Hotels Reviews

Review: Intercontinental Barclay New York City

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Intercontinental Barclay

This is the second time I’ve stayed at the Intercontinental Barclay since its reopening post major renovation. The first time was back in 2019 when my family used NYC to position for a trip to Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. I had a really lovely time at the Barclay, and normally I would opt to review a new hotel if returning to a city, but in 2021 my wife filmed her Apple TV show, Suspicion, at the Barclay and I thought it’d be cool to stay here and bring back memories for both of us.

Anyways…Let’s delve into revisiting the Intercontinental Barclay

A little history on the Intercontinental Barclay…In 1926, The Vanderbilt family funded the construction of the Barclay. Coincidentally, another famous and wealthy New Yorker, John Jacob Astor, built The St. Regis in 1904. Both hotels are within walking distance of each other, roughly 10 minutes, and you can’t really go wrong with either hotel’s location. I lived in NYC for a couple of years after college on 61st and Lex, not far from the hotel, so I’d often walk by the Barclay and the Waldorf ( across the street ) and think about staying here one day.

The hotel now features 702 rooms and 31 suites across 13 floors. In 2017, I stayed at the Times Square Intercontinental so I was intrigued by staying in its sister property across town as a comparison.

Here’s a look at the lobby which features a nice open concept bar off across from check-in. Some people where masks, most do not.

a group of people sitting in a large room

Stay Details:

  • When: April 2019 and Returned March 2022
  • Where: Intercontinental Barclay
  • Cost: Chase IHG Select Free Night Certificate
    • 36,800 points during my stay period
  • Loyalty:
    • IHG Spire Elite + Intercontinental Ambassador
  • Amenity Fee
    • $40.16 and includes a $25 food and beverage credit and $20 laundry credit
  • Ambassador benefits
    • $20 food and beverage credit
    • 4pm late check out
    • 2 bottles of water from mini bar
    • Stay in 2019 ->Upgrade to Barclay Room and $20 dining credit once during stay
    • Stay in 2022 -> Upgrade to Premier King Room

Check-in

I’ve written about Intercontinental Ambassador status and the value it gives my family with upgrades, free nights, etc. Expedited check-in is another perk and the Intercontinental Barclay actually offers a private room to check-in via Guest Relations, next to their Concierge. I missed this room the last time I stayed here, but upon return I used this private area and it was very quick.

a lobby with a painting on the wall

Amenity Fee

The amenity fee is something new to the Intercontinental Barclay that is utterly annoying. A similar fee was assessed at the Kimpton La Peer and it’s a cheeky way to charge more and is akin to a destination or resort fee. If you dine in the restaurant/bar then you’ll get an offset of that fee, but if you don’t, it’s lost and does not accumulate over the stay. Use it each day or lose it.

  • $25 food and beverage credit
  • $20 laundry/dry cleaning credit

a black text on a white background

Ambassador benefits

  • Room Upgrade
  • $20 food and beverage credit for the stay
  • guaranteed 4pm late check out
  • high speed internet complimentary

a two signs with textThe Room

On this most recent stay I was given an upgrade from a standard Superior to a Premier King. It’s nice to get upgrades on award stays and have Ambassador benefits extended without paying a cash rate. All of the rooms measure in around 300 sq feet, and by looking at the website I can’t really see a big difference in how the rooms are appointed from the standard Superior to the Barclay ( the largest non-suite room ), aside from having more light, a small table, etc.

The mural on the wall was pretty cool too.

Having two windows filled the room with tons of light; however, on my last stay I scored a Barclay King which is basically the same room but on a corner. That was just a bit nicer than this room, but basically the same. It is worth noting that some Executive rooms come with fireplaces which would be really cool if you’re visiting in the winter.

The biggest negative is thin walls. You can hear conversations, hallway noise, etc.

a room with a bed and a table and chairs

Walking into the room there is a small mini bar to the left and closet to the right. The waters in the mini bar were complimentary since I have Ambassador status.

The bathroom is modern with subway tiles, and a stand alone sink. With just 300 sq ft to work with, removing the tub, and providing a large, bright shower was a great move.

a bathroom with a mirror and a stand up shower

New products which I appreciated…mini dove soap

a tray with items on it

Gym/Business Center

There is a nice, modern gym, albeit small for a hotel with 702 rooms that features treadmills, free weights, and several brand new nautilus style machines. Just outside the gym is a 2 desk business center with copy/fax/print station.

Overall:

I really enjoyed our return to the Intercontinental Barclay and wouldn’t hesitate to stay again. I’d be interested to try out the two Kimptons; however I like this area of town better than either of those two. The Barclay offers a far more calm and serene experience than does its sister across town, the Intercontinental Times Square ( but if you’re going to NYC for theatre…it’s a great option ).

The Intercontinental Barclay has been pricing under $300 a night for months now, which is a great deal in NYC, and this hotel shines in that price range. NYC is super expensive; however, in the past there have been many times I’ve looked at the hotel and seen prices north of $500. At those rates, and this largely depends on the what the competition is offering, you can stay in better hotels paying cash.

It’ll be interesting to see what the Waldorf Astoria does to the Barclay’s pricing. It’s currently being renovated, directly across the street, and I have a feeling it’s going to be absolutely stunning with prices north of $1k a night. Will that drive prices up? Who knows, but I think south of $350 is a nice sweet spot for the hotel in off-peak travel times.

Using points during peak? Great deal, especially if you’re staying for 4+ nights and making use of the 4th night free benefit offered by the Chase IHG Rewards Premier or IHG Rewards Business Premier. Let’s say it averages around 50k a night, you could snag 4 nights for just 150k points.  Even at 70k I’d say that’s a pretty solid deal and hard to beat.

I still carry the IHG Rewards Select and get a 10% discount on points, so if you’re like me, you could pick up 150k points for $750, or $175 a night. You’d still need to pay the amenity fee, but my golly, that is a great deal in NYC.

Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Doha

 

 

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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