The jewels of Paris, Intercontinental Hotels

I believe I have mentioned this briefly in my many posts on Paris since 2010 ::) However, I have not written a post on them alone. It could be a short post or long, the bottom line I have great memories of these hotels and would like to share it and have a post to remind me for a long time.

At my time, there were two properties Intercontinental Hotel or l’Inter (now the Westin Paris) on rue Castiglione near the Tuileries garden,  and the Le Grand Hotel Intercontinental and its wonderful Café de la Paix by the Opéra Garnier. Now,there is another one call the Marceau.

The newest one is at 64 Avenue Marceau, and the webpage is: http://www.ic-marceau.com/en/home/

So why I have good memories of it and always will remember them? Well , I used to worked in them, and was in charge of all intercontinental hotels including Cannes, and the Holiday Inn hotels in France own outright by the group Intercontinental Hotels Group. Two wonderful years bouncing from one to the other in an top management position in the Accounting dept.

I went thru wonderful Christmas parties for the employees, to welcoming and meeting some of the famous and known such as U2, Condoleezza Rice , Sec of state USA; Stéphane Bern , French actor, presenter and many many more. Working with the upper class of the French nobility including Princess Napoléon, to the marquis and dukes of France; and the famous brands who held many events in the hotels from Louis Vuitton, to Chanel, to the fabulous Fashion Weeks of Paris.

Funny stories from how to keep famous groups in the hotel because the money was late in arriving, to doing special invoicing for Louis Vuitton and Sanofi pharma group; to helping with the princesses and prince of the Middle East; and of course helping my colleagues from serving as English/French  translator for the film crew from South Korea (needed to spent a night in the hotel ,junior suite looking at the Eiffel tower!); and helping out the expat community on providing free host in the great salon (historical monuments of France) for charitable events (raising funds for the hurricane Katrina of New Orleans LA USA fame).

The Intercontinental Paris-Le Grand webpage is here:  https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/paris/parhb/hoteldetail#scmisc=nav_hoteldetail_ic

and it’s attach Café de la Paix is here: http://www.cafedelapaix.fr/en/

The ceilings of the Café de la Paix were done by Charles Garnier of the opera fame and many others, they are historical monument of France and the intricate work you see, has even more value than those in the hotels. You do not have to eat in to just past in and see the ceiling.

The Le Grand hotel at the corner of 2 rue Scribe,and 12 blvd des Capucines, has a wonderful bar with leather sofa seats and piano music to soothe your soul in Paris. It ,also, has a great I-Spa by Algotherm. La Verriére is a wonderful garden style bistro with a great glass cupola right in the middle of the hotel. It was built between 1861 and 1862 for the coming of the Universal Exposition of 1867. The palace hotel was opened in great pomp by the Emperatrice Eugénie as well as the Café de la Paix in May 1862 ( soon to have 155 yrs old). The salon a historical monument of France here is call Salon Opéra and on the side is facing the Opéra Garnier!

My offices were in the mezzanine section off the general public but we needed to walk into the public areas unassumed and enjoy the beauty ::)

The HQ handling all the hotels was at the Intercontinental Paris or affectionally called L’Inter. It was at the corner of the streets 3 rue de Castiglione and rue Rivoli. It opened in 1878 as the Hôtel Continental. It was built at the lot of the old Ministry of Finances burned in the uprisings of 1871 ; the Grand Dukes of Russia stayed here each time passing by Paris.  The hotel was renamed  the Inter-Continental Paris in the 1970’s then the The Westin Paris in 2005 ,and now call the The Westin Paris -Vendôme from  2010. The historical monument of France here is call Salon Napoléon.

It ,also has a Spa, Six Senses, and great bar ;these are Le First, and Le Terrace under the cupola in the garden center of the hotel; but my favorite and always around here was Le Tuileries Bar ,very cozy sofas and great drinks, taking you back to the 19C: more on it here: http://www.tuileriesbar.com/en/

The offices were again in the mezzanine area off the general public but we could walk all over, and I did as my job will take me to see the restaurants/bar personnel as well as the rooms. The walks between the l’Inter and Le Grand were sublime passing by the Place Vendôme into the Place de l’Opéra!!  Many of the colleagues working in non management positions are still there as well as some who have move up to management position now. A good bunch of people.

One other IHG property I was responsible for was in Cannes, the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in the Croisette! I visited there,and knew all the management staff;some came over to Paris later on. A rich history as well since 1913 as the Carlton Hotel catering to rich and noble Russians from the Grand Duke down. In 1922 the first league of United Nations was held here,and the film Festival of Cannes was done here in 1939.  The Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief was done here in 1954, and Grace Kelly Princess of Monaco had it as almost her personal residence. It became as we know it today in 1982 when the IHG took majority interest.

In all, in those early years of 2004-2006, I was, also, responsible for the Holiday Inn -pl de la République in Paris (now a Crown plaza hotel), and the Holiday Inn Disneyland ,who of course, I not only visited on business but also stayed with the family while going to Disneyland Paris(the hotel is now call the Vienna House Magic Circus Hotel).

Those days were good and the ambiance fantastic, I always stayed now in these hotels even in other visited abroad like the Intercontinental Castellana in Madrid, or the Athenatum in Athens Greece or the Intercontinental Dusseldorf in Germany. And many Holiday Inns all over.

As to why the journey was over, well as it happened in our world, I and all the management class was dismissed when our employment contract was held at the l’Inter and it was sold to a pension fund from Singapore ,who in turn gave the management to the Starwood chain, and they decided to change the name to the Westin along with dismissing the management personnel on a nice transaction deal in my belle France.  The package was nice, the leaving was hard ,even today I missed the ambiance, the friends, the place.

And now that you know from where I am coming from, well do stay there, eat there, drink there, is a Paris France institution and worth the detour for all. Cheers!Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris

 

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