InterContinental ICons

InterContinental ICons aims to discover what makes some of our most-visited cities unique and why they continue to inspire visitors and residents. Responding to research demonstrating that the most popular sights in global cities are not always representative of the cities’ unique spirit, we invite you to take part in a global conversation debating what makes a city truly iconic.

What are the most symbolic sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings in the cities you love? Following a public vote and deliberations by our expert judging panel, the new #interContinentalicons for London, New York, Dubai, Sydney, Shanghai, Paris and Mexico City will be announced in the coming weeks.

We’ve been helping generations enjoy luxury travel for 70 years in more than 180 locations around the world. From Shanghai to New York, Paris to Tokyo, every day around the globe people are discovering how they can experience luxury travel as it should be.

WORLDLY brings together the photojournalism of National Geographic and the international know-how and cultural wisdom of InterContinental in a series for experienced travelers who want to step outside their walls and explore iconic expressions of cultural identity.



Through an independent study, carried out in Dubai, Mexico City, London, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Sydney, we revealed that travellers often feel that they only scratch the surface of a city, with more than 70% feeling obliged to only see the most popular tourist sites, despite 80% expressing the desire to experience more of what the city has to offer and exploring like a well-informed local.

Social media analysis reveals that the Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most over-exposed tourist site in the world, representing 10% of all posts worldwide, with Buckingham Palace the most-tagged site in London (21%) and Central Park the most-tagged in New York City (20%).

We want to ensure our guests, and all worldly travellers, are able to discover the true essence of a destination. We invite you to take part in a global conversation debating what makes a city truly iconic. What do you see as the most symbolic sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings in these cities? The findings will inform the top five InterContinental ICons in Dubai, Mexico City, London, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Sydney, to enable travellers to create a more authentic itinerary on future visits.


The salty air hitting your face while riding the Hudson River ferry or the sharp breeze on your face as a subway car passes? What makes New York, New York?


Is it the smell of burning bukhoor incense wafting through a Ramadan tent? The echo of the evening call to prayer at Jumeirah Mosque as the sun sets on the horizon? Or Emirati spices down the Spice Souk in Deira? What makes Dubai truly iconic?


Why do we love London so? Is it freshly baked sourdough from an artisan baker in East London, or the call of a market trader on Portobello Road, out west?


These worldly and influential individuals are searching for what makes the cities they love truly iconic. Join the conversation #intercontinentalicons

Sarah Harris

Deputy Editor and Fashion Features Director, British Vogue

Brandon Bryant

New York-based Creative Director of Wall Street Paper and Venture Partner of Harlem Capital Partners

Dina Broadhurst

Sydney-based mixed media artist

Isaac Jero

Mexico City-based photographer

Haifa Beseisso

Dubai-based Palestinian-American TV presenter and activist

Jacob Santiago

New York-based photographer

Manu Espinosa

Mexico City-based content creator, travel blogger and marathoner

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