Adelaide: Intercontinental installs bulk bathroom amenities
Hyatt made a promise a while ago to reduce the hotel group’s use of single-use plastics and waste through the elimination of single-use amenities. It was soon joined by every other major hotel group including IHG – including the Intercontinental brand.
Over Christmas, I stayed at the Intercontinental Adelaide and burned off a few of my saved IHG Rewards points. I think AU$24 a night plus points is a good deal.
Earlier this year the hotel announced an AU$32 million refurbishment with planning scheduled to commence in late 2021, and actual work to start in 2022. There is little sign of this at the hotel, which continues to have a past-its-prime, ‘I was born in the 80’s’ vibe. What I mean is, the room furniture is a bit scuffed, with the custom-built triangular fridges looking the worse for wear, if they are still operating.
The orange marble bathrooms in the standard rooms – only the club floors have the more subtle dark brown marble – have now earnt status as a design icon!
However, it has made some move towards this environmental stance and has removed individual bathroom amenities Including the usual cotton buds, nail file, shower cap etc as well as the standard shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion, from the rooms, as well as the food and service compendium. Fortunately, the soap, which I like a lot, has been retained in this all bath-in-the-room hotel.
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As a COVID measure, room service menus as part of the information compendium were removed from the rooms some time ago, replaced by a printed sheet handed to you at check-in. Now, at least in my room on the 20th floor, tablet based ordering systems have been added to the bedside, along with new larger Televisions with Comcast capabilities.
The ordering system seemed a bit half-baked with pictures of room service meals mostly missing, however the larger TV’s and the ability to stream media from your own device was pretty impressive. The in-house TV stations programs seemed out of sync with the start times displayed on the on-screen program guide. A little un-nerving if you wanted to catch up with the ABC 7pm news, displayed as playing at 8 pm, but actually broadcast at 7 pm. Yep, its confusing.
Swedish company Byredo is the new brand for the bulk amenities now in the bathrooms. The Bal d’Afrique scented unctions are very pleasant, designed by the perfumier Ben Gorham as a fantasy homage to the African travels of his father. Top notes include: African Marigold, Bergamot, Bucchu; with a heart of Cyclamen, Violet, and base notes of Moroccan Cedarwood and Vetiver. Although equally pleasant, it is very different from the previous amenities with a crisp lemon verbena scent from Agraria. If you want to try out the new Byredo scents, then drop into you local Mecca store.
The Intercontinental requires quite a makeover if it is to rival its new next-door neighbour, Eos at Sky City, which barring the new Sofitel (where I haven’t stayed yet) is the best hotel in town. However, redesigning the entrance the public spaces and the rooms will only go so far. The hotel’s service, everything from the in-room dining menus through to staff to guest communication needs looking at. Currently, you can’t rely on one department communicating with another, and back in 2020/21, you couldn’t even get reception, or concierge, or room service on the phone, and no one rang you back despite selecting that option.
Comcast and mobile device ordering are a start, but there is a long way still to go.