Lounge

InterContinental Group Resurrects Historic Hospital As Prime-notch Lodge In Downtown Lyon

Columbia Hillen

Bedside digital buttons that opened six-meter excessive curtains to disclose the waters of the River Rhône glowing within the sunshine – that was my morning delight on the InterContinental Lyon Hotel Dieu.

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As soon as a hospital for a number of hundred years, the lodge and the retail advanced round it are the results of 9 strong years of renovation at a value of nicely over 200 million euro, the most important renovation of an historic constructing in Europe, a seamless merging of previous and new, historic and fashionable.

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Opened three years in the past, this three-floor, 144-room, 5-star lodge is the ‘grand dame’ of Lyon hospitality and home-from-home to many individuals within the metropolis who had been born in its former maternity wings.

Situated within the Presqu’île district in downtown Lyon, the lodge sits on 2.5 acres of land, its fundamental entrance on a traffic-busy street alongside the Rhone. One may enter by way of a sequence of six elegant courtyards within the procuring and restaurant advanced that embraces the lodge.

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The InterContinental Group definitely is aware of easy methods to inject new life into previous buildings, having completed so already at Le Grand Lodge in Bordeaux, a hit that helped it win the bid for administration of this prime Lyon property.

From the skin, the property presents an imposing image postcard picture – a 280 meter-long façade designed by 18th-century architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot who additionally created the Panthéon in Paris. The inside is the work of celebrated lodge designer Jean-Philippe Nuel.

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A nod to the lodge’s former historical past, the again of the reception desk options floor-to-ceiling cabinets stacked with nineteenth century medical books. Additionally in recognition of native historical past, 20-foot excessive, brass-framed rose-pattern silk screens stand all through the foyer offered by Metaphores, a subsidiary of Hermes, and discuss with the town’s illustrious silk-making trade, with added modern creations by Veronique de Soultrait. Authentic wooden beams have been uncovered on the foyer ceiling and the flooring is Burgundy stone.

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The lodge’s Le Dôme bar close by is a powerful sight, each by sheer proportion and complex decor. Its coffered ceiling is an enormous 32-meters excessive and the design round and under it options ornate rosettes, frescoes, balconies and alabaster pillars. A colourful floral show has been designed within the heart of the gleaming black and white checkered marble flooring the place an altar as soon as stood. 

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The bar’s cocktail checklist can also be spectacular, a lot so the mixology group received ‘Finest Lodge Bar within the World’ award final yr with their creation, Pantheon – a mix of floral St-Germain liqueur, do-it-yourself Blanc de Blancs champagne syrup, vodka, white tea and lemon juice. Of the 13 different cocktails, I selected Boulevardier, comprising Woodford Reserve whiskey, pink vermouth and Campari. 

An enormous portray with black and gold pigments by Manuela Paul-Cavallier entitled ‘Les Invisibles’ pays tribute to the hundreds of people that helped these much less lucky when the lodge was the town’s maternity hospital from 1493 till 2010. It’s believed one in three individuals from the town had been born right here.

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My companion and I stayed in a spacious 2-level junior suite, 244, atypically with the living-room upstairs and the bed room down a brief flight of steps. Dealing with the river and the town’s fundamental thoroughfare, double-paned home windows assured us a quiet evening’s sleep.

Our upstairs living-room was well-furnished with TV, couch, espresso desk and writing desk with evening lamp and ample space for storing. Downstairs was a separate bed room, with a king-size mattress, bathroom and loo with double sink, walk-in bathe and tub plus magnolia-scented merchandise by Parisian perfumer Frederic Malle. Cozy bathrobes and slippers had been additionally offered.

Common supervisor, Madelijn Vervoord, oversees a pleasant and environment friendly employees. Photograph by Columbia Hillen

Lodge employees had been each courteous and environment friendly, a tribute to common supervisor, Madelijn Vervoord. A local of Holland, Madelijn has labored for the InterContinental Lodge Group for 20 years and was centrally concerned within the improvement and opening of the InterContinental Lyon Lodge Dieu. She labored on the InterContinental Paris le Grand for eight years ultimately turning into common supervisor there. She additionally opened the InterContinental Marseilles and is IHG regional supervisor, with greater than ten properties in her portfolio, together with Bordeaux.

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Eating at InterContinental Lyon Lodge Dieu takes place on the elegant Epona restaurant (named after the traditional Celtic goddess of horses) with home windows trying on to the river. Friends may dine alfresco within the peaceable Saint-Louis courtyard, amongst pebbled pathways with foliage throughout and a sandstone tower within the center with a Roman-style fountain. 

After a full day of sightseeing, we loved a soothing dinner right here ready by Bourges-born govt chef Mathieu Charrois, and had the chance of talking to pleasant meals and beverage director, Julien Jacquin. 

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Our night started with an amuse bouche of barley risotto, pecorino cheese and basil and starters of Brittany lobster cannoli with greens and herbs and carpaccio of sturgeon with bottarga cream, roasted pistachios and pike eggs introduced like a colourful miniature flower and herb mattress. Our mains comprised tuna slices with zucchini twirls and pickled blackberries with leaves of contemporary lemon balm and saddle of lamb with Japanese panko crust, potatoes and aubergine caviar and candy breads. Wine pairings included MIP, a Vermentino from Provence; a rosé  of shiraz and cinsaut, additionally from Provence; and a easy pink Touriga Nationwide from the Douro area of Portugal.

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We had determined beforehand to keep away from desserts however how straightforward such declarations may be disregarded, particularly when a talented pastry chef comparable to Vincent Thomassin presents you with a tantalizing strawberry sorbet, coulis and sesame caramel biscuit and gluten-free macarons in numerous sizes made with almond powder, ganache with Spanish olive oil, pistachios and Calamansi lemon sorbet.

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Whereas accommodating particular person guests to France’s main culinary metropolis, InterContinental Lyon Lodge Dieu additionally caters to company and private occasions. It has 12 conferences rooms, some with pure lighting, with 1,500 sq. foot of house, and a ballroom. Layouts vary from theatre type for round 460 individuals to extra intimate boardroom events. 

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For a way of historical past in a handy downtown location inside strolling distance of each Previous and New City, it’s laborious to beat this specific lodge. 

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