[photopress:royalmeidienshanghai.jpg,full,alignright]Starwood’s Le Royal Méridien Shanghai was opened with a traditional lion dance and the usual suspects: government dignitaries, property owners, and senior hotel representatives.
Representatives from the hotel’s ownership Shanghai Shimao Group, Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress and the Shanghai Tourism Administrative Commission, along with 1,200 other invited guests attended the opening ceremonies.
Eva Zeigler, senior vice president of Le Méridien brand, said, ‘As we aggressively expand the global footprint of Le Méridien, we remain focused on destinations that embrace culture and creativity.’
There are 770 guest rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows provide views of the Huangpu River. Each guest room has a 42 inch plasma TV with satellite TV programs.
All press releases and publicity refer to it as Le Royal Méridien with that damn silly French accent over the ‘e’ as if Starwood was a French company. In fact, it is part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide which is a hospitality ownership, management, and franchise organization based in White Plains, New York. Which is not in France.
So why the French name?
Le Méridien was established in 1972 by Air France ‘to provide a home away from home for its customers.’ The first Le Méridien property was a 1,000-room hotel in Paris — Le Méridien Etoile. By 1991, the total number of Le Méridien properties was 58.
Three years later it stopped being French when Forte (another company with an accent problem) bought it. Two years after this Forte was snaffled by Granada in a share raid which happened when Rocco Forte, then head of Forte, was out shooting grouse. True.
From there it passed to the Compass Group and then, in May 2001 it was bought by Nomura International and was merged with Principal Hotels. (Are you following all of this? There will be questions in the term paper.)
In November 2005, the Le Méridien brand and management fee business, about 120 hotels, was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Possibly the only serious connection to France in the hotel lies in some of the excellent wines served in its upmarket restaurants.
Source: China Hospitality News