- Wednesday, 08 June 2011 13:54
Article Read: 2004
Rather than make key decisions from behind a desk on what "management" thought were the best design options for a new hotel room, St Kilda Road Parkview Hotel built a prototype room to get feedback from the most important people involved, the guests.
The hotel opened in 1985 and after a few soft refurbishments general manager Laurie Littman said it was time to update the rooms to a level that could compete with current designs and features.
The $8 million refurbishment now provides hotel guests with rooms that have more space, luxury beds, and some of the latest technology. The 206 renovated rooms now include HD television, fast cable and wireless internet access, a smart media hub connected to the TV allowing direct connection of notebooks, iPhones and other mobile devices.
The project started late October and finished at the end of March and included a small break over Christmas with actual construction lasting four months.
“We did not engage a project manager as is the case with many of these types of projects,” Mr Littman said. “On this occasion we felt confident the hotel management team could work directly with the designer and builder.”
After three years of planning, the hotel management approached Soho Projects to complete the refurbishment. The hotel accepted Soho’s recommendation for Michelle Davies of DHD, to design the project.
“The design brief had a number of key objects to meet which included retaining the unique dressing room area of each room, totally refitting the bathrooms and removing the traditional 80s shower over the bath design,” Mr Littman said. “The rooms also had to be bright with a design that was not going to date in the short term. Colours and timber tones played a major part of the final design.
“The final decision was collectively decided by the owner and hotel management team not forgetting that the comments received from guests using and viewing the prototype room.”
He said Soho Projects met all their targets and were extremely flexible over the four months of construction.
“With hotels operating 24/7, refurbishing is always a challenge and is very different to a project that can be closed or is not affected with a noise issue,” he said. “Soho was able to work around our business and still keep to their planned time table which inevitably saved us money.
“Noise was not a major issue.”
Project director at Soho Projects, Shay Nassi, said his project team scheduled demolition work around the hotel’s conferences and events ensuring these were not disturbed by noise thus allowing the hotel to maximise its income during the construction period.
“We were very flexible and worked with management all the way to solve problems as they arose,” Mr Nassi said.
Before the project started he organised a meeting between Soho’s project staff and the hotel’s staff to build working relationships and ensure any problems that arose during construction could be solved quickly.
“This ensured everyone was working on the same page,” he said.
He said the prototype room helped utilise existing services and keep the project on budget.
“The design brief had a very tight budget for a face lift but we stuck to the budget for each room and managed to complete the refurbishment for the price of a soft refurbishment including the corridors and atrium,” Mr Nassi said. “From the minute we were commissioned and introduced Michelle, until the project finished took just over a year, including the mock up room.
“Construction work on the actual project was about four months.”
Soho Projects' team carried out the refurbishment in stages. Each level had three sub stages.
“We were working on two to three levels at a time,” Mr Nassi said.
“As each stage was completed, the hotel was able to put the rooms back into service.
“The hotel traded as normal, all conferences carried on as normal. Our program was built around this so as to cause no disturbance.
“We were able to minimise the negative impact on the hotel’s revenue through careful communication with them.”
Mr Nassi said it was a challenging and exciting experience to meet and exceed the hotel’s targets and time frames given the tight deadlines.
“The project was completed on time and within budget because we had more people on site managing and supervising the work,” he said. “This also ensured the quality control was first class and allowed the multiple stages to progress smoothly.”
Refurbishing the 206 rooms and bathrooms included carpets, rewiring the electrical circuits, new joinery, plumbing and tiling.
“It was very much a hard as opposed to soft refurbishment,” Mr Nassi said. “But our philosophy is delivering on what we promise and our goal is to finish on time and on budget without compromising quality.
“And we achieved that.”
Argent Australia supplied the supplied toilet suites and basins to all the renovated bathrooms
“The prototype room allowed the Parkview management to visualise the finished design with the bathroom products supplied,” sales manager Graham Lee said.
He said Argent worked through the design specification phases to meet existing space requirements and functionality.
Its products also met the design and budget requirements with the modern and functional bathrooms having minimalist appeal.
“The sanitary ware chosen is practical in design and offers long-term maintenance advantages,” he said.
Commercial linen supplier W H Amad provided the curtains, bed throws, cushions drapes and sheer curtains for the refurbishment. W H Amad specialises in the manufacture of curtains, bed linen, quilts, quilt covers, bedspreads, valances (quilted and pleated), cushions and bed throws at its facility in Coburg.
All were custom made for the Parkview refurbishment.
“It was a big job with 206 rooms to do but it flowed really well,” said W H Amad spokeswoman Nicole Fakhry. “It was probably one of the easiest projects we have worked on as far as timing goes. There have been so many other jobs where there have been delays in building but this was easy.
“We make what we sell, so once the fabrics and designs were decided, we fitted in with the progress of the project. It could have been a tough project but the people on site really did it so well.
“The finished result looks beautiful and the client is happy.”
Clive Peeters Commercial Division supplied 37 x 106cm and 170 x 81cm LG commercial TV panels for the renovations.
“The team at St Kilda Rd Parkview requested if we could put a solution together for their upcoming refurbishment, we made contact and together with our supplier partner made a full evaluation of the site to provide the best solution within time and budget,” Clive Peeters business development manager Chris MacLeod said. “St Kilda Rd Parkview was extremely happy with our specific recommendation for their property then confirmed that Clive Peeters Commercial Division was their supplier of choice for the TV’s due to the high level of knowledge, service and expertise we provided.”
He said the Parkview selected LG for its excellent back up support and features designed to suit the hospitality industry especially the ease of integrating the in house movie system and simplicity of use.
Mr Littman said the end result has been overwhelmingly a total success.
“The design and build quality appears to have exceeded our customers’ expectation which is very pleasing for all parties involved.”
Mr Littman said the best thing about managing the St Kilda Road Parkview Hotel was being part of a small group of hotels. “We are able to create a warm and friendly family atmosphere which is sometimes difficult to achieve in the larger hotel chains,” he said.
He said the hotel’s location was the key to its popularity.
“We are able to provide easy access to major business precincts as well as tourist locations throughout Melbourne.
“There is secure parking and public transport almost on our doorstep so reaching a destination is easy. With the refurbishment now complete we have a product that is modern and provides excellent value for money.“
The St Kilda Road Parkview Hotel is located along St Kilda Road’s famous tree lined boulevard on Melbourne’s city fringe, has a 10 room conference and event centre. Hotel facilities include 24-hour room service and reception, gym and spa, concièrge, guest laundry and dry cleaning, business centre, complimentary newspapers and on site parking.
Guests can indulge in an indoor roof top spa and sauna and relax while taking in the views of Melbourne and surrounds, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be enjoyed in Lime Cafe, Bar, & Restaurant.
The Parkview is close to the cafes, restaurants and shopping of St Kilda, Chapel Street, Southbank and the CBD. Many of Melbourne’s major tourist attractions are on its doorstep along with an array of parks and running tracks.
Have you undertaken recent refurbishments at your property?