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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…
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We thought our trip would end in England, but we needed an encore 📷 @lil_henstridge •••••• I had to hold this pose for several minutes until the crowds died down. Good thing I did my own stunts on Make it or Break it. #paris #louvre #travel #points #jump #inspiration @monkey_miles #ithinkmonaisstilllookingatme
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
We arrived to a nicely sized room with a walk in closet, and a very large bathroom with separate shower.
There was a handwritten letter, welcome juice, fruit, and water by the bedside.
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.
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.
Europe 2019 New Years: Rome, Budapest, Vienna, London, and Paris
- Review: Iberia Business Class Chicago to Madrid
- Review: Iberia Business Class Lounge Madrid
- Review: VIP Lounge Plaza Mayor Madrid
- Review: Iberia Business Class Madrid to Rome
- Review: St Regis Rome
- Review: Alitalia Economy Rome to Budapest
- Review: New York Palace Budapest, Autograph Collection
- Tip for visiting the Thermal baths in Budapest
- Don’t make this European train mistake like I did
- Review: Park Hyatt Vienna
- Review: Air Lounge Vienna Airport
- Review: British Airways Business Class Vienna to London
- Review: Kimpton London Fitzroy
- Tips before flying Flybe
- Review: Intercontinental Le Grand Paris
- Review: Air France Business Class Lounge CDG
- Review: Air France Business Class 777-300ER Paris to Washington D.C.
- How I utilized the transfer desk to make a tight international connection
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