Which hotel brand is best, Four Seasons or InterContinental? The choice between these two hotel brands varies between individual hotels within each brand.
Some certain cities and resorts house both a Four Seasons and an InterContinental hotel. These include London, Paris, New York, Geneva and Bora Bora. We outline your best option in each destination below.
Four Seasons and InterContinental hotels are both highly luxurious. Four Seasons tends to embrace the character of their respective destination and usually have excellent facilities, extensive grounds, spas, and pools.
Our experience with InterContinental hotels is that they often offer a more modern and generic finish, more in tune with the brand than the local area.
Most InterContinental hotels were designed to be predominantly business hotels, and many city InterContinental hotels are stunning. Still, they can lack the personality and sometimes the facilities of a Four Seasons hotel, such as a pool and an extensive spa.
InterContinental in Paris, for example, has no pool, whereas Four Seasons Paris has one of the best hotel pools in Paris.
Since covid, InterContinental hotels have repositioned themselves slightly because there is less business travel, making them well priced luxury leisure hotels in most destinations.
We have broken the comparison down into the different features of various hotels within each brand.
Like Bonvoy, World of Hyatt, Hilton Honours, and most other loyalty programs worldwide, the InterContinental loyalty program offers guests the ability to collect points or credits toward free nights. By joining, you get selected free benefits.
It’s worth mentioning that these benefits are nowhere near as good as the benefits you get by booking via concierge. If you book with our concierge agents, you will also get all your usual ihg points during your stay.
Our travel agency partnership with Four Seasons and InterContinental Hotels means that you will also get brilliant free benefits, usually including breakfast for two, prioritized room upgrades (subject to availability), hotel credit, and more if you book with one of our agents. Our deals are almost always better than booking directly on the hotel website for both brands.
In Paris, New York, and London, you also get free club lounge access when you book an InterContinental hotel via our agents.
Four Seasons offers a variety of styles across their hotels according to the destination and the property itself. Their hotels are stunning, welcoming but also formal and palatial. Four Seasons Grand Hotel Du Cap Ferrat is a historic property, so it takes its style accents from its classic and historic French architecture. If there’s a more beautiful hotel than this, I’ve yet to find it.
Another example of a beautiful Four Seasons hotel that embraces traditional architecture and mixes this with classic modern furnishings is The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort in the Bahamas, which has a colonial feel. Others, such as the best Four Seasons resorts in Hawaii offer a more modern architecture.
InterContinental hotels do not tend to embrace the local area quite so religiously. In Geneva, Four Seasons is located in a modern concrete block a long distance from the main tourist area.
The InterContinental in London is also situated in a modern building, perhaps from the 1980s, although this particular property has the advantage of offering large and windows with fantastic views in the rooms, the fantastic club lounge as well as most of its communal areas. Although this property is no beauty from the outside, the views from this building are quite something.
In Paris both the Four Seasons and the InterContinental are situated in beautiful ornately designed buildings. I particularly like the Parisien rooftop views from the top floor rooms at the InterContinental Le Grand in Paris.
Four Seasons hotels are expanding rapidly with destinations across North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. They are situated in tourist destinations and major cities.
InterContinental hotels are most prolific in cities. Currently, there are over 200 InterContinental hotels worldwide.
There are exceptions. Bora Bora is very much not a city location, and there are two InterContinental hotels and one Four Seasons hotel in Bora Bora. There’s also a St. Regis, which features in our best St Regis hotels listing.
The location of each hotel is property dependent, but both Four Seasons and InterContinental hotels tend to be well located. An exception is in Geneva, where the InterContinental is a long walk from the tourist center and the lake. In London, there’s InterContinental and Four Seasons on Park Lane, with doors opposite each other.
Although this is only sometimes the case, InterContinental hotels generally tend to be larger in size than Four Seasons hotels.
The rooms in Four Seasons hotels are very large and consistent, with generous bathrooms. Four Seasons rooms do embrace the local area with Parisien, Swiss, Canadian, etc. ambiance within each room. For example, Four Seasons Whistler feels like a log cabin, and all its rooms have fireplaces in them.
Individual hotel rooms at InterContinental hotels are more generic in decor, and the base rooms can be small, so check the room size before committing to the standard room at an InterContinental.
6. Pool and Gym
Four Seasons hotels usually have an immaculate pool, gym, and spa. It is unusual for a Four Seasons property not to have all the facilities.
InterContinental city hotels don’t always have pools. Their facilities can be limited to certain properties. The London InterContinental at Park Lane doesn’t have a pool but does have a spa and a gym. The Geneva InterContinental has a gloriously large outdoor pool.
Some of the best ski hotels in the world are Four Seasons.
InterContinental Hotel Group has ski hotels but not as part of the InterContinental brand. These include Six Senses Residences Courchevel, Hotel Indigo Silverthorne, Kimpton Taconic Hotel, and a number of inexpensive hotels around Lake Tahoe.
8. Club Lounge
We have reviewed the best Four Seasons with Club Lounges so you can take a look and the four Seasons hotels that do offer a club lounge.
InterContinental hotels usually have club lounges. In Paris, New York, and London, you also get free club lounge access when you book an InterContinental hotel via our luxury concierge.
9. Family Facilities
Both brands are family-friendly, but Four Seasons has a particularly amazing kids program with gifts and special touches in the rooms. I would say Four Seasons is the best child-friendly hotel brand in the world.
Four Seasons hotels are almost always more expensive than InterContinental hotels. We have reviewed the cheapest Four Seasons hotels in case you are looking for a bargain, but these are few and far between. We have also reviewed the cheapest InterContinental hotels which come in much, much less expensive than Four Seasons hotels.
Both of these hotel brands offer magnificent hotels. InterContinental hotels tend to be more business-oriented than Four Seasons, and they can offer fewer facilities, particularly when it comes to a pool.
Four Seasons hotels tend to be more immaculately finished with more local interior design and have a more leisure-orientated feel.
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