Eleven years may not seem like a long time, but for a hotel and its decor, it's a lifetime. With that in mind, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans is undergoing its first guest room renovation since the hotel opened its doors back in 2000. Design is being handled by Atlanta-based Design Continuum, Inc.
“Our goal was to create new guest room and suite designs that capture the essence of the New Orleans spirit while blending with the historic beaux arts structure of the hotel and complementing the rich tradition of customer service that Ritz-Carlton is known for,” says Karen Jenkins, vice president of Design Continuum, Inc. “New Orleans is a romantic city with a sense of surprise in a colorful and vibrant atmosphere. The design incorporates all of these elements in a sophisticated classical manner that is vibrant and true to the city.”
Design Continuum also worked closely with the hotel’s owner, W.H. Holdings, to upgrade the layout and design of the property’s 49 suites. Design Continuum has a long relationship with the owner and Ritz-Carlton, which helps in revamping an existing property.
“Renovation of an existing property is a complex process that requires an understanding of the existing structure and the ability to develop new designs that respect the property while breathing new life and energy into the renovated areas,” Jenkins says.
Deluxe rooms stay true with neoclassical furnishings, which are accented by hues of plum, gold and sapphire to capture the rich character of the city. The only alteration to the standard Ritz-Carlton white marble bathroom is the lighting fixtures.
“The existing bath areas in the guest rooms and suites have a very luxurious layout, but the lighting was not satisfactory,” Jenkins says. “By providing new wall sconces with a shade design that allows more light output and the use of a more efficient light bulb, the vanity light level is significantly improved.”
Executive and Junior Suite sitting room areas are being enhanced with such touches as 50-inch TVs and new ergonomic desk chairs. The focal point of the bedroom is the king-size iron poster bed—an updated version of antique beds found in historic New Orleans homes. The head of the bed will feature draped fabric from the iron posts and a matching upholstered wall panel with velvet accents. A ruby red crocodile embossed bench rests at the base of the bed. Curtain and valences utilize the same teal, gold and taupe color scheme, blending with the painted walls that have been stripped of patterned wallpaper.
“Since this is a historic structure, we have higher ceiling heights in the guest room and suite areas,” Jenkins says. “We took this into account as we made wall finish selections that enhanced the existing millwork trim and generally brightened the room.
In addition, we carefully selected the proper scale of table and floor lamps to provide appropriate task lighting and a general warm intimate glow throughout the rooms and suites.”
In an effort to upgrade all premium room categories, the fabrics and furnishings of the Club Level Executive Suite will be updated and, in The Ritz-Carlton Suite, fabric-paneled walls and an updated color palette will marry classical elements with the contemporary. An entertainment center will be added to the living room area along with a full-size billiard table.