also towels, fruit, water, tissues, papers.
The pool is impressive. It’s long enough to swim laps. There’s also a jacuzzi. There’s also a steam room and a sauna.
Besides the size of the pool, I was impressed with the changing rooms. Large lockers, towels, decent showers, soap, shampoo and conditioner and a blowdryer.
Bars and restaurants
We tried the Eighteen Sky Bar on Friday. There’s an array of classic and original cocktails of around 14 to 18 pounds each. Not cheap, but not overpriced for this sky bar with quite a view.
On Saturday we dined at The Peninsula. The tasting menu is £72 and includes seven courses. There’s also vegetarian version of the tasting menu.
The menu was not overly original but perfectly served. The gimmick of adding a sauce or jus was used four times. Maybe a bit much.
It’s an art to cater both connoisseurs and an international public.
I will definitely consider going back to this InterContinental. You get value for money.
Maybe it’s an idea though to avoid some hyped events at the O2? The hotel did get crowded on Saturday and Sunday. There was a rally going on: ModBall.