Looking at the Intercontinental Lyon Hotel Dieu lining the riverfront in Lyon, you would be forgiven for thinking that it is a palace. Few buildings in the world dominate their surroundings so impressively or in such an aesthetically pleasing way. Created from the shell of the city’s former hospital, Intercontinental Lyon Hotel Dieu has created a remarkable hotel that is undoubtedly not only the best place to stay in Lyon, but one of the best hotels in France.
The Intercontinental Lyon Hotel Dieu is the hotel to choose when you are celebrating a special occasion with the one you love. Whether you are planning to propose, marking an anniversary, or looking to say “thank you”, this hotel has the glamour, the ambience, and the service you need to make the right impression and create unforgettable memories. Just make sure that you and your beloved both appreciate the finer things in life.
There are 144 rooms and 31 suites at the Intercontinental Lyon Hotel Dieu, all of which have views of either the river at the front of the hotel or of the courtyard and basilica to the rear. As the building is a heritage monument, the architects have had to work with the structure of the existing building, so there are thick stone walls, double height windows, and plenty of other original features incorporated in the hotel’s design. The interior designers have also given a nod to Lyon’s historic silk industry, and many of the guest rooms have panels of patterned silk on the walls.
The hotel’s signature suites are duplexes and you enter at the upper level, a mezzanine with a spacious living area from which you look straight out at the river. The stairs descend into the bedroom, which is flooded with light from the double-height windows. There is plenty of storage on both levels and the en suite bathroom, complete with a free-standing bath and separate shower, is tucked cleverly out of sight behind the bedroom.
Food and Drink
Rarely is a hotel bar one of a city’s preeminent attractions, but the Dome Bar is quite unlike anything you’ll ever previously have seen. Rated as the Best Hotel Bar in the World in 2021, it is situated in what was historically the hospital chapel, an extraordinary space with a 32m high ceiling. Your jaw might well drop when you see it for the first time: mine certainly did!
The Dome Bar is open daily from 3pm-11.30pm and there are plenty of events to entice you in: afternoon tea is served from Wednesday to Sunday; there’s brunch on the last Sunday of the month; and live musicians perform on the first Wednesday of the month. We caught live jazz, the sounds of the saxophone reverberating around the hall.
Meals at Intercontinental Lyon Hotel Dieu are served in the hotel’s restaurant, Epona, on the ground floor. It is a large, light space, atypical for Lyon, and chef Mathieu Charrois’s menu blends local gastronomy with international favourites. The restaurant staff are attentive without being fussy, and at weekends in particular you will want to allow plenty of time for a long, leisurely breakfast before wandering out to explore the city.
The best way to exercise in Lyon is to walk around the glorious city, but should the weather be against you, then the hotel has a 24/7 fitness centre as well as an extensive spa for relaxation. Those coming to Lyon on business can also make use of the hotel’s Academie convention centre.
Rooms at Intercontinental Lyon Hotel Dieu start from £261 per night.
The Intercontinental is just one small part of the Grand Hotel Dieu complex, so without even venturing out onto the streets of Lyon you can find boutiques and restaurants, the La Cite Internationale de la Gastronomie, and the Museum Soieries Brochier, which tells the story of the city’s silk trade and the use of Lyonnais silk by France’s top fashion houses.
Beyond that, it is a short walk to Place Bellecour and Lyon’s Old Town with its churches, the Museum of the History of Lyon, and the funicular up to the basilica. Lyon has an excellent public transport system, which you can use to reach the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon, the Fine Art Museum, the Confluence Museum, and also Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, the city’s extensive covered food market.
VERDICT: First impressions count, and it is hard to imagine a hotel that makes more of an impression than Intercontinental Lyon Hotel Dieu. It is an extraordinary place to stay in the heart of a fascinating city.
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