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A Fresh Face for a Hotel Brand

Embassy Suites Refresh

In the world of hospitality, keeping up with the times is particularly vital, as changes in culture and technology inform guests’ shifting needs and expectations. Hotels are remarkably susceptible to trends in design and even amenities offered, and concepts that once felt fresh and innovative can quickly turn staid.

At Hilton’s Embassy Suites, an ambitious program of wide-ranging renovations sought to transform a significant percentage of their properties. The plan was to refresh both the guest rooms and the public spaces, modernizing the facilities and bolstering the brand’s position as a destination for sensible, upscale travelers.

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Central to the initiative was the Atrium Refresh program, which sought to transform the hotel chain’s signature lobby atria—traditionally large multi-story spaces filled with plant life and a water feature—into comfortable multi-use public areas.

The Design:

SCNZ approached each property as an opportunity to both modernize the accommodations and integrate the character of the city into their designs. As travelers are seeking a less standardized hospitality experience, we looked to create spaces that felt more human and intimate by playing with scale and materiality.

The existing atria were vacant most of the time—institutional-feeling spaces that seemed to dwarf guests with their multi-story heights. They only attracted guests during complimentary breakfast service and happy hour events when free food and drink was available. Our goal was to turn these environments into truly shared spaces with variable seating, following the logic of a piazza or a town square. For each property, we incorporated local motifs and visual cues to capture the personality of the city.

In New Orleans’s Warehouse District, we designed a vibrant, colorful space with a large French Quarter-inspired tromp l’oeil mural, revamping and incorporating a 120-year-old sugary refinery as an annex. At Love Field in Dallas, we modernized the atrium with warmer, more refined materials and natural textures and created intimacy with wooden pergola-like structures.

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And at the Los Angeles Airport location, we drew out the previously hidden business facilities into the atrium to create a fresh and sprawling multi-use area equally suited for business and pleasure.

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At the Mandalay Beach Resort in Oxnard, SCNZ refreshed the property to suit its South Californian surroundings. Filled with light and natural textures, the new public spaces are clean, elegant, and inviting.

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The Outcome:

The Embassy Suites renovations have met with rave reviews from guests, improving online ratings significantly and elevating the brand’s reputation.

SCNZ has been a crucial partner in refreshing multiple Embassy Suites properties for us. They have been incredibly responsive, very organized, extremely intelligent, and have an amazing eye for modern design. At each turn of the construction process, they have informed answers to our technical questions, allowing the project to drive forward without delay. I consider SCNZ to be one of the very best.

Melissa Kendrick Vice President Project Management, FelCor Lodging Trust

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