Le Meridien Charlotte Opens With Arts & Culture Focus

ANDY SMITH

On Thursday, the Le Meridien Charlotte (555 S. McDowell St.) cut the ribbon on a multimillion-dollar renovation in uptown Charlotte. The Revue blog was there to witness the event, but it wasn’t because of the free eclairs. It was the hotel’s uncommon focus: Charlotte arts and culture. It’s an aspect of the city that Brian Hutchins, general manager of the Le Meridien, associates with the word “unlock.” “‘Unlock’? What does that mean?” says Brian Hutchins, general manager. “For Le Meridien, it means unlocking the destination and what it has to offer.”

Hutchins refers to the UNLOCK ART program, in which every guest can use their room key for free admission to Mint Museum Uptown. But the touches of culture don’t end there. Large-scale artwork adorns the public spaces of the hotel. There’s Charlotte beer at the bar, Charlotte books on the shelves. Each room has a wall with a graphic representation of the Queen City, and various objects throughout the 18-story building are inscribed with the city’s map coordinates.

“Charlotte has so much to offer,” Hutchins says. “It has great restaurants and great museums. It has a lot of culture. And we are very much into culture and cuisine; it’s something we’re proud of. We’ve gone through a very large transformation here.”

Twice a month, the hotel’s Hub (the first public space visitors encounter) hosts Art + Aperitif, a public event featuring winners of the Arts & Science Council’s ArtPop program. The Hub sits alongside Longitude Bar, giving visitors easy-access to a few drinks as they meet the artists. “It’s not just about alcohol and drinking and all that,” Hutchins says. “It’s more art-driven, more about the culture. We want to have musicians here and really experience Charlotte.”

The next Art + Aperitif event is set for Jan. 21, with Janet Lasher, Laura Brosi, Rose Hawley and Laura Rasmussen visiting as the featured artists. Find the complete schedule for the series here.

Categories: Arts + Culture, Revue