Tag Archives: Intercontinental

Prague Part 6: Review – Intercontinental Prague

Prague Part 1: The Worst Train Ride Ever
Prague Part 2: Prague…My Favorite European City
Prague Part 3: Jewish History in Prague
Prague Part 4: Prague Castle
Prague Part 5: Photography in Prague

I chose the Intercontinental for two reasons 1) I had a free night on the verge of expiration and 2) location.

This hotel was more of a mixed bag, but overall, the location made it the best option for us.

The Positives:

  • Location: One of the most important items on our Prague to-do list was the Jewish sites. Located in the heart of the Jewish quarter and literally a 30 second walk to the historic Alt-Neu Synagogue, the Intercontinental was the ideal place for us.
  • Nice rooms: While on the small side, the rooms felt new and modern, and we even had a view of the Vlata river. Notably, the shower was freaking amazing.
  • Massage: Since I’m not the spring chicken I used to be, hours of walking and standing in museums does a number on my back. I splurged on a deep-tissue massage our last night, and it was exactly what this old lady needed.

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The Negatives:

  • Wifi: The wifi sucked. Period. Wildly schizophrenic, there were times when we simply couldn’t connect at all, and times when we …. Yeah, this was a bummer.
  • No status: IHG has some amazing aspects to its program (free hotel night anywhere in the world) and some not so amazing things, namely, difficulty of attaining meaningful elite status. That meant no lounge access, no free breakfast, no upgrade.
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Vietnam #2: The Best Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam #1: It’s a Long Ass Flight to Vietnam

I am in love with the InterContinental Asiana in HCMC. Like head-over-heels, I-want-to-marry-this-hotel in love. Has anyone ever said that about an InterContinental hotel before? I don’t know, but I will explain.

The InterContinental Asiana has two buildings. The first is your standard InterContinental hotel. The second is the InterContinental Asiana Residences – which are apartment style hotel rooms. You get all the benefits of staying in a hotel, but you also get an apartment. Why anyone would book the regular hotel over the residences boggles the mind (the prices were the same when we booked).

Our apartment is 700 square feet – huge by hotel standards, and even large by New York City apartment standards. That includes a large bedroom, a lovely bathroom, a living room, a dining room, a small kitchen area, a terrace, and a washing machine. Yes, a WASHING MACHINE. In HCMC’s sweltering, unrelenting humidity, the washing machine has changed my life.

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Living room, dining room, and kitchen

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Living room

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Dining room and living room

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Bathtub

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Bedroom (before we figured out how to turn on the lights)

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WASHING MACHINE!!!

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The view from our terrace

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The view from our terrace – you can catch a glimpse of Notre Dame Cathedral in the bottom left hand corner

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The restaurant located in the lobby of the residences

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The front desk

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The lobby

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The outdoor swimming pool

The hotel is centrally located on the border between District 1 and District 3 – the two main tourist areas. We are a 10-15 minute walk to the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum in one direction and a 10-15 minute walk to the Saigon River in the other direction. We are a stone’s throw away from at least two malls, and our building houses a small grocery store on the ground floor, which has proved abundantly useful.

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12 Nights of Vietnam Hotels for $92.50

I hope you’re not tired of listening to me gush about the  power of miles and points. WARNING: There is more gushing to come. We leave for Vietnam in one week (!!!!!), and we’ve been busy planning.

The short story is we booked 12 nights at pretty nice hotels for $92.50 a person. Here’s the breakdown:

Ho Chi Minh City: Five nights at Intercontinental Asiana Residences for 95,000 IHG points, one free night, and $40.

Da Nang: Three nights at the Hyatt Regency for 18,000 Hyatt points, one free night, and $75.

Hue: One night at the Eldora Hotel for $70.

Hanoi: Three nights at the Sheraton Hanoi for 10,000 SPG points.

The long story is, well, much longer.

As soon as Lisa and I booked our flights to Vietnam, I made a map and chart of all the possible hotel options. I did an audit of my hotel points and asked Lisa to do the same. I had spent many of my points in Scotland, so I need to figure out which points I needed to restock.

We started with Lisa. I had convinced her to get the IHG credit card for a bonus of 70,000 points. A couple of months later, Lisa was sitting on 75,000 IHG points. That was enough for three nights at the Intercontinental Asiana Saigon Residences in Ho Chi Minh City at 25,000 points a night. Ho Chi Minh has a number of nice hotels – from Hyatt, to SPG, to IHG, to Marriott – but the Asiana Residences offered apartment sized rooms with an actual living room and kitchen. That was a no-brainer. I just had to cobble together points for two additional nights. Luckily, the anniversary on my own IHG credit card reset on October 1, granting me another free annual night. Four nights down, one to go. Thanks to IHG’s 10 percent rebate on redemptions and my Chase points, I managed to accrue 20,000 points. That plus $40 gave us our fifth night.

Next up is the coastal city of Da Nang. This was a simple process of elimination. Da Nang has two points hotels: The swanky Intercontinental and the Hyatt Regency. We were fresh out of IHG points so I needed to cobble together three nights’ worth of Hyatt points. My Hyatt credit card give me a free annual night at a category 1 – 4 hotel. That’s one night. I transferred 12,000 Chase ultimate reward points and booked our second night. For our third night, I used 6,000 Hyatt points and $75. Three nights – done.

Our next stay is in the ancient city of Hue. There are no points hotels, but plenty of great, affordable options. You can book a motel for as low as $15, but we splurged on the four-star Eldora Hotel for $70.

Our last hotel stay is in Hanoi. We decided to stay in the ultra-bargain Sheraton (where my SPG credit card will get us access to the lounge!) for 3,000 – 3,500 points a night.

And that’s how we booked 12 nights of hotels for $185. Split between two people, that’s only $92.50 a person!

 

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HOTEL REVIEW: INTERCONTINENTAL PARIS LE GRAND

When I booked the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand with my Priority Club points, I scoured FlyerTalk and other travel blogs for reviews. Many were uncomplimentary, focusing on the small room size and the lack of benefits for platinum Priority Club members. Despite these reviews, I booked the hotel because of its central location and the thousands of Priority Club points I’ve accumulated.

So far, my experience has been great.

We arrived at the Intercontinental at 10 in the morning. The woman at check-in was friendly and allowed us to check in early which was incredibly appreciated since it was 4 a.m. New York time and we were falling on our faces. When I asked if I got anything for being a platinum member, she told me she upgraded the room from a classic to a superior room and gave me free internet. This is a huge deal since Internet at the Intercontinental costs 24 euros per day.

I’m somewhat skeptical of “complimentary upgrades” because a hotel will often give you an extra lamp and call it an upgrade. I prepared myself for closet-size proportions, but when I walked into the room, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it’s small by American standards. But by European standards, it’s quite nice, beautifully furnished and designed, with a decent sized bathroom (complete with complimentary robes and slippers).  Hotel staff also came by later with complimentary bottles of water and a case of pastry-like items.

So far, I’m loving our hotel. Some pictures:

Intercontinental Le Grand

Entrance to the Intercontinental Le Grand

Lobby with elevators

Elevator area

Restaurant/lounge area

Restaurant/lounge area

Lounger roof

Roof of restaurant/lounge area

The room

The superior room

Bathroom

Bathroom

Not sure why they have a separate room for the toilet, but I'm not complaining

Not sure why they have a separate room for the toilet, but I’m not complaining

View from the room

View from the room

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