In­terCon­ti­nen­tal London – the O2

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Tried & Tested -

The new-build In­tercon­ti­nen­tal London – the O2 opened in De­cem­ber 2015. It is man­aged by the ho­tel divi­sion of the Arora Group.

The prop­erty feels a lit­tle iso­lated, but the in­dus­trial lo­ca­tion is dra­matic and, in re­al­ity, isn’t far at all from Ca­nary Wharf or the West End. Decked out in pol­ished mar­ble, glass and steel, the ho­tel has taken in­spi­ra­tion from the his­tory of ship­ping – sub­tle de­sign nods in­clude the hull­shaped Clip­per bar, while 30 types of tea from the East In­dia Com­pany are stocked in the Merid­ian Lounge. The views of the river and sky­scrapers op­po­site make for an eye-catch­ing back­drop. Ser­vice is at­ten­tive and pro­fes­sional.

On the Green­wich Penin­sula. The O2 Arena is di­rectly con­nected to the ho­tel. It’s a five-minute walk to North Green­wich Tube sta­tion. London City air­port is three stops on the DLR from Can­ning Town (one Tube stop away).

There are 453 rooms, in­clud­ing 59 suites, across six cat­e­gories. En­try-level Su­pe­rior rooms (29-32 sqm) are well-equipped with 42-inch smart TVs, cof­fee ma­chines, mini­bars, workdesks with UK, EU and USB sock­ets (also by the bed), robes and iron­ing boards, gran­ite bath­rooms with tubs and walk-in show­ers, and Anne Se­monin ameni­ties. Dé­cor is neu­tral with the views of the river, the O2 Arena and Ca­nary Wharf the fo­cal point. Wifi is free, with the op­tion of up­grad­ing to a higher speed (£8-£16). I streamed an episode from Ama­zon Prime with­out a prob­lem on the ba­sic pack­age, and had a good night’s sleep in the comfy king-size bed.

Club In­tercon­ti­nen­tal rooms and suites of­fer more space (from 42 sqm) and some dif­fer­ences in de­sign – the suites have sep­a­rate chang­ing ar­eas and Bose sound sys­tems, for ex­am­ple. They also come with ac­cess to the Club lounge, which serves a buf­fet break­fast, af­ter­noon tea, and evening canapés and cock­tails. It also has a board­room for eight peo­ple.

There are two bars and three restau­rants. The Clip­per bar serves light food,“tea spiked” cock­tails and G&Ts with the house Clip­per gin. An out­stand­ing break­fast buf­fet is laid out in the Mar­ket Brasserie, which also serves dinner. On the top floor is Eigh­teen Sky Bar – I popped up for a drink one week­day evening and found it to be quiet, although I vis­ited be­tween Christ­mas and New Year. The views were fan­tas­tic.

Af­ter, I went down for dinner at the Penin­sula fine-din­ing restau­rant. The sul­try light­ing and a cor­ner table by the win­dow al­lowed for a beau­ti­ful look­out on to the river. The à la carte menu lists only six starters and six mains rang­ing from £12 to £30, so the seven-course tast­ing menu for £72 is good value. Wine pair­ings are an ex­tra £55. The £60 veg­e­tar­ian menu was fan­tas­tic – high­lights were the potato and truf­fle ter­rine and the chest­nut gnoc­chi.

Event space to­tals 20 venues, in­clud­ing the UK’s largest pil­lar-free ball­room, which can host up to 3,000 peo­ple for a re­cep­tion. There’s also a vast pre-func­tion area, and a plaza for 400 peo­ple out­side. The sec­ond floor has 15 meet­ing rooms for 20 to 240 del­e­gates.

There is a 24-hour gym with Techn­o­gym ma­chines, plus a 17-me­tre pool. An up­per level fea­tures a spa with eight treat­ment rooms. All ar­eas are open to the pub­lic for a fee. I en­joyed a jog along the river­side Ju­bilee Walk­way, which leads to the Thames Bar­rier. Jenny Southan

The ho­tel is ide­ally placed for busi­ness peo­ple fly­ing in and out of London City air­port and those work­ing in Ca­nary Wharf, and of­fers fan­tas­tic views. It’s a top­class of­fer­ing with ex­ten­sive fa­cil­i­ties and great din­ing.

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