If there’s one thing the world can agree on, it’s that coffee is worth celebrating. And for luxury hotel brand Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, whose 100-plus properties each boast a coffee “Hub,” that’s an understatement. So to showcase its commitment to coffee culture and promote three of its newest locations on International Coffee Day (Oct. 1), the brand activated caffeine-infused experiences across the world, including a pop-up café in New York City, which served as the heart of the global program.
Coffee is a way of life for the hotelier. Le Méridien Hubs, the brand’s twist on the traditional lobby space, provide guests and locals with an authentic coffeehouse experience at each of its properties. Each location has a master barista who is specially trained in crafting destination-inspired coffee drinks and coffee cocktails. The brand also has a global coffee partner, illy, and even employs a Global Master Barista, who is tasked with programming and implementing all barista training for Le Méridien properties (and you thought you were a coffee addict).
So on Oct. 1, inspired by its European heritage and commitment to a good cup of joe, Le Méridien celebrated International Coffee Day with a Parisian pop-up café in lower Manhattan’s Brookfield Place, offering consumers complimentary coffee drinks concocted and served by Le Méridien Global Master Barista Franz Zauner. The experience centered around quirky vignettes that brought to life three of the brand’s newest hotels: Le Méridien Visconti Rome in Italy; Le Méridien Seoul in South Korea; and Le Méridien Denver Downtown in Colorado. The vignettes not only offered the public a taste of destination-inspired coffee drinks, but also a glimpse of the local culture in each location.
“We wanted to create Instagrammable moments, so we designed each of those destinations so that guests could really interact with each of the spaces,” says Rebecca Rand, director-global brand marketing and management for Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts.
For the Rome vignette, Le Méridien whipped up espresso macchiatos, which were served alongside Italian chocolate pralines. The space also featured a real Vespa and park bench, making for a prime photo opportunity. To represent Seoul, the brand offered a cold brew coffee infused with red chili flakes and rice milk, two popular Korean ingredients. The area featured Korean-inspired tchotchkes, real newspapers and upcycled furniture. And in the Denver vignette, attendees were transported to an après-ski atmosphere complete with a ski slope backdrop, fur furnishings and even a pair of ski poles and goggles. The accompanying Denver-inspired drink was a sweet cortado featuring double espresso, homemade peach syrup and steamed milk foam.
The New York-based activation, of course, was only one of about 15 live experiences activated by Le Méridien in recognition of International Coffee Day across the globe. Programs in Barcelona, Istanbul, Jakarta and beyond celebrated coffee culture throughout the week with java-inspired engagements like latte demonstrations and coffee seminars.
“Each one of those properties did something unique,” says Rand. “So for us, it was a wonderful global activation moment all coming back to New York. It was a very unique opportunity for the brand.” Agencies: BMF Media, New York City (activation); Day One Agency, New York City (p.r.).