Going with the floor
Floors are basic in some ways, merely a part of a hotel’s, or any room’s four dimensions. But as design becomes more minimalist and accents turn low key, wall coverings and flooring reflect a hotel’s personality or brand DNA.
The rules of thumb for selecting a flooring solution for a hotel are of course, that it should be aesthetic, must match the procurement team’s budget and offer value-for-money.
Then there’s the look-and-feel angle. In a stone building with wooden interiors, a carpet or rug on the floor enhances the look of a room, and can bring in a burst of colour, or even a hint of local culture through its print and workmanship.
But bring in a housekeeper and there’s a host of factors to add to that list. Jitender Rawat, executive housekeeper at Ranbanka Palace in Jodhpur, says, “The flooring solution should be easy to maintain, otherwise recurring costs will be high. It should also be relevant to the location’s climatic conditions. For instance, rainy or humid climatic conditions will deteriorate wooden and carpeted flooring, so it is better to use laminated or stone floorings in such conditions.”
Yann Gillet, general manager at the newly-opened Park Hyatt Chennai, says that his hotel is truly a reflection of the city, explaining that every component of design is aimed at showcasing Chennai’s culture and heritage. Every guestroom comes fitted with rich travertine marble floors and plush hand-tufted rugs, along with polished marble bathrooms. Public areas have minimal yet sweeping designs on glossy floors.
Another new arrival on the block in Chennai, the ITC Chola, has used marble flooring in most of its public areas to match its opulent Chola Dynasty-inspired design. Traditional Indian carpets are thrown in at lounges and dining areas, for a warm, ethnic look.
Marble is seen as a mainstay for heritage, or heritage-inspired hotels, as are rugs. “Flooring in the palace wing of our hotel is patterned marble, with rugs thrown in to give the look and feel of bygone era. Both go a long way in complementing the architecture, furniture and furnishings,” says Rawat.
But for a more modern look, the trend veers towards wooden floors, he adds: “Flooring in the new Jodhana Wing is laminated wooden tiles, which was used keeping in mind recent industry trends.”
Where luxury hotels pack in the marble, it is evident that it is more advisable for mid-segment and budget hotels to stick to the much more practical and cost-effective tiles. For instance, the newly launched Peppermint in Tirupathi has used simple white glossy-finish tiles in its guestrooms, for a squeaky-clean look.
Wood versus pseudo-wood
The latest debate is whether engineered wooden flooring really does make the cut, or whether an investment in wood is more advisable. Juncers flooring, which is used at several Hyatt, Oberoi, Radisson, Lalit, Taj, Le Meridien and Hilton properties in India, and as well as the JW Marriott Mumbai, is working towards creating awareness about the benefits of solid wooden floors. “Solid wood is the best flooring solution for hotels due to high traffic volume, and climate that changes dramatically at different times of the year, something typical to India and the subcontinent. Engineered flooring has found a footing in the hospitality industry but few are aware that it comprises of various layers of different types of wood, each of which expand and contract to varying degrees, creating maintenance problems,” says Suresh Kumar Mansukhani, country manager, Indian subcontinent, Junckers.
The sheer variety of products doing the rounds is a stark indicator of the amount of focus hotels are giving to their floors. The highest number of launches is seen in the digitally printed and vitrified
Sanitaryware provider Cera recently launched a range of tiles, consisting of HD digital wall tiles with matching floor tiles and digitally polished glazed vitrified tiles. The company also continues to offer vitrified tiles with nanotechnology, one of its key products.
Malwa Mirage Ceramics recently launched a range of wooden-effect tiles, while companies like Pergo and Square Foot have been promoting engineered wooden flooring for a couple of years now. Somany tiles introduced large format Duragres — Glazed Vitrified Tiles earlier in the year, with marble and wooden finishes. Malwa Mirage executive director Hussain Tambawala says, “Italian marble-designed tiles are widely used in the hotels.”
In our last feature on flooring, hoteliers said that the size of tiles needed scaling up, considering the proportions of the various areas of a hotel, in comparison to residential dimensions. Somany, among others, is therefore putting focus on the fact that its tiles are “King-sized, measuring 600 x 1,200mm.” Pergo too, has launched tiles measuring 1,187 x 142 mm.
Innovation is constantly being added to products. For instance, since eco-friendly is a consideration for procurement teams to zero in on a product, Square Foot has developed a range of eco-friendly laminate flooring solutions. Its Revelation 832 has been created with an embossed engraving, which the company says will deliver a “matte, yet glossy three-dimensional finish.” Pergo’s latest styles called ‘Harmonious’ and ‘Lively’ are being differentiated for their “UV-hardened oil surface, which is factory-applied with a special base treatment for a particularly natural radiance.”
Additionally, Pergo says that it has simplified and quickened the laying of engineered floors with the latest glue free click-joint technology. Indeed, installation of flooring is another area that suppliers are keen to add value to, with the consideration that hotel projects are generally delayed, leaving project managers strapped for time. “Junckers has a unique clip system of installation,” Mansukhani tells us.
Hoteliers and interior designers alike are obsessed with accents, so carpets will never go out of style. Moreover, India has, for centuries, been renowned all over the world for carpet designs par-excellence, what with attractive colours, painstaking craftsmanship and different cultures represented through prints and motifs. As a result, hoteliers in India have the benefit of being located in the world’s veritable carpet capital, with even hotels in other countries demanding products out of India. For instance, Patodia Contract has in recent months provided carpets to the InterContinental, Hong Kong; The Crowne Plaza Dead Sea, Jordan ; The One and Only Royal The Mirage, Dubai and The Plaza Hotel, New York. According to company’s director, Pranay Patodia, the newest demands they are responding to, are largely aesthetic. “Hoteliers now want carpets in new textures. The latest is sculpted carpets,” he says. For luxury hotels looking to make a statement, there are carpets that are sure to be a hit and build a connect with the brand-conscious guest. For instance, Obsessions Xclusif introduced Pierre Cardin carpets. The collection featured machine-made acrylic carpets, consisting of a selection of brown shaggy rugs, brown area rugs and beige-gold carpets. The brand also recently put a range of leather carpets on shelves — the key selling proposition here, of course, is durability.