Intercontinental, Buckhead Atlanta


Hotel Group: Intercontinental Hotels Group

Hotel Category: 40,000 points per night

Hotel Status: Platinum

Booking Type: AmEx Fine Hotels & Resorts

Room Type: Corner King

Date of Stay: 2018



Hotel

The Intercontinental is IHG’s highest luxury hotel chain. Although, in my experience, I would give that to Kimpton hotels. I’ve stayed in this hotel over the years a handful of times. It offers luxury accommodations at an affordable price a lot of the time. I’ve seen rates as high as $400 for a standard room and as low as $98 on some travel booking sites. My research on the web found very little information about the hotel and building. I couldn’t even find when the hotel officially opened, so with that said, I’ll just jump right in with hotel amenities. 

The hotel has an outdoor heated saline pool, business center, a renowned restaurant and bourbon bar, fitness center, spa, courtyard, and live music on the weekends. Overnight self-parking is $28 and valet parking is $38. 

Booking

I ended up staying two nights here with two separate bookings. The first was an AmEx Fine Hotels & Resorts booking. The second was done through Priceline. The first night came out to be $174+tax. I think that is a great deal considering I was able to  get $100 food and beverage credit and free breakfast among other amenities. The Priceline night was booked for $98.39. Paying less than a hundred dollars for a four-star hotel is a rarity, thanks Priceline. 

Check-in

Check-in was less than stellar. I wasn’t immediately greeted by a valet, even though there were several attendants around and not a single person asked if I needed help with luggage. I showed myself to the reception desk where I was greeted with a smile by a young lady. She didn’t have a name tag, so I didn’t get her name. She was efficient in the formalities, but failed to go over AmEx Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits, which caused some problems at the end of my stay which I’ll get into in the service part of the review. 

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Room 1920

From what I can gather the room was around 488 sq ft, but it seemed a bit smaller than that. 

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I really enjoyed the bed. The extra padding on the mattress and plush pillows were the perfect amount of soft, and both nightstands had easy access to outlets. 

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The Keurig coffee maker was in the hall, and the mini-bar was in the cabinet below the TV. The drink and snack prices were absurd. If you want to charge $9 for a beer, that’s fine, but $6 for a 12oz soda or a 12oz Dasani bottle water is ridiculous. The St. Regis Atlanta which is the best hotel in the entire city and is only about a mile down the road has cheaper prices than this. I would rather drink toilet water than give them the satisfaction of paying those prices. 

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I emailed the hotel prior to my arrival to ask for a good view. I heard back from Guest Relations Manager Anna, and she confirmed she placed me in a corner room on the 19th floor with views of downtown and Stone Mountain. I appreciated she could accommodate my needs because the views were about as good as it gets for Buckhead. 

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The Wi-Fi was decent enough to search websites, but uploading photos to CaddieTravels was painfully slow. 

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Bathroom

The bathroom was just to the left in the entryway. There was a standalone shower and soaking tub. The tub is on the small side, but it’s still a nice option to have. The only real things to complain about was the water pressure was weak and the bathrobe was decent at best. 

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The toiletries were by Agraria San Francisco. This is what I typically find when I stay at Intercontinental hotels. One thing that has changed since the last time I’ve stayed is now instead of the individual bottles of soaps, they use large in-shower dispensers. I much prefer the individual bottle but I understand why more and more hotels are moving to these. 

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Pool

The outdoor heated saline pool and jacuzzi are a few floors up from the lobby. It closes promptly at 9pm which I find to be way to early. The pool area was packed during the morning and days, but I did manage to sneak out there late one night for a few photos. I have stayed here before and was able to enjoy the pool in the afternoon with no one else around, and it’s quite enjoyable. The deepest part of the pool is 5ft. 

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Fitness 

The fitness center is located just past the spa reception desk. It’s open 24 hours a day with access to the spa locker rooms. As you can see from the photos, its spacious with a good amount of cardio machines.

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Business Center

Located on the lobby floor close to the banquet rooms, the business center gives access to several computers and printers. I assume all the computers were PC’s as I didn’t see any Macs. 

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Courtyard

The courtyard is a lush well manicured area located just outside of the lobby. It was a bit hot when I was there, but in cooler temperatures, this is a wonderful thing to have access to. There was plenty of seating scattered about with a few fire pits. 

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Restaurant

Southern Art and Bourbon bar is run by James Beard award-winning chef Art Smith. I had a few appetizers at the bar and really loved everything I ordered. I would highly recommend visiting this restaurant even if you’re not staying at the hotel. The ambiance of the main restaurant was beautiful.

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I ordered the chef daily special deviled eggs, the buffalo chicken chicharrones, and a fried oyster steam bun po’boy and a fired shrimp steam bun po’boy. Everything was fantastic. I would easily order them again.

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We ordered room service breakfast once. We had the chicken biscuit, a plate of fruit and a side of sausage. The biscuit was too dense for my liking but everything else was a delight.

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Service

You should expect excellence service at an Intercontinental since it is their highest luxury brand, but I received some of the worst service I’ve ever experienced at a luxury hotel. Like I mentioned above, I had talked to the guest relations manager Anna before my arrival, I specifically asked for two Coronas with lime in the room when I arrived. I even gave the exact time I would be arriving. I had a long drive in, and I just wanted to relax and have a few beers in the room when I walked in. I was assured they would be there; they weren’t. About 15 minutes after entering the room, associate Ty (who was fantastic) came by with some beer on ice. They were IPA’s, I  hate IPA’s. I didn’t notice they were the wrong beer until she left so I called guest service and told them to come remove them. I left the room and went to the bar for a Corona and to explore the hotel a bit. I came back approximately an hour later, and the beers were still there, so I called again. Ten minutes later, they called and ask what the problem was, I had to explain for the third time what had happened. I ended up with my Coronas after a few hours, but it was very frustrating they couldn’t get it right, after several attempts. 

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Next up is the service at the bar. I visited the bar several times during my stay and each time it took upwards of 15 minutes to be greeted and offered something to drink. My dirty plates were never cleared off, even after I had paid. If I was in some dodgy bar, I wouldn’t have minded, but this should never happen in a place like this. 

Next, I called the concierge and asked if I could get a tour of their presidential suite. I knew it was unoccupied, and I was really wanting to check it out. It’s almost 2,000 sq ft and from the photos, it looks gorgeous. The concierge barely gave me the time of day over the phone. She said she would call me back with an answer, but after two days, I never heard anything back from her. She totally blew me off. 

Next was the server who brought my room-service breakfast up. I had asked for a pitcher of water with my meal, instead he brought a glass of water and when I brought this to his attention, he assured me he would bring it right up. I never seen or heard from him again. 

About a week after I had left the property and all the charges had cleared on my credit card,  I saw that the bill was wrong. I had to talk to three different people and probably six emails to get the bill corrected. The problem was, they do not offer room service breakfast as part of the free breakfast through AmEx Fine Hotels & Resorts. This was a first for me, but since the receptionist never went over the benefits, I simply did not know. The managers could not have been less helpful explaining that to me even though I kept saying the breakfast should have been free. After a handful of emails they finally comped the breakfast. 

Before I left the hotel I did get a chance to sit down with the hotel manager, Maxime de La Grange and explain to him everything that had happened. He seemed genuinely upset and was apologetic. I hope he can get things straightened out here because it has potential to be a really great property, but as of now, service gets a 3/10.

Overall

This is a simple one. The property is really nice with terrible service. If you can get the hotel for less than $150, I would say it’s a go. Anything higher and I would be hard pressed to say its worth it with all the options around town. 

Have you stayed here, what are your thoughts?

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Categories: HotelsTags: , , , ,

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