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Why InterContinental Le Grand in Paris is my favourite city hotel in the world

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This is my review of the InterContinental Le Grand hotel in Paris.

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:

InterContinental LeGrand Paris Junior Suite review

and

InterContinental LeGrand Paris Junior Suite 2 review

With generous amenities thrown in:

InterContinental LeGrand Paris Junior Suite 3 review

And an amazing view:

InterContinental LeGrand Paris Junior Suite 4 review

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 review

And here is the lobby lounge:

IC LeGrand Paris Lobby review

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.

You can find out more about the hotel, and book, on this page of the InterContinental website.

Comments (31)

  • 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! 🙂

    • Rob says:

      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.

      • Waribai says:

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

  • 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!

  • Neil says:

    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

  • Fido says:

    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.

    • Rob says:

      Not true! I had my stay booked as a reward, booked a month out, before I switched to cash to get the Best Rate Guarantee.