Hotel Revels in integration
How far can you go with integrating a hotel’s services with its other systems? Let’s visit Atlantic City to find out.
After years in decline, Atlantic City is poised for a rebirth, led by Revel, an upscale $2.4 billion resort and casino that opened in April.
Among its amenities are Crestron systems in all guest rooms, meeting rooms and public areas that go far beyond anything previously installed, even in high-end Las Vegas properties.
‘This is by far the most sophisticated system in any hotel anywhere in the United States,’ says William Schafer, principal of Warwick, NY-based Assurity Design Group. ‘By integrating all of the hotel’s major systems, including lighting, HVAC, audio/video, door locks, mini bar, shades and drapes, the property dramatically improves the guest experience, simplifies system monitoring and maintenance and has saved nearly $2 million over the cost of installing separate systems.’
Throughout the four years it took to plan, implement and commission this system, Assurity worked with engineers at Crestron, which developed several new products specifically for this project. ‘Revel has definitely set the bar for every hotel in the United States,’ adds Schafer.
One of the biggest advantages that Revel brings to hotels is automation of its sleeping rooms. The Crestron system goes to work when the guest checks in, setting temperature and lighting levels to comfortable, welcoming levels.
Once in the room, the guest has full control over lights, climate, TV, pay-per-view movies and the mini bar from a simple handheld remote. Pressing the ‘Do not disturb’ button disables the doorbell, and a red indicator is displayed outside. Press ‘Housekeeping’ and a green ‘Service needed’ indicator lights up outside. Before guests leave the room, they can simply turn off all systems with the touch of one button. In ADA-accessible rooms and suites, the suites, the system also controls drapery and shading.
All these functions are connected to the Revel’s property-management system, so that the front desk, reservations, billing, marketing and security can access them as needed. When guests check out, the Crestron management system automatically turns off everything (lights, TV, climate control etc.) in that room, resulting in significant energy savings.
Each of the guest-room systems is constantly monitored for possible problems through Crestron Fusion RV software. Assurity staff work in tandem with the IT and facility departments to help maintain and operate these systems, Schafer explains, ‘They know if there’s a problem in the room, even before the guest notices. For example, if the temperature hits 80°F (26.7°C) and that’s not how the guest normally likes it, we will check to see if there’s a mechanical problem, an electronics problem, or if the guest desired this temperature.
‘The system is so comprehensive,’ Schafer adds, ‘It will know when the batteries need to be replaced in a remote.’
Although similar systems have been installed in high-roller suites in some Las Vegas hotels, every one of Revel’s 1898 guest rooms is automated — from standard guest rooms to luxurious loft suites. This is said to be the first time these systems have been integrated to this degree.
‘In most other hotels,’ Schafer explains, ‘everyone’s product is networked. You have a mini bar that rides on a wireless network, as does the room key system and a doorbell/room entry system, with each company installing its own network and its own server.
|Integrated building technology using a single system extends throughout the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City — from guest rooms using a single handheld controller to public facilities and back of house.|
‘In a building this size, to install those three separate networks, each with its own wiring and parts would have cost close to $2 million more than our solution, which was to integrate everything into a single Crestron network.’
Another important advantage to Revel’s guest-room system is that it can be upgraded very rapidly. ‘For example, we recently added a sleep timer function similar to what you’d find on a TV remote, except that it turns the lights off in addition to the TV. Once we had written the code and tested it, we were able to upgrade the entire building in about 30 minutes, without the need to visit a single room or disturb a single guest.’ Another new feature, which Schafer hopes to implement soon, will save guests’ temperature and lighting preferences, so that when they return for future stays, their room will automatically be set up the way they like it.
The hotel has five 2-bedroom hospitality suites and two 3-bedroom ‘Sky suites’ on its 44th floor, each with a living room, mini kitchen and bar, two full baths and a dining/conference area.
Each suites has a music system with multiple iPod docs and XM radio, using a multi-zone Crestron Adagio media system to allow guests to play what they choose in any room. The suites also include a wireless Crestron touch screen controller to further simplify the use of the various electronic systems.
Two super-luxurious ‘Sky suites’ add a media room, two private massage rooms and a butler’s pantry to the floor plan. In addition to the other amenities, they offer a Crestron DigitalMedia solution that allows guests to watch the same movie on any or all of six large-screen TVs, either from the hotel’s video system or an in-room Blu-ray Disk player.
The electronics in the luxury suites represent collaboration between Assurity Design for the electronic amenities and Cerami & Associates of New York City for the audio/video systems, with KMK Technologies of Monroeville, NJ, handling the installation.
The innovations at Revel continue beyond the guest rooms and suites.
The common and back-of-house areas (the lobbies, halls, employee lounges and restrooms) all use centralised Crestron lighting control, together with Crestron dimming systems and occupancy sensors- to maximise their energy efficiency and minimise their carbon footprint.
In addition, Cerami & Associates designed audio/video systems for a conference centre and more than a dozen restaurants and bars, all using Crestron DigitalMedia technology, to optimise quality while reducing installation and maintenance costs. These systems also feature Crestron control to simplify operations.
‘We have integrated all of these systems with Fusion RV as well, so that Assurity staff can monitor them constantly and anticipate any problems before they occur,’ Schafer explains.