Yes, it’s true. For reasons that I do not fully understand myself, I must admit that InterContinental Le Grand 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:
With generous amenities thrown in:
And an amazing view:
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:
And here is the lobby lounge:
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 Le Grand, 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.