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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.
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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?