Among natural lighting and calming colors, signature bedding, and its butler service, the St. Regis Atlanta is also decorated with awards denoting its excellence, from the coveted AAA Five Diamond Status, the Forbes Travel Guide Four Star Award, Conde Nast Traveler’s #1 Business Hotel in the World title, and more. Opening in 2009, it quickly became a staple in the area and on the world stage for travelers and Atlanta’s elite. For the upcoming Super Bowl LIII, the St. Regis was hosting the premiere event and had booked all of its 151 guestrooms for the game. The same year as its 10th anniversary, the St. Regis hotel needed its property-wide renovation and new technology system timed perfectly to be guest-ready in just over a year.
Making A Masterpiece on Rush Order
Maintaining top luxury status requires constant forward movement. Technology has become a necessity for elite hotels to stay competitive and attract clientele but keeping the pace of technology is challenging to maintain. The St. Regis Atlanta had an antiquated system that had become obsolete and it needed a lasting platform that could scale on par with its guest experience. The 10th anniversary redesign would be the opportunity for a smart building system that could support the hotel’s place at top of the luxury market.
The clock was ticking to the St. Regis Atlanta’s decennial anniversary and Super Bowl LIII, with buzz in the area building around the event. With one year and 14 months until the open date, the project needed a technology expert to deliver ownership’s vision in high speed. The St. Regis development team quickly discovered that hospitality expertise was necessary after first connecting with a local residential system installer. Premier hospitality integration firm Mode:Green stepped in, bringing the expertise to transform the St. Regis Atlanta with a repertoire of integration in top hotels including the Baccarat in New York, two 1 Hotel locations, and the Kimpton Grand Cayman, among others. A little more than a year was a tight timeline for the high-caliber demands of the St. Regis Atlanta, and Mode:Green jumped in quickly with the design, architecture, and development teams to have the system guest-ready for opening day.
Unifying Smarts with Aesthetic
Starting with a hand-drawn lighting layout, and a midstream design team change to Daroff Designs, Mode:Green aligned the architects, developers, designers, and contractors through seven plan revisions with a documentation process. The St. Regis Atlanta auditioned three lighting systems, and to deliver a cutting-edge system that would remain intuitive for guests, Mode:Green selected best-of-breed devices and services that it could integrate into a single reliable platform. For the building-wide system that would automate control each room, Mode:Green designed a hybrid Control4 and the first full deployment of Axxess Networks’s new dimming system, working directly with manufacturers to deliver the integration and using an off-site lab to test the experience.
“We’re basically an insurance policy for technology in the hotel,” said Mode:Green President and Founder Bill Lally. “If we promise certain features, we’ll do whatever it takes to get it working right no matter what. It’s our guarantee.”
Model rooms are a critical part of any hotel build, and Mode:Green makes them an opportunity for technology testing. For the St. Regis Atlanta, they designed two in-room systems options for ownership to test different products and scenes. In the model room build process, Mode:Green connects the design, development, and architecture teams to optimize every feature, filling the gaps where design and technology meet, for example, compatibility between the motors and drapery, and how temperature control would tie into the backend system.
“We use model rooms to ensure that the entire experience is seamless, bringing the teams out of their silos to deliver hotel ownership’s vision,” said Lally. With no time in the schedule for trial and error, the in-room technology was meticulously planned with the design team, where Mode:Green and Daroff Designs collaborated to select light fixtures, colors, keypad placement, and more. Attention to detail would ensure the system is seamless and delightful to use the second the guest walks into the room.
Hitting the Bulls’ Eye for Experience — And Staying on Schedule
The careful planning and coordination paid off. The St. Regis Atlanta’s 10th anniversary renovation opened on time to welcome business and luxury vacation travelers with an entirely new, smart experience and host a packed Super Bowl party. The guestrooms range from superior, grand deluxe, and specialty suites, and all transform with automation to welcome guests: Upon check-in, the staff remotely opens the shades, adjusts the temperature, and brightens the lights.
An iPad on the bedside, guests can then take control their in-room system. The interface was designed to unite the automated drapes, lights, and thermostat as well as hotel amenities. Pre-set scenes make it simple: When ready for bed, guests can activate the “sleep” scene, which swiftly and quietly closes the drapes and dims the lights. They can also adjust the lights, drapes, and temperature to their liking, as well as access room service or the St. Regis Butlers. The technology makes their stay more comfortable and does their part in saving energy; an “away” mode lowers the temperature when guests for the day to explore the hotel’s restaurants, pool, nearby attractions, or even the hotel’s ice rink in the winter.
Each of the 151 guestrooms are equipped with the same in-room experience, but the Empire Suite goes the extra mile, with automated TV and music control from speakers that fade into the decor. With the platform Mode:Green designed, the suite can serve as a testbed for new features and devices can be added into any of the rooms as the hotel becomes more invested in technology.
While providing a luxurious guest experience, the guestroom automation also smooths operations for hotel staff. All connected devices in the rooms automatically adjust based on room check-in and check-out to save energy, and scenes provide insight that let staff properly allocate resources and manage rooms using a cloud system called HotDash. It provides a view of energy usage, and also helps staff manage devices in the rooms proactively so no guest ever encounters an offline system. The status of rooms using “service” or “privacy” scenes, for example, lends operational efficiency benefits by showing butler or housekeeping teams which floors to service first.
Going into a new decade, the St. Regis sets the tone for luxury, having set the bar even higher. Getting to the top is a challenge, but maintaining its place in the luxury market is a greater challenge. Today, the automation system elevates the experience for guests and helps the hotel provide even greater service. As the hotel stays on top of the demands of the luxury market, the St. Regis Atlanta’s new smart building system will also evolve for the next wave of technological demands.