Our history

Man on Bass Brewers cart


Our story begins when William Bass opens a brewery in Burton-on-Trent, UK.

The business later transforms from domestic brewer into global hospitality company.


The first InterContinental hotel opens in Belem, Brazil. The InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts brand expands to become the world’s first truly international luxury hotel brand and Bass acquires it in 1998.

InterContinental hotel in Belem, Brazil
Holiday Inn sign


Businessman Kemmons Wilson opens the first Holiday Inn® hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. He had the idea while on a family trip to Washington D.C., where he saw the need for comfortable and affordable places for families to stay.

Bass acquires the international part of the business in 1988 and the North American division in 1990.


Bass becomes one of the largest brewers and pub owners in the UK through acquisitions of well-known regional brewing companies, including Mitchells & Butlers in 1961, and a merger with Charringtons in 1967.

Crowne Plaza lobby


The Crowne Plaza® brand launches with a focus on business travellers.


After legislation passes limiting the number of tied pubs major brewers can own, Bass significantly cuts its pub estate and increases investment in an international hotel business.

Breakfast illustration


Bass launches limited service brand, Holiday Inn Express®.


Bass buys the Browns restaurant and Harvester chains, and develops its O’Neill’s and All Bar One brands.

Guests eating breakfast


Extended-stay hotel brand, Candlewood Suites®, is founded and becomes the first hotel brand to offer free guest laundry. IHG acquires it in 2003.


Bass renews its focus on hotels and pubs after an attempt to acquire half of the Carlsberg-Tetley brewing business is blocked by the British government. It sells its leased pub arm and smaller businesses such as Gala bingo and Coral bookmakers.

Breakfast buffet
Staybridge Suites entrance


Bass launches Staybridge Suites® by Holiday Inn in the North American upscale extended stay market. It sells its North American midscale hotel buildings but retains control of their branding through franchise agreements.


Bass strengthens its UK pub division with the acquisition of 550 sites from Punch Taverns.

Sydney waterfront


Bass confirms its position as Asia Pacific’s leading hotel company with acquisition of Southern Pacific Hotels Corporation in Australia.

It buys US-based hotel management company, Bristol Hotels & Resorts Inc.

It further refocuses the business from domestic brewing operation to global hospitality company by selling Bass Brewers to Interbrew (now AB-InBev) for £2.3 billion.

Hotel Indigo suite


Bass PLC is renamed Six Continents PLC. The group sells almost 1,000 unbranded pubs and buys the European Posthouse chain of hotels, converting most of them to Holiday Inn properties and consolidating the brand’s position in the UK and Europe. 


On 1 October, 2002, Six Continents PLC announces the separation of its hotels and soft drinks businesses (to be called InterContinental Hotels Group PLC) from the retail business (to be called Mitchells & Butlers PLC).

This is completed on 15 April 2003 and IHG becomes a standalone company.


IHG launches its new boutique hotel brand, Hotel Indigo®, with each property designed to reflect the local culture and history of the surrounding area.

Hotel Indigo front
Guests enjoying lunch outside


IHG sells its 100% holding in Britvic Plc to focus purely on hotels.

The Staybridge Suites® brand launches in the UK following its success in North America.


IHG announces a $1 billion relaunch of the Holiday Inn Brand Family, comprising Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express. Holiday Inn Resort® is launched in 2008, offering the perfect destination for family fun.

Holiday Inn receptionist
Holiday Inn Club Vacations resort by a beach


IHG enters the timeshare market with the launch of Holiday Inn Club Vacations®. This was done through an alliance with Orange Lake Resorts, which was set up by Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson.


IHG launches EVEN® Hotels, the first mainstream hotel brand focused on wellness and fulfilling the demand for healthier travel.

EVEN Hotel dining room

IHG unveils HUALUXE® Hotels and Resorts, the first upscale international hotel brand designed specifically for the Chinese traveller.


Priority Club Rewards, launched in 1983 and the industry’s largest and oldest loyalty programme, is relaunched as IHG® Rewards Club.

A couple relaxing by the beach
Kimpton communal area with log fire


IHG acquires US based Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants. Alongside IHG’s Hotel Indigo brand, the deal creates the world’s largest boutique hotel business.

IHG opens its 5,000th hotel, the Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York.

Hotel Indigo rooftop dining area