Hotel Dieu de Lyon reopens after historic four year renovation

Hotel Dieu de Lyon, a hospital in the Presqu'ile quarter of Lyon, France, had been in business since the 12th century. Among many modifications to the Rhone River-facing facility, the original medieval buildings were built over in the 18th century with what exists today: lavish neoclassic splendour designed by Soufflot, of Paris Pantheon fame. Whatever the architectural style, though, continually, across most of its 800-year history, it was one of the most important hospitals in Europe. Members of royalty were treated there and medical advances, such as early medical use of x-rays, were performed within its walls.

Dilapidation led to its closure in 2010 but, with its highly visible 375-metre, riverside facade, it remained an emblematic site in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city.

Now, after a four-year renovation, the biggest of its kind in French history, you can stay here without needing admission. It has reopened as a mixed use complex that's home to InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu.

Luxury hotel specialist, the French designer Jean-Philippe Nuel, set out to bring together the disparate elements of the site's history – its monastic founders and latter-day Louis-inspired rebuilding, while creating something very contemporary and luxurious. Also acknowledged in design: Lyon's history as the capital of European silk, through a key motif of custom silk prints on panels, cushions and furnishings from Verel de Belval, a subsidiary of the Hermes group.

The hotel encompasses a prized feature in the now-named Soufflot Dome, which once protected to a chapel, soaring 75 metres outside and providing a cavernous 32 metre-ceiling above Le Dome Bar.

There are 144 rooms with 34 suites, 28 of which are duplex, and feature huge vertical windows with views of the Rhone.

Standard rooms start from $455. See intercontinental.com ; grand-hotel-dieu.com/en/place

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