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Culture vulture at Le Meridien

1 Nov 2007 by Ciprian Hirlea

The creative-thinking guest will find a home in the newly repositioned Le Meridien chain.

Inspired by the principles of “chic, culture and design”, the brand will be looking increasingly to its European roots to differentiate itself from the competition. Established by Air France in 1972, the company has undergone a decade of unstable ownership and lack of strong corporate image, a period, which it hopes to put firmly behind it with the backing of a new owner, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

According to Eva Ziegler, senior vice-president, Le Meridien Brand, guest experiences, from arrival to the entire length of stay, will be carefully infused with the insights and talents of creative consultants.

For example, key cards will carry the works of well-known local artists, while breakfasts will feature cuisine by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and the boutique coffee label, Illycafé. Detailing and furnishings in guestrooms will reflect the heritage of the hotel’s location. “These will be juxtaposed with classic elements that never go out of style,” remarks Ziegler.

Supervising a cultural initiative, called “Unlock Art”, for Le Meridien, is Jerome Sans, co-founder of Paris’ Palais de Tokyo, Site for Contemporary Art Creation and a well-known independent curator. Says Ziegler: “We realised we couldn’t bring alive our core values by ourselves – we needed a new perspective.”

Besides choosing the roster of artistic partners Le Meridien will work with, Sans’ job is to line up activities that are aimed at stimulating a guest’s sense of discovery and imagination. Le Meridien’s Asian properties adapting these latest trends include those in Shanghai, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

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