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5 Essential Facts About Le Meridien's New "Hub" Concept

June 29, 2011 at 9:30 AM | by | ()

It was a jumble of funny-sounding European accents last week at the unveiling of Le Meridien's new Hub concept—a campaign that is set to transform all of Le Meridien's 130 international hotels into one unified "design-led contemporary brand." MC-ing the event were Austrian-born Eva Ziegler (Global Brand Leader for both W Hotels and Le Meridien) and French-born Jerome Sans, the appointed Cultural Curator. We think Sans put it best when he described the goal of The Hub as "a way to grow your brain."

The evolution of The Hub's slightly highbrow bent can be traced back to the hotel's interest in cultivating a "creative class" as well as the launch of their key-card-souvenir program, Unlock Art. Both of these elements play into The Hub. But now, with its first manifestation at Le Meridien Barcelona, we really begin to see what The Hub—in all its rainbow glory—is all about.

Sans, who leads an international "family" of Le Meridien-sponsored artists known as the LM100, really harped on the whole theme of "mind expansion"—which they hope to accomplish with everything from thought-provoking food choices to Andrea Illy-trained baristas (Illy himself is a member of the LM100). The idea is for guests to leave the hotel with "a new perspective on life and travel." Tall order, huh!

Here are five essential facts about the mysterious concept:

· It will be different in every city, and the next Hub will "come alive" in Istanbul next Fall.

· The lobbies are modeled after coffeehouses, complete with a library of hand-selected books that offer insight into the region's culture

· The Hub will make use Le Meridien's signature scent, created by Le Labo

· The Unlock Art key cards, which offer guests access to local museums and galleries, will also become collectible items, changing their design every two years.

· The 24/7 sound installation in the elevators "will make you smile."

Take a look above for a shot from one of the Hub-ified rooms in Barcelona. An erasable vase! Cool! We can already feel our brains expanding.

[Photos: Le Meridien]

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