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|Founded||April 4, 1946|
|Headquarters||Denham, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom|
Number of locations
|180 hotels & resorts|
|Owner||InterContinental Hotels Group|
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is a hotel brand founded in 1946 as a subsidiary of Pan American World Airways.
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. In 1972 the chain, by then renamed Inter-Continental Hotels, 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. The chain formerly had a branch in Kabul, but pulled out following the Soviet intervention of Afghanistan in 1979. The hotel continues to operate to this day using the Inter-Continental name.
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.
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