Rohit

Location & Classification

Le Meridien Noumea is located on New Caledonia’s largest island of Noumea, also the national capital and about an hour South-East of the island’s La Tontouta International Airport.

Le Meridien Noumea
Le Meridien Noumea

There are no ride-sharing services on the island, so your transport options are limited to private taxis or the airport shuttle bus, whose operating hours seem to revolve around the flight movements. A one-way taxi fare to the hotel is in the range of approx A$200 .. ouch 🙁 The shuttle is comparatively cheaper at around $35.

The hotel is classified as Marriott Category 5, with Cash prices starting at $330+. A standard reward room will set you back 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. For my stay, I decided to pay cash as it was during a period I was targeted to earn double night credits. I also managed to take advantage of a Stay 4, Pay 3 promotion, to bring the costs down a little.

Arrival & Check-in

After a long drive, I arrived at the hotel around 6 pm. There was a large water fountain just outside the front doors, which doubled up as a round-about for in-coming traffic. This made the entry and exit fairly smooth & congestion free.

Le Meridien Noumea Frontage
Front-on view, Le Meridien Noumea

Seeing me alight, the bellhop quickly came in and took the bags as I proceeded for check-in. The hotel lobby was bright and had an open layout, the high ceilings magnified the grandeur of the place. There was plenty of seating around. The 2 check-in desks were located directly in front of the main entrance.

Reception, Le Meridien Noumea
Reception, Le Meridien Noumea

Lobby Seating, Le Meridien Noumea
Lobby Seating, Le Meridien Noumea

There was no dedicated check-in for Marriott Bonvoy members, although I did notice the Bonvoy sign on one of the desks.

Reception, Le Meridien Noumea
Reception, Le Meridien Noumea

After a short wait, one of the front desk staff attended me. He spoke just enough English to get-by and at one point had to SOS the Assistant Front Office manager for assistance. The lack of English was a theme that extended through-out my stay at the resort. I do realise that I was on a French-speaking territory, but even factoring that in, I felt the staff ought to be able to communicate a little better with international guests.

For instance, when I inquired if the resort housed a Club Lounge, the staff nodded his head in agreement and told me it was open from 3-5 pm each afternoon. However, it quickly became apparent there was no Lounge and he was actually talking about the ice-cream shop near the pool which offered free ice-cream to kids between those hours each day. More on Service, a little later.

Moving on, the staff advised me that I had been upgraded to an Executive suite located on Lvl 3. That was pretty good considering the resort is only a low-rise. I was then offered a choice of ‘breakfast’ or 1,000 points as part of my welcome gift. As my initial booking was on ‘room only’ basis, I chose breakfast. Choosing points as the welcome gift only ever makes sense if you hold a Platinum elite or higher status with the hotel and the property has a Club Lounge, in which case you can eat breakfast at the lounge.

Further, the breakfast was priced at around $40 pp. Based on dual occupancy, I derived a value of $320 (4 x $80) over my stay. By comparison, the 1,000 points were only worth about $5 (0.05c per point) by my valuation. If you are not familiar with Marriott’s loyalty program, check out this review of Marriott Bonvoy program for all the details and it’s membership benefits.

The Voyager Suite

I was then advised that my bags had been transferred to the room, at which point I thanked the staff and took the elevator to my room. Like I mentioned earlier, the resort is a low-rise (only 3 story high), but I found it a little strange that each level seemed to be serviced by a solitary elevator.

Lift, Le Meridien Noumea
Elevator, Le Meridien Noumea

My upgraded room was the resort’s entry level suite, called The Voyager Suite. I had been assigned suite no. 373. A quick search on the Marriott Bonvoy app indicated it was normally priced at approx $500 per night. I unlocked the doors and stepped into the 84 sq m (900 sq ft) 1 bedroom suite.

As the door swung open, it revealed the shiny entryway decked in timber, leading to a stylishly furnished living area.

Entryway, Suite 373, Le Merdien Noumea

There was a large sofa, a small coffee table, a pink swivel chair and the foot rest.

Living Room, Seating
Seating, The Voyager Suite

The chair, with a high, wrap-around back support brought a little smile to my face 🙂

Chair & Foot rest, The Voyager Suite
Chair & Foot rest, The Voyager Suite

Come night time, you could convert the sofa into a double bed, spacious enough to accommodate up to 2 kids.

Sofa cum bed, The Voyager Suite - Le Meridien Noumea
Sofa cum bed, The Voyager Suite

A hand-signed welcome note was placed on the coffee table. It indicated that the welcome amenity had been left in the refrigerator.

Welcome Note

I can only imagine this was due to the generally hot & humid temperatures in Noumea, although during my visit, it never went higher than 22C.

Sure enough, there were a handful of delicious macarons waiting in the fridge which I devoured in no time 🙂

Welcome Amenity, Macarons
The macarons were delish

To the left of the sofa was a spacious work desk and two chairs. I spent a few hours getting some work done and found the setting to be extremely comfortable.

Work Desk, The Voyager Suite
Work Desk, The Voyager Suite

Work Desk & Chairs, The Voyager Suite
Work Desk & Chairs, The Voyager Suite

Back near the entrance, to the immediate left was a small kitchenette packed with all the essentials such as a microwave oven, a refrigerator and a dishwasher. There was plenty of counter space to cook and clean, which considering the limited food options on the island could come very handy for families.

Kitchenette, The Voyager Suite
Kitchenette, The Voyager Suite

Kitchenette, The Voyager Suite
Kitchenette, The Voyager Suite

There were ample dinnerware and cutlery to feed a small family. Each time we returned to the room, we found the used dishes washed and neatly placed back in its place by the housekeeping staff.

Cutlery

There was an electric kettle and supplies to make your own tea and coffee.

Electric Kettle, tea & coffee supplies

However, you had to make-do with the powdery creamer instead of the liquefied form, which was a bit annoying. I would much prefer the hotels either left little milk bottles or the thick creamers in sachet in the refrigerator.

Back out in the living room, a faux half-wall separated the living room from the bedroom. There was a large, flat screen TV mounted on both sides of the wall. Parents with little one’s will appreciate the seamless nature of the suite, thus allowing them to keep an eye on the children.

Faux wall, The Voyager Suite
Wall separating living room from the bedroom

The semi-private setting may not be to everyone’s liking, although you could always close the sliding doors for increased privacy.

Doors between Living room and bed room, The Voyager Suite

The bedroom itself was reasonably big, with an enormous King bed as it’s centerpiece. There was a small circular table on one end and a bedside on the other. Behind the bed, a giant wall-to-wall floral mural was quite striking.

Bedroom

To the right of the bed was a rather quirky looking, oval shaped retro chair. It spun effortlessly on it’s fiberglass base.

Egg chair

It wasn’t very practical however, with getting in and out of it proving to be a little tricky.

Behind the curtain was a long, thin balcony, which you could access both from the living room and bedroom, as it ran the entire length of the suite. It looked out over the well manicured resort grounds and offered idyllic views of the palm trees in the distance.

Balcony, The Voyager Suite
Balcony, The Voyager Suite

The bathroom was positioned adjacent to the bedroom with no fixed separation in-between. You could close the sliding door and block the view though. I wasn’t a fan of this layout. The close proximity meant that if you stuck your hand out, the bath tub was almost within reach.

View from the bed
View across from the bed

The bathroom featured a reasonably good sized bath, handy if you are inclined to get soaked. A separate shower and toilet were positioned next to the tub.

Bath Tub, The Voyager suite
Bathroom, The Voyager Suite

Although there was a handheld shower, my personal preference is for the fixed shower heads. In this instance, the fixed shower head was suspended from the ceiling which I absolutely loved. The temperature control and water pressure were good.

Shower & Toilet, The Voyager Suite
Bathroom, The Voyager Suite

The vanity was placed directly opposite from the bathtub. It had a large mirror, dark granite countertop and a sink. Underneath was a wooden shelf stocked with towels and a stool.

The Vanity, Voyager Suite
Bathroom, The Voyager Suite

The bath and hair-care products were from Malin+Goetz, a brand seen commonly at many of the Marriott Group hotels.

Bath Amenities, The Voyager Suite
Bath Amenities, The Voyager Suite

There was a little galley behind the bathroom. This area had a closet with some hangers and an ironing table. An electronic room safe took up one of the shelves.

Wardrobe & Safe

Dining

The property is home to not 1, not 2 but a total of 5 restaurants. No matter how you slice it, you can’t bemoan lack of options here. I will go over them one by one.

Hippocampe

Hippocampe is the resort’s flagship, fine dining restaurant serving seasonal and locally sourced French cuisine. Like the other in-house restaurants, it is located one level below from the lobby. Tired from a long day of travelling and not in the mood to venture out, I decided to have dinner here on my 1st night. The decor and overall ambience of the place oozes style & sophistication.

Hippocampe Restaurant
Hippocampe Restaurant, Le Meridien Noumea

Their signature dish is the degustation menu, but if you don’t want to order that, your options are fairly limited, specially if you are after vegetarian or vegan choices. I ordered from the ala-carte menu.

The service began with amuse-bouche of foie gras and crab canelloni. It was delicious.

Amuse-bouche, Hippocampe Le Meridien

My mains was the only chicken dish on the menu called ‘Vollaile’, a chicken fillet with yam, shallot confit, Albufera and the terrine of leg on a crispy tartlet with truffle, foie gras and herbs.

Mains of vollaile, Hippocampe Le Meridien Noumea

I skipped the desserts.

The service was a mixed bag, with Thierry the restaurant manager providing a very high level of service, while the rest of the staff dropped the ball. More on this later.

Le Sextante

Le Sextant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is located right next to Hippocampe under the same roof. The restaurant has cafe style seating, and caters for small and large groups, or as I experienced on my 2nd morning, wedding parties.

As you enter, there is a large rectangular buffet stand in the center loaded with various fruit juices, breakfast cereal, cakes & muffins.

Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea
Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea

Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien
Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea

Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien
Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea

Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea
Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea

Besides these, there was the usual hot breakfast fare of bacon & sausage, potato croquettes, eggs done to your preference, pancakes, Japanese sticky rice & couple of hot stew-style tuna and vegetable dishes. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea
Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea

Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea
Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea

Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea
Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea

Then there was fresh, sliced fruits, a selection of cheese and more pastry items.

Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea
Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea

Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea
Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea

Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea
Breakfast at Le Sextant, Le Meridien Noumea

I thought the breakfast was decent with plenty of choices, although the offerings were identical on all 4 mornings which was a slight let-down.

Latitude 22°

Latitude 22° is located in the lobby section, a few steps down from the reception. This place functions as a coffee bar, ideal for business meetings by the day, before transforming into a cocktail lounge, come night time. There is live music every friday & saturday night.

Latitude 22°, Le Meridien Noumea
Latitude 22°, Le Meridien Noumea

I went here one evening for few drinks and absolutely loved the atmosphere and the cool vibe. The music was superb.

Latitude 22°, Le Meridien Noumea
Latitude 22°, Le Meridien Noumea

Latitude 22°, Le Meridien Noumea
Latitude 22°, Le Meridien Noumea

Le Fare

Of all the restaurants, Le Fare arguably has the best setting. It is perched on the edge of the beach, offering great views of the Anse Vata bay on one side and the resort pool on the other. It is open for lunch each day and offers typical cafe grub of burgers and sandwiches, plus an extensive menu of cocktails and alcoholic drinks.

I stopped by one afternoon and ordered lunch & drinks, all the while catching the pleasant winter sun and serene views.

Le Fare, Le Meridien Noumea
Lunch at Le Fare, Le Meridien Noumea

Le Shogun

Le Shogun is the resorts other fine dining restaurant serving Japanese culinary delights. It is located in the lobby. I did not get a chance to sample the food here as it was closed at the time of my visit.

Le Shogun, Le Meridien Noumea

Other Resort Facilities

The property has 2 outdoor pools, a spa which I never got around to checking out and a health and fitness centre. Although it warmed up each afternoon, I never saw more than one or two people in the water.

Most seemed content occupying the sun-loungers with their heads deeply burried in phones or books. The pool itself was gorgeous and must surely see a lot more activity in hotter months.

Pool, Le Meridien Noumea
Pool, Le Meridien Noumea

The spa and gym are located in the same building. The gym was ok and housed a decent selection of cardio equipment and weight training machines.

Gym, Le Meridien Noumea
Gym, Le Meridien Noumea

Gym, Le Meridien Noumea
Gym, Le Meridien Noumea

Service

For me personally, this is without a doubt the hardest part of writing a review, as I realise that vast majority of people working in this industry are upright and hardworking That said, the review will be incomplete if I did not spend a minute or two dwelling over it. The service I experienced during my time at the property was the most disappointing aspect of my stay. At best, it was inconsistent, at its worst, it was poor & invasive. Some of it was lack of training, but the bigger issue was the staff attitude. There were so many occasions when hotel employees presented themselves in very ordinary light.

Like the dinner on the 1st night at Hippocampe. On arrival, we were welcomed & shown to our table by Thierry, the restaurant manager and a thorough gentleman. This though turned out to be the only positive experience of the night. As we went through the courses, the service remained cold (no, not even luke-warm).

At the end, when requesting the bill I advised staff of my Elite status so that the appropriate discounts may be applied. To be sure, prior to the dinner, I went and checked with front office who had confirmed Platinum elites and above were entitled to 20% discount at all resort restaurants. Here is the bill as it was presented to me:


Take 1

When alluded to the fact that this was inaccurate, the lady appeared lost. She went away and came back with one of her senior colleagues. We had the same conversation, after which she left & returned with this :


Take 2

This was now getting a little uncomfortable, but I soldiered on and pointed out that the applied discount should be 20%, not 10%. At this point, the lady, a little flustered, threw her hands up in the air and stormed out. Few minutes later, she returned with the correct bill. I paid & left hurriedly.


Third time lucky 🙂

Then there was this other incident the next morning, when I realised there were no dental kits in the room. I phoned the housekeeping who promised to send it up ASAP. I waited for half an hour & then decided to have a shower. As I was preparing to jump in, a staff member barged right inside the bathroom without ever knocking on the door or warning me she was coming. Taken aback, when I expressed my displeasure to it, she did not make any attempt to apologise or explain, but simply walked out.

The poor attitude was evident elsewhere too. Each morning at breakfast, I witnessed at-least a few uninterested floor staff going through the motions, I could tell they didn’t want to be there.

In Conclusion

Overall, I enjoyed my time at Le Meridien Noumea. It’s not the most centrally located property, although there is a bus stop just down the road which is convenient. The restaurants and other resort facilities are good, but not outstanding. Service and staff attitude (not everyone) could be better though.

If you are a Marriott loyalist, there is no other choice in Noumea. I don’t know whether this lack of competition in some way unwittingly contributed to the issues highlighted above, although it could also be that I just found myself in the middle of unusual set of circumstances, which diminished my experience.

The property has so much going for it in terms of the market it operates in, that it doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel to be successful. Having said that, there is no substitute for good customer service and in that respect, Le Meridien Noumea is not quite a finished product just yet.

Have you stayed at Le Meridien Noumea? Leave a comment below.

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