Play Time Reimagined: Le Meridien and Westin Hotels & Resorts Redefine the Future of Family Travel


STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced the launch
of new family programs rolling out at more than 300 Le Méridien and
Westin Hotels & Resorts around the world. In response to the growing
global demand of family travel and their evolving needs, both programs
reinvent the kids club concept, reimagine family experiences within the
hotel and introduce more meaningful branded amenities for young
travelers. With multigenerational family travel on the rise, the
programs specifically cater to the new way modern families travel, with
any combination of parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents traveling
with children of all ages.

“Today’s family travelers are more active, more global and more
socially-connected than ever before, and the way they travel together
has changed dramatically,” said Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader, Le
Méridien and Westin Hotels & Resorts. “In speaking with our most loyal
guests, we know that the new dream vacation – for many – looks like an
active adventure, exploring new destinations and experiencing a new
culture. To help us develop these new family programs, we also zeroed in
on insights from our littlest travelers, who will define expectations
and inspire the future of family travel.”

From interactive programming and signature amenities offered at all
hotels to physical play spaces at many resorts, both programs celebrate
“the Universal Language of Play” – a concept that connotes that playing
knows no borders or language barriers but is a vehicle to explore,
learn, develop new skills, express ideas and build relationships with
others. The Westin Family program draws inspiration from nature to
promote a sense of well-being; while Le Méridien Family channels the
inherent creativity and curiosity of children to unlock destinations
through the brand’s Filters of Discovery—Coordinates, Culture and

Design-Savvy, Eco-Conscious &

Small Travelers Set a High Bar for Next Gen Kids Clubs

The Westin Family Kids Club is informed by the brand’s Six Pillars of
Well-being, featuring dedicated space for children to eat well, play
well, feel well, work well, move well and sleep (or nap) well. The
thoughtful design of the kids clubs was created with a focus on
biophilia, which suggests that a connection to nature enhances
well-being. The colors found in nature inspired the playful but
sophisticated palette, creating a space that feels youthful and
energetic. Meandering pathways guide kids to explore and learn, building
on the idea that there are no straight lines in nature. The design also
includes an extension of the brand’s Vertical Garden, which allows kids
to experience nature and gardening hands-on. Like Haven, Westin’s
design-driven lobby concept, the approach to The Westin Family Kids Club
includes thoughtful zoning and elements designed to promote well-being
as well as playing, relaxing and achieving.

“Gone are the days where children want to spend time surrounded by
over-stuffed book shelves, plastic chairs and cartoon characters
plastered on the wall,” said Erin Hoover, Vice President, Global Brand
Design, Westin Hotels & Resorts. “Westin has taken special care to
create spaces that are both good for the environment and healthy for
younger guests. We consciously used responsibly sourced, recycled and
low-impact materials with the goal to improve indoor air quality,
encourage exposure to natural light and promote outdoor activity.”

Similarly, the narrative of Le Méridien Family Kids Club stays true to
the design principles of the brand and as such, is the first hotel kids
clubs inspired by mid-century modernism. The dedicated children’s spaces
feature impactful arrival art work, flexible seating and styling
elements that playfully mirror the Le Méridien Hub – the brand’s
innovative lobby concept, reflecting its creative spirit, inspired by
coffeehouses, travel and culture.

“From big to small, our guests are creative and curious-minded
travelers, and the design and programming at Le Méridien Family Kids
Clubs allows for children to express their creativity in unexpected ways
and learn about the destination they are visiting,” said Julie Frank,
Global Director of Design, Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts.

Le Méridien Family Kids Clubs draws inspiration from each hotel’s
destination, bringing a layer of local culture and allusions to iconic
landmarks into the design, while the programming continues to “unlock
the destination” with local musical instruments and artful yet playful
games and toys. For instance, stylized life-size maps harken to
coordinates and encourage kids to note where they are from in the world,
creating icebreakers and conversation starters. Even the snacks served
at the Kids Club have a level of interaction and embrace exposure to
local cuisines and ingredients as an enriching experience.

Families Disconnect to Reconnect:
Mobile with Less Free Time, Families Value Shared Experiences

Designed through the lens of accomplishment and wonder, The Westin
Family program offers a variety of interactive activities that help
children of all age groups connect with their environment. Both urban
and resort hotels encourage exploration, from crab-hunting at The Westin
Blue Bay Resort & Spa in Hainan, China to cooking activities fostered by
the brand’s partnership with SuperChefs at The Westin Hilton Head Resort
& Spa in South Carolina.

The family program echoes the Westin mantra that all guests should leave
feeling better than when they arrived, not only the adults; though the
wellness experiences have proven popular with parents and grandparents
as well. “Generation X now loves health and wellness travel,
too—especially coming out of the 2008 recession and as they age,” Julia
Cosgrove, VP and Editor in Chief, AFAR Media, which has partnered with
Westin on local city guides. “As one travel advisor put it, it’s all
about ‘kale, quinoa, and cardio.’ These travelers want to get away,
quickly disconnect, get in shape and bond with family.”

Le Méridien Family aims to ignite the imagination, so that young and old
travelers can discover together. For instance, Le Méridien Ra Beach
Hotel & Resort in Barcelona offers families of all ages the opportunity
to unlock the destination with bicycle tours and photography lessons
with access to the brand’s exclusive UNLOCKArt art partners in the area.
Many hotels, like Le Méridien Phuket and Le Méridien Monte Carlo, offer
experiences like Pétanque and a coffee and cocoa workshop that playfully
harken back to the roots of the Parisian-born brand.

Part Playful, Part Educational:
like the LEGO
® Group and Imagination Playground Drive Booking

Earlier in the year, Le Méridien announced a global partnership with the
LEGO® Group to offer a welcome amenity to children checking-in to any of
its more than 100 hotels and resorts worldwide. Children up to age 12
will be greeted with a LEGO® toy to enjoy during their stay and take
home as a keepsake from their travels.

Le Méridien has also engaged Imagination Playground, created by David
Rockwell in cooperation with KaBOOM!, whose goal is to create play
spaces that allow children to create, inspire, and imagine. A perfect
fit for family-focused hotels like Le Méridien Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Golf
Resort & Spa, Imagination Playground encourages kids to be designers,
using the multiple pieces to create their own play space and tell their
own story.

“More than two-thirds of our guests look at family programming when
making hotel booking decisions, and increasingly, they value educational
and cultural activities that promote outdoor play,” continued Povinelli.
“The goal of our partnerships is to foster togetherness and broaden a
child’s perspective of the world. Whether unlocking a destination with
Le Méridien or connecting with nature at Westin, we hope to strengthen
bonds and create memories among families and our youngest guests that
are sure to last.”

Family Focus Groups & SPG Members Survey Inform
New Global Family Offer

In partnership with C Space, a customer collaboration agency, Starwood
surveyed SPG Members around the world as the Westin and Le Méridien
brands were developing new family programs. Roughly half of guests
surveyed with children are traveling differently now than they were five
years ago. They tend to travel farther and stay longer, and
increasingly, the cost and amount of guestroom space have become factors
in their hotel booking decisions.

With these trends in mind, Westin and Le Méridien have introduced a
global family package, where children eat free and have complimentary
access to kids clubs, and families can receive a discount when booking a
second room or have the option to book connecting rooms, based on

Looking Ahead:
Future of Family Travel for Westin & Le Méridien

In conjunction with the global rollout of Westin and Le Méridien family
programs, celebrations will take place globally, including family
activities such as language lessons, shell-painting, star-gazing and
local exploration tours in some of the world’s most exciting
destinations from New York to Dubai, Panama to Phuket.

Additionally, both brands plan to introduce new kids clubs in new
markets, including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Spain,
Mauritius, and Thailand with more in the pipeline for 2016. Early next
year, The Westin Tashee Resort in Taiwan will fete families with the
grand opening of the hotel, which will feature the largest Westin Family
Kids Club in the world.

For more information about Westin Family or Le Méridien Family, please
or follow #WonderAwaits and
or follow #DiscoverTogether.


About Westin Hotels & Resorts
Hotels & Resorts
, a leader in wellness and hospitality for more
than a decade, lives its philosophy “For a Better You™” through the
brand’s six pillars of well-being: Feel Well, Work Well, Move Well, Eat
Well, Sleep Well and Play Well. At more than 200 hotels and resorts in
nearly 40 countries and territories, guests can experience offerings
that include the iconic Heavenly® Bed, RunWESTIN™ and Westin Gear
Lending with New Balance®, delicious and nutritious SuperFoodsRx™, the
innovative workspace Tangent, Westin Weekend signature experiences, and
Heavenly Bath and Heavenly Spa. Westin is proud to offer Starwood
Preferred Guest®, the industry’s leading loyalty program. To learn more,
Stay connected to Westin: @westin on Twitter
and Instagram

About Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts
more than 100 Hotels & Resorts worldwide and the strongest, most
globally diverse portfolio in its history, the Paris-born Le
brand connects the curious and creative-minded traveller to
unexpected and engaging experiences within their destination. With its
brand promise of “Destination Unlocked”, Le Méridien has transformed
numerous guest touch points through global partnerships with creative
minds such as illy, the LEGO® Group, Johnny
, Gray
, and Nouvelle
. Plans call for dynamic portfolio
within the next five years in some of the world’s most
exciting destinations, concentrating on markets in Asia-Pacific and the
Americas. For more information, please visit LeMé
or follow us on social media –Facebook,
and Twitter.


Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Julien Guitard, Tel. +32 2 204
Associate Director Communications, EAME