“I feel that what we get from art is a sense of wonder, or something beyond ourselves, that celebrates our ‘being’ here.” - Trevor Bell
To kick off hotel visits in the new year, IMHI students were invited to Le Meridien’s first property in the world, Le Meridien Etoile. This iconic hotel, located a stone’s throw away from the Palais des Congrès Convention Center, bustled with life as we entered the lobby on a Wednesday morning. Business travelers, families and large leisure groups alike whizzed in and out of the hotel’s revolving doors, while other guests sat tranquilly, sipping on their drink of choice in the Jazz Club. Amid all this activity, we were warmly welcomed by Remco Van Kamp, Front of the House and Quality Manager, and his assistant manager, Sophia Benmallek, who led us to the conference rooms of the hotel in order to first present Starwood, Le Meridien and this particular property.
Throughout their presentation, Mr. Van Kamp and Ms. Benmallek delved into the details surrounding the hotel and its focus on providing guests a unique view of Paris. Our hosts highlighted the different initiatives the hotel had undertaken in order to create this unorthodox perspective of the City of Lights, while presenting the various challenges that come with running the 1,025-room property. Furthermore, learning about the strategies and organization of the greater parent group, Starwood, allowed us to gain a deeper understanding about the workings of an international hotel group and the benefits that come with allowing guests to choose from a wide variety of brands that cater to diverse lifestyles and customer segments.
After their detailed presentation, Mr. Van Kamp and Ms. Benmallek guided us throughout the hotel to visit various room types, highlighting the brand’s focus on providing a modern environment for its guests. We also had the opportunity to visit the newly renovated Ma Chère et Tendre steakhouse, which provides both hotel guests and external customers a unique dining experience in an area inundated with food and beverage offerings.
From beginning to end, our hosts emphasized the place of art within Le Meridien Etoile: the modern designs on the hotel doors, separating the world outside from the world within; the artfully-decorated room keys that also serve as access to the Palais de Tokyo museum of art; and the artwork made purely out of Legos with the help of the hotel staff. These details filled us with admiration throughout our visit and further reinforced the idea of new, modern perspectives. We exited Le Meridien’s large, artful doors into the busy, everyday life of IMHI students with more knowledge about the industry that moves us and with a sense of wonder inspired by the creativity of this unique property.