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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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Classic King room that I had been assigned was on one of the lower floors but, it still has a reasonably good 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.
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.
And both sides of the bed have access to AC power (UK-style) and USB-A ports as well.
The bathroom looks modern, and offers guests a bath/tub as well a separate shower, and that should keep most people happy.
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.
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…
… the caps look pretty easy to ‘tamper’ with and one was already unlocked.
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.
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.
This is a ground floor cafe attached to the lobby.
This is a first-floor bar overlooking the river.
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.
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.
This is the property’s fine-dining Indian restaurant which first opened in November 2022 and which was closed (temporarily) on this visit.
This is the InterContinental’s main restaurant (located on the first floor) serving breakfast and dinner.
This is what breakfast looked like:
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.
My waiting time (from arrival to being seated) was under 10 minutes.
When I left breakfast, however, this is what the line looked like:
To give credit where credit is due, tea, coffee, and pastries are made available for the people waiting in line …
… 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 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).
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.
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).
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.