Short Stay: Le Méridien Étoile, Paris – Hotel Review
Paris-born Le Méridien is perhaps one of my favorite hotel brands, mostly because it’s quite clear what the brand stands for, namely cuisine, the arts, and local culture. In many respects, this alone is why people should consider staying at one of its properties.
Starwood acquired Le Méridien in 2005 and has continued to build up the portfolio of Le Méridien properties, from 40 at the time of the acquisition to over 100 at the present. While some hotels lose their unique identity when purchased by a large chain, that of Le Méridien has only grown stronger.
I’ve stayed at numerous Le Méridien properties, from the one in Vienna which greets guests with a rug hanging on the wall with footprints from the hotel’s very first guests to the one in New Orleans, which does the city’s jazz heritage justice.
But I had never stayed at the ur Le Méridien, the mother ship, Le Méridien Étoile in Paris, the City of Light, which is about to officially reopen after a €25 million ($28 million) top-to-bottom renovation of the guest rooms and public areas. A trip to Paris on short notice provided an opportunity to stay there just as workers were applying the finishing touches before the grand reopening.
I arrived via Paris’ excellent Metro (to get to the hotel from the airport, after taking the RER B to Châtelet, simply take line 1 towards Paris La Défense to Porte Maillot). The hotel’s main entrance was down the block from the Port Maillot Metro station. Every Le Méridien has a piece of artwork immediately inside the entrance, something the hotelier calls “arrival artwork,” intended to grab the visitor’s attention upon arrival. In Paris, the arrival artwork is a colorful and rather imposing sculpture comprised of brass petals by Arnold Goron. Combined with a mural above the reception desk (also made of brass petals), the work forms a map of the city. (The rug on the wall in Vienna is that hotel’s arrival art.)
There was a short line at the SPG Gold and Platinum check-in line and a slightly longer line for non-elite members, but the very pleasant reception team (two receptionists were welcoming each guest, perhaps for training purposes) was very pleasant.