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The Adaptive Reuse Behind Crystal City's DoubleTree Hotel

There's a new look for the lobby of the DoubleTree Hotel that the CORE team designed and they shared some of the renderings so we could see how they made an existing space better able to serve the many needs of a hotel lobby. So many people coming and going, some of them sitting and eating, and almost all of them needing a place to charge their laptops meant that the lobby they had was not as functional as it needed to be. But CORE had to work with what was there so they used carefully-placed lighting and opened up some of the closed off areas to help with the daily flow of people through the space. Click on each photo for captions that describe some of the details they came up with to make the lobby much more useful.

· DoubleTree [OfficialSite]
· All CORE coverage [CDC]

WASHINGTON, D.C.—August, 2012— Guest visiting the Washington, D.C. area, may want to consider the newly renovated DoubleTree by Hilton Washington DC-Crystal City in Crystal City, Virginia. The hotel is adding the finishing touches to a multi-million dollar renovation, designed by prominent DC-based architecture and design firm CORE. The award-winning hotel design team redesigned the hotel’s entry, two-story lobby and bar to reflect the DoubleTree by Hilton’s emphasis on guest comfort and relaxation.

“We want our guests to feel welcome from the moment they arrive,” said Dori Familiant, general manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Washington DC-Crystal City. “We hope that every design detail, from the soothing color palette to the personal check-in desk to the signature chocolate chip cookie upon arrival, will make our guests comfortable and relaxed.”

“When CORE was approached about renovating the DoubleTree by Hilton Washington DC -Crystal City, the hoteliers wanted the new design to be timeless, natural, and comfortable – all attributes of the new repositioned brand,” said Daniel Chapman, project interior designer, CORE. “The brand colors are brown and cream with a touch of natural green. The refined brand logo is the silhouette of a large tree with two trunks. So we made these colors dominant in the architecture of the space.”

The main architectural elements have a neutral palette to give the lobby a more timeless and classic back drop. Vibrant colors, taken from nature’s palette, are placed throughout the space to provide warmth without being overwhelming. For example, the predominantly cream walls are accented with a subtle, sheen-patterned, chocolate-colored wall covering in special locations. Rich, brown carpet is patterned with hues of golden wheat. The architectural millwork plays with contrasting shades of rift-cut, linear-grained hickory wood and more textured plain-cut ash that is stained dark brown. Cream, honed limestone clads the walls in the lower lobby, main escalator and elevator corridors, but is accented with insets of highly-textured, split-face travertine tile. Vibrant modern artwork and fabric upholstery – in peacock blue, grass green and daylily orange – add pops of vivid color to the space. Warm lighting provides softness and subtle texture to the architecture. Finally, the floor tile color and layout, overhead light fixtures, and accent wall covering were all placed precisely to guide guests through the large, multi-level lobby.

“The natural colors and materials – as well as the new lighting – create a calm, relaxing atmosphere,” Chapman said. “The blown-glass lighting is quite beautiful. I’m especially pleased with the 50-foot diameter arc chandelier that’s made of hundreds of strands of blown-glass bubbles that cascade down like rain. It increases the sense of splendor and sophistication throughout the lobby.”

Lobby reflects increased guest need for socialization and comfort
?Part of the new brand initiative for DoubleTree by Hilton was to create more areas where guests can socialize or relax more privately. For example, the main bar – which was previously surrounded by low walls – was opened up and became the focal point of the main lobby area. Along the main window wall, high-back lounge chairs and sectional couches are clustered between partial-height millwork ‘TV Pods’ which give guests a more private gathering area. An escalator and double-height stair atrium were filled in at the north lobby area to create more pre-function and conference space.

“Whether our guests are on a family trip or staying for business, the lobby area has become a very important part of the hotel experience. Many guests prefer to check their email in a social space – or enjoy some food or leisure time with friends,” said Familiant, “A hotel is no longer just as a pleasant place to lay your head. It is a destination for events and conferences which require spaces for guests and attendees to gather and interact.”?

New design elements allow for greater guest-staff interaction, more guest amenities
The original lobby had a traditional hotel check-in desk where the staff worked on one side, and guests stood on the other. However, with the new brand initiative, DoubleTree by Hilton wanted the associates to have more personal interaction with the guests – so the physical boundary between them was removed. CORE worked with the hotel team to create smaller, individual check-in desks and spaced them out across the footprint of the previous desk. This allowed for a more open and inviting check-in experience and a more streamlined desk layout. Each desk contains a computer station sunken into the countertop – to conceal the technology and enhance the aesthetic – and custom millwork to handle paper management, key cards and various other supplies and amenity items.?
Included in the renovation at the 631-room hotel, is the famous revolving lounge that sits atop the hotel, The Sky Dome Lounge, sparkling now as a result of a top to bottom renovation. The lounge offers visitors the most spectacular views of the Washington DC area, overlooking the nation’s capital, Potomac River and Pentagon.

Ideally situated in the Crystal City corridor, the DoubleTree by Hilton Washington DC-Crystal City is just minutes from the nation's capital and major business centers. It's a pleasant walk to the Pentagon City Fashion Mall where guests can enjoy a variety of restaurants, cinemas and shops, including Macy's and Nordstrom. The Metro is minutes away as is the wonders of the Smithsonian and the Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Capitol, the White House or any of Washington's many world-famous museums and monuments. DoubleTree by Hilton Washington DC-Crystal City has 631 guest rooms, including 152 beautifully appointed suites - some with panoramic views of Washington, D.C. and the Potomac River.