by Andrea Doyle | May 30, 2016
Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, is investing $300 million in the creation, renovation, and conversion of its growing global portfolio, it announced this week.  Plans are underway for the brand to open more than 30 hotels in the next four years, increasing its current portfolio by almost one third. 

"With a stronger and more globally diverse portfolio than ever before, Le Méridien has hit its stride with guests and locals as well as owners and developers around the world," said Brian Povinelli, global brand leader of Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts. 

Le Méridien was started by Air France in 1972, with its first hotel -- Le Méridien Etoile -- in Paris, followed by properties in key airport hubs around the globe. More than a decade after Starwood acquired the brand, Le Méridien still celebrates the halcyon days of air travel through the brand's mid-century modern design aesthetic and offerings. 

Le Méridien has increased its footprint both in North America and Asia Pacific by nearly 25 percent over the past three years, and has renovated more than 50 percent of the brand's European and Middle Eastern hotels. 

This September, Le Méridien Etoile will unveil a multimillion dollar renovation that includes updates to guest rooms and suites, the legendary jazz club, all public spaces including Le Méridien Hub, and a new creative meetings concept. By the end of 2016, Le Méridien will re-enter Italy with the debut of 240-room Le Méridien Visconti Rome, after its $20 million conversion and extensive renovation of the Visconti Palace Hotel, which boasts views overlooking the city and Villa Borghese from the hotel's rooftop terrace. 

"Whether a new build, conversion or renovation….there is an overarching and recognizable design DNA, but Rome feels very different than Riyadh, as does Barcelona and Bhutan," said Julie Frank, global director of design for Le Méridien. "Because Le Méridien's brand promise is to unlock the destination, we create a narrative for each property through graphic patterns, discovery moments, and artwork, to subtly introduce a sense of place and location to our guests."

Le Méridien Etoile and Le Méridien Visconti Rome will join the majority of Le Méridien's portfolio in Europe and the Middle East, which has been completely transformed with marquee renovations over the last two years. Refurbishments to guest rooms and public spaces have also been revealed at hotels including, Le Méridien Beach Plaza Monte Carlo, Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, and Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi.

This year, the lobbies of Le Méridien Vienna, Le Méridien Hamburg, and Le Méridien Frankfurt will be transformed into lively Le Méridien Hubs. Looking ahead, Le Méridien Riyadh is scheduled to open in Saudi Arabia in 2017 and Le Méridien Batumi, Georgia in 2018.

In the U.S., within the last 18 months, Le Méridien introduced new hotels in Charlotte, Chicago, New Orleans, and Indianapolis; transformed a century-old courthouse and Beaux-Arts landmark in downtown Tampa and debuted a newly built, modern hotel, boasting an art collection second-to-none in Columbus.

"On average two years post-conversion, Le Méridien hotels in North America have increased market share by more than 10 percent," said Povinelli.

This year the brand will continue renovations in Montreal and Philadelphia, reinterpreting the traditional lobby concept and introducing the award-winning Le Méridien Hub. In Texas, Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh will complete an extensive guest room renovation juxtaposing the historic landmark building with the brand's iconic mid-century modern design to reveal an original and residential experience. 

The brand has also seen tremendous growth across Asia. In 2015, Le Méridien opened seven hotels in the region, including Le Méridien Dhaka in Bangladesh and Le Méridien Saigon in Vietnam. Le Méridien also became the first major brand to open two hotels in the Kingdom of Bhutan, with Le Méridien Paro Riverfront and Le Méridien Thimphu.  

This year, the brand opens new hotels in China, India, and Malaysia. Its pipeline in Asia Pacific includes four hotels in Taiwan, four hotels in India, Le Méridien Putrajaya opening in Malaysia, two hotels debuting in Shanghai, as well as 10 hotels set to open in secondary and tertiary markets throughout China.