Before my one night stay at the InterContinental Barclay NYC, I never really gave much thought to luxury hotels. Of course I like fancy hotels as much as the next traveler, but I have always preferred to spend my money on flights instead of finding the most luxurious accommodations.

Give me a quiet comfortable bed in a good location, and I’m good. I don’t need to be pampered while on the ground! Or so I thought…

A full review of my 1 night stay at the InterContinental Barclay in NYC

Since I didn’t really have any plans for my one night stay, I was quite flexible in terms of what part of the city I wanted to call my home base. I ultimately decided to stay near Grand Central Station, and the InterContinental Barclay one one of the options presented to me in my filtered search. It looked good, the price was decent (at least compared to everything else) so I booked it. Simple as that.

Getting there

A quick check of the traffic situation on google maps while standing curbside at JFK after arriving from LHR revealed that things looked bleak going into the city. I decided to splurge on a taxi.

Unfortunately, the traffic was getting brutal once we made it into midtown shortly after 1pm and I ended up getting out of the cab with several blocks to go and just walking the rest of the way. It was certainly faster than siting in traffic!

Queens Midtown tunnel exit
Emerging out of the Queens Midtown tunnel to find standing gridlock. Welcome to New York City!
NYC traffic
All of this traffic wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t 85 degrees with no breeze.

Making matters worse was how hot it was in the city that day. The calendar may have said late October, but it was 85 degrees and I was wearing far too many layers of clothing to feel comfortable.

First impressions

I was a hot sweaty mess by the time I reached the entrance to the InterContinental, and right away I felt hopelessly out of place. Everyone in the lobby was wearing suits and pretty dresses, while I trotted in drenched in sweaty khakis and a t-shirt. Yikes.

On one hand, I was feeling very awkward. On the other hand, this looked to be one heck of a nice hotel. Score!

InterContinental NYC Barclay exterior
I’ve arrived. I may be a hot sweaty mess, but I have indeed arrived.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC entrance
I love the huge awnings on NYC hotels. A very grand feeling!

The lobby

Intercontinental Barclay NYC floor
Uh oh. I feel a bit underdressed in this place…
The lobby. Am I’m basically the only guy not wearing a suit. Oops.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC lobby overview
The lobby again (looking towards the entrance).
Intercontinental Barclay NYC check in desk
The check in desk (left) seemed a bit plain compared to how grand the rest of the lobby felt. The bellboy desk is on the right.

Getting to my room

Intercontinental Barclay NYC guest room hallway
I haven’t even seen the room yet and I’m liking this hotel quite a bit. This is the guest room hallway (which reminded me of my stay at the Westin St Francis on Union Square in San Francisco).
Intercontinental Barclay NYC room 504
Room 504 – mine for the night!

The room

I found the room to be quite interesting. I wasn’t all that impressed when I first walked in, but after having a look around, I realized that the design and decor of nearly every element of the room was top notch.

It was a seriously good looking room – so good looking in fact, that I was afraid to touch anything before I had the chance to clean up a bit from the long and hot ride into the city from JFK.

Intercontinental Barclay NYC room
My fancy-pants room at the InterContinental New York Barclay.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC room decor
I found the decor to be somewhat bland at first (for such an expensive hotel room), but after a quick look around I started to appreciate all the little details.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC interior design
Check out that tile in the entryway! Fits the room perfectly, IMHO.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC room mural
The mural on the front wall was a nice detail as well. I assume that’s a very old depiction of New York.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC bland room
From certain angles the room looked a little bland…
Intercontinental Barclay NYC room layout
…but changing the perspective a bit made all the difference. This is one of the nicest hotel rooms I’ve ever been in.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC in room desk
It’s nice to see a hotel room desk that actually looks like a desk!
Intercontinental Barclay NYC pillows
Pillow close-up for all of you thread-count snobs out there who are into that sort of thing. I’ve actually received requests to show the pillows better in my hotel reviews, so…here you go.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC entire room
Here’s a wide angle pic of the entire room as seen from the entrance.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC twin beds
Another wide angle pic of the room from the other direction.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC entryway
Wide angle pic of the entryway. Notice the cabinet on the right hand side…
Intercontinental Barclay NYC Keurig coffee machine and mini bar
That cabinet contained a Keurig coffee machine and mini bar.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC closet
The closet (with some of the most amazing robes I’ve ever felt) was just to the left of the cabinet.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC 5th floor view
Hrmph. The view from my room was actually worse than the view I had at the Hyatt in Times Square recently. I was expecting something a little better being on the 5th floor, but I guess this is NYC after all. You’ll need a higher room to see anything!

The bathroom

Intercontinental Barclay NYC toilet
The bathroom was really nice, thanks in large part to that cool tile pattern!
Intercontinental Barclay NYC bathroom
I love staying in nice hotels, because it gives me inspiration for my own home. I really liked this bathroom, and I’d love to have something like this of my own.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC bathroom vanity
I loved the retro simplicity of the vanity.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC bathroom amenities
The bathroom amenities were surprisingly bland considering how high end this hotel is.
Intercontinental Barclay NYC bathroom tile
Here’s a wide angle pic of the entire bathroom. That tile tho…
Intercontinental Barclay NYC shower
Another wide angle pic of the bathroom showing the shower.

A word about room service

Normally I like to indulge in room service when traveling alone, but that’s just something that I can’t do in New York City. There are so many good restaurants up and down every street here, and it’s not difficult to find something many times better than what you could get delivered to your room.

I did consider the room service option for a split second though – until I had a look a the prices. Yikes. I was clearly out of my league, and it was a big fat reminder that I was staying in a luxury hotel.

I ended up going to a local takeout place for dinner that evening, but I took full advantage of the luxuriousness of the room later with a long hot shower and lounging around in the amazing bath robe and pillow-like slippers. That was nice. Quite nice in fact, and I was very disappointed about being able to stay only one night here.

Intercontinental Barclay NYC robe and slippers
Taking full advantage of the luxury!
Wearing an Intercontinental Barclay NYC robe
Do I still get to keep my Man Card?

Final thoughts

This was my second-ever stay at an InterContinental (my first was earlier this year at the Presidente InterContinental in Mexico City), and I think I like this brand a lot. Sure, they are more expensive than the usual Hyatt’s and Hilton’s that I tend to gravitate towards, but I’m starting to understand why people like luxury hotels so much. The feeling of being spoiled is totally worth it.

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