READER QUESTION: Le Meridien Budapest Leaves Starwood On September 1 To Become Ritz-Carlton

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A LoyaltyLobby reader emailed me a question based on the email he had received from Starwood informing him that the Le Meridien Budapest is leaving the chain effective September 1, 2015.

Le Meridien Budapest

Le Meridien Budapest’s name is temporarily changing to Elizabeth Park Hotel and, after renovation that should be completed by March 1, 2015, Ritz-Carlton Budapest.

Here’s the email that the reader received:

As a valued Starwood Preferred Guest member, we are writing to inform you of a change in the status of Le Méridien Budapest. As of September 1, 2015, the property will no longer be part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide or Le Meridien brand and will no longer participate in the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program. The new name of the hotel will be the Elizabeth Park Hotel.

We see you are currently holding a reservation, confirmation number 63150×××× arriving on Monday 31 August 2015 and departing on Wednesday 2 September 2015. We are pleased to advise you that the hotel will honor your reservations and room rates, including Preferred (free) Night Award and/or Cash and Points, as they were originally confirmed. However, since the hotel will no longer be affiliated with the Starwood system, you will not earn Starpoints at this hotel for any eligible charges incurred after September 1, 2015 nor will you receive any of your Starwood Preferred Guest membership amenities or benefits after this date. In order to ensure that you receive Starpoint credit for the portion of your stay for which the property was part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc, please forward a copy of your folio to research@starwoodhotels.com. We realize this may be disappointing but hope we can count on your understanding.

Should you need assistance, and wish to connect with a member of our Customer Service team, you may email us at executive.guest.service@starwoodhotels.com.

We appreciate your continued patronage of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and we apologize for this unforeseen change and any inconvenience it may cause for you. We look forward to welcoming you to a Starwood Preferred Guest participating property in the near future

Here’s the information from the hotel:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and the Al Habtoor Group, owner of Le Méridien Budapest, have mutually agreed that the property will leave the Starwood portfolio by AUGUST 31, 2015.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and the Al Habtoor Group will ensure a smooth transition for guests, clients and partners of the property and agreed that all business and reservations confirmed will be honored by the new operator- The Ritz Carlton.

The official date of change is September 1st, 2015. The hotel won’t adopt the official name of The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest until the end of the renovation/enhancement which is targeted to be done by March 1st 2016.

During this period the hotel name will be the following:
Elizabeth Park Hotel, Budapest
A Ritz-Carlton Partner Hotel

Key Points:

1. The hotel will honor reservations done when it was still part of the Starwood (sometimes award reservations are not)

2. The reader won’t receive stay/night credits or points for the dollar spend on the room rate and on the incidentals.

3. The reader is not eligible for status related benefits

4. There are no other Starwood affiliated hotels in the city

If the reader feels that he no longer wants to stay at this hotel, he should contact Starwood and the hotel to cancel his reservation even when no cancellation would be allowed per the rate terms. The fact that the property is not part of Starwood during his stay and no points/benefits would be received is a significant enough change.

He could also negotiate with the hotel to get upgraded room and F&B benefits inline what he would have received had the hotel been still SPG participating during his stay.

Le Meridien Budapest More Information

There is nothing on the reservation page that would indicates that the hotel is leaving Starwood’s system on September 1, 2015. Only when you click the “Special Conditions” it opens pop up with this information. Some could say that it is deceptive to hide this significant info.

Conclusion

Budapest is one of the “hidden” gems of the former eastern block, although they have bit nutty government right now. Prague is overrun with the tourists that is not the case with Budapest.

There are quite a few chain hotels in Budapest and the prices are rather reasonable. If the reader feels that he doesn’t want to spend time at this soon-to-be Ritz-Carlton during the renovation process (think never ending drilling and jack hammering), he should choose another hotel.

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