Thirteen and a half hours. I checked the clock again in disbelief. Sure enough, the time read 10:30am and I had been in bed sleeping for 13.5 hours at the InterContinental London Park Lane. The bed and pillows of the IC London Park Lane rank in the top five for any of the hundreds of hotel beds I have slept on.
The last time I recall sleeping 13.5 consecutive hours in a bed was on my 14th birthday in 1974. I slept 14 straight hours back then after about 36 hours without sleep. My younger sister and I had spent the day visiting London for the first time on a transatlantic flight layover during our home relocation from a Los Angeles County San Gabriel Valley suburban house in Covina to a small military housing apartment on a U.S. Army base in Finthen, near Mainz, West Germany in the Rhine and wine region. As a young teenager, I was ready to die from exhaustion on that trip rather than potentially embarrass myself in public by slipping into dreams.
Last week’s trip to London also meant I went about 36 hours without seriously sleeping, but my lack of sleep was due to watching football on TV during the day at the LAX American Airlines Admiral Club First Class lounge and several movies on the transatlantic flight, followed by a day walking around London to acclimate to the 8-hour time zone difference before passing out on the dreamy IC Park Lane bed in the evening.
Free Nights with last year’s IHG Rewards Club Into the Nights
Last week Kelley and I stayed at the InterContinental London Park Lane using her two free nights from last year’s IHG Rewards Club Into the Nights promotion.
InterContinental London Park Lane is not really my kind of a hotel. This was our second stay in six months and I have not ventured around the IC hotel any farther than walking a path from the room to the elevator and through the lobby out the doors. This is a hotel where I do not feel comfortable walking around snapping photos. IC London Park Lane is filled with businessmen in suits and sharply dressed women carrying designer handbags. The lobby always seems crowded. Kelley dressed fashionably enough with a long wool coat and looked like she belonged in the lobby. I stood out as a luxury hotel outsider in my green foul weather parka. The hotel location is in Mayfair, an area with several embassies for Middle East countries.
My IHG hotel preference for London is a place like Holiday Inn Camden Lock where I feel at ease in jeans, bringing in an Indian takeaway from the food market stalls and dining in the hotel lobby drinking beer while watching sports on the bar TV.
Loyalty Traveler – Rock history and a view at Holiday Inn London Camden Lock (July 13, 2015).
Piccadilly Line from London Heathrow to InterContinental Park Lane
One reason I like InterContinental London Park Lane is its location near Hyde Park Corner tube station on the London Underground Piccadilly line. The Piccadilly Line runs directly to London Heathrow Airport, meaning it is possible to board a train at the airport and travel to Hyde Park Corner, within 100 meters of the IC Park Lane hotel, in about 50 minutes for £3.10 in off-peak hours and £5.10 during peak hours (M-F 6:30-9:29; 16:00-18:59) when you use an Oyster Card.
We could not find Kelley’s Oyster Card from last summer, so I purchased another one for £3.00 through the automated kiosk at the LHR Terminal 3 tube station and loaded it with £20.00 credit. We were riding the Underground around 1pm in the afternoon, so seats and space for our luggage on the train were not an issue. The tube trains into and out of London get very crowded in peak hours during the morning and afternoon when workers come into and exit the central city region.
InterContinental Park Lane seen from Hyde Park Corner. The tall building in background is Hilton Park Lane.
We exited the Underground, walked to the InterContinental Park Lane and checked in around 2pm. We had a 5th floor room and, as expected with Kelley’s no status IHG Rewards Club account, an interior facing courtyard room with no view. There is a large solid face wall in the courtyard which could use a beautiful mural to alleviate some of the drabness of the interior courtyard view rooms. Apparently I did not snap a photo of the blank multi-story concrete wall. Faint traces of an Asian looking mural design from sometime in the building’s past are visible.
Apsley House (1771) at Hyde Park Corner London is the London townhouse of the Dukes of Wellington. Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington was the British Commander who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Apsley House is a museum.
InterContinental London Park Lane is to the right of Apsley House, across the street on the corner of Piccadilly Lane and Park Lane. Hyde Park Corner is a major traffic intersection in the City of Westminster and there are a network of passageways under the streets with lots of stairs. The archway seen in the photo to the left of Apsley House is the entrance to Hyde Park.
InterContinental London Park Lane
The hotel sits on the site that once was occupied by the 1930s childhood home of Queen Elizabeth II; a building destroyed in the London Blitz of WWII. Hyde Park Corner is at the junction of two Royal Parks with Green Park bordering the Buckingham Palace grounds and Hyde Park serving as one of the major central city parks of London.
InterContinental London Park Lane room photos
The BED at InterContinental Park Lane.
Our room was compact, yet fully functional with all we needed for an enjoyable stay. The furnishings were not as fancy as the upgraded room I received as an IHG Platinum member last July.
Loyalty Traveler – Into the ‘Free’ Nights at InterContinental London Park Lane (July 11, 2015).
What the room lacked in view was counterbalanced by the quiet of being in an interior facing courtyard room. Kelley was disturbed by the noise of the busy street on our last trip as the delivery trucks service the hotel needs of the IC Park Lane and Four Seasons London located across the street during the early morning hours. Two sides of the hotel have park views, however, these overlook busy traffic streets.
TV offered lots of stations and Wi-Fi worked great.
Kelley was astounded at how loud the Nespresso coffee pod machine was in the morning. She was happy I was not up at my normal 5am wake-up time jackhammering coffee into the cups. Kelley does not drink coffee, so has little appreciation for its in-room production. Personally, I find coffee pod makers an environmentally wasteful way to make coffee and only use them in hotels.
On a delightful note, we received a complimentary plate of grapes on our first evening at the hotel. I called room service twice for ice during our stay and it was promptly delivered in less than five minutes, free of charge.
Water pressure and temperature worked great in the bathroom. The bathroom contained Agraria bath products from San Francisco. There were washcloths, something not too common in European hotels.
All the other stuff in the closet.
Friendly Staff at InterContinental Park Lane
While I feel the public lobby space at IC Park Lane is a bit stuffy for my liking, the staff interactions at the hotel during our two stays have been delightful.
All I know about the second floor spa and fitness room is the floor is dimly lit based on the view I had from the elevator. There is a Club Lounge at the top of the hotel with views of Hyde Park Corner and Wellington Arch. I only saw Wellington Arch from the street view during our stay.
For us, the InterContinental Park Lane is a fantastic bed in a great location in the Mayfair district of London with easy parks access across the street for green space walks. I have enjoyed hanging out in the hotel room during our stays, but I never bothered to explore the hotel on either stay to really inspect the facilities. As I said in the beginning of this piece, I have walked through the lobby, interacted with the front desk and concierge staff and stored luggage for the day.
InterContinental Park Lane was a nice place for us to rest for two nights, visit Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park – the seasonal carnival and market place, walk around Green Park and Buckingham Palace and visit places in this part of the city.
When it came time to move to our next hotel after two days in London, to reach Holiday Inn Regent’s Park, we walked out the door of the InterContinental Park Lane to the bus stop about 50 meters away by the Hard Rock Café on Piccadilly Lane and traveled on an uncrowded bus in evening rush hour two miles to the Fitzrovia area of London for £2.30 each using our Oyster Card.
Here is a link to my July review of IC London Park Lane and hotel reviews by others of the InterContinental London Park Lane hotel with more photos:
Loyalty Traveler – Into the ‘Free’ Nights at InterContinental London Park Lane (July 11, 2015)
TripAdvisor – InterContinental London Park Lane
One Mile at a Time – Review: InterContinental London Park Lane (Nov 2009)
InsideFlyer – Uggboy (June 2013) – InterContinental London Park Lane Review
Loyalty Traveler in London Thanksgiving 2015 Trip Report