As an event professional and more importantly resident and lover of all things Greenwich, I was extremely excited to hear about the opening of the hotel I’m featuring in my first Diary of an #Eventprof’s ‘Venue Spotlight’ feature.
In terms of new hotel openings this has to be one of the most eagerly anticipated for some time now and I had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Raj Shah, Commercial Director of The Arora Group and the hotel group responsible for delivering the ‘InterContinental® London – The O2’ to us later this year.
Here’s what I wanted to know as an event professional about the vision and plans for the hotel and what Raj had to say…
Q. Apart from the obvious being right next door to The O2 Arena, what made you decide on the location for the hotel?
This area of London has seen a huge surge in visitors and interest from across the globe following the success of the 2012 London Olympics and the development of the impressive Olympic Park and it is home to some of the largest purpose-built event spaces in the UK. The InterContinental® London – The O2 is adjacent to The O2 arena, and ExCeL London can be reached within minutes via the Emirates Airline cable car so the hotel is perfectly placed to complete the events triangle of East London, adding a huge ballroom and conference centre complemented by 453 luxury guestrooms, bars and restaurants overlooking Canary Wharf and the river Thames.
Historic Royal Greenwich has always attracted a worldwide audience for its heritage and sites of significance and the Greenwich Peninsula, where the hotel is located, is the modern accompaniment with an exciting mix of new residential developments, corporate offices, pop up bars, music festivals and a whole host of new leisure attractions to engage national and international visitors. Furthermore, the hotel is ideally placed for events in the capital, just 6 miles from London City Airport, reached from the West End within 10 minutes on the Jubilee Line and just across the river from Canary Wharf. In addition, we’re excited that the forthcoming Cross Rail service into Canary Wharf will bring even more visitors into London with ease.
Q. Who are the key members of your events team and what’s their background?
We anticipated that a hotel development of this size and significance would generate a lot of interest from the market and from our own teams within the Arora Hotel Group and we weren’t wrong! We are delighted to have been able to promote managers from our Sofitel Hotels at Heathrow Terminal 5 and Gatwick and the Renaissance London Heathrow and been able to create new positions to further strengthen the group. We are also days away from being able to announce the General Manager for the hotel and are still recruiting for some of the key positions in sales, revenue and operations in order to find the right people that share our vision, ambition and values. There is such a fantastic buzz within a pre-opening hotel team, like no other, so we’d welcome any interest from those who want to be part of this incredible journey.
Q. What style are you going for with the design of the hotel, who will it appeal to?
The hotel will operate under Arora’s management in one of the most vibrant new London destinations, so we have been careful to balance that history, legacy and culture with the iconic style and values of the global InterContinental® Hotel brand. The exterior is modern and sleek with the build incorporating as much floor-to-ceiling glass as possible to maximise the benefits of light and space and expose the breath-taking views of the river Thames.
The interiors are opulent and luxurious with textures and tones in keeping with the classic yet contemporary style of the InterContinental® universal trademark whilst celebrating the hotel’s location. Both our build and design teams have taken a great deal of inspiration from Greenwich’s maritime heritage, particularly when thinking about the concept, style and interiors of our bars and restaurants, for example our fine dining restaurant ‘The Peninsula’ draws its inspiration from the river Thames, whilst the ‘Market Brasserie’ is inspired by the local eclectic markets of Greenwich. We’re confident the hotel will appeal to a wide range of national and international guests for both leisure, business and events who are looking for a new venue of choice in this part of the capital with an internationally-recognised stamp of quality.
Q. Apart from a 3,000sqm pillar free ballroom, what’s your unique offering for events?
As well as having one of the largest pillar-free ballrooms in Europe at the heart of the hotel, accommodating up to 2,500 for a private dinner, InterContinental® London – The O2 also offers delegates a completely self-contained conference centre, with 20 multi-functional break out rooms, a dedicated entrance and onsite parking. Event organisers looking for a large venue for a conference, award ceremony or gala dinner, with all the luxury assumed only to be found in the West End, then InterContinental® London – The O2 offers them a new world-class venue of choice. The ballroom stands at an impressive 7.m in height and can be adapted into multiple configurations to accommodate smaller or dual-purpose events with a 1,600sqm breakout space providing panoramic views of the river Thames and the glittering bright lights of Canary Wharf.
Q. What type of events will be held in your hotel, where do you see your market?
InterContinental® London – The O2 has all the self-contained space and the grandeur to host large-scale conferences, congresses, award ceremonies and gala dinners, so we’re looking to attract corporate events from all over the world. Its location next to The O2 Arena and within moments of ExCeL London enables us to support their daytime exhibitions and conferences with our extensive banqueting capacity, so we’re looking to complement that business where we can.
We also see huge potential from Canary Wharf and the City for meetings, conferences, pop up exhibitions and private events of varying size and scale as well as that audience utilising our restaurant and bars as an extension of their boardrooms. Furthermore, our location on the riverside also includes a 400sqm outdoor space for team building activities and marquees to supplement our indoor space, so we have a wealth of flexible and versatile spaces both inside and out. It’s exciting!
I couldn’t agree more Raj!
I can’t wait to visit this hotel when it finally opens it’s doors. The InterContinental® London – The O2 is absolutely on my events radar now and I’ll most definitely be visiting their Rooftop Sky Bar for a mocktail! If you fancy heading east for your next event or cocktail and would like more information you can contact their sales team:
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8757 7771
Or visit their website here
Until next time #Eventprofs…