internationally in July 2003 as
First published in
From June 2004 issue of Afghan Scene Magazine
For the last two years the Intercontinental has been the only
place close to an international hotel. Years of war damage, journalists
hanging out, cameramen jumping in the swimming pool when there was no water,
suspicious killings involving Afghans, US and
Elsewhere in the city, for a time in 2002 the Hotel Kabul was
open but then it closed for renovation and has remained shut ever since. The
hotel is now being transformed into a
In April 2004 the ground breaking ceremony for the Hyatt Hotel
across from the US Embassy took place. President Karzai
The Hyatt may well become such a focal point, but it will take 18
months to complete and most people suspect that the US Embassy and the CIA
will book all the rooms for themselves as the over crowded embassy compound
reaches bursting point. The tunnel under the
So for now the Intercontinental and the Mustafa Hotel have little
competition at the different levels of price scale in
The Intercon has undergone a complete refit on all five floors. Rooms with swipe cards range in price from $84 to $472 for the Khyber suite. Though with the Osama Bin Laden watch ongoing, news crews love the Khyber suit with its fifth floor location and high vantage views on both sides of the hotel (and the party opportunities such a view offers).
The South African Director of Food and Beverage, Albert Bester,
says: “In the next two years there will be more hotel openings in
The Intercon has reportedly had a $10
million refit in the last two years after Dubai Freecom
Trading, which owns the Sheraton in
The food on offer is improving. The buffet lunch on Fridays is popular with Afghans and foreigners alike, when sometimes more than 350 people are catered for. A new Talk of the Town Café is on the way and a combo restaurant with Greek, Lebanese, Italian and American food will be put into the old Indian Bukhara restaurant. There are no plans at the moment to serve alcohol in the hotel.
Parts of the hotel are still to be developed. The swimming pool
isn’t open yet and the pumping room needs a complete refit. Then the
management will need to get their head around near naked swimmers in
The fitness centre is open twice a day and has a $50 monthly membership fee for non guests but new equipment will be needed to get it up to the ISAF HQ Fitness Zone standard.
There’s a sauna, massage and beauty care from the popular Thai girls and the Business centre is linked with internet ($5 an hour) and faxes.
In this post war world, conferences and workshops are an everyday
part of life in
The Intercontinental has now dropped the “K” logo (so foreign brunch guests won’t have the chance to steal all the cutlery any more!) and the hotel has adopted the “I” logo of the Intercon chain. Within two years, management say, they should be ready to join the Six Continents Group Intercontinental chain of hotels.
As for new developments, the Hyatt is a long way off but
In the meantime the Intercontinental dominates the high end of
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