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I was fortunate to be in Paris over the new year. Part of that trip involved staying at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand.
The Intercontinental Paris Le Grand is the flagship IHG hotel in Paris. My stay at the hotel was mixed however. The hotel design is beautiful and located in a wonderful part of town. Sadly it disappointed in a number of areas: such as elite recognition, lack of swimming pool and in room facilities. Overall, I thought the hotel underwhelmed.
Paris needs no introduction, but I’ll still provide one! As a native Londoner, I’ve been to Paris many times – it’s very easy to get to! I can honestly say that I never tire of the city, and that it’s truly majestic. Tourist sites like the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe and Notre Dame and unbelievably beautiful. I really believe that there’s no other city that matches its grandeur.
That’s not to say that Paris is perfect, it’s not! It's very difficult to find decent food on a budget and I don’t think the transport is as good as London. But overall, it’s a wonderful place.
The below video summarises some of the best things to do in Paris.
The Hotel is located in the fashionable Opera region of Paris – at the heart of the action. It’s 15 minutes walk from the Louvre Museum, and the area is bustling with bars, cafes and restaurants. The establishments cater for all budgets too, from street vendors to high end venues.
It’s a very swanky part of town - The Park Hyatt and Hilton Paris Opera are all close by. On a personal level, it’s probably my favourite location for stays in Paris.
One locality to avoid is the area around the Arc De Triomphe and the Champs Elysees. This part of town is a pure tourist trap, jam packed with tourists and over-priced restaurants. Definitely visit these places and get some photos, but then retire to an alternative part of town!
The hotel is pretty light on facilities, and consists of the following:
The highlight of the hotel had to be the wonderful design. Everywhere you go, there were paintings, grand staircases and stunning architecture. It was everything you could hope for in a Parisian Hotel. I have a soft spot for French design and flair, but the hotel design really is beautiful – I urge you to view the photos in the above slideshow.
There is no swimming pool, which I found to be quite disappointing. In my experience, most city centre 5* hotels do have a pool, although New York is a notable exception.
The central area on the ground floor contains a café and a relaxed place to eat food. This really was a beautiful space to kill some time. As I was there over the new year, the Christmas tree was still up.
The elite recognition was the most disappointing part of my visit. As a family, we love it when a hotel recognises our loyalty and makes us feel special – but on this occasion, it didn’t happen. I am an Intercontinental Ambassador, and the benefits I got are as follows:
The hotel did everything they were required to do, but I found this package to be exceptionally poor.
My return flight left Paris at 9pm and I requested to check out at 6pm - but I was told that they could only offer a 4pm check-out. I’m sure that the reception lady could have given us a later check-out, if she really wanted to.
The amenity gift of oranges and shortbread was frankly a joke. How hard can it be to give an €8 bottle of wine in Paris?!
The drinks voucher is offered to all platinum IHG members (not just Intercontinental Ambassadors). So it is was not an additional benefit of my Intercontinental Ambassador Status.
I paid for the stay using IHG points, so no room upgrade was provided. This is not against the rules, but it is very disappointing – most hotels would give elite members some upgrade, to recognise their loyalty. The room had an awful view of the interior of the hotel - no view of Paris Opera for us!
Ultimately, it would not be difficult for the hotel to offer more to elite members. Being stingy doesn’t save a lot of money, but it annoys loyal members. I’ve stayed at a lot of IHG hotels, including IC Danang, Holiday Inn Maldives and IC Boston. The experience here is probably the worst I have experienced as an IHG elite.
My room was on the 4th floor (out of 5). It consisted of the following:
Sadly not much to write home about! This was the 1st time I’d stayed in a 5* hotel that didn’t have a coffee machine, and frankly it’s not good enough.
Another issue I had was with the temperature of the water. I had wanted to take a hot bath, but the water was not hot enough and my bath was lukewarm. This isn’t a problem if you are staying in the Maldives or India, but in Northern Europe, a hot bath is a must!
I took a short video of the room, so you can see what it is like. The feedback from my videos of the Conrad Maldives were very positive, so I will be doing more videos from now on!
One of the benefits as a Platinum Ambassador was a free drinks voucher. To the credit of the hotel, they allowed me to redeem the voucher for most drinks, including champagne. At most IHG hotels, you are limited to house wine and beer, so this was definitely an upgrade!
The bar itself is nice, and my champagne was served with mixed nuts. I enjoyed both the champagne and the nuts!