The Paris Intercontinental Le Grand was quite grand!!
May 28, 2004 (Updated Sep 28, 2004)
Review by RobinLynn
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros: location, architecture, public areas, room comfort and design, and service
Cons:High cost of breakfast and bar/lobby beverages
The Bottom Line: I would highly recommend this hotel based on the location, architecture, decor, comfort of the rooms, and service, but eat breakfast elsewhere, if possible.
We have just come back from a visit to France, which ended in Paris, where we stayed at the recently renovated Le Grand Intercontinental Hotel, across the street from the Opera House. I loved the location... there was lots of hustle and bustle but with little of the noise. We faced out onto the lovely Boulevard Capucines, which was lined with wonderful trees, and across from some beautiful typical Parisian style buildings, with their lovely mansard roofs and wrought iron trim. Because the hotel is so large, with 478 bedrooms, each wing is named for the street that runs in front of that wing. There was the Rue de la Paix, Rue Scribe, Opera, and the Capucines, which was where our room was located.
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We were on the fifth floor, so we were above the trees and any street noise. We had a long, narrow balcony and off in the distance, to my surprise and delight, we could see the top half of the Eiffel Tower.
The hotel is located within a few minutes walk of the Madeleine Church, with all of the great gourmet shops in that area, the Place Vendome, home of the famous Ritz, the Louvre, the Touleries, the Palais Royale, The Place de la Concorde, and Boulevard Housemann, home of the famous Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores. These stores were, in fact,only a block from the hotel.
Its setting across the street from the famous historic Paris Opera House was the inspiration for much of the décor. It reflected the Opera House and its history in its artwork, mostly etchings, throughout the hotel. Eighty-two rooms face the Opera House. I chose not to stay in one of those rooms, since I was afraid it might be too noisy, and was glad that I chose a quieter wing.
The hotel was beautifully furnished with Empire furniture of the style of Napoleon III, which was fitting, since it was during his reign that the historic hotel was built. They did an elegant job of refurbishing this landmark, which was just completed last year. The hotel was closed for three years during this renovation. The classic style of the furnishings kept the historic mood of the hotel, while providing every modern comfort.
Our room was decorated in gold and red. The lovely new furniture was all done in the Empire style of the mid-late 1800s. There was a leather-topped desk, matching chair, two end tables, a small table and another chair, crystal lamps, and an Empire headboard . We had a very comfortable king size bed, with down comforter and pillows. The linens were of a high quality and very soft. There was beautifully appointed carpeting, crown moldings, 2 layers of draperies, very attractive wallpaper, and gorgeous high gloss lacquered doors. There was also a beautiful, large cabinet, holding a mini-bar with a full set of glassware and a large color cable television sitting on top. Our room had two framed and matted musical scores with wall-light highlighting them and an architectural rendering of the Opera Garnier above the bed. With high hat lighting throughout the room, a double phone-line, and high-speed internet connection, the room had all of the modern state of the art conveniences.
The room was a nice size, large by Paris standards, but the bathroom was incredible. It was enormous, all done in a beautiful modern tile, with a shower- bath combination with hand-held shower head, and a separate small shower stall. There was also a double sink and nice sized vanity, and a really thoughtful touch, a full shelf under the sinks to stow all of our travel essentials and toiletries.
There was a separate closet area, with adequate hanging space, drawers, shelves, and a safe. There was even a light that automatically went on when you entered that area.
In addition, there was nightly turn down service, soft and cuddly robes, slippers, very fluffy towels, and some wonderful top-flight complimentary toiletries. There was even a gym and sauna, and spa services available on the premises as well.
The staff was friendly and professional. The concierge was very helpful, calling to find out about museum openings, offering restaurant suggestions, and helping give directions. The front desk, bellman, even the housekeeping were all excellent.
The hotel is also home to a quite famous historic classic brassierie, the Café de la Paix. Its terrace is quite well-known as the perfect Parisian spot to sit and people watch. We had dinner in the main dining room. It was very pretty, in a very authentic Paris style, and the food quite good, although our waiter suggested a wine which was the only mediocre wine we had on our entire trip to France.
The public areas were very opulent. The lobby, but especially the areas where they served drinks and tea or coffee were just gorgeous. It is a large glass-enclosed atrium, done in gilt and red, with much wrought-iron work and the soaring glass ceiling making it truly memorable. We enjoyed just sitting there relaxing, admiring the beautiful surroundings, taking pictures of ourselves amid the grandeur. I know it may sound silly, but it was just fun. We didn't actually order anything, since we weren't going to spend close to twenty Euros each for a beverage. ,which is close to twenty-five dollars U.S. dollars.
This brings me to my main complaint about the hotel. The food and beverages were, in my opinion, quite out of line. The ridiculous cost of a continental breakfast, at 29 Euros a person, forced us to eat breakfast across the street at a neighborhood cafe that was only mediocre at best. We had to order up room service on the morning we were leaving, since we were leaving for the airport early on a Sunday, and it really annoyed us to pay so much for a basket of pastries, some coffee, and some juice. But, at least I packed up the remaining two pastries, which were two chocolate brioches, and ate them with relish on the flight home!
Overall, it was a wonderful experience. In the past, we have always stayed at small hotels, which is also enjoyable, and usually our first choice, and which we had done in the first two weeks of our trip. But this was a rather different experience for us, and one that was quite memorable. This hotel has certainly earned and deserves its four-star rating.
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