HomeHotel ReviewsInterContinental London - The O2 (a mini review)

InterContinental London – The O2 (a mini review)


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Towards the end of December, I had a one night stay at the InterContinental London O2, and while that one night wasn’t quite long enough for full review of the property, what follows should give you a good idea of what you can expect when you stay.

The admin

  • Length of stay: 1 night
  • Cost of stay: 40,000 IHG One Rewards points*
  • Paid with: Free Night Certificate*
  • Elite status at time of stay: Platinum Elite
  • Points earned from the stay: 600 points (welcome gift)
  • Upgrade instruments used: None
  • Upgrade received: I booked an entry level room and was offered a room with a river view so this may have been a slight upgrade.

*I paid using a Free Night Certificate issued by the card_name.

Link to hotel website

Getting there/location

The InterContinental London O2 is located to the east of London’s city centre and near London City airport and the Canary Wharf financial district.

aerial view of a large circular structure with a river and city buildings

If you’re arriving from Heathrow and want to use public transport, you can take the Elizabeth Line to Bond Street station* and then the Jubilee Line to North Greenwich (the hotel is a ~7 minute walk from North Greenwich station).

If you’re arriving from Gatwick and want to use public transport, you can take the Thameslink service to London Bridge station and the Jubilee Line to North Greenwich.

*Be aware that the walk from the Elizabeth Line to the Jubilee Line is not a short one. 

a map of a city
Screenshot from Google maps

This property’s primary purpose may appear to be the provision of accommodation to the thousands of people that visit the O2 Arena every year (the O2 arena is right next to the hotel), and at first glance, this may not appear to be the best location in which to be based if you want to explore all the traditional London sights.

That, however, isn’t necessarily true.

Firstly, because the property isn’t located in the heart of London, room rates at the InterContinental London O2 can often be lower than rates at lesser but more central properties.

Secondly, the InterContinental London O2 is a ~7 minute walk from North Greenwich underground (subway) station which is served by the ‘Jubilee Line’.

This line puts hotel guests 1 stop (~2 minutes) away from the Canary Wharf financial district, 4 stops (~10 minutes) from ‘London Bridge’ – the station for Tower Bridge, 6 stops (~15 minutes) away from ‘Waterloo’ – the station for everything London’s ‘South Bank’ has to offer, and 7 stops (~18 minutes) from ‘Westminster’ – a station right in the very heart of London’s attractions.

Looked at in this context, the InterContinental London O2 isn’t inconveniently located for exploring London at all.

Check-in

I was visiting on a particularly busy night for the hotel (it was almost full) but I was fortunate enough not to find myself in a long line when I arrived at around 5 p.m.

a christmas tree in a lobby
The lobby

Despite the absence of a long line (there were two people ahead of me), I had a 10 minute wait to be served and then, for some unknown reason, it took a further 15 minutes to complete the regular check-in formalities.

I was offered the choice of a river or O2 view, and as breakfast wasn’t included in my rate, I was given the option to prepay for a ‘full’ breakfast at a cost of £20/~$25 (the cost of paying at the time of the meal is £28.50/~$36).

I chose the river view room and accepted the breakfast offer as well.

Also, as an IHG One Rewards Platinum elite (a status I only have because I hold the card_name) I was offered a choice between two things for my ‘welcome amenity’ – 600 IHG Rewards Points or a complimentary drink at the bar.

As I value IHG points at just 0.4 cents each (which values the 600 points at just $2.40), I chose the drink voucher … but I ended up being credited with 600 points as well.

The room

The Classic King room that I had been assigned was on one of the lower floors but, it still has a reasonably good view.

a city skyline with a body of water
Daytime view
a city skyline at night with a body of water
Night time view

At ~320 square feet/~30 square meters, the Classic King room is a good size for an entry-level room in London, and the large windows helped to make it feel spacious.

InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room

The bed and bedding were soft (the mattress may be a little too soft for some people), the armchair was comfortable, and the desk chair was of a good enough quality to allow me to get some work done without getting a back ache (I wish I could say the same about the desk chair that I’m sitting on as I type this review!)

The one negative thing that I would say about the furniture is that the wooden desk, side tables and cabinets are all looking a bit dated now … but at least they’re still, mostly, in reasonable condition.

As far as power outlets go…

The desk offers easy access to two USB-A ports, two UK-style power outlets (one was taken up by the desk lamp), and a single US-style outlet.

a black and silver lamp on a wood surface
The desk has good access to power outlets.

And both sides of the bed have access to AC power (UK-style) and USB-A ports as well.

InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
Both sides of the bed have good access to power – click or tap to enlarge.

The bathroom looks modern, and offers guests a bath/tub as well a separate shower, and that should keep most people happy.

InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room

The toiletries are by Byredo (not a name I recognise), and as is to be expected nowadays, they come in full-size containers and not as miniatures.

a group of white bottles on a black tray

I bring my own toiletries with me when I travel (usually miniatures from past stays) so whatever toiletries policy a hotel that I visit has, doesn’t really affect me.

I do, however have to point something out about the toiletries in this particular room.

While all the toiletries appeared to have been fitted with tamper proof caps…

a group of white bottles with black lids

… the caps look pretty easy to ‘tamper’ with and one was already unlocked.

a white bottle with black lids

That’s not a good look.

Anyway, moving on …

From an amenities point of view, the King Classic room isn’t exactly bursting at the seams, but you’ll find it equipped with a small coffee maker, a kettle, some glassware, a mini-fridge (empty), and a small safe.

InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room

InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room
InterContinental London O2 Classic King Room

Nothing exciting, but that’s pretty much what you get in most entry-level rooms at properties of this standard.

Here’s a short video showing a walkthrough of the room:

Restaurants, bars, and cafes

The InterContinental London O2 is home to a variety of restaurants and bars, but aside from breakfast in the brasserie and a drink in the 1st floor bar, I didn’t have the opportunity to check them all out.

Meridian Lounge

This is a ground floor cafe attached to the lobby.

a group of flowers in a room a room with tables and chairs a display case in a restaurant a room with white tables and chairs

Clipper Bar

This is a first-floor bar overlooking the river.

a sign on a wall a bar with a row of chairs and a man sitting at the bar a bar with people behind it a room with a large window and a large sofa a room with a large window and a large city view

This is a nice place to relax, with good views, friendly staff, and a wide selection of drinks. Service can, however, be a bit slow even if the bar isn’t particularly busy.

Eighteen Sky Bar

This is the hotel’s 18+-only cocktail lounge located on the top floor with the best views the hotel has to offer.

a city skyline with a body of water

I didn’t visit Eighteen Sky Bar on this trip so the image of the view from the bar (above) was taken on a previous visit.

Kinaara

This is the property’s fine-dining Indian restaurant which first opened in November 2022 and which was closed (temporarily) on this visit.

Market Brasserie

This is the InterContinental’s main restaurant (located on the first floor) serving breakfast and dinner.

a menu on a table
The Market Brasserie breakfast menu – click or tap to enlarge.

This is what breakfast looked like:

a woman standing behind a counter with food on it a large kitchen with many dishes of food a buffet table full of food a buffet with different types of food

A key thing to note about the Market Brasserie is that while the breakfast buffet is quite good (the quality of the food was better than most breakfast buffets I sampled last year), the line to get a table can get long when the hotel is busy.

When I arrived for breakfast, I didn’t have many people ahead of me in the line and the staff were working very hard to clear tables and to get people inside as quickly as possible.

a group of people in a hallway

My waiting time (from arrival to being seated) was under 10 minutes.

When I left breakfast, however, this is what the line looked like:

a group of people standing in a hallway

To give credit where credit is due, tea, coffee, and pastries are made available for the people waiting in line …

a table with food on it

… and as I have already mentioned, I couldn’t see what more the staff could do to speed things up. The volume of people descending on the Brasserie at a similar time meant that a long line was inevitable.

Tip: If the hotel is busy, plan to eat breakfast early. That way you’ll almost certainly avoid a long line.

Club InterContinental

Club InterContinental is the hotel’s lounge located on the second floor.

It is open between 6:30 am and 10:30 pm on weekdays and between 7:30 am and 10:30 pm on weekends.

The ‘club’ can be accessed by:

  • InterContinental Royal Ambassador Elites.
  • Guests booking a room with club access.
  • Guests who pay an access fee upon arrival.

The lounge offers a self-service buffet at various times of the day:

  • Breakfast is served between 6:30 am and 10:30 am Monday to Friday and between 7:00 am and 11:30 am Saturday & Sunday.
  • Afternoon Tea is served between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm (this includes a selection of sandwiches, homemade scones, cakes and pastries).
  • Evening Canapés are served between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm with a selection of red, white and rosé wines, beers and spirits .

Hot and cold beverages are offered throughout the day, and the club offers shower facilities for early arrivals.

I didn’t have access to the lounge on this visit, but I did manage to get some pictures (albeit at a time where no food was being served).

Club InterContinental at the InterContinental London O2
Club InterContinental at the InterContinental London O2
a room with a table and chairs
Club InterContinental at the InterContinental London O2
a room with tables and chairs
Club InterContinental at the InterContinental London O2
a room with a table and chairs
Club InterContinental at the InterContinental London O2
a table and chairs in a room
Club InterContinental at the InterContinental London O2
a room with chairs and a table
Club InterContinental at the InterContinental London O2
a counter with glasses and food on it
Club InterContinental at the InterContinental London O2

The spa/gym

You’ll find the spa and the gym (complete with indoor swimming pool) on the ground floor, and while I can’t show you what the spa looks like (for obvious reasons), this is what you can expect from the gym.

a sign on a wall a room with exercise equipment and balls a room with exercise equipment a gym with weights and weights a gym with weights and exercise equipment tread treadmills in a room a locker room with a bench and a bench a glass shower stall in a bathroom a shower with a shower head a pool with people sitting in it

The workout area is too dark for my liking as there’s no real source of natural light, but it’s well equipped and should cater for most people’s needs (you can always take run by the river if the treadmills aren’t to your liking).

Overall thoughts

If you’re looking for the height of luxury, elegance and sophistication, you’re going to be disappointed because that’s not what this hotel is all about and, to be fair, you’re not going to find any big chain properties in London that offer all of that.

Primarily, the InterContinental London O2 caters to people visiting the O2, people visiting/working in Canary Wharf, and people attending conferences and events at the hotel, and it does that very well.

The rooms are comfortable, the staff are friendly, and with the O2 complex on the doorstep, there are plenty of eateries, bars and activities in the immediate vicinity.

I like this property for the affordable cash rates that it often offers (sometimes even when more central properties are charging astronomical rates), the well-priced award nights (you can often find this hotel available for under 50,000 points/night), and for the fact that it’s well served by the London Underground.

While the InterContinental London O2 is not one of my go-to hotels when I have business in central London, it’s a property that I’m more than happy to book when my go-to hotels price me out of the market, and after 4 or 5 stays, I am yet to have a bad one.

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Regarding Comments

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent in-depth Review, Ziggy. Always appreciate the level of detail you provide + great photos to really get a sense of the property or product you’re reviewing!

    In general, would you say Canary Wharf area is safe for solo female travelers? It’s often more affordable being slightly out of central London, but like you pointed out…everything is easily accessible by the TUBE with a short walk.

    I recently booked (but later cancelled) Moxy-Excel when I read concerns about safety in that area. I know Excel is further east than Canary Wharf district, but would love to hear your thoughts as local London expert re: both Canary Wharf and Excel neighborhoods.

    • Hi, thank you for the kind words.

      You ask a very good question and one that isn’t easy to answer … but I’ll try!

      I don’t know the area around Excel well enough to comment about that particular location, but when it comes to Canary Wharf, I feel like I know it pretty well.

      During daylight hours and during the evening, there aren’t any areas around Canary Wharf that I would be overly concerned about, and the area at the very heart of Canary Wharf (amidst all the tall buildings) is probably as safe as any area of London (every inch is covered with CCTV cameras).

      As is the case with most major cities however, I wouldn’t be entirely comfortable if Joanna was walking alone around some areas around Canary Wharf very late at night.

      The area north of Canary Wharf (north of ‘the Highway’/’Aspen Way’) and the quiet roads in the center of the Isle of Dogs (south of Canary Wharf) can feel ‘sketchy’ late at night (they’re mostly fine during the day), but these are areas that there is no real reason to visit late at night if you’re just in town to see the sights of London. These are areas that are almost entirely residential and which have very little to offer a visitor.

      The best way that I can think of to sum up my thoughts on the area is to say this: If Joanna was visiting on her own, I wouldn’t have any concern about her walking about most of the areas in the day time or in the evenings. At night time, I’d continue to be comfortable if she was walking around the financial center and the area immediately around it, but I would prefer it if she didn’t go wandering around the dark side streets north of ‘the Highway/Aspen Way/A1261’ or south of ‘Marsh Wall’ (you’ll find these roads on all the maps of the area) after 10pm.

      My final thought would be to say this: Don’t be put off from staying in the Canary Wharf area just because you’re traveling alone. If you take sensible precautions (and this advice applies equally to men and women) and avoid areas there no real reason to visit anyway, you should be absolutely fine. Canary Wharf can be a great place to base yourself when visiting London.

      I hope that helps, let me know if you have any further questions, and if you’re planning a trip that involves a stay in the area, feel free to send me an email with any questions you may have and I’ll do my best to answer them (if I can!)

  2. Hi Ziggy,
    This is SUPER helpful, I am bookmarking this for future! And love that you’re willing to answer additional questions re: London as needed. You’ve always been very responsive and having a London local expert to consult with is awesome 🙂

    I just realize the Intercontinental at O2 is next to CW but separated by the river. Really does help to consult a map to get the lay of the land (literally) LOL!

    On a separate question, do you know if booking a Marriott hotel stay using the Venture X $300 Credit, would we get the Elite benefits and Elite Night Credits?

    Many thanks again for taking time to share your thoughts/advice!

    Cheers!
    JXW

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