BARCELONA, Spain--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Le Méridien today presents the first Le Méridien Hub, a new concept that re-interprets the hotel lobby into a social gathering place for creative people to converse, debate and exchange, at one of its most iconic hotels, Le Méridien Barcelona. This will gradually be introduced in Le Méridien hotels around the world, further reinforcing the brand’s award-winning Arrival Experience and Coffee Culture, which have both been implemented successfully worldwide.
Today’s unveiling of the Hub concept at Le Méridien Barcelona will include a panel discussion on the subject of ‘A New Perspective on Creativity’. Moderated by Emilio Alvarez, Director of Àngels Gallery and Co-Director of Loop Video Art Fair & Screen Festival, the conversation will feature Jérôme Sans, Le Méridien brand’s Cultural Curator and Director of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art Beijing, who contributed his artistic creativity to enhance the Hub experience; Richard Florida, LM100 member and author of The Rise of the Creative Class, the book that validates the audience for the Le Méridien brand; and Ferran Adrià, former head chef of Spain’s renowned Michelin-starred El Bulli and founder of El Bulli Foundation think-tank, which Starwood is supporting via “Ideas for Transformation”, a global ideas challenge competition organised by Ferran Adrià and Telefónica.
“Starwood has long been an innovator in the transformation of the traditional hotel lobby,” said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien and W Hotels Worldwide. “More than 13 years ago when Starwood launched the W brand, our lobbies became ‘Living Rooms’, and soon after, Sheraton brought people together with the Link@Sheraton. Le Méridien’s Hub concept, which will further evolve our new brand direction, is designed to appeal to the creative class.”
In Europe, Middle East, and Africa, as well as in Asia Pacific – the two regions that account for nearly 90% of the brand’s global footprint of 100 hotels, several Le Méridien hotels are scheduled to integrate the Hub concept into their lobby experience over the next 12 months. This will include Le Méridien Istanbul Etiler and Le Méridien Oran Hotel & Convention Centre, Le Méridien Bali-Jimbaran, all three scheduled to open in 2012, as well as existing Le Méridien hotels in Brussels, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok.
In recognition of this new Hub concept, Le Méridien was a finalist in the recent Worldwide Hospitality Awards in the “Most Innovative Concept” category. Designed to promote dialogue, awaken curiosity and stimulate thinking, the Hub can be divided into three experience zones: Arrival Experience, Interaction Zone and Latitude Bar.
Proprietary customer research shows that the first ten minutes of arrival define the guests’ entire experience and establishes their mindset. Beginning with the hotel entryway, high impact arrival art immerses guests into the world of Le Méridien. This transformation is accomplished through a visual work of art created by Le Méridien LM100 members. The experience starts the moment the guest arrives at and enters a Le Méridien hotel, checks-in or asks for advice at the concierge.
From communal seating to coffeehouse style seating, this zone stimulates dialogue, contemplation and interaction. In addition to the unique styling approach, guests and locals alike will find a curated library of books with topics catering to the creative minds. Le Méridien brand’s signature “A New Perspective” event series has been created to engage guests, local opinion leaders, media and associates into conversations around “culture,” and will also take place in this space.
Latitude Bar, with the quintessential espresso machine, supports the creative atmosphere of the Hub by drawing guests to the sights, sounds and smells of the coffee bar, with a skilled barista crafting signature coffees. Guests can enjoy local culinary offerings and experiences inspired by a coffeehouse environment by day and a wine-inspired setting by night.
About Le Méridien
Le Méridien, the Paris-born hotel brand currently represented by 100 properties in 50 countries, was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) in November 2005. Since then, Le Méridien has gone through a brand re-launch, which included a large scale hotels product consolidation as well as redefining its brand strategy. By appointing a full-time Cultural Curator – French arts-provocateur Jérôme Sans – Le Méridien transformed numerous guest touch points, thus brining unique and interactive experiences to its guests. With close to 80 of its properties located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, Le Méridien provides a strong international complement to Starwood’s primarily North American holdings. Plans call for dynamic expansion of Le Méridien hotels and resorts within the next five years, concentrating in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia-Pacific, including destinations such as India, Thailand and China. Le Méridien recently opened new hotels in Koh Samui, Philadelphia, Xiamen, Chongqing Nan’an and Qingdao (China), Taipei and Coimbatore (India) and will open in the next 12 months in Istanbul, Bali, and Oran, Algeria. For more information, please visit www.lemeridien.com.