Review: Le Meridien Paro

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest

After three nights at the Le Meridien Thimphu, we spent the balance of our time in Paro, and stayed at the Le Meridien there. As a reminder, we booked this stay using Cash & Points, which I considered to be a great value.

While the Le Meridien Thimphu is located right in the heart of the city of Thimphu, the Le Meridien Paro is about 15 minutes out of town, so it’s pretty secluded. There’s nothing within walking distance of the property.

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Le Meridien Paro exterior

The hotel was stunning from the outside. It’s right on the river, and it’s just such a beautiful setting. As much as I spend most of my time indoors sitting in front of my laptop, there’s nothing I love more than being in a place with natural beauty and fresh air, and just sitting by the river delivered plenty of that.

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Le Meridien Paro exterior

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View from Le Meridien Paro

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Le Meridien Paro exterior

While the Le Meridien Thimphu was super modern, I could tell immediately that the Le Meridien Paro did a better job of integrating local design. The entryway had all kinds of local art and artifacts, which I thought was cool.

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Le Meridien Paro entryway

The lobby was circular (or maybe octagonal, technically?), with the reception desk in the middle of it.

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Le Meridien Paro lobby

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Le Meridien Paro reception

All around the reception desk were comfortable places to sit, including couches, chairs, etc.

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Le Meridien Paro lobby

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Le Meridien Paro lobby

Also in the lobby was Latitude 27, the hotel’s coffee bar. Since Le Meridien is intended to have a French theme, they always have great coffee bars.

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Le Meridien Paro Latitude 27 coffee bar

We were invited to have a seat in the lobby, while the front office associates took our passports and processed our check-in. We were offered a welcome drink of apple cinnamon tea, as well as a cold towel.

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Le Meridien Paro welcome drink & bar

Within about 10 minutes we were given keys for our room. We were informed that we had been upgraded to a corner suite thanks to my SPG Platinum status. Furthermore, much like the previous hotel, this hotel offers free breakfast as well as an evening happy hour for Platinum guests.

We were assigned room 314, which was on the same level as the lobby. The lobby is on the third floor, due to the fact that the hotel is on the side of a hill. Then there are two levels of guest rooms beneath it, and one level above it.

From reception we turned right and walked to the very end of the hallway.

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Le Meridien Paro hallway

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Le Meridien Paro room exterior

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Le Meridien Paro floorplan

This room was beautiful, and again, this hotel did a much better job than the one in Thimphu of making the design feel local rather than just generic.

In reality this room was more of a junior suite than a full suite, given that it was a single room (which is ironic, since our room in the previous hotel was a legitimate suite, but was called a junior suite).

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite

At the far end of the room was the comfortable king size bed.

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite king bed

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite king bed

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite

Then next to that in the corner was a desk with conveniently placed outlets.

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite desk

On the opposite side of the bed was a luggage rack.

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite luggage rack

Then back near the entrance was an “L” shaped couch. Despite how big the room was, there wasn’t actually a dining area, which was a bit unusual, since it makes it tough to order food to the room.

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite living area

By the door and right behind the couch was the minibar, as well as a kettle with tea and instant coffee.

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Le Meridien Paro minibar

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Le Meridien Paro tea kettle & bottled water

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Le Meridien Paro coffee

The bathroom was separated from the rest of the room by a big glass partition. There were blinds that could be lowered. The bathroom featured double sinks, a soaking tub, as well as a walk-in shower and partitioned off toilet.

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite bathroom

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite bathtub

While I don’t mind the concept of a glass shield separating the rest of the room from the bathroom (assuming there’s the ability to add privacy), I find it a bit odd when they put the toilet in glass casing. In other words, you could look straight from the living room into the toilet.

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite toilet & shower

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite toilet

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite shower

Toiletries were from Cinq Mondes, as is standard for Le Meridien hotels.

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Le Meridien Paro toiletries

The highlight of the room, no doubt, were the views. So, so, so beautiful!

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite view

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite view

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Le Meridien Paro corner suite view

A few hours after checking in we were brought a fruit bowl and a plate with sweets as a welcome amenity.

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Le Meridien Paro welcome amenity

Wifi in the room was fast, which was much appreciated.

While this suite wasn’t as large as the one we had in Thimphu, I thought it was decorated much more tastefully.

We had breakfast the first morning at the hotel’s restaurant, Latest Recipe, located on the first floor (our flight left too early the second day to have breakfast in the restaurant). Much like the lobby, the restaurant was circular, and overlooked the river.

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe restaurant

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe restaurant

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

The breakfast spread was extensive, as you can see in the below pictures.

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast buffet

You could also order eggs, in addition to the buffet.

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Le Meridien Paro Latest Recipe breakfast omelet

Unfortunately I have to say that I found the food quality and service at this property to pale in comparison to the one in Thimphu.

It’s tough to explain because the pictures don’t support it, but the quality of the food was disappointing. Nothing tasted great, and one day we even had the lunch buffet at the hotel, and it was borderline gross. I wish they had more local food, as the closest they had was Indian food (which was the only good part of the buffet).

Service at breakfast was also bad. They had a single person working there when it first opened, and it took 20 minutes to get coffee, he didn’t clear plates, etc. He was clearly well intentioned, but the whole setup was just disorganized.

As I mentioned above, Platinum members get a complimentary happy hour at this hotel. Latitude 27 is the hotel’s coffee bar just off the lobby, though at night the whole lobby transforms into a lounge where you can have drinks and snacks.

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Le Meridien Paro lobby in the evening

So from 6PM until 8PM Platinum members can order any drinks off the menu. Furthermore, they brought out a plate with (mostly fried) food. They were going above and beyond by even offering this, so it’s much appreciated, even if the food quality wasn’t great.

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Le Meridien Paro Platinum happy hour

In terms of other features, the hotel also has a nice pool, gym, and indoor spa.

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Le Meridien Paro spa

The gym was large, and had nice views of the river.

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Le Meridien Paro gym

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Le Meridien Paro gym

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Le Meridien Paro gym

The pool was right next to the gym, and was indoors, though you could also see the river from it.

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Le Meridien Paro pool

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Le Meridien Paro pool

After hiking up to the Tiger’s Nest on our last day, we decided to finish off the stay with a spa treatment. We both got scrubs, and they were excellent (and relatively reasonably priced).

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Le Meridien Paro spa

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Le Meridien Paro spa

Le Meridien Paro bottom line

I’m happy to have tried both Le Meridien properties in Bhutan, since there’s value to both of them, as they’re good jumping off points for exploring the rest of the country.

Physically I preferred the Le Meridien Paro (it felt more local), while in terms of service and food I preferred the Le Meridien Thimphu. Both hotels were generous when it came to elite recognition, given that they both upgraded us to suites, and offered Platinum members free breakfast and drinks.

While there are certainly more luxurious hotels in Bhutan, they’re also way more expensive. For those looking to redeem points, the two Le Meridien properties in Bhutan are good options, and I’d highly recommend them.

  1. Lucky how does C&P work with the mandatory Bhutun per day tourist fees? Is it $200 (fee) + C&P?

  2. Awesome review! Are the names of the bar and restaurant the same at Paro and Thimphu? Both of your reviews reference the same names.

  3. @ IA — Thanks! And yep — Latest Recipe is always the signature restaurant at Le Meridien properties, and Latitude is always the coffee bar (with the number behind it referencing the location of the hotel).

  4. Great review, as always.

    @Lucky – I hope you’re still planning to post a full trip report for the one involving ANA F/J from October 2016!

  5. What a stunning property and what a fantastic review! Love to read about this “unusual” destinations.
    Thank you.

  6. Now that right there, those shots of the outside, is why I will go to Bhutan, and hopefully next year! I told my FB Bhutanese friends about my plans and they already are eager to be my host. One lives in village just a short distance from Thimphu (not Paro though, I’d have to check her profile for which town), she’s offered to arrange a local hotel and her husband said he can get a hold of a 4 wheel drive and take me out to the really secluded locations (so secluded he said I probably will be the only foreigner for miles around lol) for some awesome views and hikes as well as some ancient temples. Really looking forward to it.

  7. How does the booking work, in reagrds of the mandatory Tourism fee? Did you book directly on the Starwood website? Did you get points for the fee and other expenses?

  8. @ Thomas — You book the hotel directly, and then they can put you in touch with their tour company. You have to pay the tour company directly (and annoyingly, have to wire money).

  9. @ Lucky so is the tourism fee in addition to what the hotel charges? My understanding was the tourist fee incl. hotels but I assume the Le Meridiens are not included. So is it Tourist fee + C&P or ?

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