Why Le Méridien is my Marriott Bonvoy sweet spot
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Finding my Marriott sweet spot from among the chain's 30 brands came with experience. I have learned that once I hit a certain level of luxury, the extras don't really matter to me -- which is why I tend to choose Le Méridien over other Bonvoy brands when I can. Le Méridien hotels are classified as "premium" -- right in the middle between Marriott's "luxury" and "select" categories. My sweet spot is in the middle.
What is Le Méridien?
Air France created Le Méridien, which opened its first hotel in Paris in 1972. The brand has grown to more than 100 properties in 35 countries. Le Méridien hotels kept their European feel and mid-century-modern aesthetic after acquisition by Starwood in 2005 and later by Marriott.
Le Méridien hotels are located mostly in Asia, the United States and Europe. The North American properties are in urban areas, while the global properties are in city hotspots and resort locations. Le Méridien occupies the space in between Marriott/Sheraton and The Ritz-Carlton/St. Regis, which aligns nicely with my travel style.
Le Méridien is less expensive than The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis
I've come to learn something about myself: I don't appreciate the difference between four- and five-star hotels. I'm happy if a hotel has a club with good food and liquor, comfortable beds with high-thread-count sheets and firm pillows, high-end toiletries, lovely public areas and spot-on service. During my last Le Méridien stay in Shanghai, the club featured both a gorgeous skyline and a quite serviceable 15-year-old scotch to sip while I enjoyed the view.
So things like butler service, while I'm sure they're nice, just aren't that important to me. If anything, The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis offer fewer of the things, like club access for elite members, that I do care about. Le Méridien hotels offer the bells and whistles I enjoy without the ones which I don't really use and at a cost I'm willing to pay. The Le Royal Méridien in Shanghai is a Category 4, which made it a bargain compared to The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis, and the JW Marriott as well.
Le Méridien is more distinctive than Marriott and Sheraton
Marriott categorizes its hotels as "luxury," "premium" and "select." Le Méridien falls into the "premium" category along with Marriott and Sheraton. Le Méridien's price point is usually comparable to the namesake Marriott brand.
However, the Le Méridien experience has a je ne sais quoi left over from its European provenance. For instance, the elite welcome amenity at Le Royal Méridien Shanghai was a set of custom-made magnets that make a lovely addition to our collection. That's not something I'd expect to see at your run-of the-mill Marriott or Sheraton.
Le Méridien is less weird than W
I realized the same thing The Points Guy himself did on my last W stay: I've outgrown the quirky brand. I don't want my room to be "marvelous," as my last room at the W Fort Lauderdale was described. Although it was lovely, I think "marvelous" (or "wonderful" or "fabulous" or "wow" as other room types are named) is a big adjective for most hotel rooms.
My husband's room at the Mexico City W featured a hammock in the shower. Has anyone ever actually used a shower hammock? It just seemed, well, weird to me. And don't get me started about the bunk-bed rooms for grown-ups that Mommy Points found at the W in Aspen.
In the same vein, I know I'm going to get wet at the pool. There's no need to call it "Wet." Le Méridien offers me an escape from the cookie-cutter Marriotts and Sheratons of the world without taking me down a rabbit hole of thumping bass music in the lobby and adjectives serving as nouns.
Ways to spend less at Le Méridien properties
There are a variety of Marriott cobranded credit cards offering generous welcome bonuses:
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card --Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases made on your new card at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership. ($450 annual fee. See rates & fees) Terms apply.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card --Earn 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new card within the first three months of card membership. Terms apply.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card -- Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card -- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Marriott Bonvoy account on a 1:1 basis.
Le Méridien is the Marriott sweet spot for me. If I'm in a location where it's an option, you'll find me enjoying my stay at the Marriott brand that isn't too expensive, too generic or too weird. Are you a Le Méridien fan? Please share your experiences in the comments.
Here's some more Marriott-specific advice:
- A high-value SPG redemption at the Le Meridien N’Fis in Marrakech
- The award traveler’s guide to Marriott Bonvoy
- Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card is right for you?
- Best ways to redeem 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
- TPG readers’ best Marriott Bonvoy redemptions
For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant, please click here.