(NB: now the NH Torino Lingotto Congress)

There are two Le Méridien properties housed in the old Fiat factory, the Lingotto and the Art + Tech. They have the same general manager, but are otherwise separate and have a completely different feel – Art + Tech is more contemporary, with the emphasis on art and design, while the Lingotto has a more traditional décor. Its large lobby with marble floor provides a grand welcome, and the architectural plans of the factory on the walls are a nice touch. As an industrial building it can seem a little austere, but the friendly staff and well thought-out social areas make it more homely. Foremost among these is the Garden of Wonders, a lush tropical habitat in the sheltered centre of the building which is open to the sky.


The Lingotto area of Turin is a 20-minute cab ride from the city centre, but if travelling by bus, allow plenty of extra time. The soon-to-open metro station right in front of the hotel will make the area much more accessible, but for the moment it’s a building site.


All rooms provide bathrobe and slippers, safe, trouser press, Le Méridien-branded toiletries, wired internet access (€7.70 for 24 hours) and satellite TV with video on-demand. There are also books on the history of Turin, which can be bought at reception. Annoyingly, there are no ironing or tea and coffee-making facilities. Rooms are decorated in muted tones, with furniture in a warm cherry wood and prints by American artists on the walls (mine was upside down). Floor-to-ceiling windows and high ceilings make the rooms feel light and airy. Bathrooms have a shower over the bath (mine was a bit temperamental), toilet, bidet and sink. Suites have a separate reception room by the door with an extra desk and telephone, as do Deluxe rooms but not, strangely, Junior Suites (although the size of the main room makes up for this).


The Turtle Bar (open 10-1am daily) in the Garden of Wonders serves an evening aperitivo and coffee in the daytime. Next to the lobby, the Torpedo Restaurant serves Italian food at lunch (12.30-2pm) and dinner (7.30-10.30pm), and a continental buffet breakfast in the morning (7-10am), which was varied and fresh.


There are three meeting rooms in the hotel, all with a capacity of 60 and banqueting facilities for up to 220 people. The Bubble on the top of the building is a more unusual event space for up to 32 people (complete with helipad open 24/7). Built of glass and steel, with panoramic views across the city and the alps, it has become something of an architectural icon for Turin. The hotel also has direct access to the Lingotto Trade Fair and Convention Centre, which has four rooms for hire, providing a capacity of between 150 and 600, plus the Agnelli Auditorium (max capacity 2,090), both part of the Lingotto complex. A business centre in a corner of the lobby next to reception has a PC, printer and photocopier, and wifi access is available in all public areas.


Open 7am-sunset, the old Fiat test track on the roof of the building is an unbeatable jogging location – ask at reception for a key to the door at the top. Guests also have free access to the Palestre Torino gym (open Mon-Sat 7am-10pm) in the Lingotto complex, which has classes and a full range of machines. There is direct access to the gym from the fourth floor of the hotel, with no need to go outside.


240 – 108 Superior rooms (28 sqm), 112 Deluxe (44 sqm), six Junior Suites (50 sqm), 13 Suites (56 sqm) and a Presidential Suite.


The large size of even the smallest rooms, and the sense of space provided by the high ceilings and huge windows.


Internet rates for a midweek stay in October started from €130 for a Superior room.


Le Méridien Lingotto, Via Nizza 262; tel +39 011 664 2000; lemeridien.com/lingotto.


A comfortable option with a unique history, excellent public space and friendly staff.

By Sara Turner