June 23, 2011 // Franchising.com // New York, NY – Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts today introduced its lobby concept, "Le Méridien Hub," which re-interprets the hotel brand's lobbies as social gathering places for creative people to converse, debate and exchange. The Hub concept further builds on Le Méridien brand's award-winning Arrival experience and coffee culture, which have both been implemented successfully worldwide. The Hub offers both guests and locals a creative atmosphere where contemporary, curated artwork sets the environment. Members of LM100, a group of cultural innovators of mixed generations and interdisciplinary artistic fields, identified by Le Méridien Cultural Curator Jerome Sans, have contributed their creativity to enhance the Hub experience.
"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 12 years ago when Starwood launched the W brand, our lobbies became Living Rooms, and soon after, Sheraton brought people together with the Link@Sheraton. Most recently, the Aloft brand's lobbies have been designed to draw people out of their rooms through open floor plans and modular, flexible seating. Today, we are proud to reveal Le Méridien brand's Hub concept, which will further evolve our new brand direction, designed to appeal to the creative class."
Le Méridien Barcelona is the first hotel to fully execute the Hub experience, while other Hubs will launch throughout the year in Le Méridien hotels globally. Designed to promote dialogue, awaken curiosity and stimulate thinking, the Hub can be divided into three experience zones:
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 can be accomplished through a visual work of art, a projection or a unique soundscape – all created by Le Meridien LM100 members. This experience starts the moment the guest arrives at Le Méridien hotel, steps out of the car, steps inside the hotel, checks-in or asks for advice at the concierge.
From communal seating to coffeehouse style seating this zone features unique styling of our hotel lobbies to stimulate dialogue, contemplation and interaction. Also in the lounge, guests will find a curated library of books with topics reflecting the cultural aspects of each Le Méridien location. Le Méridien brand's signature "A New Perspective" event series, created to engage guests, local opinion leaders, media and associates into conversations around "culture," 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.
The addition of Creative Class Group founders Richard and Rana Florida to LM100 offers a new perspective that validates the concept of the Hub and Le Méridien's brand strategy targeting the creative minds. The Floridas are firm believers in the positive impact a creative community can have on a business along with the sheer necessity to consistently expand upon this community. Their belief is that thinkers, innovators, and decision-makers influence cultural phenomenon and impact business; understanding the Creative Class is strategic business. Creative Class Group offers regions, companies, and associations the customized information, analysis, tools and research necessary for competitiveness and greater economic prosperity.
The Creative Class Group will embark on a variety of initiatives influenced by the creative group they have identified. They will perform research to help Le Méridien identify new development opportunities by applying their exclusive 'creativity index', using the Creative Class Group's one-of-a-kind framework; technology + talent + tolerance and territorial assets. The Floridas will help to connect Le Méridien hotels to key contacts in each city from the fields of tourism, culture, art, design and cuisine. They will work to acquire influential speakers to participate in "New Perspective Events" at Le Méridien hotels across the globe. The Floridas will also curate content for the 'Hub' libraries selected based on their research on the core attributes, values and preferences of the Creative Class. The books selected will comprise of a mix of contemporary and foundational books about creative culture in the arts, design, economy and society, as well as localized books reflecting each cities history and characteristics.
Le Méridien introduced LM100 in 2007 beginning with 12 members, a group of cultural innovators of mixed generations and interdisciplinary artistic fields, chosen from the fields of art, architecture, cuisine, and design by Le Méridien's Cultural Curator, Jerome Sans. LM100 members offer their creativity and develop original and interactive programs for Le Méridien hotels worldwide that transform the guest experience. LM100 members curate Le Méridien's interactive initiatives and propose other established or emerging talents that reflect the brand's core values. Current LM100 members include Le Méridien Cultural Curator, Jérôme Sans; world renowned artists, Sam Samore, Joan Fontcuberta, An Xiaotong, Younès Rahmoun, Youssef Nabil and Michael Lin; wine expert Linda Grabe; award-winning photographer Ralph Gibson; coffee expert Andrea Illy; master barista Fritz Storm; French-born, internationally renown three-star Michelin Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten; French-born Grammy award winner and composer Henri Scars Struck; Le Labo founders Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi; up-and-coming filmmaker Kiki Allgeier; and renowned furniture designer Nick Dine.
Le Méridien, the Paris-born hotel brand currently represented over 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 Bangkok, Dallas, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Shimei Bay, Xiamen, Chongqing Nan'an and Qingdao (China), and Taipaei, and recently signed a new deal in Coimbatore, India. The launch of Le Méridien in Turkey, a key fast growing market for Starwood, will also be opening this year. For more information, please visit www.lemeridien.com.