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The InterContinental London Park Lane Experience

The InterContinental London Park Lane Experience

Old Sep 11, 21, 9:08 am
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The InterContinental London Park Lane Experience

The InterContinental London Park Lane Experience

Index to Genius1 Trip Reports

Standing on the site of 145 Piccadilly, Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood home, InterContinental London Park Lane occupies a post-war building at the edge of Hyde Park on the border of Mayfair and Knightsbridge. Now known as No.1 Park Lane, this is one of two ICs in London, the other being located at the O2 in Greenwich. Our reservation for this weekend break had originally been at the O2, but with that hotel in use as a government quarantine facility, our stay had been cancelled and, with a soon-to-expire Ambassador complimentary weekend night certificate to use, we had re-booked at the somewhat pricier but better regarded Park Lane.







It was a warm July afternoon as we arrived at the hotel’s entrance on Hamilton Place for what was to be my first hotel stay in 16 months. We were offered help with our bags at the door, although as usual opted to trundle them along ourselves. The hotel’s lobby – in keeping with the rest of the interior design – is elegant but unfussy, and rather unusual in that its ceiling is low with little attempt at grandeur. An Ambassador check-in area was available opposite the concierge desk, although with an empty lobby this wasn’t required today.







The lone receptionist checked us in efficiently behind the now-obligatory perspex screen, with directions given to the restaurant, lounge and bar, and confirmation of our dinner reservation at Theo Randall the following evening. A 16:00 checkout was proactively offered, along with the choice of a welcome drink or IHG Rewards welcome points; as is usual when drinks are included in the rate, I opted for the points however meagre the number.









Our Mayfair Deluxe Room on the third floor was a one category upgrade from our booked Mayfair Room. Mayfair-branded rooms are the ones to reserve at this property, as they represent those that have been fully refurbished (bathrooms included) within the last few years. The property continues to refurbish on a floor-by-floor basis, so the rather dated Classic rooms will be a thing of the past before too long. For its part, the Deluxe element of our room gained us a partial view of Wellington Arch and Hyde Park (higher floors have unobstructed views of the park), whilst entry level rooms offer a to-be-avoided interior courtyard ‘view’.





At roughly 21 square metres, whilst not huge our room felt spacious, thanks in part to the super-elegant design and even smarter lighting, controlled by numerous panels around the room that offered multiple options for which lights came on and at what intensity. With a super king size bed, desk, side table and occasional chair, there was plenty of space for a second chair but as is so often the case in hotel rooms designed for two people, one person was inexplicably relegated to the desk chair or the edge of the bed. Number of chairs aside, the walnut and brass-toned room was a delight to be in.

















A welcome cake was present in the room, alongside a smartly designed card from the Guest Services Manager. Although the minibar was empty (pandemic-related, I assume), Springbourne bottled mineral water was available and replenished daily. The selection of teas (by The East India Company) and biodegradable coffee capsules (by Kiss the Hippo) for the Nespresso machine were the full range of what you’d expect in pre-pandemic times. The tea seemed to taste all the better for it being poured into exquisitely designed mugs by William Edwards, the maker of the crockery in BA First cabins and lounges.











On a practical note, the room was furnished with both USB and regular power sockets above each bedside table and adjacent to the desk. In keeping with the ‘supply just enough for one person’ theme, the only suitcase stand was a fancy padded piece below the mirror-surrounded TV – although I’m sure a portable stand would’ve been available on request. Wifi was fast and didn’t require any code or convoluted log-on process. Complimentary newspapers and magazines were available via PressReader. Along with real reading material, writing material was also absent from the room, as was that most British of useful devices, an umbrella.



The bathroom was on the small side but refurbished to a level that quelled any space-related concerns. With a powerful rain shower, odour-extracting toilet (that made a soothing and oddly comforting humming sound when in use) and toiletries by Mitchell and Peach (a nice change from the usual Agraria), this was a bathroom worthy of the Mayfair price tag.

















Missing in action was the usual selection of non-liquid toiletries (dental kit etc.) – a little card claimed the pandemic was to blame, with the items delivered promptly on request, along with some additional Mitchell and Peach bottles in a larger take-home-friendly size. IHG are phasing out mini bottles by the end of the year – it will be interesting to see how higher-end hotels in the chain approach this.



Turndown service was offered each evening – the room was refreshed, but chocolates were sadly lacking. I always find it slightly bemusing when a hotel provides a card indicating the next day’s weather – in the era of smartphones and with heightened waste awareness, you’d have thought such trivialities would be easy candidates to scrap.



Whilst the property doesn’t offer a swimming pool, spa treatments are available, as is a small but well-equipped gym on the first floor. The corridor to the gym emphasised how dated (but admittedly well kept) un-refurbished floors at the property are – another reminder to steer well clear of those Classic rooms.



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Last edited by Genius1; Sep 11, 21 at 9:28 am
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Old Sep 11, 21, 9:08 am
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At the time of booking in mid-June, the Club InterContinental lounge was due to reopen on 1 July. This date kept being pushed back due to lack of demand (presumably mainly from business travellers), and at the time of writing the lounge remains closed. For those guests who had pre-booked suites or added the Club supplement to their room rate (as we had done), or for Royal Ambassador members, the Club Life experience was – and still is – being offered in lieu of the normal lounge experience. The Club supplement at the Park Lane is GBP110 per night for Ambassador members, or GBP145 for non-members. Club Life offers breakfast at Theo Randall, light afternoon tea in the Arch Bar, and evening drinks and canapés also in the Arch Bar, and represents pretty good value for money for those who will be near the hotel during their stay. We had been handed a small card at check-in for presentation during each meal service, identifying our Club Life inclusion to the waiting team.

Whilst I was slightly disappointed that the seventh-floor lounge remained closed during our stay – particularly as the lounge has recently been refurbished and is consistently rated as one of the best lounges in the InterContinental network with its view over Hyde Park – the Club Life experience was a more than adequate substitute.



We took breakfast each morning in Theo Randall, located just off the lobby. This famous restaurant is nicely appointed with an intimate mix of banquette and open table seating – there are even a couple of high-top tables adjacent to the semi open kitchen, although the lack of natural light is quite noticeable. Mitchell and Peach hand sanitiser was available on each table, as it was in other areas of the hotel.









Although a small cold buffet was available, manned by a waiter who would plate up whatever the guest wanted in a COVID-compliant manner, we tended to choose from the plentiful but not extravagant à la carte menu, with everything included under Club Life.













Across two mornings we sampled the homemade Bircher muesli, eggs Benedict, pancakes, an omelette, and a couple of variations on the traditional English breakfast; all excellent, with a notable shout-out to the roasted organic pork sausages, which were divine. A smoothie was proactively offered on our second morning. Service was generally very good.











Beyond the lift lobby, the Arch Bar and Wellington Lounge spread out until they meet Ella Canta, the hotel’s still-closed Mexican restaurant. Almost imperceptible from one another, the bar and lounge share the same design ethos, making it difficult to judge where one ends and the other begins. It turns out we enjoyed afternoon tea in the Wellington Lounge, not in the Arch Bar as proclaimed on the Club Life letter we’d been handed at check-in – regardless, it’s the same delicious food and the same excellent service.

















A slightly slimmed down version of the normal afternoon tea offered by the hotel, the Club Life version of afternoon tea includes the complete tea selection, two varieties of finger sandwiches, plain and raisin buttermilk scones, and a selection of four cakes and pastries. The scones and homemade jam were some of the best I’ve ever tasted – including in Devon and Cornwall. Whilst it may be a slimmed down offering, the selection was more than ample, particularly as our excellent waiter offered us a glass of Veuve Clicquot and kept it topped up. Being located in the main lounge, the Club Life afternoon tea experience is actually elevated when compared to the ‘normal’ Club experience; fully laid tables and service on William Edwards crockery sets the scene for an elegant afternoon.













We opted for a pared-back afternoon tea on our second afternoon, requesting only the sandwiches, accompanied by an iced tea and iced coffee – but were happy to return to the full offering (minus champagne due to a change of waiter) on our final day.





The hotel’s main washrooms are located below Ella Canta, and although their design matches those in Theo Randall, they feature some surprising unique additions to the wall.



The partially raised Arch Bar is a tasteful space in which to await dinner, with views out onto Hyde Park Corner. Since our stay, the IC have created Number One Park Lane Terrace to block the view – a casual outdoor dining venue, presumably aimed more for the summer months.

















Nothing was too much trouble for the waiting team as we enjoyed what technically should have been a house drink from an admittedly wide selection but turned out to be anything on the menu – including cocktails. If I have one criticism of the Club Life experience it was that the canapé selection was fairly uninspired – I’m sure there would have been both more substance and more variety six floors up. The Club lounge manager was working in the Arch Bar during our stay and took the opportunity to apologise for the lack of lounge – whilst appreciated, this really wasn’t necessary as the substitute and service was so good.











Dinner at Theo Randall is reliably excellent, and the experience during our stay was no different. The Orata and risotto di mare were both sublime, accompanied by zucchine fritte, followed by the pannacotta. Although we hadn’t ordered any drinks (such is the fullness of the Club Life experience), our waiter was kind enough to offer us a glass of Prosecco each.











After a truly odd 14 months, it felt brilliant to do something as normal – and strangely familiar – as stay in a hotel, and what a hotel to break back into the travel game. Whilst undeniably corporate in tone, the InterContinental London Park Lane’s beautifully refurbished rooms, excellent dining and standout team make this firmly one of London’s best branded hotel experiences.
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Last edited by Genius1; Sep 11, 21 at 11:20 am
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Old Sep 11, 21, 8:50 pm
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How fun! Thanks for sharing your experience at an Intercontinental. I remember when the chain was owned by Pan Am, and, as a stockholder i thought, what a mistake it was when they sold it off as they fell into debt. Now let me make it clear I only owned one share of Pan Am, a birthday gift, as I was an aviation geek in my teens.

Last edited by HawaiiFlyerDC8; Sep 11, 21 at 8:57 pm
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Old Sep 11, 21, 10:35 pm
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Genius1, good to see you back traveling again. Great report and pics of a truly special and elegant hotel.
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Old Sep 12, 21, 10:29 am
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Wow a very impressive hotel and its good to get back travelling again isn't it, even if it is within the UK!
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Old Sep 12, 21, 2:33 pm
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I stayed here last time in 2012. It´s a solid option, no question.
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Old Sep 13, 21, 5:41 am
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Originally Posted by Genius1 View Post
At the time of booking in mid-June, the Club InterContinental lounge was due to reopen on 1 July. This date kept being pushed back due to lack of demand (presumably mainly from business travellers), and at the time of writing the lounge remains closed. For those guests who had pre-booked suites or added the Club supplement to their room rate (as we had done), or for Royal Ambassador members, the Club Life experience was – and still is – being offered in lieu of the normal lounge experience. The Club supplement at the Park Lane is GBP110 per night for Ambassador members, or GBP145 for non-members. Club Life offers breakfast at Theo Randall, light afternoon tea in the Arch Bar, and evening drinks and canapés also in the Arch Bar, and represents pretty good value for money for those who will be near the hotel during their stay. We had been handed a small card at check-in for presentation during each meal service, identifying our Club Life inclusion to the waiting team.

Whilst I was slightly disappointed that the seventh-floor lounge remained closed during our stay – particularly as the lounge has recently been refurbished and is consistently rated as one of the best lounges in the InterContinental network with its view over Hyde Park – the Club Life experience was a more than adequate substitute.

After a truly odd 14 months, it felt brilliant to do something as normal – and strangely familiar – as stay in a hotel, and what a hotel to break back into the travel game. Whilst undeniably corporate in tone, the InterContinental London Park Lane’s beautifully refurbished rooms, excellent dining and standout team make this firmly one of London’s best branded hotel experiences.
Very interesting review Genius, especially in light of the changed circumstance there at the moment.

Possible you have a scan or photo of the Club Experience card please? And also can you confirm the drinks window in the evening please? I heard from one or two that it was until 9.00 now which is great but in past was 8.00. Useful to get that confirmed if you can please, so as to plan around.

Just another question please. Although stayed many times, I've never had breakfast at Theo's. How would you say the experience between breakfast service and full evening service? Have dined at Theo's a few times and enjoyed it in the main. I'm just wandering how it makes the transition from day diner breakfast to evening upper tier Italian? Experience wise rather than food?

It also begs the discussion what is happening with the Mexican outlet.... and when and if?

Great review. Cheers
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Last edited by Atacama40; Sep 18, 21 at 12:35 am
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Old Sep 13, 21, 1:41 pm
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Great TR! The refurbished rooms look much better than what I saw 2 years ago. Although not the nicest hotel on the block, we loved the location and proximity to where we wanted to go.
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Old Sep 16, 21, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by HawaiiFlyerDC8 View Post
How fun! Thanks for sharing your experience at an Intercontinental. I remember when the chain was owned by Pan Am, and, as a stockholder i thought, what a mistake it was when they sold it off as they fell into debt. Now let me make it clear I only owned one share of Pan Am, a birthday gift, as I was an aviation geek in my teens.
Thanks HawaiiFlyerDC8, what a great story!

Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
Genius1, good to see you back traveling again. Great report and pics of a truly special and elegant hotel.
Thanks very much SFO777! I think you'd like this property, if you haven't stayed there before.

Originally Posted by nequine View Post
Wow a very impressive hotel and its good to get back travelling again isn't it, even if it is within the UK!
Definitely great to be back travelling!

Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
I stayed here last time in 2012. It´s a solid option, no question.
I agree - solid is a good description!

Originally Posted by Atacama40 View Post
Possible you have a scan or photo of the Club Experience card please? And also can you confirm the drinks window in the evening please?

How would you say the experience between breakfast service and full evening service? Have dined at Theo's a few times and enjoyed it in the main. I'm just wandering how it makes the transition from day diner breakfast to evening upper tier Italian? Experience wise rather than food? It also begs the discussion what is happening with the Mexican outlet.... and when and if?
Thanks Atacama40 - would it be possible for you to remove the quoted images and text, just because it makes the thread quite long to scroll through!

Club Life service times are as follows:
  • Breakfast between 06:30-10:30 (11:00 at weekends)
  • Light afternoon tea between 15:00-17:00
  • Evening house selection drinks and canapés between 17:30-19:30
Theo Randall feels quite similar during both breakfast and dinner - although the lighting is a fair bit brighter in the morning. Service is probably a little more polished in the evening, but that's being picky - it's great in the morning too. I'm not sure when Ella Canta will reopen.

Originally Posted by chongl View Post
Great TR! The refurbished rooms look much better than what I saw 2 years ago. Although not the nicest hotel on the block, we loved the location and proximity to where we wanted to go.
Thanks chongl, the refurbished rooms are definitely the ones to pick!
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Old Sep 18, 21, 8:56 am
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We had a wonderful week there in May of 2016 when we last made it to London
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Old Oct 6, 21, 1:53 pm
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Lounge is open!

Lounge is open as of today! Breakfast still at Theo Randall, but lounge opens at 1. Sorry no pics of offerings. Will try to post soon.
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