Le Méridien Aims to Stand Out

Full of “moments of discovery,” this new hotel is looking to get people talking.

There is nothing subtle about Le Méridien’s re-emergence in the New Orleans hospitality marketplace.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts has invested $29 million in converting the former W New Orleans – at the corner of Poydras and St. Peters streets – into the Le Méridien, a modern, chic hotel that also works in bursts of New Orleans charm. The hotel’s grand opening, or “First Night,” is scheduled for March 5, 2015.

According to John Thompson, general manager of Le Méridien New Orleans, striking the right design balance was key, and will be one of the ways the hotel sets itself apart from the crowd.

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“As a tourist coming to visit, you can’t escape the classic style of southern New Orleans,” he says. “What we want is for the guests to experience that and then come together and talk about it.”

Thompson says Le Méridien has incorporated “moments of discovery” throughout the hotel. “They are designed to make you think about your day, and have you want to share it,” he says.

The “moments” were created by New York-based designer Meyer Davis, who had fun with the hotel’s French origins and the cultural and geographical nuances of New Orleans.

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Purposefully placed details in all 410 guestrooms, including 22 suites and corridors, are designed to spark creativity and conversation. Among the details are geometrical lines on the walls and ceilings, French writing on bathroom mirrors, headboards fashioned from the opulent crown moldings of New Orleans architecture and vintage suitcase-style elements on the bar fridge. All of these features are designed to both contrast and compliment the hotel’s contemporary mismatched furnishings.

“It can be a lonely planet when you travel, so we take any opportunity that we have to get people talking,” Thompson says.

On the flip side, each of the 410 guestrooms also features a 55-inch screen television – the biggest offered in New Orleans hotels.

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Holding everything together is a mid-century color scheme – neutral grays, blues and salmons with pops of orange.  

“For me the choice is against everything that is eggshell,” Thompson says. “We have done something that is very striking, and may be polarizing, but you will remember it.”

Beyond the design is the functionality of the traditional public spaces – Le Méridien features 16,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space spread across the second floor.  The hotel’s destination restaurant, LMNO, serves up new American cuisine infused with Cajun and Creole flavors, while the lobby has been reconfigured into Le Méridien Hub, the brand’s signature social gathering place that doubles as a coffeehouse by day and a wine bar at night.

The final stage of renovations, the front desk, is due to be completed in time for the grand opening.

Le Méridien also encourages its guests to “unlock” their destination through partnerships with the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans Museum of Art, and Ogden Museum of Southern Art – all provide Le Méridien guests with complimentary passes.

“People joke that when W guests grow up, they go to Le Méridien,” says Emily Liuzza, complex marketing manager for the hotel. “You get the same cultural experience, but it is a little more sophisticated and refined.” 

 

 

 

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