Hotels Reviews

Review: Intercontinental Paris Le Grand

a group of people walking on a street corner

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After an incredible tour of Europe featuring a wonderful crop of hotels ( St Regis Rome, New York Palace Budapest, Park Hyatt Vienna, Kimpton Fitzroy London) I ended up finding a great deal on Air France back from Paris. In fact, I was fortunate to not only find a single flight at 55k, but I had my pick of whether I wanted to fly on Tuesday 1/8, or Weds 1/9. Ultimately, my girlfriend and I decided we’d give our insane trip an encore and finish in Paris.

I must say I’ve researched Parisian hotels quite a bit, helping award clients select their best option as well as thinking about the next time I visit the City of Lights. The Intercontinental Le Grand has always piqued my interest as an IHG redemption, and as luck would have it…was available on the dates we wanted.

We arrived into terminal 2E on Flybe, flew through immigration, met our Uber driver at departures, and arrived at the hotel nearly an hour later. Paris just gives these vibes…

 

Credit Cards we used to book

Since this was booked with points we put a Chase Ink Business Preferred down at check-in for incidentals. If you’re not utilizing points to stay here I would highly recommend using Virtuoso to book and reap the extra benefits like early check-in/late check-out, $100 credit, upgrade – Virtuoso bookings can be paid with any card.

If you carry an Amex Platinum ( Personal or Business ) you can access great benefits through their Fine Hotels and Resorts program. It’s similar to Virtuoso and  our partner Josh King can help secure VIP treatment when utilizing either program, Virtuoso or FHR. Josh is currently one of a few reps that part of pilot program which extends the Amex booking system to 3rd party partners. Pretty sweet.

  • A big benefit to using Amex to Virtuoso is the 5x points you’ll accrue on your stay by reserving via that program. *note you’ll be charged upfront for the stay.

If you’re an IHG Premier cardholder, this could be a great place because of its 4th night free benefit. If you’re like me and hold an IHG Select with 10% back, and made use of an Ambassador renewal that included another 10% back – a 4 night could end up costing you just 168k points. That is insane.

The Deets:

  • When: January 2019
  • Where: Paris, France
  • Program: IHG
  • Status: Ambassador
  • Rate: 70k a night
  • Welcome amenity: 2 welcome drinks
    • Champagne, worth 22 Euro a glass!
  • Upgrade: Yes
  • Room: 3216

Location:

The hotel is incredibly well located. In fact, it would have been easy enough to hop on the train – the Auber station is closest. The hotel is across the street from the opera house, 5 mins to Place Vendome, 15-20 mins to the Louvre, and 15-20 mins to the Champs.  In fact, we walked back from the Moulin Rouge and it took less than half an hour.

a man standing on a street corner in front of a building

Arrival/Check-in

Per its namesake, the hotel is certainly grand, albeit undergoing a renovation which has left the façade draped in a covering that mimics the eventual look the hotel with reveal. We were met by porters in the small driveway and quickly escorted into the lobby. It’s marble covered, and for some reason I was instantly reminded of the St Regis Rome…prior to renovation. The Intercontinental is a regal hotel that needs the renovation its facing much as the St Regis needed it.

a building with columns and stairs

Check in is to the right and we found ourselves first to be helped.  Ambassador status recognized, a category room upgrade, and our choice of 600 points or 2 welcome drinks.  Seeing as though 600 points can be often purchased for just $3 we went for the welcome drinks.

Just beyond check-in is large lobby atrium/lounge/café de pais as well as the Bar. Prices are steep so watch out.

a room with a chandelier and chairs

The Room:

We arrived to a nicely sized room with a walk in closet, and a very large bathroom with separate shower.

a room with a bed and a chair

There was a handwritten letter, welcome juice, fruit, and water by the bedside.

a table with a bowl of oranges and glasses

The bathroom was large, but like other parts of the hotel, it’s dated and needs to be refreshed.

We were on floor 3 in the capucines wing.  We had considerable issues with the room our first night. The airconditioning stopped working and our room was an absolute over. However, we failed to realize this until we got back from the Moulin Rouge and it was nearly midnight. Not wanting to be kept up even later with engineering we suffered through. When I say hot…it must have been mid 80s

Additionally, the door would connect to the room next door wouldn’t lock. It was a simple issue with knob that controls the lock being unscrewed, but it was a little disconcerting and we lodged the chair under the handle and against the bedroom doorframe.

Both issues were promptly resolved the next day without issue. In hindsight we should have called when we checked in about the heat, but thought it would resolve itself once the air was turned on.

Fitness Center/Business Center

The business center is small, but features some private work stations. The fitness center is located in the spa, which was closed during the hours I was at the hotel, therefore no pictures.

Overall

It’s a classic hotel, in a fantastic location that hits the top end of IHG’s category rating at 70k.  Cash rates fluctuate quite a bit. When we were looking to book, immediately after the Yellow Vest protests, intro rooms were a bit over 300 Euro a night. I’d say the room we ended up in was around $400, and with just 56k points used in the end…that’s a very good value.

My parents and I ( all 3 of us ) have IHG accounts that were targeted for 10% back with Ambassador renewal, and we all have the, now retired, IHG Rewards Select which offered 10% back.  That means that we can redeem points at this hotel for only 56k a night. That’s pretty great value.

More over, my parents both have the new IHG Premier card which offers a 4th night free when using points to book the hotel.  That means we could stay 4 nights, in an incredible location for 168k points and the best part…you wouldn’t have had to have any points to start. Remember, if you plan well, IHG offers their points quite frequently for half a cent. That’s less than $900 for 4 nights in a 5 star Parisian hotel.  If you’re strategic enough to stay here during peak summer travel, I’d guess you’ll end up paying half or maybe even a 1/3 the cash rate.

I’m not sure the plans for the hotel’s renovation, but if it’s anything remotely close to what was accomplished at the St Regis Rome, this hotel will skyrocket in price, and could end up with a Palace rating. ( Remember France goes one step beyond 5 star – think Peninsula, Ritz, Le Meurice).  If you’re looking for a place to utilize IHG points and get 5 star treatment in one of the most popular cities in the world…it’s a solid place to redeem.

 

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


4.8
4.8/5
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

*you may find an elevated offer walking into a branch – see below

Annual Fee

$95

Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
    • Some people have seen Chase branches offering the following:
      • 75k Ultimate Rewards After $4k spend in 3 months + 10k Ultimate Rewards after $6k in 6 months 
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • $95 Annual Fee

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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