Le Meridien hotels worldwide have reinvented the lobby – they call it The Hub – by making it extend into a bar – Longitude in India because of trademark issues and Latitude elsewhere – that serves mainly coffee and eclairs (the one with masala chai cream is most popular) during the day and signature sparkling cocktails (and more) as the sun goes down. The music changes and so does the lighting, and the mood shows a dramatic shift. The idea is to make The Hub a hangout for grownups – savour your privacy, have a meaningful conversation over decent food and drink, and enjoy the music without going to the all-day restaurant (Latest Recipe) or the nightclub (leave that for the 20-somethings!). For those of us who have seen the Emperor's Lounge at the Taj Mahal Hotel on Mansingh Road evolve, it may not come across as a terribly original idea, but any attempt to infuse the warmth of life into an impersonal hotel lobby is a laudable indeed.
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