Photo courtesy of Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center.

Have you ever been to a hotel that really seems to have thought itself through? Everything is located exactly where you’d expect it to be. There’s nothing missing; no extras you wish you had. And there are even a few pleasant surprises.

When it comes to luxury accommodations, I believe that every hotel should seek to give its guests this experience. Yet during a complimentary stay at the new Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center (See disclosure statement here.), I was impressed by not only how well thought-out the rooms were, but how natural it all seemed.

The hotel was just a few months old, yet my experience was nearly flawless. When it comes to providing quality experiences, Le Méridien’s contemporaries could take a few cues from their sophisticated colleague.

Here are 9 things Le Méridien has that every hotel needs.

1. An update on those old-fashioned door locks

Door locks at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center

Photo by Beth Santos.

What’s so special about a door lock, you ask?

The fact that Le Méridien features a chic, updated take on the classic lock is important. It means that the hotel truly admires good design. Why else would you care to update a door lock? These little things are as important to me as good meals and comfy beds.

Have you ever heard about Van Halen and the brown M&Ms? It’s like that. It’s the smallest details that are the most important – especially in hospitality.

2. Cool key cards

keycard at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center

Photo by Beth Santos.

The days of boring, old-fashioned key cards are over. Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center actually has artist-designed key cards that match the overall theme of the hotel. Plus, the key cards not only unlock your room, but unlock the destination by allowing complimentary access to the Elmhurst Art Museum (which we’ll learn about later).

Again, it’s about attention to detail and good branding. It makes all the difference in the world in making a guest feel taken care of.

3. Hair dryers with flat nozzles

Hairdryers with flat nozzles at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center

Photo by Beth Santos.

This is the first time in recent history I remember having a hair dryer at a hotel with a flat nozzle adaptor. For those of us with hair that needs styling, I couldn’t imagine a better surprise. Traveling women who have hair needs, unite! Another thing we don’t need to pack in our suitcases, thank God.

4. Classy snacks that could double as gifts

Gifts and snacks at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center

Photo by Beth Santos.

Have you ever been on a trip and suddenly realized you completely forgot to bring your friend/colleague/conference organizer/etc. a little something from home? At those moments, I will literally spend anything to give them a gift. This is a perfect time for a hotel mini-bar to take advantage of (and really help) its customers.

In addition to the adorably packaged jars of nuts and candy that Le Méridien offers its guests for purchase, it also has a take-away bag that is made for long daytrips when you really need a few snack items to nosh on. It’s like a mini-store, right in your hotel room. And you actually want to buy the stuff.

5. Local partnerships – and benefits for hotel guests

The Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center partnership with the Elmhurst Art Museum

Photo by Beth Santos.

I’ve seen plenty of hotels that offer lists of things to do in their city of choice, but have you seen hotels that actually go out of their way to form partnerships with these activities in order to benefit their guests?

That’s what Le Méridien does in partnership with the Elmhurst Art Museum. All Le Méridien guests get a free pass to the museum during its opening hours – just for staying at the hotel. What a treat!

6. A personal espresso bar, waiting for you

Illy espresso at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center

Photo by Beth Santos.

I’m not just talking coffee to wake up to. I’m talking a full bar with coffee cups; cute little espresso mugs; and various choices in brews, creamers, the works. When I noticed it at around 9pm, I had to do everything in my power to keep myself from drinking a late-night espresso. It was just so adorable, and I didn’t want to pass up the experience!

Why is not every hotel in the world doing this!

7. Wine glasses. Wine glasses!

Wine glasses for guests at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center

Photo by Beth Santos.

I don’t know about you, but for me, a stay in a luxury hotel room is a real treat. I only do it on special occasions – bridal showers, romantic getaways. And most of the time, those special occasions call for wine.

Or sometimes I’m traveling for work – and in that case, I really need wine after a long day.

I have many awful memories of sipping wine from rocks glasses (or, dare I suggest, plastic cups). And I’ve always wondered, why don’t more hotel rooms have wine glasses available to their guests?

So imagine my surprise when I saw an assortment of rocks glasses, coffee mugs, espresso mugs, and WINE GLASSES in my room!

8. A loofah. Like a real one.

Real loofahs at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center

Photo by Beth Santos.

Who brings a poof with them when they travel? It’s a bit of a hassle to carry around items that are regularly wet, so often they’re one thing I’m glad to leave behind. This leaves me using wash cloths or my own hands to scrub the soap in the shower.

Imagine my surprise to see my own personally wrapped loofah sitting happily in my shower at Le Méridien. Whoever thought of this is purely genius. It was by far the best exfoliation experience I’ve had in a hotel, ever.


42" HDTVs at Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center

Photo by Beth Santos.

It’s 2014. We are far beyond excusing any hotel for not offering a large-screen, hi-def television set to its guests. Staying at a hotel should be more luxurious than life at home. Which is why every hotel should have a 48-inch HDTV. Just saying.

What are some of the best things you’ve seen in the hotel rooms you’ve stayed in?