We spoke with Adam Cross, a Plumbing Design Controller, and Daniel Payne, an Electrical Design Controller, here at VP Engineering about hotel projects and how they keep up with the most modern design. Keep reading to hear their answers and learn how VP approaches boutique and national brand hotel designs.
What different hotels have you worked on during your career at VP?
Adam: I’ve worked on quite a few during my time at VP. I have designed for the Landmark Hotel in Gainesville, Florida, multiple Springhill Suites, and the boutique Chancellor’s House in Oxford, Mississippi. I have also completed quality control for Hampton Inn.
Daniel: Similar to Adam, I designed for Landmark in Florida and completed quality control for the Hampton Inn in Kansas City.
What makes hotel projects different from multi-family building or senior living projects that we design?
Daniel: Usually they are very prototypical. Each hotel has their own standards like particular lights and fixtures that we have to design with. Whenever we design we always have to design to code minimum – but with hotels, because they are building so many and operating them, a lot of time their requirements are above the normal code.
Adam: A lot of times there is a lot more amenities than standard multifamily buildings including kitchens, commercial laundries, indoor/outdoor pools, spas, and fitness centers.
What are we at VP doing to make sure that we stay up-to- date with the latest technology available to hospitality design?
Daniel: We have lots of reps that come in frequently and show us all of the new products and give valuable presentations during lunch-and- learns. With hotel designing sometimes it’s as simple as staying up to date on their design standards. If their design standard is to put a nice, extravagant lighting control system in, we design to that. You can only be as up-to-date as the brand allows you to be. They are continuously vetting different ideas because they end up using it over multiple properties so if they have issues there will be multiple issues.
How is designing for a boutique hotel different from designing for a brand?
Adam: The Chancellor’s House was unique as far as overall design. It was a very compact building and was uniquely laid out. It was also very upscale.
Daniel: It was a lot more free-willing. The owner made the decisions rather than the brand. AS a designer you have a little more leeway and the owner is given the chance to do what he/she wants to do rather than being restricted to brand standards.
Do you notice the design of hotels when you visit them?
Adam: Yes. Being a plumbing designer I definitely notice how long it takes for the hotel water to arrive. I’ll notice the type of showerhead used and if the water is just dribbling out or if there is good pressure.
Daniel: I’ll usually notice if it’s hot or cold in the room or if I’m walking down the hallway and it’s awfully dark I’ll think ‘maybe it’s not a good idea to design lighting this way.’
What are some of the greatest take-aways that you’ve gained while designing for hotels?
Adam: The biggest challenge when designing for hotels is absorbing all of their design standards and making sure that you pay attention to the details that they expect. They (the hotel brand) see these things on a daily basis and we have to make sure we’re meeting their expectations.
What do you see for the future of hospitality design?
Daniel: You might see an increase in boutique hotels but I assume that the majority of hotels that are going to be built are going to be prototypical in nature. One thing that you might see, especially in larger markets where land is at a premium, hotels may start going up rather than out.
Adam: With building codes being ever-evolving, we are seeing that ASHRAE is ramping up their minimum efficiencies to make the buildings much more sustainable. I see all lighting eventually becoming LED and fluorescent lighting becoming obsolete.