The InterContinental hotel links location, luxury and community into a lively hub of hospitality.
When the visionary behind some of the world’s biggest hotel names— think Grange, Park Plaza and Aurora—was thinking of his latest venture, he clearly kept the location and its narrative in full view: “The Peninsula, and this whole area of East London, has undergone a complete transformation and witnessed a huge resurgence since the 2012 Olympics, becoming one of the capital’s most vibrant living, entertainment and events centres,” says General Manager of the soon to be unveiled InterContinental, Hasham Soliman. “We’re delighted to be a part of its story.” Certainly the tale behind the sleek 453-bedroom, 18-storey hotel and conference centre mirrors nicely that of its Greenwich Peninsula milieu, a nexus that draws energy from its heritage to create new dynamic environments.
The seven-acre development scheme faces the River Thames, with sweeping views of the water and nearby Canary Wharf. Nestled between various ports, the hotel will act as a pivot point to the channels of greater London: Greenwich Pier is available by riverboat, North Greenwich tube is 400 metres away and London City Airport is a six-mile drive.
For Soliman, the right location melds with the need for escape from the day-to-day: “Guests are looking for experiences, rather than simply just a break away or a hotel room while travelling, and no other destination in London can offer more diversity and wide-spread appeal than Greenwich,” he says.
This consideration of context inspired the hotel’s palette and interiors, which reference Greenwich heritage: “We take our entertainment spaces very seriously and have adopted a considered approach to designing our restaurants and bars with each outlet inspired by Greenwich’s rich naval history”.
One of the hotel’s most striking features is a 3000 sq m pillar-free ballroom—the largest single scale of its kind in Europe, with capacity for 3000 guests—which references an old-world glamour.
A luxury spa, which uses ESPA skincare, consists of eight luxury treatment rooms, decorated with accents of gold, blue pearl and darkwood, and a swimming pool with views to the Thames. The hotel offers a host of fine options for dining: the Meridian Lounge will serve oysters, homemade patisseries, artisan breads and gourmet sandwiches, as well as fresh juices; and the Clipper Bar has tea-spiked cocktails and draft beers. The Market Brasserie, an all-day restaurant with superb views across the Peninsula, is inspired by London’s famous food markets, such as Billingsgate, Smithfield and Covent Garden, with a menu centred on fresh, seasonal ingredients. An 18th-floor sky bar provides panoramic views.
A sense of community binds the various, large-scale elements of this project together. “We are working hand-in-hand with local partners, including the O2, to provide organisers with endless possibilities for large events, banquets, break-out experiences, social itineraries and 24-hour-a-day delegate opportunities for their teams on the Peninsula,” enthuses Soliman.
With establishments such as Stevie Parle’s Craft London, NOW Gallery and Meantime Brewery nearby, there is certainly the potential for positive overflow to surrounding areas, a prospect that ties neatly to the premise underpinning the InterContinental’s origin story. Keeping this happy ending in sight, Soliman demonstrates both goodwill and optimism: “Vitally, this amount of space and facilities means we’re also bringing opportunity to many, with over 400 new jobs created for the local economy.”