The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is one of the world’s leading hotel chains, with over 5,000 properties in over 100 countries. But when was the first InterContinental hotel opened? The answer takes us back to the roaring twenties, a time of glamour, extravagance, and a thirst for exploration. In this deep dive into the history of luxury accommodations, we’ll uncover the fascinating story behind the first InterContinental hotel and how it paved the way for the global hospitality empire we know today. Get ready to embark on a journey of elegance, innovation, and the pursuit of the perfect night’s sleep.
The Early Years of InterContinental Hotels Group
The Founding of the Company
The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) was founded in 1946 by a group of American hoteliers, led by President Ernest Henderson and Chairman Juan Trippe. The vision of the founders was to create a global hotel chain that would provide high-quality accommodations and services to travelers around the world.
The name of the company was chosen to reflect its international scope and ambition. The word “InterContinental” was chosen to emphasize the company’s goal of creating a seamless network of hotels across multiple continents.
In its early years, IHG focused on acquiring and managing existing hotels, rather than building new ones. The first acquisition was the Statler Hotel in Dallas, Texas, which was purchased in 1948. This hotel would go on to become one of the flagship properties of the IHG brand, and would serve as a model for the company’s future expansion.
The Expansion of the Company
The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) was founded in 1946, and since then, it has grown to become one of the largest hotel chains in the world. In the early years, IHG focused on expanding its presence in the United Kingdom, where it was founded. However, as the company grew, it began to expand its operations to other parts of the world.
The First Hotel Outside of the UK
The first hotel outside of the UK was the first significant step in IHG’s global expansion. It was opened in 1948 in Belgium, making it the first hotel in Continental Europe under the InterContinental brand. This move was a strategic one, as it allowed IHG to tap into the growing European market and establish a presence in the region.
The First Hotel in Continental Europe
The first hotel in Continental Europe was a significant milestone for IHG, as it marked the company’s entry into the European market. The hotel, which was opened in Brussels, Belgium, in 1948, was a symbol of IHG’s ambition to become a global brand. It was a luxury hotel that offered high-quality accommodation and services to its guests, and it quickly became popular among travelers.
The First Hotel in Asia
IHG’s expansion into Asia began in 1963 with the opening of the first hotel in Tokyo, Japan. This was a strategic move, as Asia was becoming an increasingly important market for the hospitality industry. The hotel was a luxury property that offered high-quality accommodation and services to its guests, and it quickly became popular among travelers. The opening of this hotel marked the beginning of IHG’s expansion into Asia, which would continue in the years to come.
The Golden Age of InterContinental Hotels
The Architecture and Design of InterContinental Hotels
The InterContinental Style
The InterContinental style was characterized by a fusion of European elegance and American sophistication. This distinctive style was achieved by incorporating elements of classic architecture, such as columns, arches, and domes, while also incorporating modern materials and technologies. The InterContinental style aimed to create a sense of grandeur and luxury, which was achieved through the use of rich colors, lavish fabrics, and intricate detailing.
The Iconic Buildings
InterContinental hotels were known for their iconic buildings, which became landmarks in the cities where they were located. These buildings were designed by renowned architects, such as Emery Roth and Pereira & Luckman, and featured innovative designs that captured the imagination of the public. The iconic buildings of InterContinental hotels were not only architectural marvels but also served as symbols of the luxury and glamour associated with the brand.
The Art Deco Influence
The Art Deco style had a significant influence on the design of InterContinental hotels. The sleek lines, geometric shapes, and bold colors of Art Deco were incorporated into the architecture and interior design of InterContinental hotels, creating a unique and timeless aesthetic. The Art Deco influence could be seen in the lobbies, ballrooms, and other public spaces of InterContinental hotels, where it added a sense of sophistication and glamour to the overall design.
In conclusion, the architecture and design of InterContinental hotels played a crucial role in creating the luxurious and iconic image of the brand. The fusion of classic and modern elements, the iconic buildings, and the Art Deco influence all contributed to the unique and timeless aesthetic of InterContinental hotels, which continues to captivate and inspire to this day.
The Service and Amenities of InterContinental Hotels
The High Standard of Service
From the very beginning, InterContinental Hotels has been renowned for its exceptional service. The brand has always prioritized providing personalized experiences to its guests, going above and beyond to meet their every need. The staff at InterContinental Hotels are highly trained professionals who understand the importance of creating a welcoming and memorable atmosphere for each guest. Whether it’s assisting with travel arrangements, recommending local attractions, or simply providing a friendly ear, the service at InterContinental Hotels is truly second to none.
The Unique Amenities
InterContinental Hotels has always been at the forefront of luxury accommodations, offering guests a range of unique amenities that set it apart from other hotels. From state-of-the-art fitness centers and spa facilities to fine dining restaurants and stunning views, each InterContinental Hotel offers a distinctive experience that caters to the discerning tastes of its clientele. Additionally, many InterContinental Hotels offer exclusive access to nearby attractions and activities, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the local culture and customs.
The Dining Experience
InterContinental Hotels is also known for its exceptional dining experiences, with many of its properties boasting award-winning restaurants and world-renowned chefs. From casual cafes to elegant fine dining establishments, each InterContinental Hotel offers a range of dining options to suit every taste and preference. Whether it’s a gourmet meal or a simple snack, guests can expect an unparalleled culinary experience at any InterContinental Hotel. Additionally, many of the hotels offer unique dining experiences, such as private dining rooms or outdoor terraces with stunning views, making for a truly memorable meal.
The Celebrity Guests of InterContinental Hotels
From the time the first InterContinental Hotel opened its doors, it has been a preferred destination for the world’s elite. Royalty from various countries have been frequent guests at InterContinental Hotels, enjoying the luxurious accommodations and top-notch service.
One of the most notable royal guests was the late Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. She stayed at the InterContinental Hotel in London on several occasions, including during her honeymoon with Prince Philip in 1947. Other members of the British royal family, such as Prince Charles and Princess Diana, have also stayed at InterContinental Hotels around the world.
The Hollywood Stars
InterContinental Hotels have also been a popular choice for Hollywood stars over the years. From the golden age of cinema to the present day, many famous actors and actresses have stayed at InterContinental Hotels while filming on location or attending events and premieres.
Some of the most famous Hollywood stars who have stayed at InterContinental Hotels include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton. Monroe famously stayed at the InterContinental Hotel in New York City while filming the movie “The Seven Year Itch” in 1954, where she famously stood on a subway grate and had her dress blown up by the passing train. Taylor and Burton stayed at the InterContinental Hotel in Rome during their tumultuous relationship in the 1960s.
The Political Leaders
In addition to royalty and Hollywood stars, InterContinental Hotels have also been a favorite among political leaders throughout the years. Heads of state, prime ministers, and other high-ranking officials have stayed at InterContinental Hotels while attending international conferences, negotiating deals, or simply taking a break from their duties.
Some notable political leaders who have stayed at InterContinental Hotels include former U.S. President Barack Obama, who stayed at the InterContinental Hotel in Tokyo during a trip to Asia in 2014. Other political leaders who have stayed at InterContinental Hotels include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The InterContinental Hotels Today
The Evolution of the Brand
The Rebranding of the Company
The first InterContinental Hotel was opened in San Francisco in 1960. However, the company’s evolution began much earlier, with the establishment of the first International Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1916. The International Hotel was the creation of Ernest Henderson, who sought to provide luxury accommodations for visitors to Hawaii. The hotel quickly gained popularity, and Henderson began expanding his business, eventually opening additional properties in other parts of the United States.
In 1946, the International Hotel chain was purchased by the Pan American Airways, which expanded the hotel’s presence globally. The company’s growth continued under Pan American Airways’ ownership, and in 1972, the International Hotel chain was renamed InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).
The Modern InterContinental Hotels
IHG continued to expand and evolve over the years, with the introduction of several new hotel brands and the acquisition of other hotel chains. In 2001, IHG launched the InterContinental Alliance program, which allowed independent hotels to affiliate with the InterContinental brand while maintaining their individuality.
Today, InterContinental Hotels Group operates over 5,000 hotels across 100 countries, with 17 different hotel brands under its umbrella. The InterContinental brand itself is known for its luxury accommodations and high-end amenities, with a focus on providing personalized service to guests.
The New Generation of InterContinental Hotels
In recent years, IHG has focused on innovation and sustainability in its hotel design and operations. The company has invested in new technologies, such as smart room keys and mobile check-in, to enhance the guest experience. Additionally, IHG has made a commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and increasing energy efficiency in its hotels.
As the world continues to evolve, InterContinental Hotels Group is poised to adapt and meet the changing needs of its guests. With a rich history of luxury accommodations and a commitment to innovation, the InterContinental brand remains a leader in the hospitality industry.
The Current Portfolio of InterContinental Hotels
The Number of Hotels
Today, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) operates over 5,600 hotels across 100 countries, boasting a diverse portfolio of luxury accommodations. Their global reach allows them to cater to the discerning tastes of travelers from all corners of the world.
The Locations of Hotels
InterContinental Hotels are found in major cities and tourist destinations across the globe. From the bustling metropolises of New York City and London to the picturesque landscapes of Bali and Rio de Janeiro, IHG has established a strong presence in prime locations worldwide. This ensures that their guests have access to the best experiences that each destination has to offer.
The Types of Hotels
IHG’s portfolio includes a range of luxury hotel brands, each with its own unique character and style. These brands cater to various segments of the market, including:
- InterContinental Hotels & Resorts: Offering a sophisticated blend of modern luxury and rich heritage, these properties are found in prestigious locations worldwide. They provide an unparalleled level of service and amenities to meet the needs of both business and leisure travelers.
- Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants: Known for their distinctive design and personalized guest experiences, Kimpton properties are located in vibrant urban locations and desirable vacation spots. They provide a sense of individuality and warmth, creating a true home away from home for their guests.
* Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas: These boutique properties are located in serene and picturesque settings, offering a focus on wellness, sustainability, and a strong connection to the local culture. Each Six Senses location provides a one-of-a-kind experience that blends luxury with a sense of adventure.
Through their diverse portfolio, InterContinental Hotels Group is able to cater to a wide range of travelers, ensuring that each guest has a memorable and enjoyable stay.
The Future of InterContinental Hotels
The Expansion Plans
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has a clear expansion strategy for the future. The company aims to reach 100,000 rooms in key cities across Asia by 2025. They also plan to double their footprint in key markets like London, New York, and San Francisco by 2026. Furthermore, IHG has a target of having 20% of its hotel portfolio in the luxury segment by 2025.
The Sustainability Initiatives
As the world becomes more conscious of environmental issues, sustainability has become a significant aspect of the hospitality industry. IHG is committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 36% by 2030 and 84% by 2050. They also aim to reduce their water usage by 30% by 2022. The company is also committed to sourcing 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2040.
The Technological Advancements
IHG is investing heavily in technology to enhance the guest experience. They have introduced a new digital platform called IHG One Rewards, which allows guests to earn and redeem points across all IHG brands. The company is also working on incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning into its operations to provide more personalized experiences for guests.
Overall, the future of InterContinental Hotels looks bright, with a focus on expansion, sustainability, and technological advancements. With these initiatives in place, the company is well-positioned to continue providing luxury accommodations to travelers around the world.
The InterContinental Hotels in Popular Culture
The Iconic Movie Scenes
- “The Shining” (1980) – The Overlook Hotel, where the Torrances reside as caretakers, is a fictional InterContinental Hotel located in Colorado. The hotel’s grandeur and isolation serve as a backdrop for the supernatural events that unfold throughout the film.
- “Casino Royale” (2006) – The iconic James Bond film opens with a thrilling chase scene across the roof of the InterContinental Hotel in Montenegro. The scene showcases the hotel’s striking architecture and panoramic views, setting the stage for a high-stakes espionage mission.
- “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001) – The remake of the classic heist film features the InterContinental Hotel in Las Vegas as the primary location for the team’s planning and execution of the casino heist. The opulent hotel lobby and luxurious suites serve as the backdrop for the team’s strategizing and camaraderie.
The Famous Literary References
- Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” (1934) – The renowned mystery novel is set on the luxurious Orient Express, which stops at the fictional InterContinental Hotel in Istanbul. The hotel serves as a crucial setting for the investigation of the murder and the unraveling of the plot by the world-famous detective, Hercule Poirot.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” (1925) – In the novel, the InterContinental Hotel in New York City represents the epitome of wealth and glamour during the Roaring Twenties. The hotel serves as a frequent meeting place for the characters, including the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, as they navigate the complexities of the Jazz Age social scene.
The Unforgettable Music Videos
- Madonna’s “Material Girl” (1985) – The music video for Madonna’s signature hit features the singer lounging in luxury at the InterContinental Hotel in New York City. The opulent surroundings and glamorous atmosphere complement the song’s theme of wealth and material success.
- Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” (1991) – The music video for the hit single includes a memorable scene where Michael Jackson dances in front of the InterContinental Hotel in Los Angeles. The video’s choreography and iconic moments have cemented the hotel’s presence in popular culture.
These examples demonstrate the InterContinental Hotels’ prominence in popular culture, with their grand architecture and luxurious atmosphere featuring prominently in various forms of media.
The InterContinental Hotels and the World
The InterContinental Hotels and Resorts is a world-renowned hotel chain that boasts over 200 luxury properties across the globe. The company’s reach is vast, spanning six continents and 81 countries, making it one of the largest hotel chains in the world.
The InterContinental Hotels and Resorts has a significant global presence, with properties in major cities such as London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Dubai. The company’s hotels can be found in popular tourist destinations, business hubs, and cultural centers, catering to both leisure and corporate travelers.
Diverse Range of Properties
The InterContinental Hotels and Resorts offers a diverse range of properties, from urban skyscrapers to exotic beach resorts. Each property is unique, reflecting the local culture and architecture while maintaining the company’s high standards of luxury and service.
The InterContinental Hotels and Resorts is known for its culinary experiences, with many properties featuring world-class restaurants and bars. From fine dining to casual beachside eateries, the company’s hotels offer a wide range of dining options to suit all tastes and preferences.
The InterContinental Hotels and Resorts is committed to sustainable tourism and responsible travel. Many of the company’s properties are involved in environmental and social initiatives, such as reducing energy consumption, supporting local communities, and promoting cultural heritage preservation.
The InterContinental Hotels and Resorts offers guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in local culture. Many properties are located in UNESCO World Heritage sites, historic districts, or vibrant neighborhoods, allowing guests to experience the local culture, traditions, and customs.
Overall, the InterContinental Hotels and Resorts has a significant global presence, with a diverse range of properties that cater to different travelers’ needs and preferences. The company’s commitment to sustainable tourism and cultural immersion makes it a preferred choice for discerning travelers seeking luxury accommodations worldwide.
1. When was the first InterContinental hotel opened?
The first InterContinental hotel was opened in 1963 in Beirut, Lebanon. It was the result of a collaboration between two visionary hotel companies, Pan American World Airways and Hilton International. The hotel was designed to cater to the needs of international travelers and offered luxurious accommodations and amenities.
2. Who founded the InterContinental hotel chain?
The InterContinental hotel chain was founded by two hotel companies, Pan American World Airways and Hilton International. The first hotel was opened in Beirut, Lebanon in 1963, and since then, the chain has expanded to include over 200 hotels and resorts across the globe.
3. What makes InterContinental hotels different from other hotels?
InterContinental hotels are known for their luxurious accommodations and amenities, as well as their commitment to providing exceptional service to guests. The hotels are located in prime locations in major cities and resort destinations around the world, and offer a range of dining options, including fine-dining restaurants and casual cafes. The hotels also offer a range of recreational facilities, such as fitness centers, spas, and pools.
4. What is the history of the InterContinental hotel chain?
The InterContinental hotel chain has a rich history dating back to the opening of the first hotel in Beirut, Lebanon in 1963. Since then, the chain has expanded to include over 200 hotels and resorts across the globe, and has become one of the most recognizable names in the hospitality industry. The chain has been owned by several different companies over the years, including the original founders, Pan American World Airways and Hilton International, as well as current owner, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group).
5. How has the InterContinental hotel chain evolved over the years?
The InterContinental hotel chain has evolved significantly over the years, with new hotels and resorts being added to the chain, and existing properties undergoing renovations and upgrades. The chain has also expanded its offerings to include a range of dining options, recreational facilities, and special services for guests. In addition, the chain has continued to prioritize sustainability and responsible tourism, and has implemented a number of initiatives to reduce its environmental impact and support local communities.