Intercontinental The Barclay

111 East 48th Street, New York City, New York, 10017, United States
#150 of 823 hotels in New York City
Very Good (3.5 out of 5.0) 6 reviews
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Total disappointment at the Barclay!!!

Terrible (1.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on May 27, 2009

First let me state that we have considered the Intercontinental Barclay “Home Base” for our many annual visits to NYC. We have been Priority Club members for over ten years and we had just purchased our Intercontinental Ambassador Club membership. We are also accustomed to what is considered a “normal” sized room in NYC, and modify our expectations accordingly. This was our first visit back to the Barclay since obtaining our Ambassador membership. Quite honestly, the primary reason for our becoming “ambassadors” was to gain the privileges of a guaranteed free room upgrade and a late checkout. We typically only stay at the Barclay for three or four nights, so the 4:00 PM checkout and a later flight would enable us to make the most of our last day in NYC.

Where do I begin… there were so many issues with our stay that it would probably be best if I just make a list. Please note that some of these issues may seem rather petty, but taken in context as a whole they all contributed to a very frustrating experience.

1. The Ambassador membership documentation states that we should have received a VIP greeting and in-room welcome gift. There was no such greeting and no gift. As a matter of fact, the Ambassador desk was not even staffed at the time of our arrival so we had to go through a normal check-in. We did arrive early and no room was available, so we checked our bags and returned several hours later.

2. The Ambassador membership documentation states that we should have received a newspaper every day, but we only received one during our entire stay.

3. The Ambassador membership documentation states that we should have received Fresh Fruit and Mineral Water upon arrival. We had to call the front desk later that evening to inquire about this. When it finally arrived we received a small bottle of generic grocery store water and a very small plate of fruit. We attempted to eat the fruit but not a single piece was ripe. Even though we set it by the door, the housekeeper did not remove it for two days!

4. We were told that we had received an upgrade to an “Executive Room”, but that certainly was not the case. The room was in terrible shape! (we were in room 560, please see attached photos). The bathroom door was rotting and peeling paint, and the area above the window was also breaking apart. And rather than a comfortable mattress we had to sleep on a plain, hard mattress that had been covered with some sort of down comforter and then covered with sheets. I awoke with a backache every morning!

5. There was only one trash receptacle in the entire room, and it was not in the bathroom. We left a note for the housekeeper to leave another trash can in the bathroom, but that never happened. We ended up leaving a plastic bag hanging from one of the toilet paper dispensers for the duration of our stay.

6. There was mold in the cracks of the marble in the tub/shower (please see photos). It felt disgusting to just take a shower, and even though my wife wanted to take a bath, she was afraid to even lie in the tub.

7. The makeup mirror (which does not hinge out) is mounted in the corner of the bathroom above the toilet. It is impossible to use this mirror unless you are kneeling on or leaning far over the toilet.

8. The hair dryer that was mounted to the wall had a faulty switch. You had to jiggle the switch to get the unit to come on,
and it did not operate at all on the high-heat setting. I called maintenance and asked for the unit to be replaced, but that also never happened. Let’s just say that my wife was not a happy camper and had several “bad hair days”!

9. The bathroom was so small, and given the location of the toilet paper holders, it was literally impossible for one to sit straight on the toilet! It was bad enough that it was not an elongated bowl, but to have to sit sideways just to go to the bathroom was unbelievable! (please see photo below) And yes, we are accustomed to small bathrooms in NYC, but we have never experienced such an uncomfortable feeling!

10. The morning after our first night’s stay I stopped by the front desk (the Ambassador desk was again unattended) to ask if we could be put in a different room. I was told that the hotel was fully booked and that another room was not available. I should have asked for a manager at that point, but I took the attendant at his word.

11. When we travel to NYC we always try to make the most of our trip. We usually stay up late in the “city that never sleeps”. But we were awakened early in the morning by construction going on in the room immediately next to ours. I even spoke with one of the construction workers, and he indicated this was going to be some sort of luxury “test room” that was unique to the hotel.

12. The morning of our departure I stopped by the front desk to ask for a late checkout (the Ambassador desk was attended this time but several people were in line waiting ahead of me). I politely asked the attendant for a late checkout, informing him we had an Ambassador membership. He immediately replied, “Well, the regular checkout time is at 12:00 PM… how late do you need the room?” I again politely stated that it was my understanding that as an Ambassador member I was entitled to a 4:00 PM checkout. Rather than acknowledging my request, the attendant stated “Well you do understand that the regular checkout time is at 12:00 PM!” I replied yes, that I knew what the “regular” checkout time is, but that I would appreciate the 4:00 PM checkout time. Without replying, the attendant began typing on his computer, and eventually blurted out (without even looking up at me) “OK, four o’clock”, and that was all he said. I don’t know the exact policy regarding the “automatic” 4:00 PM checkout for Ambassador members, but I don’t think I should have to beg for something I have already paid for!

13. The Ambassador membership documentation states that we should have received an “Instant check out”. Typically that means you are provided with some form of documentation (usually slipped under the door) indicating if there were any incidental charges, and you can simply sign the form and drop it off in the box. But we received no such documentation and we had to stand in line to go through the normal checkout process. On top of that, we were informed that there was a $30+ charge to our room. We were told that this was for a meal purchased at the hotel, but we never once ate at the hotel (and we never have)… it is simply too expensive. The charge was removed, but it was disappointing that it was there in the first place.

I have been corresponding with various IHG Guest Relations personnel for the last few weeks now. For the most part they have been extremely slow to respond and did so after being forced to. After weeks of escalating the whole sorted affair to IHG corporate, we did finally hear back from the Barclay Guest Relations Manager. Even though we provided our complete contact information, we were extremely surprised and disappointed that we received an email rather than a phone call. We incorrectly assumed that an Ambassador member experiencing issues such as this would have been worthy of more personal attention. And unfortunately, while the manager did apologize for some of what we encountered during the three miserable nights at his hotel, he openly confirmed our worst suspicions that our long-time favorite hotel is now “working under a new business model where they have cut back on staff as well as guest amenities”. While we can appreciate that it may be more expensive to operate a hotel in today’s economy, we assumed that the increase in rates the last year or two would have offset that. And please forgive my sarcasm, but since when is it an “amenity” to not have moldy tubs, a worn-out bed, crumbling ceilings and doors, and simply rude, poor service at a supposed 5-star Intercontinental hotel that goes for over $300.00 a night?

In addition, he did not at all address the hotel’s failure to appropriately provide the Ambassador related amenities, nor did he respond to my encounter with the attendant where I virtually had to beg for a late checkout. And while the complimentary night was a token apology, we simply have no desire to stay at this hotel in the future and respectfully declined the offer. It is obvious to us that given what we experienced and the manager’s own admissions that the hotel is operating under a different business model, this hotel no longer seems to be worthy of the Intercontinental name. We have recently performed extensive research into four-star and five-star hotels in Manhattan, and there are definitely many other establishments which have superior amenities, competitive rates and much higher customer satisfaction. We have since cancelled our Intercontinental Ambassador membership and we have no intention of patronizing IHG properties in the future. We strongly suggest that you consider other Midtown hotels when visiting NYC, as the Barclay just isn’t what it used to be.

Directions: Midtown NYC

carina.xxx's Profile Photo

The Barclay: perfect location

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on April 21, 2007

We were very satisfied about the hotel. It was a luxury room, large enough for the 3 of us.

Unique Quality: The perfect location !!

R_Bond's Profile Photo

A great 4 star hotel

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on March 17, 2007

I spent 7 nights at this hotel, it was very comfortable and worthy of the rating of 4 stars. The rooms were very clean and well maintained. Free newspapers each day outside your door, the usual 4-5 star treatment.
The gym was better than some even though it was compact, there was even a steam room with lockers. They didn't ask for my room number in the gym either!
The heating in the rooms was very good and important during the week of our stay as it was snowing!
The reception staff take a battering in other reviews on this hotel but I only Checked in/out and changed money once so I only have a good opinion of them.

We have stayed on or around Park avenue for the last three trips to New York (in different 4-5 star hotels) as the location can not be bettered. Just a couple of minutes walk to some of NY's best shopping and central park. Lexington avenue with Bloomingdales and the ever present Subway stops make it an easy place to get out and about, then back to the hotel when you are knakered with all those shopping bags!!
A great place to stay. But not cheap!!

Unique Quality: The decor of the hotel was one of the main reasons I wanted to stay here, renovated to a high standard you could almost be back in the 1930's.
This hotel provided a map of new york, however it has a voucher on the back for B&H (a fantastic electricals store near the town hall) with $10 off (including iPod!) most other vouchers exclude ipods and so this is quite rare. The shop was quite surprised to see it but did not question its value!

Directions: Between Park avenue and Lexington avenue.

Intercontinental The Barclay

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on March 13, 2007

The Barclay is one of the flagship hotels of the Intercontinental chain, and prides itself on its position at the very top of the tree. It is focused exclusively on business travellers, although it never tires of mentioning that its guests have included Nelson Mandela, Ernest Hemingway and Ronald Reagan - although, sadly, not at the same time, which would have made for an interesting breakfast meeting at the buffet.

The rooms are big for New York, but small compared to Shanghai or Beijing and huge compared to Amsterdam or Paris, with huge beds topped by plump pillows. You really can't beat an Intercon for great pillows. Given that I had just slept on a big flat bed across the Atlantic, I felt less need to crash out on the bed, but I know I will get a decent night's sleep here.

The room has all the usual conveniences, even if it is starting to show its age a little.

As with many older big city hotels, much of the charm is not so much in the room but in the marvellous public areas - all polished wooden floors, marble and panelling. Unlike the gauche lobbies of most Chinese hotels these days, the understated lobby of The Barclay is a classic of understatement and refinement.

Unique Quality: It's all very genteel and with excellent service, but then at US$269 a night, it really should be.

sunlovey's Profile Photo

A truly nice/elegant place to stay in NYC

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on February 1, 2005

Service- typical of such a hotel. Formal, impersonal.

Facilities- nice bar, lobby, restaurant

Our room was beautifully appointed. Loved the thick comforter and the stylish furniture, very elegant yet homey.

Unique Quality: Beautiful lobby.... husband and I loved sitting in it when we needed a break from the cold, sipping hot chocolate. Posh location.

A lovely place to come "home" to after a cold bustling day in NYC. I would definitely stay here again.

Nice Lobby, Poor Views at IC BARCLAY

Good (3.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on July 27, 2004

Very nice King Bed in a medium-sized room, poor views from room, nice lobby, great hdd-based pay-tv unit in room, good TV. Breakfast at $30 + tax + tip per person was a little pricey even for NY..

Prices for a double room vary greatly depending on the booking situation and time of year but basically minimum rates start at somewhere $150-200 per night.

Unique Quality: Even at a high rank in the hotel's member club, we were treated as "just some customer". Not rude but very near. They didn't even welcome us to the hotel or ask us how the stay was afterwards. Just bad day for the staff? This isn't what IC is all about.

Service left a little to be desired.

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Nearby Intercontinental The Barclay

Intercontinental The Barclay

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

  • Intercontinental Barclay Hotel New York
  • Intercontinental Barclay New York
  • Intercontinental New York City
  • New York City Intercontinental
  • Intercontinental New York Barclay Hotel New York City

Address: 111 East 48th Street, New York City, New York, 10017, United States

10 Photos of Intercontinental The Barclay

Amenities at Intercontinental The Barclay

  • Restaurant
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Fitness Center
  • Business Services
  • Pets Allowed
  • Suites
  • Bar / Lounge

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