For years, The W Hotel at the end of Poydras (where the French Quarter meets the CBD) was the pinnacle of modern hotels in New Orleans. Don't get me wrong, there are some tremendous modern and chic boutiques around pre-k, but it was SPG's W hotel which ushered in a new modern era. As a city we've evolved since the opening of the W on Poydras and so has SPG's plans for the space.
Late last year, SPG began carrying out their vision for the space and transformed and melded it into it's latest Le Méridien property and their first in New Orleans. Located at 333 Poydras, The Le Méridien and SPG have once again raised the bar.
As I think back over time, I begin the remember some great times I've had at the W, I'm greeted with fond emotions. Everything in the hotel seemed as though it was taken directly out of *Wallpaper magazine. It was chic, sensual, and enticing. It was something I really only experienced at night. The W for the longest time shined it's brightest at night. Fast forward to today and the Le Méridien couldn't be any more different and trumps it's SPG cousin in every way. Here's their description...
After a $29 million renovation, the all new Le Méridien New Orleans (previously W New Orleans) mixes contemporary culture with its European heritage, creating a culturally refined and meaningful atmosphere in downtown New Orleans. Just steps from the French Quarter but in a quieter location, travelers will unlock a new experience where our passion points of culture and cuisine blend into the flavor of this magical city.
As you'll notice from the images above, there are still hints and remnants of the W. The one thing that hit me the moment I walked in was the amount of soft and natural lighting beaming around the entire lobby and 2nd floor. The color palette used throughout the property is cool and inviting, and the sophisticated and intentioned graphical elements immediately made me wonder how often I'd visit during the week.
The interior goes well beyond the standard "everything has it's place", and takes it to a whole new level. The basis for all movements throughout out the property is "The Hub". Here's more info about "The Hub" —
Transcending the traditional lobby experience, the Hub is a space that allows creative minds to gather to converse, debate and cultivate a new perspective. Enjoy local culinary offerings and experiences inspired by a coffeehouse environment by day and a wine-inspired setting by night.
I do believe that most modern hoteliers and conglomerates work very hard on defining and shaping their experiences beyond what you and I expect, but it's Le Méridien's execution that stands out from the rest. It never feels "for whatever's sake", and they've built a genuine environment.
The moment you walk through the doors, there are notes of New Orleans everywhere. The most consistent visual cue is they're ingenious inclusion of the cartographic map of New Orleans that lines the walls beginning on the 1st floor and all the way up to the top.
Hotels, especially at this level, must come correct on some many levels. In New Orleans, one of the components that stand out is food and beverage. The Le Méridien is infusing their own European pedigree into not only the newly designed dining spaces but also their unique cocktail and dessert offerings. The 2 that stand out are their new "sparkling" cocktail program and their collaboration with renowned pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini on Nola inspired éclair.
The Sparkling Sazerac is the cocktail that stands out the most. It's pretty intriguing to think that adding the simple element of sparkling water could improve such a Nola favorite. It's refreshing and fantastic take on the classic.
Finally, the Iuzzini collaboration shows just how people all over the world are inspired by New Orleans. Below you'll find a photo of his Nola creation as well as background video of his journey.
The Lé Meridien Hotel is a true beacon, a sign if you will, as to where the city is headed. As our part of the world continues to evolve and grow, it's important to embrace not only change, but also other influences. SPG has done an amazing job infusing the culture & topography of New Orleans into The Lé Meridien, all the while creating an inviting and sophisticated environment for everyone.