Delivering Hotel Designs Under Tight Timescales

Paul Sherry
Marriott International’s new design concept will grow the Courtyard by Marriott brand across Europe.

Marriott International chose Scotland to launch the European-inspired re-brand of Courtyard by Marriott, the 11th largest global hotel brand. The 194-room Courtyard by Marriott Aberdeen Hotel, at Aberdeen International Airport, debuts the brand’s new concept and extends the offering of 45 hotels in Europe and more than 900 hotels worldwide.

Most of the existing Courtyard properties are in the US, but the group has adapted the design to appeal to the European traveller as part of plans to grow the brand. As the prototype, the Aberdeen hotel will be used as the design benchmark for all future Courtyard developments rolled out throughout Europe. While most of the hotels will be owned and operated by a third party, this prototype property is developed and managed by Marriott International.

Designed with business travellers in mind, the hotel features clean lines, natural light and a Mediterranean colour palette. To promote productivity, the rooms are equipped with ample work space, task lighting, multiple, accessible outlets and free Wi-Fi. Public spaces are designed to guests' needs and include a restaurant, inviting meeting areas, including semi-private media hubs, and interactive news GoBoard technology.

Faithful+Gould has a strong global relationship with Marriott International, supporting the company in Europe, the US and the Middle East.

Marriott International faced several barriers in the new market. The Aberdeen hotel had to demonstrate the global brand standard to ensure that future developers and franchisees understand the correct high quality. Both UK and US building standards were met, requiring interpretation of the US standards for the UK market. Much of the furniture, fixtures and equipment were shipped from the US, with complex logistics and warehousing arrangements needed.

Faithful+Gould was appointed as project and cost managers, and CDM co-ordinators. We were also involved with the hotel’s LEED elements. Our client's team was based in the US, so we acted as their local representative, protecting their interests, managing the programme and ensuring that the project made good progress. Challenges included land ownership complexities and utilities problems. Proximity to Aberdeen International Airport meant compliance with aviation regulations, influencing the building’s design and external lighting. Our experience of working on aviation projects, as well as the hospitality sector, was therefore especially useful.

The hotel was procured via a traditional contract, allowing the client maximum control and the facility to make changes during this exploratory concept design.

The hotel was procured via a traditional contract, allowing the client maximum control and the facility to make changes during this exploratory concept design. We used value engineering exercises to select the contractor, going through this process twice, as the original contractor withdrew from the market after selection. This put additional pressure on an already fast-track project. Delivering on time was vital, as high-occupancy advance reservations had been secured in Aberdeen’s under-supplied business hotel market. A fast start to construction was needed, as the planning application was shortly to expire, again accelerating the schedule.

Delivering on time was vital, as high-occupancy advance reservations had been secured in Aberdeen’s under-supplied business hotel market.

We used video conferencing to provide good communication, ensuring that the project met the needs of the multiple stakeholder client body. Marriott International’s design, branding, hotel operations and IT divisions were involved. A mock-up bedroom design was created in London, to clarify and demonstrate the design standard. Further new builds are under way in Poland, France, the Netherlands and Russia. Faithful+Gould has a strong global relationship with Marriott International, supporting the company in Europe, the US and the Middle East. We are working on a variety of projects including the New York EDITION, the iconic New York City landmark formerly named the Metropolitan Life Clock Tower.

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