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- Lounge Review: British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow Terminal 5
- Hotel Review: Le Méridien Stuttgart, Germany
- Flight Review: British Airways First Class – Boeing 747 London (LHR) to San Francisco (SFO)
This was my last stay in a hotel in 2019. I had one free nite certificate from Marriott still unredeemed and wanted to make sure I use it before it expires. First I was looking to meet some friends in Berlin, but that plan fell apart. Therefore, I was looking for a new destination in Germany. I have been to Berlin and Munich many times, but the last time in Stuttgart was quite a time ago and then it was only a short stop while en route to another destination.
The certificate would allow me to redeem for a night up to 40k points, no matter in which category. This is because of Marriott’s new peak and off-peak award, in addition to the standard redemption rates, which kicked in on September 14, 2019. With this award chart, 40.000 points can give you a free night at a category 6 hotel during off-peak pricing or a category 5 hotel during peak pricing and all other categories below. I tried to maximize my redemption by finding a hotel somewhere in the higher range of the new award chart. The hotel with the highest category in downtown Stuttgart was the Le Meridien. Which only needed 20.000 points for the stay from December 30 – 31. Yeah, I couldn’t stay over new years as the certificate would expire on the 31st of December. I also checked to extend the stay and using points to pay for the second night, but for some reason, the hotel didn’t allow any points redemption the day before arrival. This is in contrary to Marriott’s Terms of Service, as there are no blackout dates for this property and the same standard rooms were still available to book with a cash rate. Higher of course because it was New Year’s Eve. It was just funny, I double-checked on the 31st, the day of my checkout and they opened award spaces again. But that was only the beginning of a series of issues and especially misinformation.
During my reservation, I also applied one of my Suite Night Awards, which would also expire on the 31st. My original booking with points was for a Superior Chic Room and I started the upgrade request right on the booking confirmation page. I was able to select between three different room types I could get upgraded too.
- Executive Chic Room
- Executive Classic Room
- Junior Suite
I selected all of them to increase my chances for an upgrade and of course I was hoping for the Junior Suite. Who wouldn’t? 😉 Anyway, after just over 10 minutes I received a confirmation e-mail that I was upgraded. Unfortunately only to an Executive Chick Room. Well, that’s better than nothing, but my plan was any way to double-check during check-in.
The Le Méridien Stuttgart is located on one of the main streets in Stuttgart, the B14 aka Willy-Brandt-Straße. It is located very close to Stuttgart’s central rail station and the walk is less than 10 minutes. There is a lot of construction going on for years already as Stuttgart is expanding its central rail station. Walking to the Le Méridien Stuttgart is easy if you don’t have any bulky luggage as you can walk towards the “Planetarium” and cut through “Mittlerer Schlosspark” to get up a set of stairs and across a bridge which is connected to the Le Meridien. However, you have to take another set of stairs down to the main level to get into the hotel. If you have heavy and bulky suitcases, you don’t want to drag up and downstairs, you can walk along Arnulf-Klett Platz, cross over the B14 (Willy-Brandt-Straße) and follow this one to the hotel. Coming from the airport, it’s probably the best and the most convenient way to take a Taxi to the hotel. Arriving by car is straight forward, you can use the connected parking garage or have your car valet.
Many sights are just a short walk away from the Le Méridien Stuttgartwith one of them being the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. It is an art museum and your room key of the Le Meridien gives you free entrance to the museum.
I arrived by car as well and drove right up to the main entrance where a hotel porter met me. I arrived around noon and tried if a room is already available, otherwise, I would just park my car and explore the city while waiting for the room to be ready. The porter asked me if I want to park in the parking garage and use the elevator which is connected straight to the lobby. I asked him if I could valet my car as the website stated that valet parking is complimentary, which was another misinformation. Self-Parking and Valet parking costs the same, “complimentary” is only the valet parking service, not the actual parking. I was already skeptical about it, but normally you have to honor what you mark in your advertisements or bookings, even if it was a mistake. The excuse during check-out was that Marriott did something wrong, well I am pretty sure every hotel itself puts the information in, which are displayed.
I walked inside and they had 3-4 agents working the front desk. There was a line at everyone, as people were checking out due to the noon checkout time of the hotel. Unfortunately, the Le Méridien Stuttgart has no priority lane for members with status. So I waited until it was my time. One of the longest waiting times I ever experienced during a hotel check-in. It took me over 15 minutes to get to one of the agents.
In the meantime I had enough time to admire the beautifully decorated hotel lobby which had a gigantic Christmas tree next to the main entrance, spanning two floors. Now it was my turn and check-in and I showed my I.D. and credit card. I also asked if they have any suites available to be upgraded into and he told me that I already got upgraded into one. Housekeeping was still cleaning the suite and I let the agent know that this is not an issue at all. I just asked for my luggage to be stored and I will go into the city and check back later. He was very helpful and told me storing my bags is not an issue and that I just have to fill out another paper allowing the hotel to park my car. Yes, the Germans love their cars and don’t hand it off easily I guess. I grabbed my camera before leaving the hotel to explore the city. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask him if the upgrade was for the Executive Chic Room or to a Junior Suite. After I spent 3 hours walking around in the city, I came back to Le Meridien at 3 p.m. and the agent I checked in with earlier remembered me and handed me over my room key and directed me to the right set of elevators. There are two elevators in every wing of the hotel and my room was located in the “Neckar Wing”. Neckar is the name of the river running through Stuttgart. He also asked me if I want to get the 1000 points or the free breakfast as my amenity. In this case, I opted for the free breakfast buffet. He also told me that my luggage is already in my room waiting for me.
After stepping off the elevator I got this nice view of the area where both wings of the hotels are joined. It’s a pretty nice view from here.
Junior Suite Chic (1 Bedroom Junior Suite, 1 Double, Alternate bed: sofa bed, Sofa bed) (Room 483)
I indeed received an upgrade to the Junior Suite not just to an executive room. There seem to be two versions of the Junior Suite – Chic and Classic. Classic seems to have a separate bedroom, basically, where the TV is located in the Chic room, there would be a wall all the way across the room. At least that what it looks like on the pictures of the hotel’s website. I had the Junior Suite Chic which has a size of 60m² (646 sqft). That’s double the size of all the regular rooms which have a size of 30m² (323 sqft). The size of this room was perfect. Very spacious and lots of open space.
The living area and sleeping area are separated by a large TV that sits on top of a cabinet and can be turned by 180° to either face the sofa or the bed. Inside the cabinet of the TV was the room safe and the minibar. It was a small refrigerator well-stocked with sodas, beers, energy drinks and even chocolate. More snacks and glasses were in the little cabinet space in the middle.
Unfortunately, nobody told me that the minibar was complimentary during my stay, otherwise, I would have raided it. 😉 I saw the pricelist of the items and of course, they are on the expensive side. What else would you expect? First, when I checked out, I got told that the minibar was complimentary for everyone in an Executive Room or above (including suites). This is also true if you get upgraded or use points for your stay. There is just no information on that anywhere. I highly suggest to ask during check-in or call the front desk. I don’t know if certain Marriott Bonvoy statuses receive the same amenity as well when not staying in one of these room types. Please ask!
My reservation was for one room and one person and I was a bit surprised when I saw the rollaway bed setup between the sofa and the TV. The cocktail table which would usually be there was moved over to the side of the sofa. This problem was solved quickly, by folding the bed together and rolling it in the corner in front of the connecting door to the neighboring room. I also dragged the cocktail table back in place. Done! One the left side of the sofa was another cabinet with empty storage space below and on top two bottles of water (complimentary to Marriott Bonvoy members) and a coffee machine.
While I was setting up in the room, the doorbell rang. Yes, the suite has a doorbell. A member of the hotel staff was outside and said she has a little something for me and if she could come in to set it down. I acknowledged of course but wasn’t sure if she got the room confused and told her that I didn’t order room service. She said don’t worry this is just a little gift from the house and showed me a greeting card, which indeed had the wrong name on it. I told her and she apologized for the confusion. After a while, the doorbell rang again and she was back, apologizing again for the earlier confusion and said the had something for me as well. Well, I should have taken the first gift she accidentally brought in. It was a nice pie while my gift was an orange and a brown bag. Inside, star-shaped Christmas cookies that didn’t taste that fresh anymore.
The work desk was placed centered along the outside wall right in front of the windows. In front of the desk was a comfy chair. Don’t expect an amazing view from here. While it considered a “city view” you don’t see much from this part of the hotel building. Right across is another building and you can see part of the construction site next to the central station.
The windows can be opened in two ways, tilted or swung open. It’s a common setup of how you can open windows in Germany, but you might not be familiar with it. I highly recommend you to get familiar with it, because you will need this to cool down your room. The air condition for the room can only be adjusted in 5°C increments and you won’t be able to actively cool the room if the outside temperature is below 17°C (62.5° F). Yes, I got really hot at night even with the A/C turned down all the way. I woke up in the middle of the night and actually had to open the windows to cool the room. I get it, saving energy and all that. But the Le Méridien Stuttgart is right next to a busy street and with open windows, it can get pretty loud inside. Usually, traffic at night is not that bad, but there were ambulances driving around with sirens during my stay. It wasn’t a big deal for me, as I am a deep sleeper but again other people might not sleep that well because of that.
The Double Bed, which has the size of a King Bed was centered against the connecting wall to the next room. Either side had a lamp and reading lights that you could fold out. Besides that, you find one (German) power outlet on each side with one of it being used for the alarm clock. Either side also has a light switches to turn off the lights in the entry hallway and along the outside wall over the window. After I was set up in my room, I went back out to explore the city some more before coming back at night. By then I received a turndown service which included closing the blackout curtains of the room and setting up a set of slippers next to the bed. I was already wondering how I was supposed to get to the spa when I change in the pajama in my room and don’t have any slippers. Problem solved!
The bathroom was fantastic. It is accessible from the bedroom side of the room and can be separated with a sliding door. The bathroom itself was split into two sections. The first with a bathtub and what looks like a makeup stand with a mirror.
While the second part of the bathroom had the vanity with a nice big mirror, the toilet, and a shower. The shower itself was rather small but sufficient for a quick shower. Overall the bathroom was not oversized and had the perfect size balance between comfort and space.
The short entrance hallway to the room has a big walk-in closet with plenty of space to store whatever you need. Inside are also iron, ironing board, laundry bags, hairdryer, and even a yoga mat.
Next to the room door are a couple of light switches. The very top one is the master switch, which turns off everything inside the room. Make sure you turn this one back on once you come back, otherwise none of the lights will work. By the way, there is another closet when you walk into the room and hang a right towards the bathroom. Along this wall lined with wood is another closet that you probably don’t realize right away. Just look for the door handle to find it.
The room had one big advantage. It was located almost opposite of the elevator to the spa. Yes, there is a separate elevator going down to the spa which includes the fitness center, indoor swimming pool, massage rooms,…and more.
First of all, the Le Meridien has a beautiful lobby that reaches over two floors. There are a few seating possibilities next to each side of the main entrance while most of the one side is taken up by the gigantic Christmas tree. Beautiful! If you need more seating head up to the first floor, one floor above the lobby. In Germany, the ground level is called usually something like 0, G, or E and numbering starts with the first floor up. So upon the first floor is a nice mezzanine area overlooking the lobby space and has more comfy chairs to sit. This area is kept relatively dark.
A small business center is located in the Neckar Wing right next to the lobby on the ground level.
The highlight of this hotel is definitely the spa. If you are looking for a wellness getaway, the Le Meridien can definitely cater to you. The Spa area is huge and goes over two floors. A separate elevator in the “Neckar Wing” will take guests down to the spa. You can change in the comfort of your room and then head down to the spa without the need to cross the lobby. Even tho the spa provides changing room for men and women but not separate one per person base. The changing rooms also have lockers to store your belongings and for privacy the aks you to not bring cellphones into the spa.
After I was set up in my room, I headed downstairs to the spa to check it out. When I stepped off the elevator I was greeted by the Spa Manager who worked behind the desk. We had a short conversation that I was just checking out the place and eventually returning later. She told me that they were open today until 11 p.m. and I thought this is great as I can stay out a bit longer and still come back for a swim. This was another piece of miscommunication as the spa was closing over the holidays at 9 p.m. Massages are available upon reservation anyway and what’s the big deal of keeping the pool open until 11 p.m.? I think it’s because of safety concerns as there has to be always a staff member on-site, especially with using the sauna as well. Longer opening hours for just the pool itself would be sufficient. Anyway, I missed out on this experience when I tried to go for a quick swim around 10:30 p.m. Everything was dark and the fitness center was the only thing still accessible just because it is open 24 hours a day.
The Spa has even a bar and serves drinks and small bites as well as an outdoor spa area in the garden (Le Jardin). Of course, during the winter months, there is nothing going on in the garden.
There are a few on-site restaurants at the Le Meridien Stuttgart. The main place to hang out and mingle, drink and dine is Bar Lillet. Bar Lillet is located right adjacent to the lobby on the ground floor and offers a nice bar area and dining tables including some high tables. I came here to grab a Cappuccino for which you will find a voucher in your room. Look for the collection of information papers about the hotel and you will find the voucher inside. The person working the bar was pretty young and it seems I was the first guest who brought in that voucher as he looked a bit surprised.
Later I came back for dinner. Their regular bar menu is a bit, well, different. I was actually looking to try some more traditional German food as I really missed it. I saw that you can order all kinds of good stuff through room service and you can actually order the same food in the bar. Just ask to see the room service menu. I ordered the Wiener Schnitzel from the room service menu as well as the Käsespätzle from the bar menu.
For me, the bar personal could be a little bit more attentive, it took a while before the waiter came back to take my order. I was about to flag one of them down anyway. Maybe I am just spoiled from previous experiences. I never stayed in a 5-star hotel in Germany, therefore I have no direct comparison. Bar Lillet is open for lunch and dinner.
Breakfast will be served just past the bar area in a separate dining area. The buffet is huge and comes with all you can dream of including an omelet station. Two big coffee machines will brew your favorite coffee blend or select one of the many offered teas. There are plenty of dining tables and service was great. The staff was so quick that they cleared already my table while I was going back to the buffet for resupplies. That’s the downside of traveling solo. If you can, use your welcome amenity for free breakfast as it is absolutely worth it and otherwise pretty expensive with €28 (~$31 USD).
Enjoy an exclusive dining experience at the French-influenced Le Médoc restaurant. It’s located between the two wings of the hotel and has outdoor seating as well during the warmer months of the year. I didn’t have a chance to try this restaurant during my one night stay.
If you look for something completely different and off-site you won’t be disappointed. The city center is so close and there are many many restaurants. Everything from McDonald’s all the way to a steak house. Just browse for your interests on Google Maps. It will be a short walk to most of the places.
I really enjoyed my stay here and wished I could have stayed longer. It’s definitely worth revisiting during one of my future trips to Stuttgart. The main reason for me coming here was using the Le Méridien Stuttgart as a “basecamp” for my exploration of the city. Therefore I didn’t even spend much time in the hotel and spend more time exploring. The Le Meridien Stuttgart is the perfect location for a wellness getaway in the midst of the busy city life.
I requested a late check-out in the morning and was granted the usual 4 p.m. check out you get as a top tier elite. But when it came to actually check out, I had to be again in a long queue before speaking to an agent as many people were arriving that day. They probably came all to celebrate the new year in the city. Getting to one of the agents during check-out took even longer as during check-in. I wish the would have a dedicated lane for elite members.
As for the other hiccups during my stay. They definitely weren’t a deal-breaker or make me feel uncomfortable. Of course, it would have been nice that the minibar was complimentary, and a little bit better service at the restaurant.
This hotel should be on your list if you are looking to stay close to the city center of Stuttgart. Especially you know now what to expect and what to ask for. This will definately improve my next stay there as well.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.