Four Continents and 37,000 Miles in Two Weeks: Le Meridien Vienna

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After about a 20-minute walk from the train station I arrived at the Le Meridien, just shortly before noon.


Le Meridien Vienna


Le Meridien Vienna


Hotel entrance

The lobby of the hotel was fairly modest if not a bit funky, so my expectations of the hotel were low to begin with. I proceeded to check-in where I was warmly greeted (by European standards).


Lobby


Lobby

This is probably a good time to note that I had reserved an executive room using points for my one night stay. While the normal “rate” is 10,000 points per night, I booked too late, so they only had executive rooms available, which cost 11,000 points per night.

Anyway, the agent informed me that my room had been checked out of already and housekeeping was just working on it, so it would probably be an hour or so. I asked what kind of a room it would be, and she informed me I was assigned an executive room. I asked if they had any Platinum room upgrades available, to which the agent responded that I had already been upgraded. I explained that I had actually booked an executive room, to which she responded that the room was very nice.

Fair enough, my intent wasn’t to “push my luck.” I’m just new to Starwood and trying to figure out the best approach to take for securing upgrades., since I’ve read of a lot of different approaches online. The thing that makes Starwood Platinum less valuable than Hyatt Diamond or InterContinental Royal Ambassador, in my book, is that you have nothing to “fall back on” if your upgrade doesn’t clear. At Hyatt I would get club lounge access, and if they don’t have a club lounge, I would get restaurant breakfast.

This hotel didn’t have a club lounge and they don’t offer Platinum members free breakfast or any other amenities, so the only thing I got out of being a Platinum member is free internet.

I wanted to explore the city though first was in desperate need of a shower, so I used the wifi in the lobby while my room was being prepared. Within about 45 minutes my room was ready and I was given keys to my room on the 7th floor, 745.


Elevators

Here’s another thing that cracks me up about Starwood. They love to have “Starwood floors,” which I suppose are designed to make you feel special. Usually they would be the rooms on high floors so they at least come with a good view, though at this hotel, the “Starwood floors” were the 3rd and 4th floors. Out of curiosity I couldn’t help but ask the front desk agent what was different about them, to which she responded “nothing.”

So at this hotel if you get an “upgrade” to a room on the “Starwood floor,” you’re really getting one of the rooms on the lowest floors.


SPG floors

As soon as I got to my room, though, I couldn’t have been happier with the hotel. It was easily one of the nicest “executive rooms” I’ve ever been in. At the entrance was a small living room with desk, small sofa, and comfortable chair.


Hallway


Room entrance


Bed


Sitting area


Sitting area

The bed was also very comfortable.

The bathroom featured a separate tub and shower. While I only used the shower, it had excellent water pressure and temperature control.


Shower and toilet


Sink and tub


Tub


Bath amenities

My favorite part of the room had to be the balcony. I’m not usually one for being outdoors, though it was probably the most gorgeous day weather-wise in the history of the world. It was one of those sunny days where you’re neither warm nor cold, with a gentle breeze.


Balcony


View from balcony

The other cool aspect of the room was that it had a minibar that is free for all guests, including two large bottles of water (still and sparkling), Coke, Diet Coke, apple juice, and orange juice.


Minibar


Floorplan

I spent the afternoon exploring Vienna (stay tuned for the next installment for that) and thought it was awesome that they placed some chocolate wafer cookies along with a welcome letter in my room. I had selected the 500 points as my Platinum amenity, so I guess this was just a little bonus.


Chocolate wafers

The only (small) fault I found in the room is that there was an empty carton of cigarettes in the desk drawer.


Gotta love the warning labels in Europe

By the time I left I really, really loved this hotel. I’ll take it a step further – I’m almost happy I didn’t get a further upgrade, because I thought the executive room was the perfect size for me traveling alone, and also very nicely decorated. While I like suites when traveling with others, it can become a chore to turn off a dozen different light switches to get the room dark at night.

So yes, I’d return to this hotel in a heartbeat. And even more so, I’d return to Vienna, which is now one of my favorite cities. If you don’t have status and plan on booking this hotel with points, I suggest booking an executive room, as I was really pleased with it. As a Platinum member I’d probably just book a standard room and hope for an upgrade to an executive room (or maybe even a further upgrade).

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Comments

  1. You think that’s severe for warning labels on cigarettes? Try them down under. Gruesome pictures and all. Moving to plain packaging too…

    Room looks awesome.

  2. Ben, my family & I stayed at Le Meridien last summer and we very much agree that this is quite a nice property (FTers concur.)

    I’m inclined to disagree, though, about booking an Executive room. We booked on C&P (a steal at $60+4000 pts/night); my wife & I ended up in what I believe was a Deluxe, while my two sons shared an Executive with twin beds. The latter was certainly bigger (40 sq m, according to the hotel website), but we found the Deluxe (35 sq m) more than adequate for two people and almost identically furnished.

    One aspect you haven’t mentioned is this hotel’s excellent central location on the Ringstrasse. With the Innere Stadt across the street, the tram lines directly in front of the hotel, and the U-bahn entrance a block away, we found this an ideal location for exploring the city.

    Also, the Ottakringer Helles in the free minibar is a tasty local brew.

  3. We’ve stayed at the Meridian and the Steigenberger Hotel Wein, and both offered free minibar access. My wife and I have wondered if this was a common feature of Vienna hotels, or just luck?

    Also, the concierge at the Meridian was one of the most helpful and informative we’ve run across.

  4. I have noticed the free mini-bar in a few other hotels. In Dusseldorf both the Four Points and Sheraton had similar mini-bars.

  5. While SPG floors have the same floorplans as other floors, I believe there are other amenities such as free bottled water or upgraded bath products at certain properties that are only given out on these SPG floors.

  6. Thanks for the review. I have a 5 night stay, on points, at the Le Meridien coming up in September. So many other reviews made the hotel seem a bit ‘quirky’ for my prefs. I have always stayed at the Hilton Plaza in the past and I was almost ready to cancel out of the Le Meridien an go back to the Hilton. I rest much easier now. I’m once again looking forward to my stay.

  7. Vienna is one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s also a great SPG city with the Le Meridien, the Hotel Bristol, and above all, the Imperial Hotel. If you return, you might want to try the Imperial next time. It’s a little more expensive than the Le Meridien (although when we went it wasn’t significant) but from my experience, they treat SPG Plats really well and if you book it using an FHR rate you usually get a double bonus for being SPG Plat and FHR. We booked a standard room and were upgraded to a junior suite. To this day its one of my favorite hotels I have ever stayed in. The breakfast buffet (free with FHR) was amazing and the service was fantastic. It features nice old world touches like grand staircases, chandeliers in rooms, old-fashioned keys that you leave with the front desk when you leave, but it still has all the modern conveniences you need in a hotel.

  8. @ beltway — There’s no doubt cash and points is a better deal, though my comment was more directed at a situation where cash and points isn’t available, which is often the case. Then the 1,000 point premium is worthwhile, in my opinion. Otherwise I agree that cash and points is a much better deal.

  9. Vienna is a great city and I have been there many times but there is a lot more to Austria than Vienna. If you ever go back there you need to give yourself a few extra days for getting in to the mountains. Google Upper Austria and Hallstatt or Grossglockner, High Alpine road. Austria has many of the scenery that Switzerland is famous for at a cheaper cost.

  10. You will always find nice surprise when you open any drawers in a hotel room no matter what kind of hotel it is. Normally I don’t use any drawers, but one time out of curiosity, I opened one and found a pair of dirty socks in W Times Square

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