Dilemma regarding IC Le Grand award stay

Discussion in 'IHG | Rewards Club/Ambassador' started by Andyandy, Dec 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Andyandy
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    Andyandy Gold Member

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    Mrs. Andyandy and I are going to Paris in early March and are planning on staying at the IC Le Grand for three nights. The Mrs. is currently RA, expiring in Feb. I'm currently Amb., expiring in March. I have an RA cert from a friend that I'll use to "re-up" Mrs. Andyandy's status, so she'll be RA for the trip. Here's the dilemma/issue:

    My goal is to secure club access an RA benefits for the stay if possible, and I have several options for how to do the booking. I'd appreciate any feedback from folks who have experience with this hotel, particularly on award stays, as to which of these scenarios would be my best bet.

    1) book the entire stay on points from Mrs. Andyandy's account.
    2) Ibook one night with Mrs. A's PC visa signature free night, and the rest with points
    3) redeem points for "Anyhotel" cards to cover a paid night ($400 at a cost of 117K points) and tack on award nights/Visa free night

    Of course, as I was typing this, I thought of another option. Book all nights on points, then pay the 90euro (per night, I assume?) club supplement with my Sapphire card, paying myself back with Sapphire points.

    Whew! Sorry for the long post. Any thoughts?

    Andyandy
     
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  2. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    We had a cash and points stay at this hotel last month. We only have Platinum status so did not have club access. I would definitely try and get some kind of upgrade from a standard room as they are small if you have any kind of luggage. We were kicking ourselves for not thinking to ask what they charged for the upgrade but once we were in the room we could not be bothered moving.
     
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  3. TheBeerHunter
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    TheBeerHunter Silver Member

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    You have yet another option. That is to book whatever portion of paid stay you're interested in via a Virtuoso agent. Virtuoso bookings typically are the same price as best flex, but include some perks, including a room upgrade at booking, club access, late checkout.

    When we stayed there last year, I booked a mix of paid/points nights, but our paid nights were via Virtuoso, and we were given club access for our whole stay. Or should I say, we were not denied entry to the club once we were on our points nights! :D

    I have recently been in touch via email with Le Grand, as we're going back to Paris at the end of the month and I wanted to get some details sorted. I was told by the woman I was in touch with, that as RA, I can choose to get club access in lieu of a room upgrade if I wished, and she would note that on my reservation. I haven't decided what to do yet, myself.

    It's important to not assume you'll get club access just because of RA status. While there are some regulars on FT who get it as a matter of course, apparently, this is not par for the course at Le Grand. So, assume you will need to pay extra for it (either via the room you book or the hefty nightly fee).
     
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  4. Andyandy
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    Andyandy Gold Member

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    Thanks for the response. Does Stimpy post over here? Can I expect him to chime in about what a racket Virtuoso is? Booking with them is certainly an option I'll consider if it comes to paying for a night. I've used them with some success at another hotel.

    Is your upcoming stay an award stay or paid stay? Thanks again,

    Andyandy
     
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  5. Andyandy
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    I'd heard the classic rooms were pretty small. It might be managable if we can get into the Club though.
     
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  6. TheBeerHunter
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    Yes, I've seen Stimpy post here a few times. He's a lucky dog, getting club access on his corporate rate at Paris. :p Unfortunately for me, I travel on my own dime, so don't have the luxury of a corporate rate to give me free club access. I found Virtuoso to therefore be a great deal. I think other leisure travelers would, as well.

    As an RA, I booked a classic room last year and we ended up in a nice I think they called it "Junior Suite", but it was quite large.

    They first put us in a classic room while we waited for our room to be ready (we got there at 9AM or so). As others note, it was barely large enough to swing a cat.

    [​IMG]

    Below is the junior suite. This is half of our room that we were given. There was a desk, a sofa, and another chair on the other side of the room, plus an entry way with a large closet. The bath was through the door, huge area with separate tub, shower, and toilet room, plus a changing area.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. TheBeerHunter
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    Sorry; forgot to answer this. Our upcoming stay is "theoretical". Haven't actually booked it yet. :D
     
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  8. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    It's Paris - does the size of ones hotel room really matter that much? :confused:
     
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  9. TheBeerHunter
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    I would argue yes, it does. There is small, and then there is shoebox small. But, to each his own. :D
     
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  10. Andyandy
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    Andyandy Gold Member

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    Not particularly, for me, the bigger issue is lounge access. I like having a place at my hotel where I can relax. Still, you'll never catch me turning down a bigger room or one with a better view.
     
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  11. thegrailer
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    I agree. Lounge access is a big plus and I also usually won't turn down a "better" room
     
  12. thegrailer
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    True. I've stayed at the Le Grand and was upgraded to a decent sized room so I haven't experienced shoebox small there - what I did experience was a huge bill for drinks in the lobby. That I could have done without --
     
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  13. Andyandy
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    Thus my desire to do my drinking in the lounge!
     
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  14. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    For me it does. I know we did not spend much time in our room, but it becomes a real pain when you have a couple of suitcases and nowhere to put them. I felt like opening the window and tossing all the excess furniture out so we would not feel so cluttered.
     
  15. TheBeerHunter
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    Ditto. And my husband and I travel quite light -- carry-ons only. But still, we didn't have room to pass by the bathroom and get around the TV in the classic room without knocking into each other. One of our bags had to block the main door of the room. I was glad to get out of there!
     
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  16. TheBeerHunter
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    Just an update: I might be lucky :) but, I booked our reservation a mix of Virtuoso/points, and have been confirmed by the Virtuoso liaison as having club access the whole stay.

    Looking forward to staying at Le Grand again!
     
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  17. no-backpacker
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    I had a payed and reward stay some weeks ago. For my payed stay I got an executive room and did not have to move room for the next three nights on award. However I did not get free minibar at the award-stays. I liked the location and the hotel, but the service was not 5* in my opinion. The door-men were never there and the GM used 4 days to answer a simple e-mail. When I wanted to have a look at the lounge I was told, many times, that "this is a payed service" "you have to pay for this" etc... I did not feel very welcome... Maybe I had too hight expectations of this hotel?

    Xxx.
     
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  18. TheBeerHunter
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    I had really high expectations of this hotel when I first stayed there too, and in the "Post your RA Experiences" thread on FT posted about this after my stay. I do think my expectations were way high -- this was "the hotel" that made me actually go out and seek RA status (insane as that might sound to people not on MP or FT :D) and I found the service lacking...but I was able to figure out that I just set my expectations on the moon about this place. And, funny enough, decided that I just absolutely had to stay here again on this trip, as the time was getting closer...even though we had booked on points at the HI Grand Boulevards.

    I do think it's a grand hotel, our room was beautiful, the location is spectacular...but I too was a bit let down with the service. Hopefully this go round, my expectations will be more in line with reality ;)
     
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  19. Andyandy
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    Update: I've decided to book one night paid via Virtuoso, one night on points, and the third as the PC Visa free night. Now I've just got to decide whether to book the paid night in a classic room or a higher category (Deluxe Opera View) and hope they don't make me change rooms. I'd be surprised if they did. Higher initial booking category might give me a bit more room to negotiate. (pun intended)

    Andyandy
     
  20. TheBeerHunter
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    They won't make you move, I don't think. I am here now, booked cheapest and were upgraded to Opera view junior suite (which is a nicer room than we had on our last Virtuoso stay, that room was interior facing), and have been confirmed that all the same benefits including club will apply for our final night on points. They also gave us a bottle of champagne in our room for our anniversary, a nice touch.

    I was told, however, that snacks are not free from the minibar, which must be a change, since initially they told me yes but then apologetically told me no.
     
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  21. TheBeerHunter
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    We did a little test on the "no snacks from the minibar" front. We decided to nosh on the 8 euro (!!!!) half pack of Pringles, to see whether we'd get charged for them at checkout. I figured, if they did charge me, what's 8 euro on top of the rest of the money we spent in Paris...and if they didn't, well, then, maybe it's just a matter of being told one thing, but then in reality, them doing something different.

    The results: the Pringles, just like everything else in the minibar, was not on our final bill. Of course, YMMV and all that, but... :D
     
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  22. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    €8 for a half pack of Pringles... and I thought Vegas was bad. :)
     
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