Hotel operators need to understand retrofitting, experts say

It is important that hotel operators are mature in their approach in understanding retrofits in the Middle East market, experts said.

Stuart McGregor, GM, Trans Gulf Electromechanical, said that the maturity of the group who is doing the refurb is quite important.

“I do understand the age of the building, the configuration, etc., have an impact on retrofitting,” McGregor said.

“But it’s essentially about the maturity of the group who is doing the refurb and how much they actually want to contribute to having a green building, potentially shutting down sections that will impact their revenue and saying that ‘rather than having a payback period of over 2 or 3 years, we expect a payback of over 10 years.

“So a lot of it has got to do with the group who operates that facility,” McGregor said.

Anil Mangalat, design director/partner, MMAC Design Associates, added: “The vision that the client has for the hotel [is important]. If it’s a soft or full refurb, how fast does the client want it open? Some restaurants operate while others are being refurbed.

“There are operational challenges and we have to be smart about it as interior designers. Technology is a big aspect. I know most of you gentlemen are from technological backgrounds, but (audio visual information technology) AVIT is a big part of refurb. Some brands more than others are more technology-driven. You are looking at a larger integration of technology and AV. It may not be possible in every retrofit,” Mangalat said.

McGregor and Mangalat expressed their views in a retrofit roundtable organised by MEP Middle East, which was also attended by Bruno Pessoa, director of technical services, Minor Hotels, Middle East and Africa; Martin Mueller, regional director of engineering, Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Alex Yoo, director of design & project management, Marriott International; Dimitri Papakonstantinou, managing director, Plafond Fitout; Ramy Boufarhat, COO, James L Williams Middle East; Azzam Messaykeh, CEO, Faisal Jassim Group; Raffi Kazazian, energy solutions director of Taqeef; and Ian Fail-Brown, CEO, SESC Group.

The full retrofit feature will be published in the upcoming edition of Commercial Interior Design magazine. You can also read it on designMENA.com next month. 

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