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The Le Mérdien Bora Bora
This art-centric Starwood Hotel has been coming out of its shell in recent months, picking up a few new properties here and there. And they aren't stopping. Last week, Le Méridien announced they will be opening 11 new hotels over the next 12 months, which will triple its portfolio in the Americas since the French-born brand was acquired by Starwood in 2005.
Here's where Le Méridien will plant their flag over the next year: Tampa (inside a century-old Federal Courthouse); Bangladesh; Chicago-Oakbrook Center; Bangkok; Charlotte; Gujarat, India; Mahabaleshwar, India; Indianapolis; New Orleans (formerly a W, will undergo a $29 mil renovation); Thimphu, Bhutan and Qingdao, China.
But where is your favorite Le Méridien hotel today? Clearly, some Le Méridiens are better than others but we want to know which ones. So help us out by sharing your experiences with us. And SPG-ers, we know you know the dirt so don't hold back!
[Photo: Le Meridien Bora Bora/Facebook]
Welcome to Funky Friday, a new segment we’re trying out which features one photo that we think singularly expresses a hotel’s inner psyche. We look for – and find a lot of – wacky, wild and wondrous designs that seem to have one thing in common: a Type A personality. So why not have a bit of fun as we all wrap up our week by taking a quick look at some hotels that quite frankly, want our attention.
We kick off Funky Friday in the lobby of Le Méridien Istanbul Etiler. It’s kind of hard not to notice the larger-than-life starburst patterns, created by artist Mustafa Hulusi. While we cannot say for certain what the meaning is behind this stroll down psychedelic lane, one clue may lie in that Hulusi himself couldn’t come up with a name for his work (“Untitled”).
Whatever the artist’s intentions may be, Le Méridien Istanbul Etiler clearly want modern art of be a part of the guest experience. The hotel has partnered with Istanbul Museum of Modern Art in their "UnlockArt" program and offer free entrance to guests who present their room key. (This program is actually in effect at all Le Méridien hotels.)
Now, stare straight into the center of any starburst and repeat to yourself, “I love HotelChatter.com and recommend it to everyone I meet …I love HotelChatter.com and recommend it to everyone I meet.” Feel better?
[Photo: Le Méridien Istanbul/Facebook]
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It’s Monday morning and there is tons of hotel news flying around, so to get the week off to a good start we have the latest for you from Philadelphia to Bermuda and Indianapolis to Kuala Lumpur.
The debate on which Philadelphia hotel has the best view we think may permanently shift in a few years’ time, with the announcement that Comcast is building a second skyscraper – 59 stories tall – that will house a new Four Seasons Hotel on its top fifteen floors. Furthest up is the above top-floor restaurant, in what we assume is one of 13 three-story “sky gardens” the building will feature. Located at 18th and Arch, it will be the tallest building in Philadelphia, and the tallest in the United States outside New York and Chicago.
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Finding a hotel room is easy. Simply go on the Internet or use your smartphone and voila! You're booked.
But if you are only interested in new hotels, then that's a different story. Luckily, you have us. And we're obsessed with new hotels. Here's a list of what hotels are opening this month (and a few that are changing brands as well.) Got a new hotel to add? Send it to us!
HOTELS OPENING IN NOVEMBER 2013
Westin Sanya Haitang Bay Resort, China: This long awaited Westin resort on Hainan Island in the South China Sea (it was supposed to open in 2012) is finally taking reservations for November 7th. The wait may have been worth the wait as this looks like no other Westin we've seen before. Rates start at around $242USD a night but the WiFi is going to cost an extra $13 a day. Also, a full moon is not guaranteed.
Le Meridien Zhengzhou, China: This ultra-luxe and super modern Le Meridien will also open on November 7 adajcent to Zhengzhou Eastern New District, with a shopping centre and cinema next door. But all this poshness DOES come cheap with rates starting at just $122USD a night. WiFi is free in the public spaces but can cost up to $10 a day to use in your room.
Westin Singapore Marina Bay: While this Westin is nowhere near as flashy as the neighboring Marina Bay Sands, it does boast an infinity rooftop pool and a Westin Heavenly spa. Rates for the 305-room hotel start at around $400 on November 12th. WiFi is free in the lobby but will cost $16 to use in your room.
Ritz-Carlton Aruba: Initially expected to open on November 2, the new Ritz-Carlton Aruba will now open 20 days later on November 22nd. Rates at Aruba's first five-star resort start at $649 a night. Rooms with an ocean view are going for $799.
The Landings Resort and Spa, South Lake Tahoe: According to a press release and the hotel's website, guests should be able to get in this month. But when we tried to make a reservation for November 22 (the first available date from the drop-down calendar), no rooms were open. We tried again for December 1st but no luck. So we'll just cross our fingers it opens this month.
WestHouse New York: The newest hotel in NYC will open just in time for Thanksgiving on November 27th. Which is kinda perfect timing since the hotel is all about blending "the privileges of a luxury hotel with the residential comforts of a New York townhouse." Rates start at $499 a night but also include a $30 resident fee per adult. That fee includes daily breakfast presentation, afternoon tea, hors d'oeuvres, evening canapés, in-room Dean & Deluca amenity kit, and unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
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When we recently attended the grand opening of Hotel Indigo Brooklyn we nodded our heads when someone made the cheeky comment that Duffield Street (home also to the Sheraton Brooklyn and the Aloft Brooklyn) should be renamed Lam Street. They had a point, but the Lam Group's development vision can not be confined to one Brooklyn street. Oh no, they are all over the city, with two Aloft hotels under construction (in the Financial District and in Long Island City); a Four Points in the Financial District, and a five-block patch of Midtown Manhattan that will soon see a Virgin Hotel , the next door Le Meridien Midtown Manhattan and something only known as the Chelsea Full Service Hotel Project at 112 West 25th Street.
Le Méridien Hotels have been crazy busy this year, replanting their flag in major North American cities likes Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans and Charlotte. And now they're heading to Cleveland.
Due to open in January 2016, the Le Méridien Cleveland will be located at 1001-1101 Euclid Avenue, in an area formerly known as "Millionaire's Row." The hotel will also be a part of the adaptive re-use project of the historic 1901 John Hartness Brown Building and another office building from 1915. Below is a bit more on the Le Meridien's surrounding neighborhood:
Situated in the heart of the city’s bustling theatre district, Le Méridien Cleveland will be adjacent to Playhouse Square, the second largest theatre complex in the United States, and walking distance to the newly developed Horseshoe Casino and Cleveland Convention Center. Nearby attractions include the city’s vibrant East 4th Street entertainment district, Progressive Field and Cleveland Browns Stadium. Guests will enjoy easy access to the rest of the city via the HealthLine Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and Cleveland’s RTA Free E-Line Trolley.
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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so here is a quick rundown to get you up to speed on the latest.
Four Seasons goes to Seoul: the Canadian group just announced it will be adding a 317-room Four Seasons hotel in the Sejongro area of South Korea’s capital, due to open in May 2015 in a brand new 25-story building
One&Only goes Down Under: we had heard the rumor before, but it’s official now. Australia’s Hayman Island will be managed by One&Only, with a full re-launch in April next year. The resort, in the Whitsunday Islands near the Great Barrier Reef, will undergo extensive renovations. Private residences will be added as well
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Here’s an interesting titbit we picked up last week: the Dorchester Collection is trying to make a move on the Eternal City, having entered into discussions to acquire the Hotel Eden in Rome, currently branded under Starwood’s Le Méridien flag.
It would be the second Italian property for the group, joining the Principe di Savoia in Milan. The deal isn’t signed, sealed, delivered quite yet; the official line is that it is “currently in discussions with Starman, owner of the Hotel Eden in Rome, concerning the purchase of the hotel” with “an official statement [to follow] once the transaction is completed”. Given that the Sultan of Brunei is behind the Dorchester Collection and that the company is hoping to have 15 hotels in their portfolio by 2015 (currently they have 9), we’re sure they can work out something on the financial side.
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Fresh off a rather good review in the NY Times, the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica will soon no longer exist. But don't worry, it's not as dire as it sounds. Actually, the hotel is getting a brand upgrade to Le Meridien.
The hotel, which incidentally is managed by the Viceroy Hotels, will be known as the Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica. It will also receive another round of renovations to feature the signature Le Méridien Hub™ lobby experience, large-scale artwork, the exclusive Le Meridien signature scent, and the brand's UNLOCK ART program, featuring LM100 ™ artist designed key card collection and access to Le Méridien brand affiliated contemporary cultural centers in the city.
Rates at the Sheraton start at $270 a night. The Le Meridien brand will officially take over sometime this fall. Rates will definitely go up then but don't worry, your SPG points are still good here.
Not only does this news mark a return to Los Angeles for Le Meridien (they used to be where the SLS Hotel now is), this is another example of the brand's push to expand their brand, right here in America. So far this year, we've seen Le Meridien take over existing hotels in Atlanta, Dallas, and Charlotte. We wonder who will be next?
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Not long ago, we wrote about the growing trend of the dual-branded hotel property. When a combined Hampton Inn & Suites and Homewood Suites opened in Denver last May, it reflected the tendency of these new-ish hotel concepts to pair an extended stay property with a limited service hotel. Starwood’s announcement last week,however, was the first we have heard of upscale brands getting in on the act.
The hotel company is planning to open a combined Sheraton and Le Meridien in Charlotte’s uptown business district, with each hotel occupying one tower each of a massive hotel complex that is currently operating as the Blake Hotel (run by Amsterdam Hospitality.) The two hotels will each have their own separate entrances and lobbies, but will share the fitness center, spa, pools, and meeting space. The two towers will have a total of six restaurants, and Le Meridien will feature a rooftop bar offering views of the Charlotte skyline.
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Hotels are always trying to create memorable experiences that cause us to go home and tell all of our friends how great the stay was or even take to social media and get some free advertising. We've heard about the intimate relationship between smell and memory, so it makes sense to incorporate pleasant smells to jog the memory taking you back to how fantastic your time was at Hotel X.
We've told you before how this trend is taking off, so here is a new list of six hotels that have taken thoughtful consideration of your olfactory glands. Not only during your stay, but sometimes after you have recovered from your post-vacation blues:
Some sad news for W Hotels fans, there's going to be one less W Hotel in the world. But great news for Le Meridien Hotel fans as Le Merid will take over the W New Orleans on Poydras Street (near but not in the French Quarter.)
The hotel was recently sold to the Chesapeake Lodging Trust for $65 million in April with a $29 million renovation expected to begin in April of 2014 (just after Mardi Gras) that will transform it into a proper Le Meridien Hotel. Here's what you can expect when the Le Meridien New Orleans opens in late 2014.
Le Méridien New Orleans will offer 410 fully renovated guestrooms and bathrooms as well as upgraded fitness center, rooftop pool and more than 10,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting facilities, ideal for weddings and business functions.
Le Méridien New Orleans will also feature the Le Méridien Hub™ experience, which re-interprets the traditional lobby into a social gathering place for creative people to converse, debate, and exchange.
And as dedicated Le Merid fans know, the Le Meridien UNLOCK ART program with its LM100 artist-designed key cards will also be in effect, offering not just cool key card souvenirs but also access to the Le Meridien affiliated cultural centers in Nola.
Just to be clear, the hotel is still a W New Orleans and will be until April 2014. We did a rate check for next weekend and you can get a Wonderful room for $194 a night or 10,000 SPG Starpoints. We bet those rates and Starpoints will increase when the Le Meridien opens.