Why InterContinental LeGrand in Paris is my favourite city hotel in the world

Yes, it’s true.  For reasons that I do not fully understand myself, I must admit that InterContinental LeGrand in Paris is my favourite city centre hotel anywhere in the world.  It’s not a Four Seasons, let’s be frank, but I don’t need that in Paris.

This hotel works well for three reasons.  The first is location.  It could not be better.  You are directly next to the Opera Garnier, which means you are 60 seconds walk from Galleries Lafeyette and Printemps, the two massive department stores.  Almost everything else – except the Eiffel Tower – is a modest walk.

If you come by train, it is a 30 minute walk down the hill from Gare du Nord.  One road all the way so you can’t get lost!  From Charles de Gualle, you can get a non-stop bus, the Roissy Bus, which stops directly opposite the hotel.  There are also metro and RER stations within a few seconds walk.

Secondly, the hotel looks great.  InterContinental spent over £100m on a full renovation a decade ago.  It has retained all of the charm of the original building – and most of the features – but has brought them bang up to date.  The age of the building also means that there are a huge number of different room sizes and configurations, which are good for upgrades.

Thirdly, it has a very impressive Club lounge over two levels.  It serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon and evening snacks, with all-day free-flow champagne.  The food is not extensive, and not much is hot, but you could (and I have) happily live off it without needing to eat elsewhere.

Finally, because it is an InterContinental, I can use my Ambassador benefits (here is my review of Ambassador).  Most importantly, that means a guaranteed 4pm check-out which is important on a short trip.  If I had been there at a weekend, I could have had two nights for the price of one as an Ambassador.  (More on Ambassador status in this post from last year.)

In a couple of days I will explain how I paid (or didn’t pay) for the hotel.  In the meantime, check out this impressive junior suite:

InterContinental LeGrand Paris Junior SuiteInterContinental LeGrand Paris Junior Suite 2

With generous amenities thrown in:

InterContinental LeGrand Paris Junior Suite 3

And an amazing view:

InterContinental LeGrand Paris Junior Suite 4

Here is a stock photograph of the ballroom at the LeGrand, one of the most astonishing things you will see in the whole of Paris:

IC Paris ballroom

And here is the lobby lounge:

IC LeGrand Paris Lobby

There is one odd quirk at this hotel.  You can ONLY access the club lounge if you book a club room.  The rooms called ‘Executive’ online do NOT include club access.  More strangely, even rooms MORE EXPENSIVE than a club room do not come with club access!  You can have a suite like mine which would have cost €690 per night and they still ask for €120 (€90 if you are an Ambassador) to use the lounge.

If you are thinking of staying at InterContinental LeGrand, you MUST avoid the ‘Classic’ rooms which are unbelievably small.  ‘Superior’ is the smallest that is suitable for more than one night or more than one person.  On redemptions, you occasionally see both ‘Classic’ and ‘Superior’ rooms available on quiet days.

The sweet spot in my opinion is the Junior Suite that I had. Above that, the standard suites are a bit odd – most are at roof level and have a reduced ceiling height.  The mansard roof also slopes which means that you lose even more floor space because of the restricted head height by the windows.  Stick to a Junior Suite and all will be well in the world, I promise.

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Comments

  1. Tim Rogers says:

    Looks amazing. What are the rates like at this hotel? How does it fare for redemptions?

    • Redemptions are generally available and often as the better Superior rooms. Cash rates tend to start around Euro 300.

      • Interesting review and comments.
        I am due to stay there for 2 nights as a prize I won recently, courtesy of The Accomplished Traveler, included this and the return journey on Eurostar for 2.
        Looking forward to it.

  2. Does ambassador status not guarantee a ro upgrade say to a junior suite ?

  3. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    Any idea what they are like for cash upgrades if you book with points?

    I imagine its better to shell out the 27k on Ambassador though if it’s more than a one-night stay.

  4. A very interesting read on a hotel I would consider to be the worst in the chain, that I have experienced so far.

    I stayed a few years back for a long weekend (1 x points night, 1 x paid, 1 x Amb Voucher). I was told we were given a room upgrade, but I found it hard to believe. There was a rate card on the room door claiming it was €800 a night, yet I have had bigger rooms in Express hotels with better (and cheaper at the time) wifi.

    I only ever use IHG hotels but was so very underwhelmed with this property. Your points on location and accessibility are valid.

    I paid for one night out of three and felt I had been conned!

    • If you couldn’t touch both sets of walls when you laid on the bed and stretched out your arms, you had been upgraded!

      For a couple, with an Ambassador 2-4-1 voucher, the junior suites for cash (Euro 690 would then be for 2 nights instead of 1) represent a very good deal, for Paris.

      • Yes, in short you could reach everything from the bed the room was so small.

        However this “problem” is not unique to Paris. I have found it similar in NYC. I have stayed at the IC Barclay, given an Ambassador upgrade and had a similar sized room to that in IC LeGrand. That is where the similarities end though.

        I would be happy to accept I may have stayed in Paris during a busy weekend, or just got unlucky with the staff, service, room etc. However based on the Thursday – Sunday stay I had there I would only view it as a very expensive Holiday Inn level hotel, sadly.

  5. I always think that sites like airbnb represent the best value for cities like Paris, where hotel prices in decent places are so high. I’ve booked an apartment in a 17th century building on Ile-de-la-Cite, right behind Notre Dame Cathedral with windows overlooking the towers, almost close enough to touch. And it’s costing 150 euros a night, regardless of whether there are 2, 3 or 4 people staying. It has a separate bedroom and living room (with sofa bed) and a small kitchen. It’s infinitely more charming than any hotel, more spacious than all but the more generous suites and an absolute steal at that price. And of course the location is simply unbeatable.

    • Which is why the French Authorities are trying to kill anything, Arbnb for one, that takes revenue from tax paying hotels or owners taking tax free undeclared bookings. France doesn’t like entrepreneurs that disturb the status quo for cosy big business

  6. mrtibbs1999 says:

    Question – With the massively stackable IHG codes, would a person be able to set up their new account. Stack the monster number of codes. Stay in an HI EXpress for £35 using the greenroom discount, getting 25-35k points and then use those points to buy ambassador?

    • Theoretically – although Ambassador would be on that same account, so if your account got closed down for code abuse you would lose Ambassador as well! I doubt you’d get 25,000 either – 15,000 to 18,000 seems to be roughly the cap on working codes at the moment.

  7. pazza2000 says:

    So without Amb status, and regardless of room type, anyone can pay the €120 for club access?

  8. Raffles, the travel reports based on your own experiences are always HFP highlights to me. I have just read your item on Ambassador status and I’m debating now if I should sign up. A while ago I booked a junior suite at the Intercontinental Berlin for a stay which is coming up soon (I know, wasting my AVIOS on even more Club Europe flights to Germany’s capital…). Obviously you benefit from Ambassador status as soon as you have bought it, even if membership card and welcome package haven’t arrived before your stay.

    I was quite surprised that I had to pay extra for having Mrs Volker in my room (I only knew you had to pay extra for your dog, but for the Mrs as well??? Truly shocking…), and your article about Ambassador status says that she could stay for free. Would they therefore really give me a partial refund for each night of our stay as I have already paid for the room?

    And do you know if I would be upgraded from the booked junior suite to a senior suite? I’m not too fussed about the club lounge (never got time for that anyway), so I would rather have a spacious suite than an upgrade to a more expensive but much smaller club room.

    • No guarantee of how they upgrade you, but it will probably be a senior suite if that is the next room category which the IHG website shows.

      Most German IHG hotels charge extra for a 2nd person, it must be a cultural thing. In theory you are due a refund if you are an Ambassador, although you may want to get the hotel to confirm this in writing first. The benefits are based on the status you have when you stay and not when you book.

    • If you are open to purchasing Ambassador then let the hotel sell it to you during check in (make sure the room type you would like to be in is available online prior to checking in)

      You will still pay the same amount but are likely to score a ‘better upgrade’ especially if you ask along the lines and what room type would I get if I purchased Ambassador and I don’t need club access – that way you will know if it is worth it

      • Precisely my plan next month :D 3-night IC stay, will see what room they offer at check-in and then ask what I’d get if I signed up to AMB there and then. It’s a reward stay too which technically isn’t entitled to benefits but this would be a way of getting them. Lounge access would also be good for breakfast!

        • IC Paris is okay on reward stays (at least to RA’s)

          • Thanks. I’ll be staying at the IC SFO, but from what I’ve heard they’re quite reasonable about it too – they really need to change the whole programme to consistently provide rewards on redemption stays!

  9. Maximus says:

    Looks like a nice hotel. I am a tad confused about the deal you got though. You booked using your free weekend stay with the Ambassador Card? But the package had to be booked by the Virtuoso agent in order to get the Club room access?

    So the agent will use your Ambassador Card to get the free night? And arrange late check out etc?

    I had a look at the Virtuoso site. Looked interesting but got the impression I may not be good enough for them! :)

    • Yes, sorry, I’ve just realised that the post is not clear on this point.

      I booked a Junior Suite for cash, however IHG comped the room under the terms of their Best Rate Guarantee because I found it cheaper on another website. More on this in 2 days.

      The suite did not come with club access. However, someone I knew who was a Royal Ambassador was in the hotel at the same time (not a total coincidence, I planned my trip so we could catch up) and he guested me into the lounge.

      • And I thought I did well staying here for 125 euros in the Christmas sale! I salute you Raffles, you are on another level!

  10. toddy0011 says:

    I am doing a charity bike ride to Paris (and back) and was looking at using my ‘Priority Club Credit Card free night voucher’.

    I did notice Le Grand and liked the look of it. However, before I commit, has anyone ever stayed at the other Intercontinental property in Paris (Avenue Marceau).

    http://www.ic-marceau.com/

    Thanks!

  11. I have stayed here before. I would agree with you about the location – it’s second to none and so handy, so many places to see are within walking distance. Secondly, I agree that the building is fabulous, its very grand and feels special. On your other two points I can’t comment having not experienced the club lounge.

    However, I wouldn’t be able to recommend this hotel to a friend or family member. I found it to be extremely dirty, and a lack of good customer service at this hotel and another in Prague has meant I am very unlikely to use an IHG hotel again.
    http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g187147-d207742-r181123591-InterContinental_Paris_Le_Grand-Paris_Ile_de_France.html

  12. Have tried on several occasions to book this on IHG points, even nearly a year in advance and it’s never available, even to Platinum members.