Chi-Chi Meets Quirky

Meridien and other deluxe hotels try to raise their hip quotient

Le Méridien opened a 294-room luxury hotel in Vienna four years ago at a cost of $160 million. But when Le Méridien Senior Vice-President Eva Ziegler strides through the lobby on a recent visit, she is not impressed. "There is no emotional connection in this room," she says with a wave at the high-gloss white walls and sleek modern furniture. "We need an anchor point—a pool or something with water." Ziegler joined Méridien last year, following its acquisition by Starwood Hotels & Resorts (HOT), to spearhead a makeover of Méridien's 120 hotels. With touches such as art exhibits, a custom-blended cedar scent, and original music compositions piped into lobbies and hallways, "we aim to inspire our guests at every turn," she says.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.