Shanghai, Sydney, Montreal, New York, Paris. Sofitel hotels are located in some of the world’s most appealing places but only eight of them in the world have been awarded the prestigious title ‘Sofitel Legend’ and one of these is the Grand Amsterdam Sofitel, in the heart of the city. However, a major renovation was needed to restore the hotel to its original glory, and an important part of this was creating a new contemporary lighting solution.
“The Grand Amsterdam Sofitel is the hotel in our portfolio that required the biggest renovation,” said David Fictoor, of Accor Hotels, the Netherlands.
The Project Manager has been closely involved with the renovation of the hotel with its 177 guest rooms and 21 meeting rooms.
“A renovation on this scale takes years of preparation. Whilst we didn’t make any investment during this period, the possibilities of LED lighting evolved at high speed. The hotel merited the most up-to-date lighting solutions, and we were also keen to insist on GreenEnergy Labels, a standard which all Accor hotels must meet. That was no easy task as the hotel presented many obstacles in terms of water and energy supplies. But there were even greater challenges to overcome. In an historic building, nothing is quite as it seems and we hit monumental barriers that couldn’t even be seen on the plans.”
Fictoor reflects on the process, “Our initial plan didn’t contain any LED lighting. Then we involved Philips. They worked continuously, keeping us on track and preventing down time. The hotel remained open throughout the whole renovation.” The lighting plan in each room had to be considered individually because meeting rooms, for example, required a completely different lighting solution to the lobby with its chandeliers. The project also depended on total flexibility. “Everything had to remain in the original style and heritage was front of mind with every step we took”, said Fictoor. “Nothing we did was standard so a great deal of creativity was required.” Eventually many high-tech facilities were installed in the building, blending history and future into one. A nice example of this can be seen in the meeting rooms where lighting, heating and audiovisual resources are controlled from a single panel.
Willem van Dam, Chief of Technical Services, experienced the renovation at close hand. “After 3 years the renovation is finally coming to an end. Because of this we can’t give any facts on the total savings on energy and costs yet, but we’re expecting it to be 70% to 80%. And that’s not to mention the vast amount of time that will be saved on maintenance.” Now the renovation is almost complete, the Grand Sofitel Amsterdam is getting a great deal of publicity. The hotel is finally back in the spotlight where it belongs.
The products used:
Where have you seen the latest in technology being seamlessly installed in an old building as in this case?
An example from Gent (Belgium) - a hotel existing since the 18th century:
(sorry, no Philips products, I guess)