Jul112015

Into the ‘Free’ Nights at InterContinental London Park Lane

The childhood home of Queen Elizabeth II at 145 Piccadilly was destroyed on October 7, 1940 during the German blitz of London. A large luxury hotel was built on the site from 1968-1975 and the InterContinental London Park Lane was ceremoniously opened on September 23, 1975 by His Grace the 8th Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley.

IC London-1

The fashionable address of InterContinental Park Lane is across the street from two Royal Parks with Hyde Park to the west and Green Park to the south, and several historical monuments and war memorials around Wellington Arch.

Wellington Arch

Wellington Arch, originally created and built 1826-30 to commemorate Britain’s victory in the Napoleonic Wars, was an old ceremonial entrance route to Buckingham Palace. Wellington Arch today is located in an isolated road traffic island surrounded by war memorials for New Zealand and Australia, at the junction of Hyde Park, Green Park and Buckingham Palace Gardens.

IHG Into the ‘Free’ Nights

IHG Into the Nights fall 2014 promotion was a targeted offer giving me the opportunity to earn two free hotel nights if I made two hotel stays in two different countries outside the USA. In November 2014, over Thanksgiving holiday week, I traveled to Dublin on British Airways and then flew RyanAir back to London Gatwick to meet my wife. I stayed at the Holiday Inn London Gatwick Airport on a breakfast rate for about $135 USD. The following week I stayed one night at Holiday Inn Express Dublin Airport for about $100 on the night before flying home to the USA. My two paid nights earned two free nights for any IHG hotel worldwide in 2015.

We stayed at The May Fair, a Club Carlson hotel, last November and I spotted the InterContinental Park Lane on our walk to the Hyde Park Winter Market. I wondered at the time if we could get back to London to redeem our free IHG nights at the InterContinental Park Lane. And we did.

Small but Grand with a view of the Four Seasons London

My initial concern with InterContinental Park Lane was the small size of the room listed on the website at 18 square meters with a ‘tranquil courtyard location’.

18 square meters = 194 square feet. The average size for a luxury hotel room is about 550 square feet. In London, small is the norm.

Here is what ‘tranquil courtyard location’ means at InterContinental Park Lane:

IC courtyard

Tranquil courtyard location at InterContinental Park Lane London Hotel.

The front desk stated they gave me a complimentary upgrade due to my IHG Platinum member status. I have the IHG Rewards Club MasterCard. I considered redeeming points a couple months ago for Ambassador status, but I don’t typically stay at InterContinental Hotels. They are too pricey for my travel style. The starting room rates at the time I booked my free night for InterContinental Park Lane was 382 GBP or $582 USD per night for a prepaid nonrefundable Advance Saver rate.

Wellington   Apsley House

Apsley House is across the street from InterContinental Park Lane and stands at the southeast corner of Hyde Park. This was the London home of Field Marshall Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, whose major claim to fame was his military defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

In my photos, InterContinental London Park Lane is seen to right of Apsley House and the tall building in the background is the London Hilton on Park Lane.

Apsley House faces Wellington Arch. I have read the 8th floor Club Lounge of the InterContinental looks out to Wellington Arch.

InterContinental Park Lane Room 464

I saw my original room assignment was 455, a room facing the the interior courtyard. Room 464 is on the side over the front entrance of the hotel on Hamilton Place. Park Lane is the major road separating the Mayfair area of London from Hyde Park and the hotel entrance is kind of the backside of the hotel where there is easier street access for taxis.

IC Park Lane sign

My first impression was highly favorable. The room was small, but the furnishings were top-notch. I measured the room at about 13’ by 21’, so about 1/3 more space than an 18 square meter room.

IC room 464  IC Room 464 desk

IC 464 TV  IC 464 door

Kelley laid on the bed and commented on the nice feel of the bed linens.

IC 464 Cabinet   IC 464 minibar   IC 464 closet

Two complaints about the room. The closet door only opened on one side, so to reach the iron required reaching into the closet. Not a big deal. My primary complaint about this hotel was the need to call room service for ice. An electronic mini-bar and no ice machine meant I drank warm beer at 3am whilst writing. Somehow warm beer is more tolerable in Europe.

IC 464 bathroom

The bath products were Agraria – San Francisco.

IC 464 rainshower

We made a real effort to drain London’s water supply. In California, our household water bills have doubled in the past six months, even though our water usage has declined. Daydreaming in the shower is a summer pleasure for this California tourist in Europe.

IC 464 wall   IC 464 art

I enjoy seeing books in a hotel room. Daniel Defoe and Henry James would have probably put me to sleep, but perhaps their literary presence in the room stirred my desire to write late into the night.

IC 464 view   Four Seasons

The purpose of my photo on the left is to show how the rooms on either side of 464 extended further out by a few feet for a larger room size. The photo on the right was our view of the Four Seasons London. I am curious about the nightly rate at the Four Seasons for the room with the huge patio deck? I saw a young girl riding around inside the hotel room on a kick scooter.

When it came to dining, I found Piccolo Bar in Mayfair. This is a place primarily catering to a takeaway crowd, where almost everything on the menu is 4.95 GBP. They offer about 30 kinds of sandwiches and several breakfast items. We loved the Tandoori chicken sandwich and for me, the fried egg, bacon, beans and toast hit the spot for a morning start after late night writing sessions. Best part was eating meals for one-third the price of eating at the hotel.

IC London Park Lane

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. I used to stay there, but the rooms as you said are unacceptably small.
    I migrated across the street to the Hilton for a while, terribly inconsistent.
    Then SPG, to Carlson. Looking forward to 6 Carlson London nights in the fall.
    I would cycle past Wellington Arch nearly everyday in a previous lfe.
    Ah memories. Have a great stay. Enjoyed the WOW review BTW.

  2. I’m typing this from bed at the hotel. Perfect timing I guess. Three nights, two in award nights from IHG cards and one on points. Was pondering breakfast but now it seems we will try the Piccolo Bar as per you recommendations. We are on 5th floor identical room as in pics and same view of the Four Seasons. Thanks Rick for the post and cheers!

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