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Hotel review: Mercure Lille Centre Grand Place, France

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Mercure Lille Centre Grand Place is a contemporary business-friendly hotel within a stone’s throw from the Opera House, Lille Grand Square and Rihour Square.

Built more than 100 years ago, this quaint French hotel comes with a 101 rooms, bar, a new kitchen/dining restaurant concept and excellent business facilities.

I arrived at Lille Europe Station via Eurostar and walked to the hotel, which took me less than 15 minutes. The train station is also linked to the Euralille shopping centre and Aéronef concert space. What’s more, Lille Flandres station is just a few minutes walk away, or one stop on the métro.

Lille is a dynamic, vibrant and young city. In 2004, Lille was awarded European Capital of Culture and obtained the title of “City of Art and History”. The city boasts an attractive old town with strong Flemish influences, 11 museums (including three renowned art museums), stylish shopping, some great dining options and a trendy, student-driven nightlife scene. The locals known as Lillois have a well-deserved reputation for friendliness – and are so proud of being friendly that they will often tell you!

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First impressions: quaint, stylish and ooh la la

The delightful hotel is housed in a 19th century building that dates back to 1903. The facade of this historic building is also typical for the area. The hotel had a cute charm to it and I couldn’t wait to enter.

On entrance of the hotel, the first thing you will notice is the original grand staircase and fabulous antique chandelier. The lobby is compact but features a small bar to the back and an informal seating area with contemporary furniture. The colour scheme throughout the hotel resembles the Tulip emblem of Lille.

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I was staying in the hotel’s privilege room with a double bed. These luxury rooms come with the  finest bed linen exclusive to Mercure, iPhone/iPod docking station, Nespresso machine and complimentary water and soft drinks. I’m not sure if the colour scheme worked for me with its bold red and green to represent the Tulip emblem of Lille. Nevertheless, the room was nice, I loved the original features such as the marble fireplace. Another notable feature was the windows open fully, it was nice to be able to stand on the small balcony and take in the views of the cobbled streets and Flemish architecture.

The boutique French hotel offers three types of accommodation – standard, privilege and suites. All the rooms come with ergonomic beds and flat screen TVs. The bathrooms have been designed using prefabricated materials and some come with rain showers. I also liked the complimentary fresh apples provided in my room, a nice touch.

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Kitchen/Dining concept

Part of visiting a city and its region is discovering its culinary repertoire. With this in mind chefs at the hotel now feature dishes made by sourcing local products along with more classic dishes.

The Lille hotel has recently unveiled a new open access kitchen concept. This new concept has been described as “simplicity and quality”. The hotel did not have a restaurant before so with the launch of this new concept you can now enjoy lots of homemade recipes at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The concept behind this new restaurant was to give guests the feeling of being at home with a real working kitchen. This kitchen comes with everything you would expect minus a working oven (for health and safety). The chef uses traditional homemade recipes – and you don’t need to do any cooking yourself – phew! It’s more like a buffet served in a cute kitchen.

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The Accor group have reinvented the food and beverage offer in some of their Mercure hotels. The new food service has been designed to blend modernity with tradition. It features Cave et Saveurs, a new wine menu that showcases local vintages (in partnership with the Bettane & Desseauve wine guide in France). Three new concepts have been created to reflect these new trends – the Cuisine Lounge, where guests serve themselves at any time of the day or night in an area designed like an apartment kitchen, the Restaurant Lounge, which reinterprets local or traditional recipes and the Bar Lounge, warm and convivial where you can share a snack in a trendy but cozy atmosphere.

At this moment in time type the new kitchen concept at the Mercure Lille Centre Grand Place is a prototype, if successful we could see it being rolled out permanently. The Mercure Lille Centre Grand Place is a charming hotel that is definitely worth paying a visit if you plan to visit Lille or head to Europe via the Eurostar. The stylish hotel is a little gem in this vibrant city.

Hotel Mercure Lille Centre Grand Place, 2 Boulevard Carnot, 59000 Lille, France, mercure.com

About

Assif is a freelance British journalist who spends his time between Leeds and London. A BBC alumnus, Assif holds an MA in Journalism from the University of Leeds. He is partial to tea and cake - Yorkshire Tea Gold Blend please.

Assif is the current editor of Adelto Magazine.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @journolista.

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August 19, 2013 | Travel Reviews | View comments

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