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Contrary to popular belief we’re not dirtbaggers all the time (and we do shower on a regular basis although certainly not every day). Greg and I have stayed in hostels, crashed with friends, and slept in airports all over the world, spending less so that we might travel more. But that was before we started playing this miles and points game. Read all about my mission to become a frequent flyer and hotel points millionaire in my post about it here. Full disclosure: we still crash friends, stay in hostels and Walmart parking lots, but we have stopped sleeping in airports as often.
When we decided to go to Paris to end our last trip we thought it would be a good opportunity to use some of said points and class it up in an actual hotel with an actual bathroom in an actual (private) room. For the sake of the blog and our points I wanted to experience two different hotel brands so we stayed in one hotel our first two nights and another hotel our last two nights. So far in this game Greg and I only have dedicated hotel loyalty points with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Starwood Hotels, and Carlson Rezidor Hotels. I honestly forgot all about our Starwood points so we stayed with IHG and Carlson. I picked the former, Greg picked the latter.
There are plenty of IHG choices in Paris, as their hotel group includes InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and Staybridge to name a few. But I wanted old and classy, like the Titanic, so I went for the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel, delightfully located directly in front of the Palais Garnier, the opera house probably best known for its role in Gaston Leroux’ Phantom of the Opera. The Opera is right in the thick of things- shops, restaurants, department stores, coffee shops- and the front steps provide the perfect place to sit on a sunny day, listen to street performers and watch the world go by.
On booking.com the cheapest room was $588.50 a night. The hotel itself advertised its cheapest room for $1064.67 a night. $1064.67 a night, or if you’re an IHG Rewards Club member: 40,000 IHG points + $70 a night and it just so happens we had 80,000 IHG points burning a hole in our pocket. The room was incredibly easy to book through ihg.com, and of course we went through a cash back portal for the $140. In this case Mr. Rebates was offering 8% cash back, the highest of any of my usual cash back portals. If you don’t know what a cash back portal is, check out my post about it here. Naturally we paid the $140 with my IHG Rewards Club MasterCard, earning us 5 points per dollar spent, and all IHG Rewards Club MasterCard holders receive an annual 10% bonus for all points redeemed, so the room really only cost us 71,300 points and $128.80 for two nights.
IHG Rewards Club cardmembers receive Platinum status as long as they’re a cardholder, and Platinum status entitles you to free wifi, a welcome amenity, a daily newspaper, complimentary room upgrade upon availability, and late check out at 2:00 pm. The internet alone saved us €60 (not that we would’ve paid that, but still). At check in we were acknowledged as Platinum members and honestly treated like royalty. They addressed as Mr. and Mrs. Warcken (teehee!) and gave us a free upgrade to a room with a balcony and a view of the Eiffel Tower! Unfortunately a girl could get used to things like that.
The hotel provided Agraria skin and hair care products smelling of lemon verbena, and they gave us a few extra bottles the second day to supplement the ones we’d used. They must’ve known who they were dealing with, because I now have the whole collection in our bathroom at home.
Our own robes! Charming.
But not first-class enough to try the mini bar. Yes, that does say €14 for chewing gum. Breakfast was even more atrocious at €49/person for an American (read: continental) breakfast. We paid just €6,21 for two days of breakfast at the local grocery and took advantage of the water boiler in the room for free coffee and tea. At check out they asked if we had used the mini bar and I wanted to say “What do we look like- millionaires?!” But then I remembered that we did. Look like millionaires.
InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel services:
HEALTH AND FITNESS CENTER (ON-SITE)
- Our Health Club includes treadmills, electronic bicycles, steppers, body building machines and a sauna. Outside, there is a jogging trail in the Tuileries Gardens.
- I-Spa by Algotherm features relaxing and energizing treatments, beauty cures, traditional and oriental massages. A personal trainer will be available on request. For any request, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
STANDARD INTERNET SERVICE
- Standard Internet service is free for all IHG® Rewards Club members
- Wireless Internet available in Standard Rooms, Executive Rooms, Suites, Public Areas
Standard Room Wireless Fee for Non Members: € 24.00 EUR
- Wired Internet available in Standard Rooms, Executive Rooms, Suites, Public Areas
Standard Room Wired Fee for Non Members: € 24.00 EUR
ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION
- I-Spa by Algotherm offers a range of Thalassotherapy treatments, beauty care and massages. It includes a fitness centre with the latest cardio-training equipment and a sauna, open 24 hours a day.
ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES FOR CHILDREN
- A treasure hunt for children is available, thank you to contact the Guest Relation Department
HOUSEKEEPING AND LAUNDRY SERVICES
- Daily Housekeeping
- Weekly Housekeeping
- Dry Cleaning Pickup/Laundry
- Same Day Dry Cleaning
- Shoe Shine
- A/C Public Areas
- Concierge Services
- Dedicated Lounge (or 24 Hour Lounge)
- Safety Deposit Box available at Front Desk
- Alternative for business services
- WIFI access in public areas.
LA VERRIERE RESTAURANT
All roads in the hotel lead to La Verrière, an impressive, 800 square metre winter garden, dominating the lobby of the hotel. A stately haven of peace, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Parisian streets, where locals and visitors from all over the world enjoy the convivial atmosphere, as they sit and chat over a hot cup of tea, a drink or a meal. When night falls, the Verrière is transformed into a wonderland of soft light.
Serves: Breakfast | Lunch
CAFE DE LA PAIX
A listed monument, the Cafe de la Paix restaurant needs no introduction. It is legendary the world over and a favorite haunt for food lovers from both Paris and further afield. The Chef Christophe Raoux offers a refined cuisine with the best produce, guaranteeing a new culinary experience, every time.
Serves: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
HOTEL BARS /LOUNGES
Located on the ground floor of La Verriere restaurant, Le Bar is open daily with seating for up to 49 guests.
Greg couldn’t get over how nice the hotel was, but it didn’t really occur to me until we checked into our next hotel and I missed everything about the InterContinental- the bed, the extra floor space, the sitting area, the neighborhood, the bath tub. It really was a luxurious experience, and one I’d recommend to my family and friends. There’s still another InterContinental and a Hotel Indigo I’d like to try in Paris, on points of course, but I have a feeling Greg and I will end up here again. Maybe next time we’ll be classy enough to go to l’Opéra.