A winning hotel suite is as shallow as a haughty high-school girl. You know the type: she only cares about her good looks and, by some unjust fluke, attracts the lion’s share of friends because of it. The hotel world essentially functions the same way. From lavish marble foyers to chi-chi Louis chairs, surface style equates to heads in beds, as it’s an expectation of design-savvy guests — and, these days, that includes everyone who travels.
Of course, apart from having a pleasing aesthetic, hotel guestrooms must also be equipped to handle every persnickety piece of technology and appointed with comfortable furniture for the chronically wired overachievers who urgently need their downtime. Here Hotelier presents a trio of hotel suites that pamper with panache — and then some.Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa, Victoria, B.C.
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa, Victoria, B.C
With Victoria Harbour as its backdrop, it’s hard to improve on this majestic 240-room hotel. Who needs a fancy overhaul when you’ve got salt-licked air and miles of sky? Evidently, you do. For its 20th anniversary in 2012, the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe underwent a nine-month renovation to the tune of $14-million; in the process, its marketing message was aligned with its design. (Delta is rolling out a similar renovation at its Canadian hotels.) “Our hotel was built in 1992, and it looked significantly different than it does now,” says Kimberley Hughes, GM. “It was more traditional — there just wasn’t the technology in the rooms, and it lacked freshness.”
Spearheaded by Toronto-based design firm HOK, and completed by local contractors CT1 Construction, the new rooms have a lofty residential feel saturated with natural light and decked with an abundance of surfaces for a traveller’s multiple laptops and sundry items. There are also convenient coat hooks in the room itself — as opposed to the closet — a modern touch that also ensures guests won’t leave things behind.
The suites are as current as Delta’s snappy nomenclature, which the hotel heads have branded, ModeRoom. Guests can choose from four categories: Mode, ModeDeluxe, ModeClub and ModeSuites. “The expectation of the customer has totally evolved from what it once was,” explains Hughes. “People want a clutter-free, modern look with room to spread out. Everything has to be at their fingertips from a connectivity perspective, because there could be a family that has seven devices that need to be charged at one time.”
To meet the requirements, suites boast a slick SmartDesk, or as Hughes calls it, “one of the best features of the room, because it allows guests to plug in an iPad or iPhone, and it’s connected to the flat-screen TV, so they can put up a presentation, family photos or watch a Netflix movie.”
As for the palette, the suites are animated with bright bedspreads and pillows in pops of fuchsia, orange or green. These are easily changeable, which is key in a hotel environment. “If you look at the carpet and wood finishes and wall coverings — which are vinyl to withstand the rigours of a commercial space — they’re fairly clean and architectural. They become the base, but you can alter the temperament of the space by changing the fabrics and accent wall coverings,” explains Daniella Barbon, practice leader with HOK, who worked on the project. She adds: The intent was to make sure to design something that would withstand the test of time but that’s easy to refresh in five years.
Given the Delta’s smart new facelift, it’s a good bet a designer won’t be needed for many years to come.
Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver
As sultry as an old Hollywood screen vixen, Rosewood Hotel Georgia beckons with its timeless ambiance. The former dilettante’s playground, which opened as Hotel Georgia in the 1920s, was once populated by Tinseltown’s legendary figures. Marlene Dietrich (and her 40 suitcases) bedded here, as did Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole and Katharine Hepburn. The iconic property underwent a massive renovation in 2011, opening as Rosewood Hotel Georgia, but its rich history has been preserved under the stewardship of Toronto designer Alessandro Munge of Munge Leung.
Even though the suites feature gracious touches, such as classic Art Deco furnishings and tufted headboards, they don’t feel stuck in time. “Our designer has done a really good job combining the history of the hotel with the contemporary and modern design,” says Bernhard Winner, the hotel’s managing director.
But the rooms’ best feature? “The suite size,” says Winner. “Size matters for presidential suites, especially when heads of states visit and need to entertain.” The Rosewood Suite — the hotel’s signature accommodation — spans 1,492 sq. ft. across the 12th floor. And, says Winner, the rooms must have that special something that transcends trends. “The design should reflect warmth and a comfortable residential feeling, rather than cold design, which our designer has done here,” he says. The coziness is brought about through the palette, which is a mellow mix of coffees and ivories. Suites also feature swanky terraces with fireplaces and a 12th-floor private plunge pool accessed by guests staying in the Rosewood Suite or the Lord Stanley Suite.
Regardless of the era, Hollywood’s elite would certainly not snub these digs.
Town Inn Suites, Toronto
If there’s one hotel owner that understands the value of spreading out, it’s the folks behind Town Inn Suites on Toronto’s Church Street. It all began in 2011, says Shelley Kudlats, the hotel’s manager, of the 200-suite, 27-floor building, which was originally built as an apartment hotel. The owners felt the ’70s building, which is fully equipped for cooking, needed rapid updating to its spacious suites. These are 500- to 750-sq.-ft. suites, while select two-bedroom units are 950 sq. ft. The owners were after a boutique-style vision and spent $1.5-million on the renovation. (That includes re-facing balconies on the south side of the building as well as new elevator cabbies.) “We broke down the walls in the kitchens, so they overlook the living room,” says Kudlats. “The kitchens are in a very beautiful dark chocolate wood with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances, including matching microwaves. They look very high-end.”
For a modern touch, the team at Xana International Construction installed engineered laminate flooring throughout the space, including the kitchen. The living room features work desks, ergonomic chairs, flat-screen TVs and leather sofas — like someone’s home.
As expected, the beds were also spruced up. They’re framed in beautiful millwork that features integrated lighting. The look is carried through to the bathroom where open espresso shelving and granite countertops echo the kitchen.
The hotel underwent the renovation to meet the demands of discerning travellers. “People are much more interested in well-designed spaces,” says Kudlats who cheekily won’t reveal exactly how long she’s been in the business. “We’ve got a much more sophisticated clientele, and they really demand a bang for their buck. You have no choice but to make improvements.” But, was it worth it? “Absolutely. We have clientele who come to us regularly — it’s been fantastic.”