Liz and her husband have stayed in many hotels. They aim to help other travelers make informed choices by sharing their experiences.
InterContinental Hotel London Park Lane
This article combines general information about InterContinental Hotel London Park Lane with our own experience of staying in the hotel in the following order:
- About the Hotel
- Why We Chose to Stay at InterContinental London Park Lane
- Initial Impressions
- Our Room
- The Protest
- Any Problems?
- Wedding Anniversary
- Drinks in the Bar
- Exploring the Local Area
- Hotel Dining on the Cheap
- Top Employee
- Thoughts on Our Experience
- Top Tips: How to Make the Most of Your Stay
1. About the Hotel
InterContinental Hotel London Park Lane is a 5-star hotel with 449 rooms and suites. The 8-floor building was built between 1968 and 1975. Classic rooms look into an inner courtyard. More expensive superior, deluxe, and executive rooms look out over Hamilton Place, Piccadilly, towards the Wellington Arch or Park Lane over to Hyde Park. Suites command the best views from the hotel over London.
The Royal Link
The hotel is built on the site of 145 Piccadilly, the Queen's childhood home, which was destroyed in the blitz during World War II.
InterContinental London Park Lane commands a prime central London location. Its address reminds many people of the London property game, Monopoly, where Mayfair and Park Lane are in the coveted highest value property band.
The hotel stands on an iconic corner of the capital, overlooking the Wellington Arch, with views of Green Park, Buckingham Palace garden, and Hyde Park. Apsley House, home of the Duke of Wellington, is across the road. As it was the first house past the toll gates at Knightsbridge for visitors from the country, Apsley House was called Number 1 London.
Restaurants and Bars
The hotel boasts of having the best Italian restaurant in London in the Theo Randall restaurant and prides itself on the high standard of meals offered by the chef himself. The restaurant is located on the ground floor, to the right of the entrance.
Number One Park Lane Terrace opened in September 2021 to offer Al Fresco dining on the terrace.
The Arch Bar is located on the ground floor and serves a wide range of drinks and cocktails with windows looking out towards Green Park.
The Wellington Lounge specializes in serving afternoon tea as well as coffees, pastries, and an all-day menu.
Ella Canta is a Mexican restaurant also on the ground floor on the other side of the hotel. This restaurant is currently closed.
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Club InterContinental Lounge
Located on the 7th floor, the lounge boasts a great view over London. Guests look down on Green Park, the Wellington Arch, and Hyde Park Corner. A breakfast buffet is served here, as well as afternoon tea, light refreshments throughout the day, and food and alcohol in the evening. Membership comes at an additional cost as part of an enhanced room package.
It was closed during our stay, but has now reopened.
The 24-hour fitness center is located in a large area on the first floor. Entry was gained easily with my contactless room key card. On a late Friday afternoon, I had the area completely to myself. The center covered several hotel rooms in size and had a dark wood floor.
The modern cardio equipment was arranged in rows facing 2 large tv screens and mirrors at the end of the room. There was one rowing machine, a spin bike, a further exercise bike, 4 cross-trainers, and 5 treadmills (one was out of order). Weight resistance equipment was arranged in areas down the side and there was an area with weights and mats at the far end of the room.
Clean towels were on most of the machines. I took my own water, but the hotel website indicates that water and fruit are available. As hotel fitness centers go, it was one of the best equipped that I have visited.
When we visited, the spa was closed. It no longer features on the hotel website.
4. Why We Chose to Stay at InterContinental London Park Lane
We had two free nights via a credit card to use in any InterContinental Hotel Group hotel. Our daughter lives in London. So we decided to look at London hotels. It makes sense to go for a 5-star option. The InterContinental at the O2 Arena was being used as a quarantine hotel. So this narrowed down our choice to InterContinental Park Lane.
5. Initial Impressions
We took a taxi from Paddington Station to the hotel. I was surprised at how quiet the street in front of the hotel was. Hamilton Place is on the opposite side of the hotel from Hyde Park Corner and very little traffic uses the road, apart from accessing the InterContinental and the Four Seasons Hotel opposite.
InterContinental London Park Lane was easy to spot with its gold branding over the entrance and brand flags between two Union Jacks. We had little time to take in the large concrete structure that towered above us, as the taxi turned into the undercover drop-off area in front of the imposing main entrance. Staff were attentive, taking our bags and opening the door for us to enter the lobby.
The hotel might not win any architectural awards for its 1970s concrete design, but it soon became clear to us that this was a prestigious place to stay.
The lobby had a spacious feel to it with its pale marble floor, bright lighting, and a large full-length mirror on the sidewall.
A long, screened reception desk was near the back wall. To the left, the wide atrium led to a bank of 4 lifts near the outer wall. Beyond was the bar and lounge area, looking out towards the wellington Arch.
Initial encounters with staff members count for a lot on hotel stays. We had been greeted warmly by the staff at the door. I am pleased to say that this continued. We were welcomed to the hotel and the receptionist engaged us in small talk. As someone who feels a little out of place in high-end hotels, I appreciated being treated with respect and courtesy.
Officially check-in is from 3.00 pm. My husband's brand loyalty status entitled him to arrive after 10.00 am, but only if there was a room available. We got to the hotel around 1.00 pm, unsure of what the room situation would be. We were pleased to find one was available.
Another perk of the hotel brand rewards scheme is my husband's entitlement to a complimentary upgrade if one is available. He had emailed ahead to request this and also mentioned that it was our wedding anniversary. The receptionist confirmed the upgrade and looked on the system to find us a nice room.
We were already aware of our upgrade from a Classic to a Superior, but our room matched photos of Executive rooms on the website.
The staff member was helpful and friendly, answering any questions we had and giving us information about the hotel. He gave us two welcome drink vouchers, a perk of the brand loyalty scheme. and directed us to our room on the 6th floor.
7. Our Room
Room 666 had a familiar basic layout. The wardrobe was to the right and the bathroom door to the left as we went in with the bedroom beyond. The bed was against the left wall, facing a unit with a TV in it. There was a desk area against the wall beyond and a sofa in front of the window with a coffee table.
The receptionist told us that he would give us a corner room. We were expecting a larger room on the corner of the building. The design of the hotel has alternate rooms which are deeper than the others, allowing room for a sofa. We had one of these located above the hotel entrance.
The walls were covered with a quality cream striped wallpaper, which was slightly textured. Wood furnishings in the room matched the main mahogany door. The dark brown leather chair fitted in with the wood color. Flecked black marble floor tiles in the entrance area were echoed by the black top of the drinks' alcove.
A beige leaf-patterned carpet was in the bedroom area. The full-length curtains had a gold leaf pattern and there were net curtains. The light gold color theme was echoed in the beige and gold-flecked material of the bed base and the pale gold cushioned backing on the wall behind the bed. A beige cushioned stool with wooden legs blended well.
The button-backed sofa was a statement piece, covered in beige, gold, and grey striped material with gold cushions, which matched the headboard.
I wondered if the dark wood furniture would make the room seem small. But the light colors in the decor combined with the tall triple paneled bay windows and room lights to counterbalance the dark.
The fitted mahogany wardrobe had full-length mirrors on the doors, which made the entrance area seem wider. The door handles were a silver color. There was a top shelf and a hanging rail. On the left, there were three shelves. Beyond the wardrobe area, in the same unit, there was an open area for refreshments, comprising a glass shelf, black marble top, lower shelf, shallow drawer, and minibar below.
Beyond this, a large free-standing mahogany wall unit dominated the room. It housed the flatscreen TV with small shelved areas on either side and a deeper shelf and cupboards below.
A glass-topped desk beyond with a central drawer continued the mahogany theme. It was paired with a high-backed dark brown leather armchair.
The mahogany theme was completed with the two glass-topped bedside cabinets, each with three drawers.
Upon entry, our eyes were drawn immediately to the two-seater striped sofa. Its beige, gold and grey colors with two loose gold cushions drew from the color scheme in the room. The low, glass-topped circular coffee table in front of it had four dull gold metal legs and a circular frame.
A gold-colored padded stool near a tall mirror was a useful suitcase stand.
As you would expect in a 5-star hotel, the bed was of generous proportions. The super kingsize mattress had two single bed bases. The bedding was in a white stripe. The mattress was very comfortable and the four high-quality pillows were soft. It was everything we have come to expect from a hotel in this brand and a great aid to a good night's sleep.
Lighting and Electrical Items
Room 666 was well-lit. Lights were inset in the ceiling above the entrance, in the drinks' alcove, and over the sofa. There were two small spotlights at the top of the bed backing. Adjustable reading lights were on either side of the bed. There were large brown-shaded bedside lamps. A tall standard lamp with a gold circular shade stood in the corner of the room near the sofa. It had three light bulbs. There was a big angled desk lamp.
There were some neat touches. Opening the wardrobe door triggered an automated strip light along the top shelf. There was a low to the ground red light near the bathroom door. This helped locate the bathroom easily in the dark. Although this aid was undermined by the opaque glass door, which meant that light flooded the bedroom when the bathroom was used at night.
It was easy to keep the room at an ambient temperature using the control panel for the air conditioning.
In an era when we all have electrical items that require charging, a good spread of powerpoints in a room is essential. There were plenty in our room. Powerpoints were located below the drinks shelf, near the stool, by the desk, and below it, near the standard lamp and each side of the bed.
For those visiting from outside the UK, there was a useful plug adaptor in the wardrobe.
Other Electrical Items
The flatscreen TV was of a generous size and took a central position in the large mahogany unit opposite the bed. It had a good range of channels. My husband was pleased to get a soccer match, featuring his favorite team. Although he was less pleased with the result. One minor drawback was that the angle of the screen had little adjustment so that viewing from the sofa was not ideal.
There was a steam iron on the top shelf of the wardrobe and a grey ironing board in the hanging area.
A hairdryer was kept in a white bag on a basketwork tray in the wardrobe.
There was a useful keypad safe on a shelf in the wardrobe. We make use of hotel safes for peace of mind. We have heard of insurance policy claims being declined if an available safe has not been used.
There was an empty minibar at the bottom of the drinks' alcove. I was surprised, in a 5-star hotel, that it was not stocked. Precautions against Covid-19 had probably caused it to be emptied. As it was switched on, we used it to store food and drink.
A radio alarm was on one of the bedside cabinets.
The room was well-equipped with two mugs, two hi-ball glasses and two wine glasses, and coasters on the glass shelf in the drinks' alcove.
A kettle and a Krups coffee pod machine were on the black marble shelf. I was surprised that the wires were a little untidy, as the plug sockets were on the shelf below.
There was a mahogany-colored box, which contained 5 organic coffee pods (2 decaffeinated and 3 assorted strengths), 6 tea bags (2 Earl Grey, 2 Breakfast, and 2 peppermint). There were also small milk pots and sachets of sugar and sweeteners.
There were two bottles of spring water by the bed.
In keeping with our expectations of a 5-star hotel, we were pleased to find high-quality bathrobes and hotel slippers on the top shelf of the wardrobe.
There was a good range of hangers in the wardrobe (11 wooden hangers, some with trouser clips, and 2 pink padded hangers). There was also a shoehorn and a clothes brush.
Shoeshine, a shoe bag, laundry bag, and price list in a folder were in the wardrobe.
A collapsible chrome framed suitcase stand with black ribbing was folded up in the wardrobe.
There were two telephones in the room; one on the desk and one by the bed.
In addition to the full-length mirrors on the wardrobe doors, there was a tall silver framed mirror, above the stool, between the drinks area and the large wall unit.
There was also a feature mirror with artwork over the desk. I was impressed with the three-dimensional image of Westminster set against the shiny background.
The bathroom was compact for a hotel of this star rating and certainly the smallest that we have come across in InterContinental hotels. But space in London, especially in the center, comes at a premium.
The standard hotel plan was used. The sink unit was along the internal wall, toilet opposite the door, and bath with shower over along the internal wall.
The floor was covered with large beige square floor tiles. Similar gloss ones were on the wall with a black strip at the level of the marble black top around the sink, which linked it to a black marble shelf over the toilet.
The mahogany base to the sink area and frames of the mirrors picked up on the mahogany room theme.
Heavy cream shower curtains were a lighter addition to the room.
The bathroom was brightly lit. There were 5 light bulbs inset in the ceiling. There were also two vertical tubular lights attached to the mirrors by the sink.
Fixtures and Fittings
The bath, sink, and toilet were all white. A moderately-sized oval sink was inset in the black marble top. The modern toilet was wall-mounted.
The bath with a non-slip surface had a rainfall shower over it, as well as an adjustable showerhead on a chrome rail. The water supply to all of these was controlled by a temperature controller and an intricate and, at first sight, a confusing array of faucet taps that matched the taps of the sink. By trial and error, we figured out how to fill the bath or use the shower.
There was a card hanging from the pipework over the bath, warning guests that the bath filled quickly. It seems that there might have been flooding issues in the past with overflowing baths and inattentive guests.
There was a chrome corner rack near the shower for toiletries. There was also a large handle on the wall by the bath with a small toiletries rack behind it. Other nearby fittings were a large towel rail high over the end of the bath and a washing line that could be stretched over the bath.
Two useful chrome ring towel holders were near the sink.
The mirror in five sections around the sink area as well as the large mirror on the wall by the toilet helped the bathroom seem bigger than it was.
Toiletries and Towels
There was a good selection of Agraria toiletries with boxed bars of soap near the sink and body lotion. There were also containers of shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner by the bath.
There was a bath mat, two flannels two hand towels, and two large bath sheets. All were white. The towels were thick and fluffy in keeping with our expectations from a hotel of this standard.
There was a retractable circular shaving mirror near the sink with a shaver socket close by, near the door.
The speaker and volume control in the bathroom enabled guests to listen in to the TV.
There was a wall-mounted telephone by the toilet.
By the sink, there was a glass tray with two tumblers on it and a 'with compliments' box. This included a sewing kit, vanity set, make-up pads, and a shower cap.
There was also a chrome cube, which contained a box of tissues.
Thoughts on Our Room
Housekeeping serviced the room daily, cleaning and replenishing drinks, toiletries and towels as required. In addition to this, items were replaced on request, such as milk that we always seem to run short of.
The room was very clean and generally maintained to a high standard.
The opaque glass door to the bathroom, in my view, is a design fault. If one guest uses the bathroom at night, light floods the bedroom, waking the other guest.
Initially, I was a little disappointed to have a view overlooking the entrance of the hotel. I had hoped for views over Hyde Park or the Wellington Arch. However, after exploring the surrounding area a little, we realized that there were advantages to our room location. There was very little traffic on the road outside. Whereas rooms on the other sides overlooked busy roads with high traffic volumes.
The street view of Hamilton Place was fine from our room. The Four Seasons Hotel was opposite, with older houses at the end of the road and Green Park beyond. In the distance, we could make out the palace of Westminster and some of the London skyline.
We were very happy with the standard, comfort, and layout of our room. The decor and furnishings were of high quality. Whilst the bathroom was a little on the small side, we had no complaints about its quality and bright appearance.
We especially appreciated the extra space by the window, with the sofa and coffee table in the lounge area. The room was quiet and the bed was exceptionally comfortable. In short, all that you would expect from a 5-star hotel.
London is a vibrant capital city. You never quite know what you are going to encounter whilst you are there. Coming from a relatively quiet village in the country, city life is interesting for me.
Shortly after our arrival, we were surprised to hear a lot of noise on the 'quiet street ' below our room. Looking out of our window we saw a line of 13 youthful protesters opposite the hotel entrance. Several policemen on motorcycles were in attendance. Colorful banners were held up, music and messages were loudly chanted on a loudspeaker.
It seemed that the group had heard that a Conservative Party fundraiser was taking place in the hotel. They had come to make their views heard on government policies. After around 30 minutes they started to disperse. We wondered if they had got the correct location. It was entertaining to watch though.
9. Any Problems?
As we settled into our room and started to take in our surroundings I was surprised to notice that the curtains were torn. It looked like somebody had been practicing their fencing skills and had sliced the curtains with an epee.
We had just received a text from Karim, welcoming us to the hotel and offering any assistance.
My husband responded by mentioning our 35th wedding anniversary and also told her of the ripped curtains for future guests.
He also requested a later check-out on the Sunday, which he was entitled to if available.
We received a text back informing us that our wedding anniversary amenity would be arriving soon. A complimentary bottle of wine was being sent because of the curtains. Check-out was 14:00 instead of 12:00.
We were very happy with how this minor issue was handled. We had not expected anything. We thought the hotel should be aware so they could make the necessary repairs before the next guests arrived.
The promptness of the reply was impressive as was the unexpected bottle of wine. When we checked the menu, it would have cost us £49.
The Leaking Kettle
Later in the day, we noticed a small pool of water under the kettle, which appeared to have a leak.
My husband informed reception.
Within a short time, the kettle was replaced. We were also given two bottles of water and a selection of coffee pods, tea bags, and milk.
Once again we were impressed by the prompt resolution.
10. Wedding Anniversary
We often tend to get away around the time of our wedding anniversary. The response of hotels we have stayed in has varied. Sometimes verbal congratulations are the best we can hope for. Occasionally we get a little more.
While we were distracted by the protest outside our window, there was a knock on the door. A smartly dressed young man entered and laid out plates, napkins, forks, and a plate with a pistachio flavored cake on the coffee table. There was a card too, as well as the aforementioned bottle of wine, wrapped in a napkin.
11. Drinks in the Bar
Do you remember the welcome drinks vouchers we received at check-in? They come as a perk of the InterContinental Hotel Group rewards scheme membership. The welcome amenity is available to those with Gold Elite status and above. The choice of drinks tends to be better the higher your status.
London No.1 Cocktails
Our vouchers included cocktails. So. having examined the menu we ordered two of the most expensive, The London No. 1. They should have set us back £34.
The emphasis was on quality rather than quantity with a mix of champagne brut, amaretto, orange Angostura bitters, and old-fashioned syrup. Having paid nothing we sat back and enjoyed our drinks.
The Bar Experience
We selected comfortable seating in the raised lounge area, along from the Wellington bar. The area was light and airy with full-length windows looking out on a terrace, the road beyond, and the Wellington Arch. The dark wood floor was counteracted by pale furnishings and walls with plenty of lights.
Service was attentive but unobtrusive. We ordered from the menu at our table and the drinks were brought promptly to us. We have sometimes had issues and quibbles over the drinks vouchers in some other hotels, but the bar staff at InterContinental London Park Lane were excellent. They took our vouchers and served us as if we were picking up the tab, which is just as it should be.
We were offered more drinks on at least two occasions. But having enjoyed our freebies, we declined and chose instead to explore the local area.
12. Exploring the Local Area
We have visited London many times, but we have never stayed in such a central location before. Usually, visits to the capital have been a long day of travel into the center, a lot of walking and trips on the tube. This time, the location of InterContinental London Park Lane meant that many tourist locations were within a short walk.
After our drink in the bar, we went to find Apsley House and the Wellington Arch where we had booked entrance tickets the following day. Booking ahead has become more necessary since the pandemic, due to reduced entrance numbers.
An Afternoon Stroll
Apsley House and the Wellington Arch were nearer to the hotel than we had realized, so we walked on along Constitution Hill. In a short time, we were standing in front of Buckingham Palace, the London residence of the Queen, and site of many royal occasions.
Our walk continued through nearby St. James's Park and down a section of the Mall. We spotted Clarence House, the London residence of Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, as we headed back towards Green Park and the RAF Bomber Command Memorial near the hotel.
Coffee in Hyde Park
The following morning, after visiting Wellington Arch, we had a gap in our itinerary. Wandering into nearby Hyde Park, we grabbed a coffee and sat by the Serpentine, before a timed visit to Apsley House.
A Longer Walk
After lunch in our room, we headed out for a longer afternoon stroll. Retracing our steps past Buckingham Palace and into St. James's Park, we continued through Whitehall, past various Government offices. Recalling childhood memories of standing on the steps of 10 Downing Street, we sought out the Prime Minister's residence. There have long been gates at the end of the road for security. But an additional police barrier meant that the view was sadly limited.
We walked on into Westminster Square by the Houses of Parliament. After crossing the River Thames at Westminster Bridge, we grabbed a cup of tea with views back towards a scaffolded Big Ben. We needed the refreshment before retracing our steps to the hotel.