Do you know the differences among IHG hotel brands?
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IHG has 17 hotel brands in their portfolio of 5,500+ hotels. The MMS team has stayed at nearly every IHG hotel brand, from rinky-dink interstate hotels to aspirational five-star hotels, like the InterContinental London Park Lane.
Each brand caters to a slightly different audience. I’ll give an overview of each IHG rewards hotel brand and show you how easy it is to stay for free. Earning the points you need to stay at IHG hotels is easy because certain rewards you can earn with the best travel credit cards can be converted into IHG points. So you don’t necessarily even need a hotel credit card to earn free nights.
IHG hotel brands
Like other hotel chains, IHG has multiple brands to meet the needs of different types of guests. For example, business travelers might choose one brand for upscale amenities, like a hotel lounge or business center and others traveling on an extended vacation might choose a brand with full kitchens in hotel rooms to save on dining expenses.
IHG hotels include:
- Atwell Suites
- Candlewood Suites
- Crowne Plaza
- EVEN Hotels
- Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations
- Holiday Inn Express
- Holiday Inn Resorts
- Hotel Indigo
- HUALUXE® Hotels and Resorts
- InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
- Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
- Regent Hotels & Resorts
- Six Senses Hotels & Resorts
- Staybridge Suites
Here’s what you can expect at each brand.
avid is a midtier hotel brand, modern and minimalist, and tends to draw a more youthful crowd. It’s one of those brands that promotes the social aspect of travel to help you connect with other travelers. It’s got simple open design and communal spaces. It also comes with free breakfast.
This is one of the newest IHG brands, so right now there are only a few locations, but many more are in the works.
Atwell Suites is not ready to open its doors. IHG anticipates construction on its first hotel in 2020, and probably won’t be operational until 2021. Little is known about this all-suites hotel, though IHG intends to begin its franchise with U.S. hotels.
After watching its promotional video, it looks to be another hotel focused on the social, communal audience.
Candlewood Suites is an all-suite extended-stay hotel brand. You’ll typically find business travelers at these hotels during the week because rooms are spacious with fully equipped kitchens. This brand might not be ideal for family getaways, because most Candlewood Suites hotels don’t have a pool.
It’s usually easy to find available award nights at these hotels for reasonable prices.
Crowne Plaza hotels are typically in major cities or near airports. Guests at these hotels are often business travelers because they’re located near corporate hubs or convention centers. But folks traveling for leisure might find the hotel locations attractive. For example, the Crowne Plaza Lima is located in the popular Miraflores District, which is next to restaurants, cafes and museums. And it’s just two miles to the popular Huaca Pucllana ruins in Lima, Peru.
There are only 13 EVEN Hotels, with three more on the way. They are all within the U.S., including three in New York City. This brand is designed for health-conscious travelers. You’ll typically find excellent fitness centers and in-room training areas with medicine balls. Breakfast and dinner menus feature many healthy items, including a long list of organic options.
There are more than 1,100 Holiday Inn hotels throughout the world. This brand is a great option for families because children younger than 18 stay free when sharing their parents’ room and up to four kids ages 11 and under eat free any time of the day at all Holiday Inn on-site restaurant (12 and under in Europe and Asia). You’ll usually find family-friendly amenities like outdoor pools.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations
Holiday Inn Club Vacations can be a fantastic option for large families or groups. This vacation ownership chain includes 25 locations, mostly in popular tourist or beach destinations.
You don’t need to be a Vacation Club owner to stay at these hotels. Just be ready for timeshare presentations at these resorts. If you’re not interested, you can politely decline.
Holiday Inn Express
Holiday Inn Express is the largest brand within the IHG chain with nearly 2,500 hotels.
These hotels are typically simple in design and are great for a short-term stay if you want an affordable price without fancy amenities. In the U.S., these hotels also offer a complimentary buffet breakfast.
Holiday Inn Resorts
Consider staying at a Holiday Inn Resort hotel when traveling to popular tourist destinations. Within this brand, you’ll find all-inclusive hotels in destinations like Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and Montego Bay in Jamaica. This brand offers plenty of amenities, including kids’ clubs, swimming pools, restaurants and lounges, so you never have to leave the resort.
IHG hotel brands have similar characteristics throughout their properties, but Hotel Indigo is a chain of boutique hotels. Each location has a unique design, which is meant to reflect the character and history of the locale. For example, what you see and experience at the Hotel Indigo Nashville might be much different than at the Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown. It’s a good escape from cookie-cutter hotels.
HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts
HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts is an upscale brand designed specifically for the Chinese market. The hotel incorporates Chinese hospitality into just about every aspect of the hotel, “with particular emphasis on the Chinese values of etiquette, rejuvenation in nature, recognition of status and enabling spaces,” according to the hotel website.
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is a luxurious hotel brand. These hotels usually have fantastic on-site restaurants and spas. There is even a separate level of IHG status called InterContinental Ambassador status just for InterContinental hotels. You can’t earn this status, instead you have to pay $200 or 40,000 IHG points for a one-year membership.
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is one of the top-tier experiences you can book with IHG points: a cross between The Ritz of InterContinental Hotels and the novelty of Hotel Indigo. They’ve got 70+ hotels across the world and they’re actually worth checking out. As the name suggests, they’ve got award-winning dining — they even host a wine hour.
It sounds like the perfect ecosystem for hemp-sandaled hipsters, but it’s actually one of our favorite IHG brands and staying at Kimpton hotels can be one of the best uses to use IHG points.
Regent Hotels & Resorts
“A bell sounds its call. Heads turn. As porters pop into action you shed the garments of the journey and become something new: the arrived” is the tagline for Regent hotels. So you know what you’re getting into.
I’ve never stayed at a hotel under the Regent Hotels & Resorts brand, but from what I gather from their site, they’re really, really fancy. In an annoying way. Beyond that, I can’t distill a proper brand identity from the website’s almost comical verbosity. The Regent Hotels currently are in six cities, including Beijing, Berlin, Porto Montenegro and Singapore.
Six Senses Hotels & Resorts
Six Senses Hotels & Resorts is another luxury hotel brand, with only 18 locations (and 22 more in the works). These hotels look like the top-tier properties within the IHG family. You can stay in prime areas like Fiji, Portugal, Seychelles, Maldives, Singapore or Bali.
IHG has been introducing points bookings for Sixth Senses properties and you can now use your points at some locations, like the Sixth Senses hotels in Singapore, as reader Jordan C. has pointed out.
Staybridge Suites is an extended-stay brand offering free hot breakfast buffet daily, full kitchens and an evening social on certain nights of the week with complimentary beverages and a light meal.
The chain is also pet-friendly and includes guest laundry and fitness facilities.
voco is an upscale hotel brand currently serving only the Middle East, Australia and the U.K. in nine locations. It’s not super fancy, but it’s a perfect decompression hotel, with big open spaces, fluffy bed and peaceful pastels splashed along the walls.
Earn IHG points for free stays
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card currently has a bonus of 140,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. The card has an $99 annual fee and each year you keep the card you’ll receive an anniversary night award valid at IHG hotels that cost 40,000 points or less. This card also has the a fourth night award benefit and on award stays of 3+ nights the fourth night won’t cost any points. In addition, you’ll get IHG Platinum status just for having the card.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Just note that Chase will not approve you for a new card if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (not counting certain business credit cards) in the past 24 months.
You can book free stays at most of IHG’s 17 hotel brands. If you’re planning an extended-stay vacation, you might consider Candlewood Suites or Staybridge Suites because rooms include full kitchens. Or, for an upscale stay at a luxurious hotel, you’ll do better at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts or Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. You can even book all-inclusive stays at Holiday Inn Resort brand hotels.
Let us know if you’ve got a favorite IHG hotel brand.
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