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JUNE 2013 || InterContinental London Park Lane Review:
London is one of our favorite cities, and we’ve been there between twenty and thirty times by now. It never takes a lot of convincing to fly there.
Researching Odaiba in Tokyo led to the discovery of Kua’Aina, a Hawaiian burger restaurant. They have two branches in Hawaii , one in Tokyo and one in London . The menu was so tempting we decided we had to go to London , our nearest location.
Of course we could have simply made a day trip, but since we love London we thought it would be better to spend a weekend there.
Our budget – there are preparations for a longer travel in August – allowed us to buy a flight, but there wasn’t much left for a hotel. We had two choices:
1. We could take a very cheap hotel, which didn’t fulfill our wishes and needs.
2. We could use points at the different loyalty hotel programs we had left.
Investigating this, we decided to go for the Intercontinental Park Lane . We had wanted to stay there for at least ten years, but somehow had never managed it. We used 50.000 Points for a night in a Superior Room, which is newly renovated.
We arrived with Aer Lingus at London Heathrow and took the Tube. The nearest Tube stop for the Intercontinental Park Lane is Hyde Park Corner on the Piccadilly Line, which connects the airport to the city. There is no need to change lines, so it’s ideal.
We bought two single tickets to at 5.50 GBP per person (ca. 6.50 Euro / ca. 8.55 USD).
This time around the Piccadilly Line was upgraded, so there was no service between Boston Manor and Hammersmith, but there was a free bus connection between the stations. We enjoyed the ride and saw it as a bit of an adventure. The wait for the bus was longer than the transportation itself (ca. 15 minutes). We realized Hammersmith is an interesting area.
We arrived after 3 PM at our hotel. The door man asked if he could help us. We said we had a reservation, so he opened the door promptly for us and wished us a pleasant stay.
We were directed by one of the bell boys to a free receptionist. Check in was very quick and painless. We had been unexpectedly upgraded to a renovated Deluxe Room on the 6th floor, overlooking the Wellington Monument and in the distance Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
We had expected courtyard views, so we were delighted.
The room was medium sized. It was classic with modern touches. The colors were mostly brown, blue, cream, ivory and beige.
There was a small hallway with one door leading off to the bathroom.
The room was equipped with a king sized bed, a wardrobe with safe and hair dryer, two night stands, a coffee table, a plush club chair and a writing desk.
The flat screen TV and Bose wave radio was integrated into a stylish storage unit that included bookshelves with books about London.
The artwork was interesting. It was part mirror, part print, part model of a local landmark.
When we entered the room the radio was already on, tuned to a Classic channel. We like Classic music, so it was a pleasant surprise.
The TV channel selection was good with a wide choice of international channels such as CNN or BBC world, business channels and the largest selection of Middle Eastern channels I’ve seen so far.
In Room Dining is available 24 hours a day and also has a section with Arabic cuisine.
There is also a mini bar, Nespresso Coffee machine and a kettle.
The bathroom was small, but had enough space for our toiletries. There was a bathtub/shower combination with a large round rain shower head, toilet and sink. The amenities were from Agraria.
The shower pressure was very good – there seems to be never a problem, when staying at an Intercontinental Hotel Group hotel – and the bath tub extremely comfortable.
While we were still exploring the amenities of the room, we received a welcome gift, consisting of fresh strawberries from Kent , a large bottle of still water and Dean’s chocolate shortbread. There was also a card, greeting us as Ambassadors – this is the name of the loyalty program for Intercontinental Hotels – and please don’t confuse Ambassador with Intercontinental Hotel Group’s Priority Club.
Ambassadorship carries a yearly fee of 200 USD. There are some benefits included like a free night certificate, automatic Gold status at Priority Club, room upgrades, welcome gift, late check out up to 4 PM, promotions, where members receive higher points than usual (Normally 2000 points at an Intercontinental Hotel for Priority Club members, no matter how long the stay is or how much the guest spends.) and other things.
We aren’t Ambassadors, but the amenities were definitely for us, since the gentleman from room service greeted me by name.
We felt spoiled by now – considering we had used points.
The shortbread was the best we ever had and the strawberries were sweet and bursting with flavor.
During our stay we used the complimentary shoe shine service, ordered a wake up call and requested more soaps and shower gel.
All was delivered promptly, punctual and with a smile.
Turn down service was provided and didn’t include any chocolate or water, but the weather forecast and hints where you can visit different film locations in London , i.e. Bridget Jones Diary, Notting Hill, Harry Potter and so on.
The bed was very comfortable too and guaranteed a good nights rest.
The Intercontinental feels very glamorous. When entering the reception is immediately in front of you, when turning right, there is Theo Randall’s, turning left leads to the concierge corner, the lifts, the Arch Bar, Wellington Lounge and the Cook Book Cafe.
The spa and fitness center are located on the first floor.
We had breakfast the next morning at the Cookbook Cafe. While the food quality was outstanding, the restaurant was too busy and enjoying breakfast was difficult.
The furniture quality and the design of the Cookbook Cafe seem to be also lower than at any other part of the hotel.
We choose the a la carte option with 2 cappuccinos, 2 orange juices, a bakery basket with yummy pastries, scallion and corn pancakes with scrambled egg and rocket salad and pancakes with berry compote, maple syrup and cream.
It was really delicious.
The bill came in at 40.50 GBP including VAT and service charge, ca. 48 Euro or ca. 63 USD.
Next time, though, we are going to use the in room dining option.
Check out was swift and the bill correct.
We loved how detailed the hotel was, for example the strawberries were served in a designer glass bowl.
The shoe shine service delivered even before the stated time, early in the morning. Since there was a “Do not disturb” sign hanging on the door knob, the shoes were left in a whicker basket, carefully wrapped in paper and a bow.
The shoes were returned shiny and good smelling.
All staff was friendly and efficient, some had even time for a little chat. We felt very welcomed and well treated.
It is only a natural choice to stay there again in the future.
Would we recommend this hotel to a friend? YES!
Would we stay in this hotel again in the future? YES!
For more photos of the hotel incl. room, view, bathroom, face and breakfast: