By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor
Just a month after its sale, there are more changes coming to W New Orleans. The hotel, the second W-branded property operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. in the Crescent City, will be converted into a Le Méridien property in a bid to launch the Paris-born brand in one of the hottest U.S. hotel markets.
The 410-key hotel, purchased by Chesapeake Lodging Trust for $65 million earlier this year, will undergo an extensive renovation and conversion process set to launch in April 2014 and finish by the end of the year. The $29 million strategic conversion will include the complete renovation of all of the 410 guest rooms and bathrooms, as well as a complete overhaul of the hotel’s restaurant, lounge and lobby so as to bring into play signature Le Méridien features and offerings.
The redevelopment of the lobby into a Le Méridien Hub will be among the biggest changes to be implemented at the property. One of the signature features of the brand, a Le Méridien Hub is more meeting and socializing place than waiting area and features a strong coffee culture and contemporary artwork. Hubs are an intrinsic part of the brand’s award-winning arrival program, which also includes large-scale artwork in high-impact areas; a signature atmosphere achieved by a combination of scent, sound and light; a 24-hour curated soundtrack; and the Unlock Art programme, consisting of artist-designed room keys that double as access cards to brand-affiliated contemporary cultural centers in the city.
The hotel’s rooftop pool, fitness center and more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space will also be upgraded.
Located at 333 Poydras St., the new Le Méridien New Orleans is located in close proximity to the world-famous French Quarter, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Harrah’s Casino and Riverwalk Marketplace. As previously reported on this page, Starwood sold the asset to Chesapeake Lodging for $65 million in April 2013, making it Chesapeake’s fifth Starwood asset and second W-branded hotel in the Big Easy (it also acquired the 97-key luxury W of New Orleans – French Quarter for $25.5 million). Starwood Hotels & Resorts stayed on as long-term property manager.
Photo courtesy of W New Orleans’ Facebook page.