Hot Happenings from Intercontinental in 2005

In addition to a few exciting new openings (Germany, Cyprus, Beijing) in 2005, extensive renovations and additions are underway at a number of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts around the world.  More than one billion dollars has been committed to renovations and additions to these properties over a five-year period.  Here is a sampling of recent happenings and what to expect in the months to come:

The March opening of the 150-room InterContinental Resort Berchtesgaden will bring a new level of luxury to this relatively undeveloped region, which is home to the country’s highest lake and is one of the most picturesque spots in the Bavarian Alps. The property will feature three restaurants, an extensive spa with full fitness center and indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and state-of-the-art technology in a variety of conference facilities, which have been thoughtfully designed for events of all types. The building’s glass façade and horseshoe formation will ensure uninterrupted views of the stunning scenery from all four floors. In-room amenities include rain showers and digital television, and most accommodations feature open fire places; a private butler will also be available on request. In addition to the spa, a nine-hole golf course and direct access to the Eckerbichl ski lifts will ensure the resort is the top leisure attraction in Bavaria, which is also known for its hiking, climbing, sledding and horseback riding.

Also opening in March is InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort. Spectacularly located with stunning views of the site of Aphrodite’s Rock and the Mediterranean sea, the five-star resort facilities are second to none on the island, including an 18-hole golf course and academy, a 400-seat outdoor amphitheatre, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a Wilson tennis academy and a 24-hour health club featuring a state-of the-art range of fitness equipment. There will also be a full-service spa by Pevonia (the brand’s first in Europe) known as The Retreat. With contemporary elegant design and the surrounding culture, mythology and tradition, this will undoubtedly be a lifestyle haven for devotees of unique luxury. Careful attention to every detail ensures idyllic accommodations (290 rooms and suites with 17 private pools and 6 Jacuzzi suites), exceptional services, and outstanding conference and banquet facilities. 

InterContinental Financial Street Beijing will open this May as the first and only luxury hotel in the city’s rapidly growing new business center and future home of the Chinese government houses.  The 20-story, 332-room hotel also offers convenient access to the city’s prime shopping and cultural sites and will serve as a unique and stylish oasis versatile enough to cater to every need and whim of its sophisticated guests. Facilities include a variety of food and beverage venues (four total), well-appointed meeting and conference facilities, a temperature-controlled indoor swimming pool with a pool bar and a fully-equipped fitness center and spa.  With 26 hotels across Asia Pacific, InterContinental has always been a market leader and trendsetter in the region.  This opening will not only position InterContinental as a pioneer of Beijing’s future, but will also be the brand’s first flagship property in mainland China.

InterContinental Resort & Spa Bora Bora will open in May 2006 on a deserted and virgin islet of French Polynesia’s coral ring accessible only by boat.  This exclusive new enclave, an investment of nearly US$50 million, will showcase 80 sumptuous over-water bungalows, eight of which boast views of Mount Otemanau.  Each unit features an oversized bedroom, a large bathroom that opens onto the lagoon, a spacious living room with a glass bottom coffee table that serves as an aquarium and is illuminated at night and a shaded terrace with sun beds and spacious bathing deck. Another highlight is the one-of-a-kind air conditioning system in each villa; environmentally sensitive, these units utilize fresh seawater siphoned from the depths of the ocean to cool the air and eliminate the use of hazardous carbons. This seawater, extracted from a depth of 2,500 feet, will also be a signature element of the Moana Spa, a Thalassotherapy and Balneotherapy center designed by Dr. Tregger, internationally celebrated for conceptualizing the design of Monaco’s thermal baths.

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Continuing its effort to further enhance and improve facilities and provide guests with the finest possible experience, the InterContinental Hong Kong has joined hands with LTW (Lim + Teo + Wilkes Design Works), who have been commissioned to refurbish the hotel’s guest rooms to create a new, soft, streamlined design with Asian influences. The spacious new rooms will feature large curved desks and multi-use counters for LCD flat-screen TVs and sound systems. The project also consists of a spectacular new penthouse Presidential Suite, which will include a duplex atrium entrance hall, living room, dining room, kitchen and four bedrooms. Most spectacular will be the expansive wrap-around terrace with an infinity spa pool overlooking Victoria Harbour. There will also be two new themed suites, the Romance Suite and the Business Suite, to dazzle the most demanding lovers and executives. Both of these suites have large outdoor terraces with Jacuzzis overlooking Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island.

Meanwhile, the November 2004 opening of InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta brought the brand’s international flair to the city of Atlanta, InterContinental’s headquarters in North America.  This 21-story hotel has 422 guest rooms, including 20 suites and a 2,000 square-foot Presidential Suite with breathtaking views of the downtown skyline.  Both the restaurant (Au Pied de Cochon, a 24-hour Parisian brasserie) and bar (named XO, the area’s only cognac bar) have an open-air Wi-Fi terrace with direct access from the street.  The hotel also features a full-service spa by Jurlique, an impressive permanent art collection and 31,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including two spectacular ballrooms.

InterContinental Sydney recently unveiled the Club Lounge, a spectacular new rooftop lounge like none other Down Under. With uninterrupted views stretching from the Harbour Bridge to the Pacific Ocean and an outdoor wraparound timber deck surrounded entirely by glass doors, the lounge promises soon to be the city’s most sought-after venue. The lounge was the final element to complete the hotel’s $30 million transformation, which included the complete renovation of its 509 contemporary guest rooms and suites, designed along classical lines but with a new, urban feel.

InterContinental Carlton Cannes has expanded its conference and event facilities with the January opening of the Zephyr Centre, a unique 10,763 square-foot reception area in the heart of the building that can accommodate up to 1,400 persons for cocktails and 700 theatre-style.  To accommodate even larger groups, an additional 7,535 square feet can be added to this space, making it one of the largest hotel-based venues on the C™te d’Azur.  Not only is the Zephyr Center ideal for intimate banquets and high-tech conferences, but it can also be used for large-scale events such as car launches and product presentations due to its flat-level, open-air design. 

Other noteworthy openings include properties in the following cities:
- Cairo, Egypt (November 2004)
- Abu Soma, Egypt (January 2005)
- Aqaba, Jordan (May 2005)
- Dusseldorf, Germany (Summer 2005)
- Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia (Late 2005)
- Dhaka, Bangladesh (Late 2005)
- Penang, Malaysia (Late 2005)
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