K2M Design reimagines the Doubletree Grand Key Resort: Designer Forum - Nov 2016
By Rachel Maher
With over 450 locations worldwide, Doubletree by Hilton is a major player in the full-service hospitality world. Despite the breadth of its portfolio, each property maintains an individual personality and is designed to reflect the unique characteristics of the surrounding area. Working hand-in-hand with Hilton Global Design, K2M Design reimagined the Doubletree Grand Key Resort in Key West, Florida into a contemporary beach getaway, complete with a depth of detail that implicitly ties it to the Florida Keys.
In the renovation, hard and soft surface flooring specifications were carefully selected, both for their ability to bring the design team’s unique vision to life as well as for their capacity to hold up long term to the humidity and wear-and-tear of the beach environment.
Though situated close to the airport, near local attractions and featuring “the best pool on the island,” the resort found itself eschewed in preference of hotels closer to the action of downtown Key West. One of the client’s main objectives was to revitalize the resort to highlight what makes it unique on the island: an all-inclusive property with an undeniably serene atmosphere. In a location fundamentally linked to the ocean, the renovation of the resort called for a unique approach to a commonplace design concept: water. Instead of focusing on the three-dimensional movement of water, inspiration was instead drawn from a two-dimensional image of the Keys from a bird’s eye view. Small stretches of white surrounded by an array of magnificent teal shades, the islands from above appear little more than neutral accents to the brilliantly painted water.
Inspired by the luxurious mid-century ocean liners that graced these isles, K2M Design chose to invigorate the public spaces of the hotel using elements that allude to the golden age of travel. Subtle net structures suggest nautical themes while ocean waves migrate indoors in the form of tufted upholstery and draped fabrics. Velvet pillows lie leisurely on burnished leather sofas, at once in contrast with one another yet creating a wholly inviting place to rest. Simple accent tables with a high gloss finish juxtapose the more traditional shapes of the seating and add a touch of whimsy to the design through the employment of a faux goldfish suspended in the clear resin tabletop. Outside the reach of guests, deep textures are featured in conjunction with accent lighting to produce captivating shadows that provide interest to vertical surfaces.
In the guestrooms, a focus is placed on the history of Key West, including its discovery by Juan Ponce de Leon, whose profile is displayed as artwork above the bed. Playful motifs reminiscent of ships’ cargo call to mind the thousands of shipwrecks that brought wealth to the island. Textural elements, both tactile and visual, add warmth to the space, while the casegoods’ styling is minimalistic and tailored. Through abstracted maps and allusions to water, decorative accents pay homage to the spirit of exploration and everlasting youth.
While brand guidelines generally dictate a specific flooring type to best suit each area of the hotel, consideration was also given to site-specific concerns, including typical use patterns, climate and local flavor. The renovation of the resort presented a unique challenge, as its location meant guests were prone to track in sand, water and other outdoor particulates that impacted the longevity of flooring material. The resort also preferred to leave the exterior doors open during the morning and evening hours to allow the sea breezes to pass through the main lobby and lounge spaces. While contributing to the serene ambiance inside, that factor also brought up concerns about the performance of the flooring in high humidity conditions. K2M Design’s primary concern was to ensure that the public spaces were easily maintained and that they would hold up to the abuse typical of a heavily trafficked area.
As always, aesthetics and maintenance were key to the design direction. For the main circulation spaces on the first floor, the team ultimately chose J-Wood in Noce by Happy House Tile, a large format porcelain tile in a plank configuration that looked like petrified wood, again reinforcing a sense of history in a relatively new building. Lounge and lower activity areas on this level were defined by inset broadloom rugs. On the guestroom floors, broadloom carpet was used throughout to anchor the design intent through pattern and color.
Within the guestrooms, a porcelain floor was initially suggested throughout—again, with the consideration of maintenance and climate—with an inset rug beneath the bed, but, ultimately, broadloom carpet was installed everywhere except the entrance hallway and bathing areas. The major pivot from hard surface flooring to soft surface flooring was, again, to reinforce the design concept. As most guests prefer to leave their balcony doors open throughout the day, all wallcoverings were eliminated in the guestrooms to prevent mold and mildew growth, leaving the guestrooms desperately in need of an infusion of pattern and color to balance the otherwise neutral palette. In addition, there was concern that a hard surface flooring product would lead to acoustic problems—namely sound echoing throughout the corridor and neighboring rooms. The inclusion of a soft surface on the floor and the installation of a sound-deadening window treatment helped to ensure that noise would not play an adverse role in guest satisfaction.
Utilizing similar shapes to those seen in the satellite images of the Florida Keys, Shaw Hospitality’s The Studio Collection carpet was a priceless contribution to the design of the resort. Shaw’s expansive color options allowed the design team to select hues that exactly matched their inspiration. In the guestrooms, the bed seems to float amid shoals and sandbars, further enhanced by the cut and loop texture of the carpet. A river of vibrant turquoise floods the guest corridors, bordered by sand-colored shores. In the lobby, inset rugs resemble water seeping through the woven pattern of a net. The recent advances in broadloom carpet manufacturing technology, paired with the limitless options in color and pattern, truly allowed the design team to craft a one-of-a-kind solution specific to the project, not limited by running line patterns or a manufacturer’s predetermined color palette. As designers, the team was literally able to translate its inspiration images into a woven material. The inclusion of the dramatic, beautiful carpets in this renovation enabled K2M Design to consistently leverage the concept throughout the space.
The client, a nationally recognized real estate investment group, understood the potential environmental impact of renovating a full-service hotel. As most brands require a full renovation after seven years, the environmental footprint of a hotel quickly expands over the course of its lifetime. Utilizing a product such as Shaw Hospitality’s Colorpoint system, which contains 45% recycled content and is Cradle to Cradle certified, ensures that when the next renovation cycle occurs, any discarded material can be recycled instead of going to the landfill. On top of the Cradle to Cradle benefits of the product, the owner was also impressed by the wear warranty on the carpet, which guarantees it will stand up to the elements through the course of several renovation cycles. Not only do these factors contribute to the well being of the environment, they are also a key savings component to the owner who appreciates the value of a high-performing material that can be easily maintained instead of replaced when it is time for renovation.
Since the completion of the renovation in November 2015, the Doubletree Resort’s popularity has soared, earning it a well-deserved seat of honor among the island’s various
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