Insider Review of Intercontinental Hotel Paris Le Grand.
Located in the heart of the City Of Light, in the 9th arrondissement The Intercontinental Hotel Paris Le Grand is the kind of opulent, grand, elegant, palace-like sprawling five star hotel that hotel addicts could only dream of a year ago, but now it is open and bringing an energy, style and class to Paris we have all missed for so long.
To stay at Intercontinental Hotel Paris Le Grand is to sit within a piece of Paris’ long, elegant and illustrious history, as Le Grand was the very first five star luxury hotel in Paris and unlike many of the city’s hotels, the building has never been home to anything or anyone other than hotel guests and hotel staff. Le Grand really is the real deal.
The building itself is a magnificent towering monument and testament to the Hausmann design days. The location is simply first class – many rooms and suites face The Glittering Palais Garnier, arguably one of Paris’ most majestic buildings, especially at night.
The hotel’s restaurant, Cafe de la Paix is itself a historical monument and steeped in history with both a respected gastronomic past and present as well as one of the most celebrated and colourful celebrity guest lists of any venue, anywhere in the world.
Today the interiors are striking and able to make any instagram account attract attention. A bonus for in-house guests is that Cafe de La Paix is the standard breakfast room for hotel guests, a highlight of the start of every day at this majestic, graceful property. But it is at lunch and dinner when it truly comes alive with traditional dishes and flamboyant well dressed guests from every corner of the world flocking to see and be seen – and to eat.
The rooms and suites are elegant and spacious, and if they have a view of the Palais Garnier, they are ideal for a long stay. This is a hotel which makes any guest feel like a Prince or Princess in a fairy tale – especially at night when sipping champagne on the balconies of the suites with a view of the Opera or Eiffel Tower and the elegant buzz of Parisians in the streets below.
Rooms and hotel hallways are filled with magnificent art depicting artists – many are ballet dancers, a constant reminder of the Palais Opera just outside and two Hausmann staircases add to the interior grandeur.
Some of Paris’ best shopping is on the hotel’s doorstep, and if you have access to the club lounge, it is one of Intercontinental’s best, with classic but fresh, updated gleaming interiors, modern snacks and all day champagne and glossy French wines
The hotel’s location right in the middle of Paris has become even more valued in 2022, due to a few minor retail re-alignments, which mean much of Paris’ mainstream shopping is now focussed within a 12 minute walk from the hotel including Galeries Lafayette and Printemps as well as the main outlets of the high street stores Zara, Sephora and H&M.
The upscale designer area of Boulevard de la Madeleine, Rue des Capucines and Rue Cambon are just a little further.
Simply walking the surrounding streets of Intercontinental Hotel Paris Le Grand at any time of year is to engage in momentary escapism due to the stunning and seemingly endless Hausmann architecture, wide open boulevards and mesmerising monuments, cafes and restaurants.
The hotel’s ritzy but diverse style is one of a stately grand old dame who has had a pretty fantastic facelift in most areas, and who looks decades younger than her years. She is spritely, agile and just so much fun. No walking sticks here.
The rooms and suites have been sufficiently and carefully refreshed – and some of the suites particularly are breathtaking. They have stunning white interiors and are surprisingly modern, light filled, spacious and indulgent.
The Club Lounge is particularly gorgeous with modern artworks, mirrors, plenty of natural light streaming in, cream furniture and impressive service with pleasantly small bites to eat.
The ground floor palm tree filled winter garden accompanied by the green and cream interiors has a glassed ceiling and provides a respite from the old-worldliness of the lobby and is full of guests and passers by looking for a moment of grandeur within the hotel.
Service & Facilities:
There is nothing better than communicative, on-the-ball porters who greet guests checking in and this hotel has them running across the driveway all day and night long. They learn guest’s names within days.
An example of fine French service can be experienced daily at Cafe De la Paix where staff make a huge effort to remember guest’s names, their breakfast coffee orders and even where they like to sit. Not easy in a hotel that can be hosting up to 800 or more guests at any one time.
The longer I stayed, the longer I wanted to stay at Hotel Paris Le Grand. The more I got to know the staff in every area, and the better the service became. A great strategy for encouraging return guests.
The facilities are excellent,as it is a sprawling property with towering ceilings and plenty of room to move. There are multiple room categories, excellent check-in facilities, and two restaurants, an exceptional bar within Cafe de la Paix, Terrific room service, and The Club Lounge is exceptional. There is a gym tucked away in the hotel, and a spa on the way.
Food & Drink:
Cafe de la Paix is a national monument and over 300 years old with an ornate ceiling, rich but fresh green and cream interiors and a fabulous modern bar with high back green chairs.
It is one of the most iconic and exquisite restaurants in the world, and the sumptuous breakfast buffet is on offer to hotel guests here every day of the week. I went there just to have a coffee and a long, slow water each day (as I am not big on breakfast), but there are egg dishes made to order, a breakfast buffet and everything from freshly baked goods to nuts, salad, fruits and more.
Cafe de la Paix was a favourite of Oscar Wilde along with Hollywood Royalty including Marlene Dietrich, John Travolta, British Royalty, Czars, Shieks, and politicians the world over. This is still one of the top 5 locations in Paris to see and be seen.
Forget any notions of tiredness even if the crockery is monogrammed. Somehow at Cafe de la Paix tradition and modernity come together, and it works to create an experience that is endearing and illuminating. I lined up every day (yes, every day) to go back and sit at Cafe De La Paix during my stay.
Cafe De La Paix is fresh, with classically elegant interiors and is a joy to invest time in people watching, dining, grazing, or drinking a champagne or two at any time of the night or day.
Lunch and dinner here is still an upscale indulgence, with a menu including many French classics from frois gras to escargot, sole moluniere and chocolate eclairs, as well as modern and classic cocktails, champagne by the glass and an impressive line up of French wines, think Chablis, Sancerre and Bordeaux for openers – even by the glass.
Room service is outstanding, with a lot of choice.
There are 470 rooms and suites over five levels in this substantial hotel so it is a seriously large hotel, and when I stayed during summer it was pleasantly swarming with guests which gave the entire experience a buzz of energy, activity and excitement.
In a city where space is a luxury, many rooms are expansive. There are multiple categories as you would expect from a large five star hotel, including the cosy room, classic room, club room, premium room, and premium room with opera view.
Then there are suites including a junior suite, one bedroom suite, ambassador suite, royal suite and presidential suite. The signature suites, Pa Parisienne suite, Charles Garnier Suite, The Pearl Suite, The Opera Suite and Eugenie Suite are my favourites.
The best rooms or suites have views of the Opera Garnier, and the suites are incredible. There are many different room designs, so it is worth requesting a doer modern or traditional interior design.
Bathrooms are well lit, many have marble throughout, and large separate bath and spacious shower. All are filled with sumptuous Byredo designer beauty products.
Who Should Stay Here: Couples, families or solo travellers will be treated with service and respect here, and there are room categories for every need.
Who Shouldn’t Stay Here: Anyone who does not enjoy gracious, oversized five star hotels.
Location: In the heart of Paris.
Best Culinary Delight: For me it was the Frois Gras at cafe De la Paix.But anything at Cafe De la Paix is fantastic.
The Highlight: The Club Lounge – an incredibly modern, stylish and intimate venue within the hotel to enjoy some down time and personalised service.
Insider Secret: The Club Lounge has free flowing champagne all day.
The Lowlight: Leaving the hotel. This is the type of hotel that gets better the longer you stay.