The InterContinental Tamanaco Caracas is the oldest current member of the chain, joining when it opened in 1953.
|Founded||April 4, 1946|
|Headquarters||Denham, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom|
Number of locations
|213 hotels and resorts|
|Owner||InterContinental Hotels Group|
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is a hotel brand founded in 1946 as a subsidiary of Pan American World Airways. As of March 2020, there were 213 InterContinental hotels featuring over 71,431 rooms worldwide.
In 1945, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Juan Trippe, President of Pan Am, discussed their concern for Latin America's need for development dollars at a White House breakfast. The two men thought that one way to attract businessmen and tourists would be to offer luxury hotels in key cities. Trippe, envisioning a rise in mass international air travel, agreed that Pan Am, with the support of institutions like the Export-Import Bank of the United States, could form a subsidiary to foster the implementation of the idea. The hotels would also serve to accommodate Pan Am crews and passengers in destinations where upscale hotels were not yet present. On April 3, 1946, Intercontinental Hotel Corporation was founded. Intercontinental Hotels purchased its first hotel that year, the Grande Hotel in Belém, Brazil. The chain soon grew to include numerous hotels throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Intercontinental Hotels opened its first property in the Middle East in 1961, the Phoenicia Intercontinental Beirut. The chain became one of the first to operate in Eastern Europe when it signed a contract to manage the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel in 1964.
The chain was officially rebranded as InteroContinental Hotels in 1966, with the name commonly spelled with a hyphen as Inter-Continental when typed. The Inter-Continental Kabul opened in 1969, but ceased operation following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The hotel continues to operate independently using the Inter-Continental name, but unaffiliated with the chain.
In 1972, Inter-Continental started a line of moderately priced hotels, called Forum Hotels. The chain opened its first hotel in the United States in 1973, when it signed a contract to manage the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.
PanAm sold Inter-Continental to Grand Metropolitan on August 19, 1981. The new owners merged their existing chain of Grand Metropolitan Hotels into Inter-Continental and its sibling chain Forum Hotels. GrandMet sold the chain to the Saison Group in 1988, which in turn sold it to Bass in 1998. Two years later, Bass divested itself of its namesake brewing business and renamed itself Six Continents, focusing on hotels. In 2003, the entire company was renamed InterContinental Hotels Group, with the original InterContinental chain one of numerous brands today within the company.
In September 2017, a consumer rights group accused InterContinental Beijing Sanlitun of substandard hygiene conditions. Specifically during an undercover operation they had marked bed linen and toilets with an invisible stamp. Upon returning the next day the marks were still there.