Smaller cities usually have airports closer to the city centre and Xiamen is no exception. From the exit of the terminal, we were able to charter a minivan for 4 passengers and luggage to Le Méridien Xiamen. It was a short and uneventful 15-20 minutes drive to the hotel. For those visitors on a first time visit to Xiamen, I suggest choosing another hotel closer to the city centre. Le Méridien Xiamen is located on top of a small hill around a residential neighbourhood, thus the hotel feels more like an urban resort. However we were only staying for a night before heading out to the city of Quanzhou the next day, thus this hotel located close to the airport made perfect sense, since rates in this hotel is usually lower than that of the Westin.
The hotel has a pretty magnificent lobby that can be described as vast or empty. But it was comfortable entering, though the check-in staff was one of the most inflexible I have seen and they were processing our rooms slower than usual when I really wanted it faster to have a rest in this late time of the day. The good news was that one of the rooms had been upgraded to a Junior Suite. The other room assigned to us was a Deluxe Twin Room, while as SPG Platinum, I was given the option of having breakfast at the Club Lounge or the Latest Recipe restaurant just opposite the reception counter in the lobby level. Now this was interesting since this is the first Le Meridien hotel where I have been to that has a club lounge!
Le Méridien is perhaps one of the lesser known hotel brands under SPG, but I have always enjoyed their hotel especially with the hotels having an ‘art’ theme but yet not as fancy as the W brands. The one in Xiamen has a very beautiful artwork in the elevator lobby and the hotel showcases how Chinese art can be translated in a modern manner.
The Junior Suite was more like a real suite and a foyer greets guests upon entrance while there was a small side table with 2 bottles of minibar. The main living area has a glass-topped work desk, a 2-seater couch, an armchair and work chair. I would term the decor as modern contemporary with the red furnitures making a stark contrast with the surrounding black decor.
The eclectic theme follows into the bedroom with the headboard by the bed that has changing colours. There is another comfortable armchair in the bedroom. The attached bathroom has see-thru glass windows but there is a curtain by the window that could be operated from inside the bathroom. Besides a bathtub, there is also a walk-in rain shower and an enclosed toilet cubicle.
For the deluxe twin bed there was 2 beds in the room while the bathroom is decorated with white marble and in a different layout to that in the junior suite. There was also an enclosed walk-in shower though the shower area was just beside the bathtub, and not in separate sections like that in the junior suite. The bedroom, though feature the same decor and the changing headboard lights. Personally I thought it was a bit gimmicky and cheapens the whole feel of the room.
Since we arrived late at night, it was already dark but the view from the rooms were pretty good in the morning. In addition, the hotel is located in a hilltop which meant cooler temperature and a quiet and serene environment that is far from the bustle of the city.
The next morning, we had breakfast in the lobby restaurant and the buffet spread was fantastic like many SPG hotels and resorts in China. There was a large variety of Chinese dishes like fried noodles, cook-to-order soup noodles, vegetables along with the usual western spread ranging from egg stations to bacons and hams. Finally the restaurant also has a variety of sweet treats like crepes and waffles with a range of toppings and healthy juice shots.
Check-out from the hotel was handled professionally and since we had made no prior arrangements to head to Quanzhou, we ended up using the hotel minivan for a charge. While our initial plan was to try out the high speed rail, using the minivan service was just slightly more expensive and less of a hassle. The minivan was a Buick if I am not mistaken and this is one of the most common form of hotel transportation for guests in China as I once had this car while staying at the Fairmont Yangcheng Lake.
Given the one night stay, I could not really say whether I liked or disliked the hotel. Considering the upgrades and the good variety in breakfast, this is a nice enough property. But the service levels in the hotel can certainly be improved while the location seems to be more fitting for visitors with their own mode of transport as it can be a hassle driving up and down the hill to access and exit the hotel.