The new 256-bedroom hotel, which joins the InterContinental Park Lane, opened its doors to guests last week in the UK's political heartland as part of a £150m investment into the area.
Andrew Coney, who has worked for Forte and De Vere, was appointed general manager of the hotel, situated in the Queen Anne's Chambers, in February last year and has been responsible for overseeing the property's final building and design work.
He said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to launch InterContinental Hotels’ first establishment in London for over 36 years. The location excites me tremendously as I believe Westminster is calling out for what InterContinental can offer; a destination where politics, business and influencers can all come together. InterContinental Westminster will be at the heart of an area undergoing an exciting period of regeneration."
Coney will also be responsible for overseeing the hotel's 180-strong staff, some of which have been recruited through a partnership with Soldier On! a charity which helps find work for former members of the armed services.
The charity's founder and managing director Nicholas Harrison has been working closely with Coney to help find the right candidates with a small number already in place at the hotel. He said ex-servicemen and women often had 'the right characteristics and operational experience' needed to work in the hospitality industry and was 'thrilled' to be working with InterContinental.
Coney added: "We are extremely proud to be partnering with Soldier On!; the focus and drive of experienced veterans will be a huge asset to our team and we too will benefit from the skills and qualifications they’ve acquired through years of service. We anticipate that they will set a fine example in our industry.”
Food and beverage
As well as luxury rooms and suites, The InterContinental London Westminster has a strong food and beverage offering under its roof, which marketing director Ed Purnell told BigHospitality was expected to attract both guests and non-guests, including politicians and business people.
Alongside the hotel's cocktail bar Emmeline's, named after political activist Emmeline Pankhurst, is the Blue Boar Smokehouse & Bar.
The restaurant, overseen by head chef Jon Ingram, will focus on marrying British produce with American pit-master smokehouse techniques with dishes including Blue Boar barbequed baby back ribs and English mustard glazed rare breed pork belly while the bar, which has been fitted with an eight minute division bell, has been styled on a pub rather than a traditional hotel bar to best fit with its Westminster surroundings and attract politicians, tourists and drinkers.
BigHospitality was invited along to take a look at the hotel last week just before it opened. Return to the site next week to see our exclusive video of our trip there, including interviews with Coney and Purnell.