On average, a typical hotel property undergoes a renovation every five to 10 years. While that time frame depends on the local market, competition, brand standards, and of course, the economy, it is the reason so many hotels appear to be “under renovation” at any given time. Designers are constantly at work to provide beautiful and timely aesthetics to lobbies and guestrooms, and those new finishes do provide a wow factor to the guests staying there. But what about the “hidden” renovations that one might not ever suspect? Inside the guts of a building, where visitors may never step foot, hotel properties are being upgraded and repaired to keep guests safe, comfortable and connected.

Continental Contractors has renovated thousands of guestrooms and public spaces, but some of our most gratifying projects include aspects of the hotel that never grace the glossy pages of design magazines. For example, we recently replaced the underground sewer lines at a large hotel located outside of San Francisco. At the same property, improvements were made to existing walls to provide better sound attenuation between rooms.

Lodging Magazine explains how “Responsible contractors will perform an initial survey on each floor to help identify possibly dangerous situations. This ‘discovery phase’ can expose risks such as mold growing behind wallpaper, or traces of asbestos mastic under the floor or in mirrors and at tub surrounds. Remediation plans can then be incorporated into the renovation budget and schedule.” At a Continental renovation project on the east coast, infrared inspections of the internal switchgear, which distributes power from the street to the rest of the building, uncovered equipment that was beginning to fail due to lack of maintenance, environmental damage, and age. 

Wi-Fi is another “hidden” amenity that many hotels consider when planning a renovation. Guests expect working Wi-Fi and are quickly frustrated by any complications. Hotel Management shared that “Wi-Fi can be the No. 1 reason that guests don’t return to a property.” Hidden upgrades can also include preventive care, such as installing a recently developed film-like product over newly polished granite vanities to prevent chipping and staining.

ABC News connected the value of hidden renovations to guest comfort when it reported, “after a long day of adventuring, guests can rest easy with more-insulated rooms.”

Continental has upgraded soundproofing between floors in Minnesota, new fan coil units and rooftop chillers in Florida, and new mixing valves to increase water pressure in the Caribbean. Continental even renovated a different kind of “hidden” upgrade: a secret bourbon bar at a property in Kentucky!

While none of these renovations (except maybe the bourbon bar) will ever earn a hotel a rave review on Tripadvisor, or a design award for “timeless elegance,” we think they should earn the owners a gold star for making the safety and comfort of the guest a top priority.

Infrared test results