Venue Review: Intercontinental Hotel at the O2, LondonWritten by Paul Mar 10 2016
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There are hotels opening across the world on a daily basis. London alone, which leads Europe is hotel growth, is rumoured to have hotels under development that will add nearly 18,000 bedrooms to the capitals stock over the next 3 years. With so many new properties entering the market it's hard to keep track of, let alone get excited by, all the new openings, especially when 51% are in the budget sector. Every now and then though, something comes along which is a bit special. This brings us nicely to the new Intercontinental Hotel by the O2 arena. The hotel isn't special because it's leading the way in design, although it certainly isn't aesthetically unpleasant, nor is it offering ground breaking technology or never-before seen luxuries. What it does offer however, is size.
Located on the Greenwich peninsula, like a lone, defiant David opposite the Goliath's of Canary Wharf, the hotel commands an impressive waterfront position and offers views across the capital. It has been developed by hotel supremo Surinder Arora (of airport hotel fame) at a rumoured cost of £200M, a risky but undoubtably shrewd investment. This area of London has historically been a difficult sell for event planners due to perceived access problems. However with tubes from Waterloo taking only 11 minutes and the lack of any notable 5* properties there (the Four Seasons is due to rebrand later this year) it could well be the development the area needs. The hotel should also benefit from it’s close proximity to Excel, surely becoming the go to destination for supporting dinners and breakout events relating to congresses and conventions at the nearby exhibition centre.
Now, we’ve mentioned size however no description or photo can really do the main event space justice. For reference it’s 3,100sqm with a ceiling height of 7.5m, which will allow for conferences of up to 3000 delegates or dinners for 2,400. It makes every other hotel in the UK, or in fact Europe, pale into insignificance in the capacity stakes. Outside the Ballroom you’ll find two sizeable reception spaces which are perfect for exhibitions or catering and, thanks to a window that spans the length and height of the building, some of London’s finest views across Canary Wharf. The ballroom offers complete flexibility and can be divided into 17 partitioned sections. Elsewhere there are numerous breakout spaces, including the 9 Riverview suites on the mezzanine level, the large Cutty Sark & Arcadia rooms, and smaller boardrooms.
For those seeking a good nights sleep or a bite to eat, the hotel offers 453 bedrooms, and being an Intercontinental you know you’re getting the best quality. There are numerous bars & restaurants to enjoy a post conference tipple including the Clipper bar, complete with it’s own bespoke Gin, and the beautiful Peninsula Restaurant. Up on the 18th floor is the aptly named Eighteen, an incredible bar complete with smoking terrace and panoramic views of London and the Home Counties.
Photo of the the exterior of the Intercontinental Hotel, London
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