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Collecting hotel room keys is legit obsession amongst frequent travelers and hotel nerds like ourselves. Even if the card is only stamped with a boring hotel logo, we still add it to the collection as a reminder of where we once stayed.
But now with Le Méridien Hotels new room keys, you may not want to just toss this one into the pile in your desk drawer. You may want to frame it instead.
That's because Le Méridien has partnered up with fine art photographer du jour, Gray Malin (he's been featured on the Today show and he's BFF with Lauren Conrad) for their new global art program.
Malin is largely known for his colorful, aerial shots of crowds and landscapes, particularly beach scenes from around the world (he's an avid traveler), which he takes from window and door-less helicopters. We actually own one of his aerial snaps of beachgoers at Bondi Beach in Sydney and we're constantly finding new things in the picture to admire.
But he's also done several photoshoots using kitschy balloons (pineapples, flamingos, Hawaiian shirts, big letters) set against serene backgrounds like the ocean and the desert. If you like bright, stand-out color, you will love his work. Also, he was all about black and white llamas before they made their escape yesterday.
And now, guests at Le Méridien can further connect with Malin's photographs, with the brand's new Follow Me program. Below are the details:
Hotel Openings / Denver Hotels / Colorado Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Le Meridien Hotels / AC Hotels / → All Tags
After a busy 2014 that saw Denver's hotel scene hit its highest peak, the city is wasting no time keeping the momentum going, announcing yet another downtown hotel project, this time in the form of a dual-branded property.
This spring, Marriott and Starwood will team up to break ground on an 18-story building that will house an AC Hotel and Le Méridien Hotel. To be located at the corner of 15th and California, a block from the Convention Center, the two hotels will add a total of 491 rooms. Each will have its own separate entry, lobby, and restaurants.
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But will the new brand have eclairs like the Le Meridien does?
Last week, while everyone was so Hyatt Centric centric, news came out that Starwood Hotels will launch another "soft" brand that will be positioned somewhere in between the Luxury Collection Hotels and the newly acquired Design Hotels brand. (You can read about Starwood's takeover here.)
There has been no name or branding released and Starwood president and CEO, Frits van Paasschen, would only say that they are in discussion with hotel owners on the brand. But it looks like the brand will most likely be created by converting existing Starwood properties/brands.
Does Starwood, and the world in general, really need another hotel brand? No, most certainly not. But this news is also concerning because the purpose of this new unnamed brand sounds EXACTLY like what Le Meridien Hotels is attempting to do with their brand refresh, which is provide an upscale, design and culture-oriented hotel experience. (FWIW, it also sounds a lot like Loews' OE Collection.)
Of course, this new brand is still unfolding and it could fill a very real need for hotel guests. Also, the M word was also not mentioned and we're thankful for that. But still, this is very much to be continued....
Got any scoop on the new Starwood brand? Let us know!
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The Le Méridien New Orleans on Poydras Street opened a few weeks ago after a $29 million renovation project that completely redesigned the guest rooms and suites, created three new restaurants and lounges and added 1,600-sq.ft. of meeting and event space.
The room photos on the hotel's website, look very understated, almost a bit bland, but the rest of the property looks gorgeous. We especially love the crazy wallpaper in the guest room corridors and the sophisticated Le Méridien Hub, the hotel brand's signature gathering spot where guests can sip on "carefully brewed cups of illy coffee by a Master Barista, engage over Le Méridien Sparkling cocktails and indulge in succulent éclairs."
The hotel has also unveiled its new LMNO restaurant, not to be confused with LMAO. Executive Chef Mauricio Gutierrez has created a menu of New American fare with an emphasis on local cuisine. Another restaurant, focusing on breakfast, should debut in the spring.
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Being in the middle of a brand refresh isn’t stopping Le Méridien Hotels from opening new properties, with next month the addition of Le Méridien Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok Golf Resort & Spa. While it’s too early for some of the new brand elements to pop up in the room design, the first images show an attractive, if relatively safe, contemporary look, golf course views, and a balcony with sunbed.
The tenth Starwood hotel and third Le Méridien in Bangkok, the hotel brings some much needed competition to the city’s airport hotel game, dominated by the Novotel BKK Airport at the moment. Being a 15-minute drive away, Le Méridien can’t quite beat the Novotel’s terminal location, but with fresh rooms and much more extensive facilities, it should shake things up nonetheless.
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View of the Bosphorus from Le Meridien in Levent
Introducing our newest hotel guide--HotelChatter's Must Stay Hotels--where we pick four hotels for four different types of travelers in a particular neighborhood of one major city. This is also a seasonal guide so the options may change depending on when you're going. Got a question about where to stay and when? Email us.
Looking for a hotel in Istanbul? You can troll online review sites, crowdsource on Facebook and comb through endless Best Hotels” lists but why do all that when we’ve done all the work for you already?
Istanbul is famously enormous – if spanning two continents wasn't enough, it also enjoys the largest urban sprawl in Europe – so location is key for getting the most out of your stay. If you’re going for work, you’re probably going to be spending most of your time well away from Beyoglu and Sultanahmet - you’ll be in the ‘business triangle’ north and east of Beyoglu that encompasses Levent, Besiktas and Sisli. Obviously these are all suitable for business, but some business hotels are more ‘business’ than others.
Le Meridien Tampa gets serious about courting its guests, debuting in this massive former courthouse. But rest assured, those unpaid parking tickets will not be added to your bill.
Climbing the monumental steps of a courthouse can make anyone a bit queasy. However, when those same steps lead to the grand entrance of a hotel, unease turns into excitement. And that's now what we're experiencing looking at these new photos of the just opened Le Méridien Tampa, inside a former Federal courthouse in downtown.
We’re seeing a rise in Federal buildings becoming adopted and adapted into a hotel (example: Trump Hotels has overtaken a post office in Washington DC, and Drury Hotels is converting a Federal Reserve building in Pittsburgh.) Courthouses have many opportunities, and challenges, for re-use as hotels. Here's how Miami-based Kobi Karp Architecture made the transformation from landmark 1905 courthouse to hotel at the Le Méridien Tampa.
Hope you packed your fat pants. Sunday, June 22 is National Chocolate Éclair Day.
And because it would be a travesty to let such a day go uncelebrated, the Le Méridien hotel brand will roll out its new culinary treat: a global éclair program developed in partnership with Johnny Iuzzini, the James Beard award-winning pastry chef also known for his stint as head judge of Top Chef: Just Desserts, tattoos, and rockabilly sideburns. Meow.
This month guests at all the brand’s properties will find four éclair varieties available at each Le Méridien Hub, the space previously known as “lobby.” (They’re increasingly tricked-out social spots now.) There will be three staple flavors: Milk chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. And each property will also have a special treat inspired by its unique location. For instance, the Texas Honey Pecan Éclair at Le Méridien Dallas by the Galleria, a coconut-infused éclair at Le Méridien Panama, and at Le Méridien Munich a savory éclair with goat cheese, cranberry and pumpernickel crumbs — which sort of sounds like something that would be used to lure Hansel and Gretel to a deceptively innocent penthouse suite. But we digress.
In conjunction with the new program, chef Iuzzini will ride a motorcycle around several global cities to gain inspiration for eight additional varieties that Le Méridien properties can add at their discretion. (Also, because nothing melts hearts more than a man who rides a hog and can bake you a dainty French pastry.) Dubbed “The Éclair Diaries,” the tour kicks off in San Francisco on Thursday, July 10 and has already been approved by sexually frustrated housewives everywhere. Stops to develop additional recipes will continue throughout 2014 and 2015, and you can keep track of various éclair-related info on social media via hashtag #LMeclairs.
If you're staying at a Le Méridien Hotel today, or in the near future, pop on down to the hotel's Hub (a fancy word for the lobby) and pop some bubbly. Ok, well, you won't actually be doing the popping but you will be able to sip on some new specialty sparkling beverages.
Inspired by the European aperitif hour, Le Méridien hotels have introduced a new cocktail hour that serves a menu of effervescent cocktails and spritzers. Here's what you can now order up in the evening, starting at 5pm at Le Méridiens worldwide:
· String of Pearls (pictured above): blueberry and lemon infused Grand Marnier, topped with sparkling wine and garnished with lemon peel strips and blueberries soaked in Grand Marnier
· Aperol + Raspberry Spritz: Aperol and homemade raspberry and vanilla soda topped with Prosecco and garnished with a raspberry
· Peaches, Vanilla + Prosecco: Peach puree, lime juice, and homemade vanilla syrup topped with Prosecco and garnished with vanilla bean shaving
Le Méridien hotels will also have a few "destination-inspired" drinks as well as a 24-hour soundtrack especially created for the brand by French Bossa Nova band, Nouvelle Vague.
Is it just us or does it feel like Friday already?
[Photo: Le Meridien Hotels]
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.