Hotels are expected to spend $5 billion on improvements this year, 33% more than in 2011, says Bjorn Hanson, a dean at NYU’s Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management. Most of that windfall will go into new bedding and flat-screen TVs, but a lot will go toward room renovations, lobby upgrades, additions, and new construction, including sustainably conceived projects.
For the Sheraton New York, Stantec oversaw a $153 million renovation that addressed energy waste and guest discomfort (due primarily to an wayward HVAC system) in the 53-story hotel. All 1,754 guestrooms were completely renovated with new systems that returned comfort control to guests. New central plant systems and 15 miles of hydronic piping were installed, cutting energy consumption by 14%.
A different approach to sustainability was taken by design firm Stonehill & Taylor for the recently completed $25 million renovation of the 533-room Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. Here, the emphasis was on the use of local materials and services whenever possible. Stone from a nearby quarry was used for bathroom countertops. Guestrooms feature works by local artists. About 80% of the furniture, fixtures, and equipment were produced in the U.S. and Canada. +