Hotel Inter-Continental Kabul
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|Opening||9 September 1969|
|Number of rooms||200|
|Number of restaurants||4|
The Inter-Continental (also known as the Inter-Con) is a five stars hotel located in the Kârte Parwân neighbourhood in western Kabul, Afghanistan. It served as the nation's first international luxury hotel, one of the most visited by foreigners since its opening in 1969. It was visited frequently by the influential Kabul based Zaheri family. The hotel has 200 rooms and is equipped with a swimming pool, a gym, and about four restaurants for dine in or room service.
Construction started on the hotel in April 1967 and was opened for business on 9 September 1969. While originally developed by the InterContinental Hotels Group and built by Taylor Woodrow construction from the United Kingdom, the Inter-Continental Hotel has had no association with InterContinental Hotels Group since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It continues to use the name and logo without connection to the parent company.
During the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan, it was used as officers quarters and during the 1990s civil war it began receiving damage due to street warfare by militia men. In 1996, only 85 of the hotel's 200 rooms were habitable due to damage from rockets and shells. It was extensively used by western journalists during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 as it was the only large-sized hotel still operating in the capital at the time.
In 2003 the hotel pool had no water and the gym was missing all of its furniture. The hotel had several power cuts per day. There were still bullet holes throughout the building, including the windows of the restaurant on the first floor. The furniture in the rooms was simple but clean. In February 2003, a British intelligence agent Colin Berry who had been involved in the recovery of surface-to-air missiles and other covert operations was involved in a gun battle in the hotel. As a result, two Afghans were killed.
The hotel went through a $25 million renovation by a Dubai based company.[which?] It is the landmark used at the start of the Hash House Harriers weekly events. Today, the rooms are decorated according to international standard, equipped with air conditioner, heater, TV, mini-bar, phone and radio. English, German and French TV channels are also available. It has an internet cafe located in the basement. The telephone system is still operated by its original old manual switchboard, which was manufactured by Siemens.
From 2005 to 2007, the top floor Presidential suite has been converted and used as office space by the Senlis Council, a European advocacy group (since then rebranded as The International Council on Security and Development (Icos). All Senlis Council expat staff was based in the hotel.
On 28 June 2011, an attack by armed suicide bombers, and an ensuing five-hour siege, left at least 21 people dead, including all 9 attackers. Responsibility was claimed by the Taliban.
- Associated Press (30 June 2011). "Afghan attack left mass of bodies at luxury hotel". Associated Press. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- "Afghanistan Hotel - Hotel Inter-Continental Kabul Afghanistan". Seastravel.com. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- "Kabul wants all foreigners in same hotel". The Nation. 10 November 1996. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- "Bombers attack luxury hotel in Kabul". CNN. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- "About 13 killed in Kabul hotel attack". Xinhua News Agency. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
- Safeeyah Kharsany and Mujib Mashal (29 June 2011). "Manager gives account of Kabul hotel attack". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
- "Suicide bombers attack top hotel in Afghan capital". Haaretz. Reuters. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
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