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Inside the new club lounge at InterContinental Paris Le Grand

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This is our review of the new club lounge at InterContinental Le Grand in Paris.

I have run it separately from our main review of InterContinental Paris Le Grand, partly for reasons of length and partly because it won’t interest anyone who doesn’t have lounge access.

The lounge has been transformed during the refurbishment. It has moved from a two level space on the 5th floor, with outstanding views of the Opera Garnier, to a first floor space on one level with no real views at all. How did I find it?

Review club lounge intercontinental paris le grand hotel

How do you access the club lounge at InterContinental Paris?

There are a number of ways of getting access.

  • The obvious one is to book a room which offers lounge access. You need to be careful here, because you can find rooms without club access being sold at a higher price, due to size or view, than those which do have it. Suites do not automatically come with club access, which is rare.
  • You can pay a supplement at check-in of €150 per day
  • You get automatic access if you have the invite-only InterContinental Royal Ambassador status
  • You book via a travel agent affiliated with the Virtuoso consortium (like our partner Emyr Thomas) who gets lounge access included for free for all his clients, irrespective of room booked. You pay the same as the Best Available Rate showing on the hotel website and will receive other benefits on top.

Why did people rate this lounge so highly?

Pre covid, this was my favourite club lounge anywhere in the world.

There was no standout reason for this, but everything worked. The staff were great. There was a huge amount of high quality food available all day, with free-flowing champagne from breakfast onwards. The upper level had plenty of quiet space to work or read, with amazing views. It was simply a very pleasant place to spend your time.

This has now changed.

The club lounge has moved to the first floor. If you know the hotel, you take the stairs opposite the lifts and it is right in front of you.

You can check in and check out here if you wish, although it is trickier than in the old lounge because the door requires a key card and you won’t have one if checking in ….

The view is poor. It overlooks the interior glazed courtyard:

Review club lounge intercontinental paris le grand hotel

The photo above is NOT the view you see though. The lounge is at the same level as the glass roof, which isn’t as impressive – you are looking into the side of the pyramid.

Inside the club lounge at InterContinental Paris Le Grand

The lounge is now on one floor. It is basically ‘L’ shaped. There is a long and relatively narrow part, full of casual seating, which opens out into a more formal dining area where breakfast is served.

As you can see from the photographs here, a lot of money has been spent making the space look good, potentially to compensate for the loss of exterior views:

Review club lounge intercontinental paris le grand hotel

There are lots of little alcoves like this:

Review club lounge intercontinental paris le grand hotel

and

Review club lounge intercontinental paris le grand hotel

Regular visitors may recognise Gilles, a very long-standing staff member and someone who is hugely kind and helpful, in the background of this next picture – it is great that his job survived both covid and the hotel refurbishment:

Review club lounge intercontinental paris le grand hotel

Here are some shots of the dining area at the back:

Review club lounge intercontinental paris le grand hotel

and

Review club lounge intercontinental paris le grand hotel

Here’s the problem ….. no food

The new lounge has one key problem. When I visited, admittedly six weeks ago but I haven’t seen any reports of changes, there was basically no food available outside breakfast.

When I was there in the evening, there were just a couple of plates of canapes out. It was just enough to sustain you if you were on your way to dinner, but under no scenario could it sustain anyone who was spending the evening in.

If you’ve never visited the old lounge it’s hard to explain what a change this is. I have spent multiple days, over the years, working in the hotel and eating every single meal and snack in the lounge, and eating very well. That’s NOT happening now.

It isn’t clear how much of this is down to covid and/or the very low number of guests when I visited. I will need to visit again next year to see if things have improved.

Even breakfast is a shadow of its old self. Here are two shots of the buffet, although hot items are available to order too. Hot items generally arrived lukewarm, unfortunately – I got the impression that they are now cooked in the main restaurant and sent up, whereas the old lounge had its own cooking facilities.

Review club lounge intercontinental paris le grand hotel

and

Review club lounge intercontinental paris le grand hotel

The lack of goodies is a real issue. There is virtually no reason, frankly, to pay the €150 supplement for lounge access at present.

There also isn’t much reason to pay the premium for a room with club access, since the difference should also be around €150. The price is per room, so the maths changes a little if there are two of you, but even a couple aren’t going to get €150 of value from the breakfast, a couple of glasses of champagne and a handful of canapes.

Conclusion

I have spent many happy hours in the lounge at InterContinental Paris in the past, and it was a real shame to see the food service cut back so badly.

As with the other issues I had on my stay (bar closed, no food service in the lobby lounge, non-stop buskers playing outside my window) I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt for now, and will pay another visit next year.

If things have not picked up, I may need to look for a new home in Paris after 20 years.

The InterContinental Paris Le Grand website is here.


IHG Rewards update – November 2021:

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Comments (29)

  • Aliks says:

    We have a weekend in Paris just before Xmas, and I agonised over the different IHG options to use up free nights.

    Eventually I chose the Kimpton over the Intercontinental as I didnt renew Ambassador for 2021 and the likelihood of getting one of the smaller rooms was too high. Even with Spire status, you can end up with a rough and ready deal when using points.

    The Kimpton “hosted drinks” every evening sounds attractive too . . .

  • Irons80 says:

    Personally I have never understood the continued fawning over this hotel – admittedly I have stayed a few times pre refurbishment but I found it to be over priced and underwhelming. The lounge at the IC in Warsaw, as well as the hotel itself for example is much nicer IMO, but of course I accept everyone’s experience varies…

  • SRH says:

    Was really shocked and saddened actually to read about the dramatic reduction in club lounge offerings, and to see it in the photo’s too. Such a shame, as it’s been consistently one of the best lounges anywhere. And it’s for exactly that reason I decided to book it for June for my joint 50th birthday and anniversary. I emailed the hotel to ask if that is the new standard we should come expect, or if they plan to provide the world class club lounge they’re famous for. I got a very vague reply saying ‘it’s a wonderful buttet on offer there’ and that’s from the GM, which does concern me. If he really thinks that is acceptable, as much hassle as it will be, I’ll cancel flights etc and go elsewhere!!

    • Lyn says:

      That reply sounds ridiculous under the current circumstances. It might be worth sending an e-mail directly to the Club Lounge, explaining that you have booked, and are asking, because it is a special occasion.

      Although they honestly may not know at this stage just how much of the old food offering they will be able to bring back by June.

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