Le Meridien Expands in North America Adding Minneapolis' Award-Winning Chambers Hotel to Its International Portfolio

Le Meridien Expands in North America Adding Minneapolis' Award-Winning Chambers Hotel to Its International Portfolio

As One of the World's Top Art Hotels, the Chambers Underscores Le Méridien's New Brand Direction and Passion for the Arts

MINNEAPOLIS (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced that the Minneapolis-based Chambers has joined Le Méridien, the Paris-born hotel brand with an international presence of 105 hotels and resorts. The addition of Chambers has increased the brand's footprint to 10 hotels in North America. Opened in 2006 by prominent art collector Ralph Burnet, Chambers is considered one of the world's top art hotels, featuring more than 250 original artworks by such noted artists as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Gavin Turk. The hotel has been renamed Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis.

"Le Méridien shares with its guests a passion for style, art, architecture, design, and cuisine, all focal points of Chambers and owner Ralph Burnet," said Eva Ziegler, global brand leader, Le Méridien and W Hotels Worldwide. "Chambers will serve as a flagship for Le Méridien's North American portfolio, and a perfect example of its new direction as a creative hub in vibrant cities around the world."

"For the last year and a half, I've seen firsthand the benefits the Starwood organization brings to a hotel property," said Burnet, referring to W Minneapolis - The Foshay, his other hotel property which opened in late 2008. "Le Méridien embraces contemporary art and cuisine the way that the W brand revels in fashion and music. Chambers is clearly all about great art, food and service - which makes this a tremendous fit."

Le Méridien Chambers was designed for those individuals who recognize and are inspired by contemporary art and cuisine combined with great service. Behind the hotel's distinctive mahogany double doors, guests are greeted with an eclectic mix of original, contemporary art by internationally renowned artists. Video monitors line the guestroom corridors with a constant display of award-winning video art, and during their stays, in-the-know guests take the stairs whenever possible to enjoy, Elemental, the five-story mural that runs the entire height of the hotel's main stairwell. In the hotel's Burnet Gallery, guests may purchase works by international, national and local artists.

Designed by Rockwell Group (Kodak Theatre, Nobu, among others), Le Méridien Chambers' timeless, chic design provides an ideal backdrop to its contemporary art collection. The hotel wraps around Eden, an open-air, grotto-style lounge courtyard that is open year round and features a large, sleek, 10-foot square gas fire pit. During the winter months a portion of Eden transforms into, Ice Chamber, a 256-foot bar created from 12,000 pounds of crystal clear ice. A fifth floor lounge offers dramatic 360-degree vistas of the downtown Minneapolis skyline via floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a surrounding balcony. D'Amico Kitchen, the hotel's restaurant offers critically acclaimed creative, contemporary Italian fare by the Twin Cities' legendary restaurateurs, Larry and Richard D'Amico. Live streaming video of the restaurant's behind-the-scenes activity is projected nightly on a massive screen on one of Eden's courtyard walls.

Le Méridien Chambers features 60 guestrooms, including six suites and nine junior suites. All the guestrooms feature original artwork and are furnished with contemporary furniture, platform beds with custom mattresses and 400-thread-count, Egyptian cotton bed linens. Rooms are equipped with all the necessities that satisfy a contemporary lifestyle, including 42" plasma TVs, complimentary high-speed and WI-FI Internet access, and iPod docking stations, alarm clocks. Spacious closets and wardrobes in each guestroom are ideal for long-term stays.

Since being acquired by Starwood in November 2005, Le Méridien has become known for creating a curated art-driven experience that engages its guests from the moment of arrival. Le Méridien's newly introduced arrival experiences have been designed to transform the guest experience from functional and transactional to one that emotionally connects with guests and resets their minds, leaving the outside world behind for the world of Le Méridien brand.

Curated by international arts provocateur Jérôme Sans, Le Méridien's cultural curator since 2006, and developed together with members of the LM100, Le Méridien's family of cultural innovators, elements of Le Méridien's arrival experience include: a Transitional Portal, which is a visual and audio "wall" of sound and art that engulfs each guest; Sensory Experience, illustrated through Le Méridien's signature scent, sound and use of light; UNLOCK ART programme that includes an artist designed key card that offers access to the guestroom and to the hotel's affiliated local arts organization; and lastly, the Elevated Experience, created especially for Le Méridien by French music composer and producer Henri Scars Struck that transforms the event of riding an elevator into an "elevating experience" through sound. In November 2009, Le Méridien arrival experience was awarded "Most Innovative Concept in the Upscale Hotel Industry" at the 10th annual Worldwide Hospitality Awards in Paris.

Le Méridien signature scent has been designed in collaboration with Le Labo founders and LM100 members Fabrice Penot and Eddie Roshi, while coffee is served throughout the day at the lobby bar as part of Le Méridien coffeehouse atmosphere. Guests of Le Méridien Chambers will notice that some of these Le Méridien brand elements will go into effect immediately, while others will be introduced over the coming months.

As of February 1, 2010, Le Méridien Chambers has become part of Starwood Preferred Guest(R), Starwood's award-winning loyalty program allowing members to earn points toward exclusive benefits across the entire line of Starwood's hotel and resort portfolio.

Located in the heart of the Twin Cities' cultural, business and social scenes, Le Méridien Chambers is just a block from the center of the city's business, financial and shopping districts. Patrons may stroll across the street to world-class theater and concerts at the historic Orpheum, Pantages and State Theatres. The critically acclaimed Guthrie Theatre, Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Institute of Arts are all within five minutes by taxi. Nightclubs, bars, restaurants and art galleries that fill the city's Warehouse District are within easy walking distance.

About Le Méridien

Le Méridien, the Paris-born hotel brand currently represented by 106 properties in more than 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 major portfolio consolidation through renovating, opening, and exiting off brand hotels. As part of the new brand direction, French arts provocateur Jérôme Sans was appointed cultural curator to support in transforming numerous guest touch points and bringing 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, globally. Le Méridien recently opened new hotels in Dallas, Panama, Qingdao and Chongqing, China and will open in Xiamen, China; Oran, Algeria; and Philadelphia in the coming months. Le Méridien brand has recently signed new hotel deals in Saigon, Mahabaleshwar, and Lonavala in India.

SOURCE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.



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