Four-star London hotel charging families £90 for an hour’s swim in pool

Fee ‘works out as a shocking £1.50 per minute’, points out father of two

Lucy Thackray
Wednesday 27 April 2022 11:05 BST
The pool at the Intercontinental O2, London
The pool at the Intercontinental O2, London (IHG Hotels)

One London hotel is billing its guests to swim in the hotel pool - with one family of four recently racking up a £90 fee for an hour’s swim.

Earlier this week, the InterContinental at the O2 in Greenwich started charging £30 per adult and £15 per child for an hour’s “session” in its indoor pool, which also includes access to a steam room, sauna and whirlpool tub.

The pool and spa area had previously been free to use for guests.

The dramatic fee addition was spotted by Rob Burgess, a hospitality and loyalty-points expert at the website HeadForPoints, when he took his partner and two children there for the weekend.

“I have a soft spot for InterContinental London The O2. It is a good quality hotel which can be excellent value on certain dates,” wrote Mr Burgess in a candid online review.

“As of yesterday, [the hotel] added a huge fee for using their swimming pool. It would now cost £90 for my wife and I, plus our two children, to have a dip for an hour. You literally just get a one hour slot for that price.”

The hotel website states: “From Monday 25 April 2022, we will be inviting guests to use our facilities at The Spa by making a booking with the relevant prices below:

“Hotel Guest Prices: Hotel Guests (Adult): £30, Hotel Guests (Child 5-18 years old): £15.”

To make matters worse, families are restricted to just four hours of the day in which to take their £90 swim.

“Children can only be booked at the Kids Swimming Pool Hours: 9-11am, 3.30-5.30pm” states the website.

Even if you are a member of IHG hotel’s $200-a-year (£159) Intercontinental Ambassador loyalty scheme, Mr Burgess points out, you only receive a £5 per person discount on that swimming fee.

“This pricing is, frankly, madness,” says Mr Burgess.

“It’s certainly a very impressive pool – I called it ‘stunning’ in my 2016 review – but the pool is the only reason that many people stay here if they don’t need to be at the O2. I can’t believe many families [are] prepared to pay £90 for a one hour slot.”

He called the move a “post-Covid money grab” on the hotel’s part, adding that he’d seen “illegal” resort fees - where a hotel charges an arbitrary fee for using its communal spaces or facilities - pop up in the UK since the travel slump during the pandemic.

“I suspect we’re going to see more and more of these erroneous charges being added to our bills as the travel industry recovers from Covid,” Mr Burgess warns.

“I would urge everyone to check the fine details to avoid disappointment or costly mistakes when booking hotels and other travel expenditure.”

The Independent has approached InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) for comment.

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