Brand standard for Lounges at Intercontinental Hotels?

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Old Jan 12, 18, 11:17 pm
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Brand standard for Lounges at Intercontinental Hotels?

Is there a brand standard for lounges at Intercontinental hotels? What are the food offerings across the day? I know there is extensive difference between what Ritz Carlton offers (multiple food offerings across the day including lunch) and what is offered by Marriott/Starwood/Hyatt/Hilton (breakfast and early evening snacks). I am wondering where Intercontinental falls. I am looking at the Intercontinental Sofia which has not yet opened. How much additional would you pay (for 2) in order to have lounge access?
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Old Jan 12, 18, 11:36 pm
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It depends on the property.
In the beginning of 2017 IHG decided to standardise the offerings, in some properties (mostly in IHG-managed properties) the quality of the products has improved noticeably and the quantity has deteriorated significantly.
At Intercontinental Berlin you can not saturate rudimentary, you get only some cold and warm canapés in the evening (5pm-8pm). Open bar closed at 8pm. 110EUR (for 2), or 88 (20% rebate) as Ambassador-member. Zero choice regarding to food in the "evening", no food after 8pm.
However other properties like IC Frankfurt doesn't care much about the standardisation and just ignore the ne standard: food and drinks all day long, 50EUR for 1 person, every additional person 20EUR.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 12:02 am
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I think standardization of Club F&B is terribly ridiculous. Brand Standard should be minimum regulation under the flag of InterContinental, not to limit each hotel’s discretion. Nightly rate level is different in each countries and regions. Also every costs are different. If IHG try to regulate Club F&B offering, they should to also regulate nightly rate in same level, impossible. We expect the value for payment. If I pay higher cost for nightly rate, I would expect better offering. But now quality of offering tends to downhill. It really unacceptable.

I expect every GMs to ignore such a ridiculous standardization which made by HQ’s internship students.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 3:14 am
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Originally Posted by Cielito_ View Post
..
However other properties like IC Frankfurt doesn't care much about the standardisation and just ignore the ne standard: food and drinks all day long, 50EUR for 1 person, every additional person 20EUR.

I can see the idea looking attractive on paper, or more likely on a powerpoint presentation by a newly employed Bright Young Thing. But in practice it falls into silliness.

Where there are wide variations in the provision of any service, it's best to avoid "dumbing down" those who are at the top end of the distribution: that risks annoying regular client of the top-enders.

Rather, the idea should be to lift low performers up to a minimum level.

Perhaps that's what IHG intended. But in the same way they've attempted to police the "no club for Spires" rule at CP and HI properties, I'm told they've been quite bullish about telling hotels NOT to go beyond the new brand standard.

Some hotels ignore or adapt the standard. As mentioned, Frankfurt continues in its own way - it must have one of the highest return client rates, and it knows what they want; Abu Dhabi adopts another strategy, supplying the canapés but also setting out an attractive spread of buffet foods; so, from memory, do KL and Singapore. San Francisco simply didn't hear the message , but Berlin dumbed down to follow the brand standard: canapés and cheese.

For me, a major charm of Intercontinentals was a quirkiness at some properties, with local colour, flavours and the hotels interpretation of what guests wanted. Steam-rolling the whole thing into a Holiday Inn type experience of standard greeting, standard club lounge service and standard toiletries wasn't the smartest move from that perspective.

I'm not a shampoo geek, but my heart sinks when I see Agraria. Hat's off to those hotels that provide locally sourced, high quality alternatives.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 4:44 am
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I found most IC club lounges of a high standard although as pointed by others it's not consistent and I've seen a few that were rather basic. I wouldn't expect a proper meal, but some have a very good offering. Several resorts also have a proper afternoon tea.
They're also usually fairly quiet, which should be expected considering IHG is rather stingy about club lounge access to elite members. Overall I like the IC club lounge experience much better than your typical Starwood/Hilton lounge which frankly can sometimes feel like a canteen.
In fact, although basic, all CP lounges I've been to were also very relaxing.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 8:38 am
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What is the minimum one can expect of an Intercontinental lounge?
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Old Jan 13, 18, 2:52 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
What is the minimum one can expect of an Intercontinental lounge?
It's so variable it's a bit hard to say, but all of them I have visited so far offers breakfast with some hot elements (can be basic but usually scrambled eggs), biscuits etc. and soft drinks + hot drinks all day, usually an afternoon tea (finger sandwiches and mini cakes - can be quite basic but can be very fancy like the IC Singapore), then evening canapes and alcoholic drinks.

SOME would offer an option to have a full breakfast at their restaurant in addition to the Club breakfast as part of the package, some have egg cooking station at breakfast time but only during some of the breakfast hours if it's extended to later in the morning, some would offer table service aspect to all of the service including the afternoon tea, some would offer premium items as part of their canape hours yet some are very basic, some would offer almost full dinner during their canape hours. Some offer a very limited selection but rather premium canape items from their restaurants, almost like tasting dishes.

Hours vary, but the evening canapes + alcoholic drinks are generally sometime between 5 pm and 9 pm.

Some are doing alcoholic drinks on free pour, some don't.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 3:17 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
What is the minimum one can expect of an Intercontinental lounge?
I think breakfast is OK in current standard. But cocktail time is horrible. Three in One plate canapé offering does not consider guests’ food dislikes, allergy, contraindication of religion. All of offering must be provided by buffet style or choice from a la carte menu like IC Osaka (before Nov.2017) style.
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Old Jan 14, 18, 7:07 pm
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I find it can be very variable. Regarding evening drinks - Some lounges have terrible wine options (Ho Chi Minh - worst was an aussie Oxford Landing Sauvignon which is the cheapest of the cheap and the bubbly option was just an average prosecco) and some have great options (Singapore Robertson Quay - 2 types of champagne etc). It strikes me that the min standard is breakfast and evening drinks/canapes. Some do a high tea style afternoon tea which is a nice touch in my opinion. I noticed in Sydney for our last stay they actually had some free lunch items in the lounge which surprised me (pleasantly)
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Old Jan 15, 18, 3:01 am
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Originally Posted by Susiew237 View Post
I find it can be very variable. Regarding evening drinks - Some lounges have terrible wine options (Ho Chi Minh - worst was an aussie Oxford Landing Sauvignon which is the cheapest of the cheap and the bubbly option was just an average prosecco) and some have great options (Singapore Robertson Quay - 2 types of champagne etc). It strikes me that the min standard is breakfast and evening drinks/canapes. Some do a high tea style afternoon tea which is a nice touch in my opinion. I noticed in Sydney for our last stay they actually had some free lunch items in the lounge which surprised me (pleasantly)
Hi Susie,
could I possibly pick your brain? I am going to be staying at the Sydney IC in March with Club access for at least a couple of nights on an Ambassador certificate - I have a few extra nights tagged on at a lower room rate so not sure if I'll end up with Club access for the whole stay if they let me stay in the same room, or not. I also have a boring and annoying dairy intolerance, so I am wondering what the club food is like, and whether there are dairy free options there. If not then I'll end up eating elsewhere anyway and need not worry about whether they'll let me into the club for the additional nights. Any idea of what the food offering is actually like (especially breakfast) would be appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old Jan 15, 18, 4:27 am
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Originally Posted by KathyMarie View Post
. I also have a boring and annoying dairy intolerance, so I am wondering what the club food is like, and whether there are dairy free options there. If not then I'll end up eating elsewhere anyway and need not worry about whether they'll let me into the club for the additional nights. Any idea of what the food offering is actually like (especially breakfast) would be appreciated!

Thanks!
The IC Sydney usually does a good spread, think oysters/mussels, sushi, salads and usually a couple of hot dishes of lamb, samosas or spring rolls. Breads as ell as cold meats as well.

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Old Jan 15, 18, 6:32 am
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Originally Posted by KathyMarie View Post
Hi Susie,
could I possibly pick your brain? I am going to be staying at the Sydney IC in March with Club access for at least a couple of nights on an Ambassador certificate - I have a few extra nights tagged on at a lower room rate so not sure if I'll end up with Club access for the whole stay if they let me stay in the same room, or not. I also have a boring and annoying dairy intolerance, so I am wondering what the club food is like, and whether there are dairy free options there. If not then I'll end up eating elsewhere anyway and need not worry about whether they'll let me into the club for the additional nights. Any idea of what the food offering is actually like (especially breakfast) would be appreciated!

Thanks!
Unless changed for 2018, IC Sydney (Opera House one of the two IC's) allows restaurant breakfast foc if one has club access
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Old Jan 15, 18, 6:52 am
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Thanks scubaccr and markis10!

This is my first time at an IC - let alone with Club access - so not sure what to expect. I am travelling solo but meeting a friend while I am in town - would I be allowed to take her into the lounge do you think?
We're going to the opera and pre-show drinks would be the perfect start to the evening.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 12:35 pm
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I have never had a problem to take a guest into a lounge.
When in Berlin recently I asked about the free minibar for club rooms. I was told it had been stopped by IHG, the staff didn't seem too impressed with the rule
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Old Jan 16, 18, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by KathyMarie View Post
Hi Susie,
could I possibly pick your brain? I am going to be staying at the Sydney IC in March with Club access for at least a couple of nights on an Ambassador certificate - I have a few extra nights tagged on at a lower room rate so not sure if I'll end up with Club access for the whole stay if they let me stay in the same room, or not. I also have a boring and annoying dairy intolerance, so I am wondering what the club food is like, and whether there are dairy free options there. If not then I'll end up eating elsewhere anyway and need not worry about whether they'll let me into the club for the additional nights. Any idea of what the food offering is actually like (especially breakfast) would be appreciated!

Thanks!
Hi KathyMarie, IC Sydney may let you stay on with club access but certainly not guaranteed - personally I find they can be a little bit haughty at this hotel even though I do love it for the location. However after the free evening drinks/canapes session is over you can use the lounge (I think you have to book). My feeling is that opening up the lounge to the general hotel populace is what is making it start to look worn out. It definitely needs a complete refresh, but the view is one of the best in the world. You should definitely be able to take a guest in with you.

Food is ok in the evening. I recall oysters (which I dont like), a selection of dips/humus, cheeses/cold meats etc and of course the standard 4 item hot tasting dish. It didnt wow me. Breakfast is the usual options - I'm not sure how it would fit with dairy intolerances.
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