Rating: *** (3.5 out of 5)
Established by Air France in 1972, Le Méridien is a hotel chain that operates over 120 hotels worldwide. The brand’s first property was the Le Méridien Etoile – which means “star” in French – in the northwestern quadrant of Paris. The 1,000-room behemoth was created to meet the sudden surge in air travels after the Boeing 747 came on stream in the early 1970s. Today, the Star remains the largest hotel in Paris by capacity.
|The Le Méridien Etoile, Paris|
In 2005, America’s Starwood Group acquired the Le Méridien brand. Soon thereafter, plans to give the Star a badly needed facelift were announced. New rooms were designed by French architect Jean Phillippe Nuel and state-of-the-art tele-presence facilities were fitted in some of its 25 conference rooms. The result? The Star is now a busy business hotel packed with conference-goers wearing name tags and pleated khakis. It is so generically American that you would be forgiven for mistaking it for the Hilton in Manhattan or the Marriott in Houston.
The rooms at the four-star hotel are spacious, modern and comfortable by Paris standard. At roughly €150 a night, it offers good value for money, again, by Paris standard. Being on the northwest side of the city has its advantages. The Star sits atop the “1” subway line and is walking distance to Arc de Triomphe and Champs Élysées.
|Rooms are modern and comfortable|
Trivial as it may sound, the fact that one of the airport shuttle buses stops across the street from the Star is a big draw to weary travelers. As any tourist in Paris would attest, lugging heavy suitcases up and down those steep staircases in the Metro and RER systems is a guaranteed back-breaking experience. No wonder many French expats living in Hong Kong are moved to tears when they first discover the Airport Express and the ingenious in-town check-in counters at the IFC and ICC.
|Try carrying two suitcases up these stairs|