Across the country, heavy investments are being made into hotel refurbishment. Phil Benson takes a look at the latest hotel refurbishment trends.
UK hoteliers are looking forward to 2012 with a “cautious optimism” – something that has been distinctly lacking in recent years. Some hotel owners can see the light at the end of the tunnel and many are considering expanding their businesses next year, according to the Frank Knight Hotel Operator Sentiment Survey 2011.
The findings showed that just over 50 per cent of the operators questioned said that they would be spending on refurbishing their existing stock.
Typically, guest room refurbishment can fall into two broad categories, refreshment and re-branding.
Refreshing Hotel Refurbishment!
Refreshment is commonly required every five to seven years and involves adding new elements to the rooms to ensure that the hotel remains competitive in its target market. This will include redecorating, replacing furniture, fittings, equipment and minor works that improve the ease of operation.
Although Royal Garden Hotel has a rolling refurbishment programme of this kind, May saw the luxury hotel bring its £45 million refurbishment project to a close. The result is an excellent example of a well-executed refurbishment programme that responded to the needs of guests and sharpened the brand’s competitive edge on London’s luxury hotel scene.
“We implemented the refurbishment in stages,” explained deputy general manager, Jonathan Lowrey in a recent interview with hotel-industry.co.uk. “We have re-fitted guest rooms floor-by-floor and conference and events facilities were refurbished in stages as well. We carefully timed these stages to minimise disruption to our guests and customers.”
A photo gallery of the Royal Garden Hotel’s refurbishment is also available on hotel-industry.co.uk.
While the Royal Garden Hotel favoured the partial-closure approach, the Savoy Hotel closed down completely between 2007 and 2010 to conduct one of the most talked about ambitious hotel refurbishment projects of recent times.
The £220 million restoration incorporated the entire building, including its iconic entrance and all 268 guestrooms and suites. Our photo gallery of refurbished Savoy Hotel will guide you around the newly designed property.
Re-branding or re-modelling aims to move the hotel into a different sector and increase room rates. This can involve creating new guest rooms using redundant space, replacing services and bathrooms, changing room and area layouts or introducing new guest facilities, such as IT and in-room entertainment.
When the Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria fell into the safe hands of the Guoman collection, the company set about bringing the property into line with its brand’s standards, yet preserving the aesthetic essence of this famous railway hotel. No corner of the property has been left untouched, with all bedrooms, public areas, restaurants, meetings and event spaces refurbished.
Our photo tour will guide you through the new Grosvenor Hotel.
A survey conducted by Knight Frank also revealed that 30 per cent of hoteliers are looking to install more energy efficient green technology, such as solar panels, in their properties.
Indeed, sustainability is emerging as a dominant trend in hotel refurbishment – and the green credentials of hotels are important across the luxury rating.
For one, Apex Hotels have placed sustainability at the heart of the operations. In an interview with hotel-industry.co.uk, Apex’s group director of revenue and commercial strategy, Paul Sault, explained that a strong Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy is important because it saves money through operational efficiencies and generates positive publicity.
“As a business we recognised that spending now on long-term environmental issues will be beneficial and cost-effective in the long term,” he explained. “Our experience has demonstrated that there is a firm business case for sustainability and if affects our core business practice.”
“We also recognised that Corporate Social Responsibility was becoming increasingly important to our customers, particularly in the corporate section and within that, sustainability was important. With the help of our dedicated architect in charge of sustainable hotel design, we were able to install the most energy efficient products on the market. Our design principles include recycle/reuse, water saving, energy efficiency and maintenance/longevity.”
By Phil Benson