Ambiance & Vibe:
The ambiance is one of welcoming old-world luxury, replete with ornate Napoleon III period furnishing and décor, grand marble-clad staircases and a glass-roofed winter garden as an atrium. The patrons of the hotel are a mix of international business clientele, wealthy tourist families on leisure holidays and well healed locals. Being one of the most popular luxury hotels in Paris, the banquet spaces adjoining the glass roofed winter garden are always busy with private corporate and social events, and of course, the ever popular, Café de la Paix is buzzing with locals and tourists alike at any given time of the day, as one of the prime people watching and socializing venues in the city. While not as glamorous and intimate as the Ritz Paris or posh as some of the Palace hotels, this hotel is full of character and history and clearly comes across as one of the most well run and successful luxury properties in the city offering its international clientele a perfect combination of old world Parisian luxury and classic French hospitality.
Design & Style:
The architecture and interiors of the InterContinental Paris le Grand take you back in time to the 19th century Haussmann renovation of Paris. The 470 rooms and suites feature typical Napoleon III period facades and furniture, with elaborate décor of empire red and royal blue, with many rooms offering a spectacular view of the Opéra Garnier. The common areas embody old-world luxury; grand staircases with wrought iron railings leading to corridors with typical Parisian names such as Haussmann, Rivoli, Opéra and Montmartre. The central atrium and lobby lounge is located under a spectacular glass-roofed winter garden, which used to once be the courtyard where wealthy patrons parked their horse and carriage. (Note: As of this writing, the hotel is undergoing extensive room renovations)
The hotel’s elegant 470 rooms (starting from 25 sqm) and suites (starting from 45 sqm) feature ceiling moldings and ornate chandeliers, with Napoleon III – style furnishings such as elegant mahogany tables with bronze legs and velvet-upholstered armchairs and chaise lounges, featuring tones of red or blue, enhanced with touches of gold, and in the suites, chandeliers and painted ceilings. The double beds, decorated with monogrammed pillows and grand bedspreads are extremely comfortable. Some rooms have 4-poster beds and the balconies from the higher levels in some rooms feature magnificent views overlooking the roofs of Paris, Palais Garnier, Place de l’Opéra and the Eiffel Tower. Club level rooms are more generous in size at an average of 33 sqm and offer access to a lounge with free appetizers and drinks. Suites add living rooms, pull-out sofas and/or dining tables. Marble bathrooms feature separate stand-in showers and bathtubs.
There are total of 83 sumptuously decorated suites, with 4 Presidential Suites, 4 Royal Suites with two bedrooms, 6 Ambassador Suites, 14 Prestige Suites, 4 of which have views of the Opéra Garnier and 54 Junior Suites, with 4 overlooking the Opéra. A highlight (and our firm favorite) is the mansard-roofed Honeymoon Suite on the 5th floor, with a bird’s eye view of the Opéra House and a chic more contemporary décor with wallpaper in tones of ivory and coral. (Note: As of this writing, the hotel is undergoing extensive room renovations)
Café de la Paix: it is no exaggeration to say that this famous eatery is one of the best known meeting spots in Paris, offering indoor and alfresco seating for every season. At this iconic French café you can nosh on celebrated French brasserie cuisine served to perfection while gawking at the Palais Garnier Opera House from the outdoor sidewalk terrace and soaking in the atmosphere of the lively Parisian scene at one of the prime socializing spots in the city. This historic café has been in business since 1862 and is a registered landmark. It has always been a meeting place for celebrities, prominent artists and the writers of its time, including Victor Hugo, Guy de Maupassant and Oscar Wilde.
The interiors feature frescoes, soaring golden columns, sumptuous draperies, furniture inspired by the Napoleon-III style, including period lamps, luxurious red leather chairs and crisp white linen cloths – casting a spell of undeniable welcoming French elegance. The gastronomic cuisine consists of fresh, seasonal products, sourced wherever possible from authentic artisan producers. The breakfast buffet, served in Café de la Paix, has a wide selection of classic continental fare with a selection of hot options.
La Verrière: at the heart of the hotel, is a superb 800 sqm atrium restaurant set in an elegant winter garden below a glass pyramid offering a bright haven for a business or social meeting. This all-day dining facility offers a great place to meet over afternoon tea and snacks or an excellent meal in an intimate ambiance surrounded by ficus trees and white orchids. La Verrière also serves as a high profile area for artist exhibitions.
The Bar: is one of the most famous bars in Paris and dressed to impress with its old-world ambiance with interiors featuring rich mahogany woods and deep red leather chairs replete an old-fashioned “leaning bar counter” and high back comfortable bar stools. This intimate place is perfect for an aperitif or nightcap and offers an amazing array of original and retro style cocktails and selection of French wines and cognacs. Service is highly polished and impeccable as are the guests comprising stylish locals and international business types.
VIP Club Lounge: the hotel’s VIP Club Lounge is a luxurious and intimate duplex “hotel within the hotel” spread over two levels on the uppermost floors with personalized services. Treated to a VIP welcome, Club clients enjoy a magnificent view over the rooftops of Paris and the Palais Garnier Opera House. The bespoke services include a buffet that is renewed throughout the day, including breakfast, lunch and evening snacks, with all-day free-flow champagne (it’s tempting to spend the entire day here – but there is too much to see and do in the City of Romance). The Club also provides a private meeting room and computer area equipped with high-speed Internet, scanner and printer.
The gastronomic dining options at the Intercontinental Le Grand Paris:
During our stay, we ate breakfast and dinner at the celebrated Café de la Paix and pre-dinner drinks at the Bar and found the food and service at all locations to be exceptional, The service is perfectly timed and attentive but the staff are friendly and genuine too, delivering classic French hospitality. Most of the staff speak good English so you can communicate exactly what you want to eat.
Our experience while checking in and out was also very efficient and while checking in, our room was not quite ready so we were treated to a couple of wines and a snack at Café de la Paix, while we waited, which was a very nice gesture. However, the championship ring in terms of service quality has to go the indefatigable and friendly concierge team, which are no doubt are among the busiest and best in Paris. We witnessed the concierge team juggle wide ranging requests from multiple guests at the same time, and they managed to process all requests with speed and aplomb. We used the concierge service extensively, from recommendations for the best walks, food tours, cultural attractions, restaurant reservations, directions, metro instructions to planning day tours.
Facilities & Activities:
Facilities: the hotel’s 250 sqm I-Spa by Algoterm is the capital’s only spa providing ‘marine therapy’ or Thalassotherapy, using only deep-sea water products researched and developed by the Algotherm brand, expert in marine cosmetics. An expert team of 6 aestheticians, offer a wide range of indulgent marine inspired well-being treatments, including chromotherapy and aromatherapy massages, facials and beauty rituals. Guests also have access to a steam room, sauna with multi-sensorial shower, hammam equipped with hot marble table for black soap exfoliating and Rassoul wraps, relaxation area as well as cardio-training fitness suite.
The hotel is also a very popular venue for business meetings and gala dinners, and has more than 2,000 sqm of events facilities, including an impressive Conference Centre with 13 rooms with high-tech equipment and natural lighting and two grand ballrooms.
Activities: for tourists, taking a one or multi day pass for the popular Hop-on Hop-off panoramic Paris bus tour is a no-brainer, with the bus tour starting at the stop right opposite the Opera House and offering both day and night tour options. The bus tour offers two routes (1) the Classic route – which includes most of the iconic landmarks in Paris including the Opera House, Notre Dame, Louvre Museum, Place de La Concorde, Place Vendome, Orsay Museum, Grand Palais, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Hôtel des Invalides and Eiffel Tower (2) the Montmartre route – which includes the more bohemian areas of Paris including Pigalle, Moulin Rouge and Sacré-Coeur Basilica. It also includes a must do cruise on the river Seine. The friendly and expert concierge team will also assist you to plan and book popular day trips from Paris, including Palace of Versailles, Mont Saint Michel, wine tours in the Champagne region, and exploring the famous castles in Loire Valley.
Location, location, location! The hotel is literally located in “ground zero” of Paris, occupying a whole city block in the heart of Paris, facing the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House on one of the city’s grandest intersections. Within a few blocks is the most prestigious public square in Paris – The Place Vendôme and the iconic Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores. The Louvre, Place de la Concorde and ultra chic shopping mecca of rue Saint-Honoré are also within modest walking distance, making it the ideal place to stay for an authentic Parisian trip.
A block away is the nearest métro stop, Opéra (lines 3, 7 and 8). Gare du Nord station, from where you can catch trains (including the superfast TGV) to the rest of France, is only 10 minutes by taxi from the hotel. From Charles de Gualle international airport, you can get a non-stop bus, the Roissy Bus, which stops directly opposite the hotel.
What We Love:
- The opulent and ornate interiors, traditional architecture and rich history of the property, which lets you experience the grandeur of Paris.
- The prime central location, facing the famous Palais Garnier Opera House, and within a few blocks of the most prestigious square in Paris – The Place Vendôme and the iconic Galeries Lafayette department store.
- The jaw-dropping bird’s eye view of the iconic Opera House, from the private balcony in our elegantly appointed Classic room.
- Dining at the hotel’s legendary Brasserie, Café de la Paix, a Parisian institution, and probably the most famous café in Paris, where you can nosh on celebrated French bistro cuisine while gawking at the Palais Garnier Opera House and soaking in the atmosphere at one of the prime socializing spots in the city.
- The hotel’s I-Spa by Algoterm is the capital’s only spa providing ‘marine therapy’ or thalassotherapy, using deep-sea water products.
At about 25 sqm, the entry level Classic rooms are a bit small, although this is not unusual for European hotels, and the bathrooms in the Classic rooms do not feature some of the mod cons such as dual sinks and rainshowers.
Best Time to Visit:
Paris is a year round destination although the ideal time to visit is from June to August and September to October. From June to August the weather in Paris is great, with average highs in the high 70s and there are long days of sunshine. Unfortunately, summer is also the most crowded time – and the most expensive. For lower travel rates and significantly shorter lines at the major tourist attractions plan a visit in the fall. Christmas is also a great time to experience the city of lights and romance.