InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu

Normally I was supposed to be travelling around France in the month of March, visiting Lyon and the Burgundy region. Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic started and the trip was cancelled. As by the end of June the borders of Europe started to reopen and some travel opportunities started to be had my good friend Gillis and I decided to go for a weekend to Lyon to make up for our lost trip to France in March.

After our arrival by TGV Inoui in the Lyon Part Dieu station, we made a short 30 minutes walk across town towards the Presqu’ile. This is the central part of Lyon and is in between the Rhône and Saône rivers. The InterContinental has found a magnificent location in the old Hotel Dieu along the bank of the river Rhône.

The first part was erected in the medieval era but the building still standing today mostly dates from the 17th century. This complex used to be a hospital until 2010 and has since seen a major restauration and refurbishment and is now used as a shopping, dining and business complex of which the riverside wing is occupied by the InterContinental as one of the primary tenants of the complex.

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Lots of the original elements are kept, including the Chapel and interior courtyards and are open for people to visit and be stunned by the magnificent architectural elements.

Due to the Corona measures only half of the hotel was opened and the check-in was moved from the check-in area towards the Concierge area at the opposite side of the main entrance under the dome. We were immediately greeted by the General Manager, Madelijn Vervoord, upon entering, telling us that one of the receptionists would assist us with the check-in as soon as possible. Throughout our stay we saw her everywhere making sure the hotel ran like a well-oiled machine, it was the first time in all my hotel stays that I saw a general manager this much in a hotel. She even remembered my name when I approached the restaurant for dinner. The hotel can truly pride itself with such a passionate manager and it shows throughout the whole experience, other hotels can learn something from it!

At check-in the receptionist was very friendly and welcoming, explaining everything to us while keeping in mind the Corona-measures. We had originally booked a Club room with Club Lounge access, the lounge was obviously closed due to the Corona Virus measures. They arranged for the breakfast to be served in the main restaurant “Epona” but no further compensations for the loss of the services like complimentary drinks and snacks throughout the day in the Club Lounge where offered. We did receive a nice upgrade to a Junior Suite and a €15 spending credit, but this was part of my Ambassador perks. Due to the extra strict Corona cleaning, the room wasn’t yet ready for us, so we just dropped our bags at the hotel and headed off to explore the city. At check-in they told us the room would ready at around 15:00, if it was ready any earlier they would send a text message. As we hadn’t received a text we returned by 15:00 and we could access our room to freshen up after the scorching heat outside. Your keycard was needed to activate the elevator and open the hallway doors, which was a good security measure against any unwanted visitors in the guest areas. Our room 372 was located quite a bit down the corridor, making it a very quiet location with hardly any foot traffic.

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The room was spacious, albeit a bit dark due to there only being 1 window. The 2 beds where very comfortable with plenty of power plugs and USB plugs in between the beds, allowing for charging all necessary electronic devices. I

n the dark corner was a sort of sofa, adjacent to a desk area. On the desk there was a card welcoming us, together with a bottle of complimentary water and some pinks Lyon pralines.

The minibar was locked out of use due to Corona measures, but could be filled and opened if you desired so, the coffee and tea facilities where still available and they had a nice offering of different tastes of tea.

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In the corridor between the entrance and the main room was a closet with bathrobes and slippers for each.

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There was a step between the entrance area and the main room which could be a trip hazard in the dark but the hotel solved this with a nightlight activated by a movement sensor so it would always be visible. A nice gimmick of the turndown service was that they provided some good night tea instead of a chocolate on the pillows, much better for your figure.

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The bathroom was a huge and beautiful affair, with a big bathtub perfectly suited to linger in, a big sink, a toilet in a little separate corner and an enormous rain shower including a bench to sit on while showering. Plenty of towels and toiletries where provided.

The restaurant and bar of the hotel where open, and we enjoyed some drinks and meals in both. The “Dome” Bar is located under the dome above the main entrance and is a stunning location in it’s own right. The bar itself is worth a visit for the location and design but also for the delicious cocktails served. If you wish you could also order some small bites and an afternoon tea here.

The Restaurant “Epona” is located on the ground floor adjacent to the Concierge area and features both an indoor area as well as a beautiful outside terrace in the courtyard.

On the first evening we enjoyed a 3 course dinner inside, as there was a forecast for thunderstorms in the area. The starter consisted of some lobster, for a main I selected the beef and for dessert I was seduced by the chocolate option.

Due to the Corona measures no real menu’s where handed out but instead you were given a QR code to scan which opened up a page on your phone depicting the menu’s.

The second night we were offered a chef’s special of beef to share, which was beautifully presented and decided to finish up with a delicious lemon tart.

In the morning you could choose in between 3 breakfast options: vegetarian, Lyonnaise and Continental. On the first morning I selected the Continental option which included a waffle and pancake which where both a bit stale. The rest of the platter however was delicious and fresh and provided enough sugars and calories for the day to come.

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On the second morning I went for the more local Lyonnaise option, which was a bit lighter than he Continental option and offered some local charcuterie.

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All dishes where accompanied by viennoiseries, fruit juice and coffee or tea, as much as you wanted. Everything was served at the table which I actually quite liked as it prevented you from overindulging on a buffet.

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The hotel also offered a fitness area and a spa, which we both did not visit, but does not offer a swimming pool which is unfortunate.

My stay at the Intercontinental Lyon Hotel Dieu was fantastic and I can’t wait to travel there again and hopefully be able to enjoy what they have to offer in the Club Lounge. The hotel truly ran like a well-oiled machine and all staff members where extremely professional and helpful. The only negative point I can find is the way they dealt with the closure of the club lounge, while of course they are not at fault for the virus and the measures surrounding it which are completely out of their control, I did feel like it could have been handled better. Maybe they could have sent a mail explaining the situation beforehand, that way I could have cancelled my club room booking and opt for a cheaper room + breakfast rate, or they could have given a larger food and beverage credit. Otherwise the hotel does everything right and it is a wonderful place to stay at.

What do you think about historical buildings being repurposed as high end hotels? Do you like to stay at them? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

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