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Intercontinental The Barclay

Located at 48th Street between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue and just steps from Grand Central Station the “Intercontinental The Barclay” is located near many tourist attraction in Manhattan. It could be easy reached from JFK by public transportation (exit the E train at 51st street / Lexington Avenue) and walk the two blocks towards the hotel.

The hotel is a 14 storey pre war building in H shape. The appearance of the hotel is old fashioned and you find many buildings built and constructed in the same way across the US and also some European places. The Drake in Chicago is also built in this style and I think they are built around the same time.

You enter the hotel through a small entrance with only one door which could be in peak time a bit of a hurdle. The lobby is designed old styled – think of the European Grand Hotels of the belle époque and you know how the lobby looks like. On the left side are some lounge chairs and sofas and further on the left side is the restaurant. On the right hand side are the check in desks. There are four desks available to check in and out guests. In peak time there are not enough desks available and the lines are long. An Ambassador / Royal Ambassador Desk is available on the way to the elevators. Unfortunately this desk is one the one hand not clearly signed and there were the most times I passed during my stay no one on duty. The elevators are in the rear part of the building. There are three elevators on the left and the right side of the building. A business centre is located on the ground floor and two internet terminals are placed across the entrance to the business centre and close to the elevators. You have to pay for the use and it is not really a nice place, since there many people passing by on the way to the elevators.

The gym was closed on my recent visit due to renovation – there was no highlighted indication on the homepage about the closure.

Stays: 28 March 2008

Direct link to hotel InterContinental The Barclay New York

visited on Family Business in New York

Arrival Date: 28 March 2008
Departure Date: 30 March 2008
Room type booked: Superior (got Executive)
Rate Plan: Best Availabe Rate
Room Number: 1363
Room Rate: 299.00 USD (excl. taxes)

Status of Guest Program: Platinum / Royal Ambassador

I arrived at the hotel around 15.30 on a Friday and there were long lines and so I headed to the Ambassador desk to find no one there and went back to the main check in desk and joined the people queuing for check in. After 20 minutes it finally was my turn. The check-in agent told me that me “for my next visit there is an Ambassador desk where I could have check in”. I told him, I would know this and therefore had gone there to find it empty. His answer was that this is impossible, there is someone on duty. Not quite the answer and behaviour I expect at this hotel. I was told I was upgraded to an Executive Room, as there was no Junior Suite available, at least he apologised for this. The Use of the BOGO certificate was no problem and I asked if the Royal Ambassaor benefits also applied for the second night where I used the certificate and he confirmed that is also covered this night and would also have covered an award stay.

On my way to the elevator I passed again the Ambassador desk and there was still no one sitting there.

The room was of average size, the room I have had in the Holdiay Inn at 57th Street had the same size. Definitively not a big room. The Junior Suites / corner rooms are twice as large as this room.

You enter the room and you are in the corridor. Here is the walk in closet and on the opposite side the entrance to the bathroom. The later one is really tiny with a toilet, very narrow to the wall, a sink and a bath. A mirror is behind the sink, but did not cover the whole wall behind the sink. A hairdryer of good quality with a built in night light was available and towels were provided for two persons, but only one bathrobe and one pair of slippers. Bathroom amenities were not the elemis products you find in other Intercontinental Hotel but product of lower quality (at least that was my impression). Shower curtain and head were okay, some scratches at the wall and some stains in the ceiling of the room. Only the water pressure was a bit of a problem and the water was not really hot.

The room had a king size bed on the one side. Two bedside tables, one with a phone, the other one with an I-pod docking station were placed at the bed. Two reading lamps were at each side of the bed. Opposite the bed was a fire place imitation. The room had two windows but was nevertheless a bit of the dark side, but that was due to the high rise building in front of the hotel, so the hotel is not responsible for this. A desk was aside the windows with a roll out desk of lower height – good for working with a laptop and the additional space was nice to have. At there were three power outlets at the desk. A lounge chair with a reading lamp was placed in front of the window. Another lounge chair was on the wall to the bathroom with a small table. Aside was a cupboard with the TV, the safe (big enough for a laptop) and the minibar and the tea and coffee facilities. The mini bar was stocked, but I have experienced better minibar and if were only low end products. And the red wine – a Burgundy – was in the minibar, which is in my eyes a no-go for a hotel who advertised that nearly every head of state and many celebrities have stayed in this hotel.

The furniture had several scratches if you take a closure look, but was otherwise of good quality and in good condition. Some damages at the walls were there as well, but I would call this not such a big issue.

The Ambassador amenity was a fruit plate and some candies. It arrived at the afternoon of the second day and after I told the Ambassador desk – on Saturday morning there was someone there on duty while there were no lines at the main desk –it has not arrived yet.

After I pressed the instant service button at the phone I was on hold for 15 minutes before finally someone picked up the call; the first two times I hang up after ten minutes listening to advertising the features and the reputation.

During check out on Sunday around 11.30 there were again longer lines in front of the desks, but I only had to wait 5 minutes this time (no one at the Ambassador desk). I had to notify I used a voucher for the second night. The invoice was prepared. I was not asked if everything was okay during my stay.

My overall impression is not that good. Telling me like a schoolchild that I should use the Ambassador desk next time and completely ignoring that I told him that I have been there is not that nice. I had to remind them to bring the Ambassador Amenity to my room. An upgrade only one category would have been okay, if there had been no other issues and yes it would have been nicer to offer something for this inconvenience like a voucher for a drink at the bar or anything else. Not announcing the closing of the gym on the home page – except in small print at the overview of the hotel features – is also not the nicest thing. And putting a red wine into the minibar instead of placing it outside is also a no-go for a hotel of the reputation of the “Intercontinental The Barclay”.

I will for sure give them another try in the next time and see how this stay will compare to the previous stay.

And yes I complained about the stay after my return. The result was 5000 pts as goodwill bonus and a call by the service manager of the hotel, who apologised for the lack of service and explained the reasons for this. I appreciated this call. If I know, the hotel is aware of certain issues, this means a lot to me and I accepted the apologizing