Tag Archives: Intercontinental

Review: InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay, The Quayside

With 225 “home-inspired” luxurious studios and suites, the latest InterContinental Singapore hotel at Robertson Quay, the Quayside is, as its rooms convey, a literally a home away from home. From the cocktail bar which greets you at the check-in lounge area to the tastefully appointed lounge settees and armchairs, InterContinental Singapore’s latest hotel maintains a stylishly luxurious but laid back feel in nestled amidst upscale, waterfront residential real estate of Robertson Quay.

Having been directed by HR to clear my annual leave or risk forfeiture, I spent a weekend at InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay exploring the fascinating historical aspects of one of Singapore’s oldest districts. Historically speaking, Boat Quay, developed in 1823, was the first to have offices, warehouses and godowns but subsequent developments continued up-river, along the banks of Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.

Review: InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay, The Quayside

On checking in, strolling down the hallways, wife in hand, I notice copper plaques bearing room numbers, an aesthetic allegory to the copper coins used by traders and merchants in payment for goods and shipping services in the 1800s. The InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay is situated in the heart of early Singapore’s trading hub, coolies, samsui women and traders would congregate, work and mingle and in essence, impart the culture and work ethic that would guide Singapore into its modern era.

Rapid growth in trade, subsequent rising population and demand for goods initiates the first reclaiming of land and start of the development along the Singapore River, its sheltered waters lead the British founder of modern Singapore, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, to choose Singapore to serve as the centre for India and China’s entrepot trade and the first entrepot trade buildings are established at Robertson Quay. Thus, to stay at The Quayside, is to embrace Singapore’s historical richness and with its proximity to the country’s city centre and access to other parts of the country via the Fort Canning metro station, the InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay is no ordinary stay, it is to soak in one of Asia’s fastest evolving city-states. But I digress.

Designed by award-winning architect firm, SCDA, the residential-inspired InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay combines elements from Robertson Quay’s industrial and intriguing past with sleek contemporary finishes using rich Italian marble, slate, brushed copper and bronzes, whilst seamlessly blending into the residential surrounds. While my wife runs errands, I sink into soft, plush, custom-made leather armchair and make myself a gin and tonic. A specially designed in-room cocktail kit by local bar guru’s Proof & Co. is available but nevertheless, I’m interested in the alchemic blends through the room’s complimentary cocktail hour at Club InterContinental.

Club InterContinental at The Quayside

The exclusive 24-hour Club InterContinental lounge is where guests get enjoy access to tailored and personalised services, including a dedicated team to personalise their stay. But more importantly, the club is a place for me to get away from the hustle and bustle; and enjoy repast in privacy. Club InterContinental at The Quayside offers daily breakfast from 6.30am to 10.30am (but guests are able to dine at Publico as well); Afternoon tea from 2pm to 4pm with a choice of Gryphon teas and classic Italian Cagliari coffee along with savoury and sweet deli meats and cakes. And finally, canapes & cocktails, my favourite, daily from 6pm to 8pm. Here, I enjoy a pre-dinner tipple and a platter of appetisers (a delightful selection of tomato bruschetta, salmon with apple, tofu in peanut sauce (basically Malay tauhu terluk) and fish with green curry canape); paired with a Quayside Gin (rich sweet cherry, brown sugar and herbal citrus gin – boy they are heavy on the gin) before dinner at Publico. Knocking back three cocktails – a Dry Gin Martini, a Gimlet – a highly recommended mix of gin and sweetened lime juice, and the Quayside Sling, I must confess, I favoured the Sling. High on gin, I arrived at Publico.

Publico, an InterContinental Singapore concept

Many hotels boasts a respectable range of restaurant and bar concepts but the InterContinental Group raises the bar. Flagship restaurant Publico, is an independently marketed in-house restaurant concept but it has none of the mediocrity which muddles many other hotel dining concepts. Publico’s quasi-independence from InterContinental Singapore means it gets to represent the central core of Italian culture without watering down elements for “commercial” acceptance. As a result, Publico is a multi- concept dining destination comprising a variety of Italian experiences under one roof – a neighbourhood deli and bar and a ristorante with adjoining terrazzo by the river. Though other dining highlights in the InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay include New York institution Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener, and a bar and dining concept from the team behind Izy Sushi, Publico where I dined as also ground zero to Singapore’s renowned playwright Ivan Heng’s dinner-party, when I dined.

Dinner was an array of Anti-pasti chicken ala diavola, a set of fiery wings, drenched in Italian style chilli, completely sauced, inside and out, and a completely palette dominating appetiser. Along with a side of mushroom soup (again, Publico outdid themselves here – a frothy broth of wild mushroom bits and cream), both dishes threatened to outclass the seafood salad my lovely companion had chosen – truth be told, while I was not impressed with the salad, it could very well have been overwhelmed by the two outstanding appetisers I had with it. However, it would be main course which coincidentally serve as prelude for a hot and heavy evening – The pork chops, a sublime cut of fat crystals in a solid cut of meat, is the primary dish on which I base my conclusion that Publico stands out singularly as a prime example of Italian cuisine. In fact, so sublime was Publico Executive chef Marco Turatti’s deft handling and precision grilling of the slab that I was forced to second guess my selection of the fabulous lobster spaghetti and ponder the road not taken – the steak.

With over a decade of experience working in renowned 5 star hotels globally, Chef Turatti began his career in Tuscany at renowned Michelin-starred Ristorante Il Siciliano, where he focused on authentic Mediterranean and Venetian cuisine, explaining in part, why Publico’s Italian cuisine approaches something beyond reproach. From Venice to Michelin-starred Italian Ristorante Brunello in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Chef Turatti has spent stints in Paris and eventually Dubai, where he was recognised by the Italian Embassy in Rome for his culinary finesse and awarded a prestigious Italian Hospitality Certificate. Turatti is one’s conduit to fine Italian cuisine at the epicentre of Singapore’s economic heart.

The last course, dessert – a serving of pistachio gelato was enjoyable but the tiramisu, again, heavy on the rum, was truly unforgettable.

The Quayside Stay

Offering stylish cosmopolitan riverside living, an ensemble of thoughtful amenities including a Nespresso coffee machine and personal cocktail kit, combining modernity with functional practicality. The showers, chrome Grohe fixtures no less, offer a thoroughly powerful, high pressure bathing experience, combined with exquisitely decorated surroundings is either a soulful experience or a lustful one (with sliding doors left open for a lover’s pleasure). Blackout curtains, a common fixture in many high end hotels is available but The Quayside, InterContinental Singapore’s automated blinds offer a perfect seal thanks to the rolling top-down system, differently from the sliding version which on occasion, do not close to a complete seal. The beddings are soft and enveloped in the pillows like we were while watching World Cup games, it was difficult not to fall asleep before the games’ conclusion. Nevertheless, we persisted, courtesy of high speed wireless Internet connectivity allowing us to scan frivolous social media posts and the promise of a deeper emotional engagement later into the night.

Our days, spent at the STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery, Singapore (formerly known as Singapore Tyler Print Institute), a creative workshop and contemporary art gallery based in Singapore that specialises in artistic experimentation in the medium of print and paper. Artist collaborations lie at the heart of STPI’s programmes and yet, as immersed as we were, the call to return to the embrace of InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay was never further away from our minds.

Ash & Elm Semi-Buffet Lunch in Singapore

Ash & Elm has introduced a new semi-buffet lunch menu to cater to the lunch crowd. Housed in the InterContinental Singapore, guests can look forward to a wide range of European classics. From the chacuterie and cheese room to the salads and appetisers, the restaurant makes a lunch meeting slightly more inviting. For those seeking something slightly more satisfying, there is also an option of a main course.

Find out more about the Semi-Buffet Lunch at the Ash & Elm from the InterContinental Hotel, here.

16 NYC Hotels Going Green in 2016

Some of New York City’s most iconic and luxurious hotels including the Waldorf Astoria and The Peninsula have signed a pledge to reduce their emissions as part of a citywide plan that aims to remove the equivalent of 100,000 cars off the roads.

A total of 16 hotels have joined Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NYC Carbon Challenge, promising to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent over the next 10 years.

That represents 32,000 metric tons of emissions and $25 million in energy cost savings.

“In joining the NYC Carbon Challenge, New York City’s iconic hotels are now also worldwide leaders in the fight against climate change, and are once again redefining excellence in the hospitality sector to include responsibility for climate action,” said Nilda Mesa, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, in a statement.

“While visitors to NYC for the most part won’t be able to see the building system changes, these steps will be every bit as important to the city as the steps the Rockettes take.”

shutterstock_14.1b84b094700.original

In 2014, New York received 56.5 million visitors. Together, the 16 participating hotels represent more than 11,000 rooms.

Hospitals, universities, office and residential buildings have also committed to joining the carbon diet as part of the mayor’s plan to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Buildings make up nearly three-fourths of citywide greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, Hilton Worldwide became the first hospitality group to achieve the US government’s Superior Energy Performance certification last month. Facilities that obtain the label have improved their energy performance by up to 30 percent over three years. Certified Hilton hotels include Washington Hilton, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort and Hilton Union Square San Francisco.

Want a guilt-free stay in New York at an environmentally-conscious hotel? Here are the 16 hotels participating in the NYC Carbon Challenge:

  • 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
    1 Hotel Central Park
    Crowne Plaza Times Square
    Dream Downtown
    Grand Hyatt New York
    Hotel Pennsylvania
    Hudson Hotel
    Loews Regency Hotel
    Lotte New York Palace
    The Pierre – A Taj Hotel
    The Peninsula New York
    InterContinental New York Barclay
    InterContinental New York Times Square
    Roger Smith Hotel
    Waldorf Astoria New York
    Westin New York at Times Square

World’s Best for Seven Years: Etihad Airways

The World Travel Awards has crowned Etihad Airways as “World’s Leading Airline” for the seventh year in a row. When this news floated down to us via the AFP, it was like that moment Sebastian Vettel won his fourth F1 championship, or Michael Schumacher winning his seventh. There is something fatiguing about such overwhelming dominance and in this case, perhaps even a failure of the imagination.

To use another analogy, this reminds us of Restaurant Magazine choosing elBulli as best in the world five times – even then it was not five years running. Ok, Etihad had those gorgeous Nicole Kidman ads and the private apartments for First Class on the A380 are amazing. In fact, that is probably why, as reported previously, Etihad is also a major winner here. Thankfully, the overall winner there was a surprise.

In other news from the WTA awards, held this year in Morocco, Saudi Arabia’s Al Faisaliah Suites claimed the double honor of ‘World’s Leading Luxury Suites Hotel’ and ‘World’s Leading Hotel Penthouse’, while InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort was recognized as the ‘World’s Leading Luxury Resort’.

The Las Vegas Strip won the title of ‘World’s Leading Tourist Attraction and the Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort & Spa was named ‘World’s Leading Fully Integrated Resort’.

WTA was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

For the full list of winners, go visit this website.

intercontinental hong kong

InterContinental Sells Hong Kong Hotel for $938 Million

intercontinental hong kong

InterContinental Hotels Group has agreed to sell its ownership interest in InterContinental Hong Kong to Supreme Key for $938 million.

Supreme Key has made a further commitment to invest in a significant refurbishment of the hotel. This is expected to commence in 2017 and will take place over a period of approximately 18 months.

intercontinental hong kong

IHG will retain a 37-year management contract on the hotel, with three ten-year extension rights, giving an expected contract length of 67 years.

InterContinental Hong Kong infinity pool

The hotel is internationally-acclaimed as one of the world’s most famous hotels, with a five-star rating from the Forbes Travel Guide, three Michelin-starred restaurants, and a wide range of meeting and banqueting facilities.

intercontinental hong kong

It is situated on the Kowloon waterfront, with unrivalled panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong’s skyline. The Hotel opened in 1980 and has 503 guest rooms, including 87 suites, and has been wholly owned by IHG and operated under the InterContinental brand since 2001.

InterContinental Dubai Marina

InterContinental Dubai Marina now open

InterContinental Dubai Marina

InterContinental Hotels Group has expanded its portfolio of hotels in Dubai with the opening of the InterContinental Dubai Marina.

MORE THAN 13 MILLION TOURISTS VISITED DUBAI IN 2014

The property features 132 rooms and 196 fully serviced InterContinental residential suites and has views over Dubai Marina.

Part of the Bay Central development, situated in Dubai’s newest hub for contemporary lifestyle in the heart of Dubai Marina, the hotel is located within walking distance of the Dubai tram and metro.

Dubai Marina

The property features nine restaurants, lounges and bars, an outdoor swimming poo, male and female spas, gym facilities and meeting spaces.

The jewel in the hotel’s crown will be Marina Social restaurant – British, Michelin-starred chef, Jason Atherton’s first in the Middle East – which will open later in September 2015.

Chinese Tourists Rome

IHG launches programme to welcome Chinese guests

Chinese Tourists Rome

InterContinental Hotel Group has launched a program in all of its locations dedicated to providing a personalized welcome to Chinese tourists.

IHG has launched the “Zhou Dao” initiative which integrates IHG’s Chinese name “Zhou” with the Chinese philosophical concept “Dao,” to provide a personalized welcome for its Chinese clientele.

INTERCONTINENTAL LAUNCHES CHINESE HOTEL BRAND

More than 10,000 employees have followed a training program on Chinese etiquette, culture and hospitalityThe objective: tourists from the Middle Kingdom should feel at home.

Hotels designated as “China Ready” will from now on welcome their Chinese guests with special considerations.

Some key elements of the program include Mandarin-speaking employees at the front desk as well as on phone support, a special welcome gift bag and the ability to pay with China UnionPay cards. Also, in their rooms, Chinese tourists will have access to Chinese television stations and a selection of Chinese teas they are already familiar with.

To date, there are 100 hotels participating in the program and IHG intends to more than double that number by the end of the year.

In a recent report, IHG indicated that the Chinese tourist clientele in Paris is expected to increase by 93% by 2023, while London will double the number of Chinese visitors it receives by then.

crowne plaza gurgaon

Redeem your hotel loyalty points for iPads!

crowne plaza gurgaon

InterContinental Hotels Group, which includes brands like the Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and the InterContinental, has expanded their redemption program so that loyalty members can now redeem points for iPads, coffeemakers, and game consoles.

The redemption program puts it in line with airlines that allow loyalty members to trade in points for everyday merchandise like household goods, appliances, gadgets and brand name items.

With 4,700 hotels and 82 million IHG Rewards Club members worldwide, the hotel group has the world’s largest loyalty program.

WHICH TRAVEL REWARDS PROGRAM SHOULD YOU JOIN?

To promote the launch, IHG has created a ‘gift guide’ of ideas that includes an iPad; Karen Millen ladies watch; Nespresso Krups Citiz and Milk; Nintendo Wii Mini and Fitbit One, an activity and sleep tracker.

Meanwhile, this summer US News and World report named Marriott Rewards the best hotel rewards program for its flexibility, followed by IHG, and Best Western Rewards.

DON’T MISS: INTERCONTINENTAL HALF-PRICE POINTS DEALS

Wilshire Grand Building LA

Largest InterContinental in Americas to debut in 2017

Wilshire Grand Building LA

A new 73-storey, 900-room hotel is being planned for Los Angeles that will open in 2017 and upon completion, mark the  Hotels Group’s largest hotel in the Americas.

At 1,100-feet-tall (335 meters), the luxury hotel project at the Wilshire Grand Center is poised to become a landmark on the city skyline, and the tallest building on the US west coast, providing 360-degree views of LA.

SEE ALSO: INTERCONTINENTAL LAUNCHES CHINESE HOTEL BRAND

IHG hotel in Los Angeles

The development is in collaboration with Korean Air and the Hanjin Group, and will also mark the airline’s first hotel in the US.

The property will also be the first in the western US to boast a sky-lobby on the 70th floor —  a feature in skyscrapers that serve as transfer points for quicker elevator access.

SEE ALSO: CHINA BUILDS A LUXURY UNDERGROUND HOTEL

IHG hotel Los Angeles

Drawings for the property call for natural wood and warm colors to reflect the city’s beach culture, while the sky lobby will reflect the city’s car culture by incorporating car lines in the paneling and decor.

The IHG portfolio includes hotel brands like  Hotels & Resorts and the Holiday Inn.

Wilshire Grand Building

Craig Easton

Photography Masterclass at Paris’ InterContinental Hotel

Craig Easton

Over the weekend of November 2 and 3, guests at the InterContinental Hotel Paris Le Grand will have the chance to attend a master class with world-renowned photographer Craig Easton. A specialist in travel photography, Easton will help students take unforgettable snapshots of their trip to paris.

Guests who reserve a Weekend Escapes package in the hotel, which is located near the famous Opéra Garnier in Paris, will be eligible for a class with Easton and the opportunity to shoot photos in the city with his tips and feedback.

For visitors who are just learning their way around the French capital the hotel’s concierge is ready to provide custom itineraries off the beaten path, including the highly photogenic Village Saint-Paul in the Marais, the market at Place d’Aligre, or even the vineyards of Montmartre.

Travel photographers who miss out on this Parisian session can consider a stay in the InterContinental in Düsseldorf, Germany on November 30 to December 1, where Easton will provide the same course.

Aspria Hotel in Hannover

Top 10 hotels for health-minded travelers

Aspria Hotel in Hannover

For travelers looking for a healthy getaway, here are a few good places to stay along the way.

1. InterContinental has launched a new hotel brand called EVEN, the first mainstream hotel brand to focus exclusively on wellness. Exercise options include in-room touches such as a coat-rack that doubles as a pull-up bar, well-equipped gyms, personalized fitness advice for all guests and a “Wellness Wall” with exercise ideas, walking distances and equipment rental information on display.

The first EVEN hotel is slated to open in New York by the end of 2014, while the company envisions opening another 100 US locations over the next five years, InterContinental announced late last year.

2. Four Seasons in Canada uses wellness concierges, who plan your daily wellness itinerary, including spa appointments, healthy meals, and workouts. In addition, Four Seasons Resort Whistler offers a Path to Wellness package, a three-night stay offering meditation, aromatherapy, and a yoga mat, as well as a fitness plan and outdoor guide to direct guests on mountain adventures.

3. At the New York boutique hotel INK48, guests can borrow the new “Forgot It? We’ve Got It – Runner’s Edition” kit, which includes a music-filled iPod shuffle, a sports watch with a built-in pedometer, a running belt, and water bottles, and a map of the Hudson River running path. Return from your run and you’ll find a Gatorade and a Power Bar waiting in your room.

4. Perks being offered at Sheraton Hotels & Resorts include a “workout in a bag,” which includes instructional cards, foam rollers, and a mat.

5. Westin Hotels and Resorts will loan guests a pair of New Balance sneakers and workout clothes just in case they’ve forgotten theirs at home. If you need a running buddy, a “running concierge” can lead the way.

6. Launched as a health club business in 2000, Europe’s Aspria recently added four urban wellness hotels — Berlin, Brussels, Hanover, Hamburg — that offer a sports club, spa, and healthy meals at its “vital lounges.”

7. Las Vegas’s MGM Grand recently converted numerous rooms into “Stay Well” rooms, chock full of 16 health amenities. Expect personalized spa menus, wake-up light therapy, air purification and aromatherapy, vitamin C-infused showers and wellness videos from Deepak Chopra.

8. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts now offer a new “Fairmont Fit” program, rolling out in 80 of their hotels around the world this year. The package includes fitness gear, mp3 players, and cruiser bikes to borrow, with some hotels offering group fitness and “run clubs.”

9. London’s Eccleston Square Hotel offers Hastens’ “Mind Spa” relaxation programming, which broadcasts sleep-inducing natural images and sounds in your room to promote better sleep.

10. Hotel Rio Sagrado, Peru also offers a package called “A Good Night’s Sleep,” where yoga instructors meet guests in their room for sleep-inducing yoga sessions and herbal massage sessions.

New York INK48

Intercontinental Shimao Shanghai Wonderland

China builds a luxury underground hotel

Intercontinental Shimao Shanghai Wonderland

A few years ago, British engineering firm Atkins won the rights to design an extravagant hotel deep within a 100-metre pit in Shanghai‘s Songjiang District.

Construction on the Intercontinental Shimao Shanghai Wonderland finally commenced last month, and the hotel is scheduled to open in early 2015.
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Hualuxe logo

InterContinental launches new Chinese hotel brand

Hualuxe logo

InterContinental Hotels (IHG), the world’s largest hotel chain, has announced the launch of a long-awaited new brand for the Chinese market.

The new chain will be called Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts and is expected to divide its efforts between operating in cities and popular resorts within China — although IHG said that the brand will open in other major cities outside of the country.

While Hualuxe is expected to share many of the characteristics of IHG-owned brands such as Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, several modifications have been made to cater for Chinese travelers, of which there are expected to be 3.3 billion by 2015.
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Hotel Indigo Berlin

Hotel Indigo opens its doors in Europe

Hotel Indigo Berlin

InterContinental-owned boutique chain Hotel Indigo has opened its first property in continental Europe.

The Hotel Indigo Berlin opened its doors February 3, marking the brand’s first entry into Europe outside of the United Kingdom.

Designed with Hotel Indigo’s trademark ’boutique’ feel, the property contains 81 rooms, which are finished in light wood and white but have been individualized with color to give them the feel of an ‘artist’s studio’.
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Crowne Plaza in New York Times Square

InterContinental confirms new hotel brand next year

Crowne Plaza in New York Times Square

InterContinental, the world’s largest hotel firm and the name behind hotel brands such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, is set to launch a new chain next year.

In a speech at the firm’s annual conference in Las Vegas, IHG’s America’s boss confirmed to staff that a new hotel brand was on the way.

“If you’re on a cereal aisle, and you’re Post (Foods LLC) or Kellogg (Co.), you want to dominate as much as you can of that shelf space,” Kirk Kinsell said.
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InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya

InterContinental, Hyatt head to Russia

InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya

InterContinental has announced ambitious plans to open 100 hotels in Russia by 2020, an expansion of almost ten times the number operating there today.

The hotel chain announced September 12 that it aimed to capitalize on growing tourism to the country by significantly adding to the number of hotels it operates, across brands such as InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Hotel Indigo.

Among the new properties will be Europe’s largest Holiday Inn, a 1,000-room behemoth in Moscow set to open in 2014.
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Intercontinental sydney bedroom

InterContinental launches half-price points deals

Intercontinental sydney bedroom

Members of the InterContinental hotels loyalty program are to be offered the chance to snap up last-minute hotel deals on points, the company announced August 1.

Last Minute Rewards will offer Priority Club members the chance to redeem hotel nights for 50 percent fewer points than they would otherwise be offered at.

The promotion will be valid at nearly 90 select hotels around the world, including properties in popular holiday destinations such as Orlando, Florida; Berlin; Paris; Shanghai; Bangkok; and Seoul.
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