Opening a new chapter and creating a new grand tier of hotel in the heart of London, The Sheraton Grand London Park Lane Hotel famed for its art deco has completed a multi-million pound renovation.
The Sheraton first opened its doors in 1927 at the height of the Roaring Twenties, and during its heyday became the hangout for socialites, celebrities and the aristocracy. The recent renovation combines the modern touches of a five star hotel with careful restoration to retain the original elegance and art deco glamour of this historic property. Guest rooms, public spaces, including the famed Palm Court Lounge and Grade II listed art deco ballroom and Silver Gallery were all transformed during the major scheme.
Owned by Starwood Hotels an American group, the project called for a sprinkler installation to conform to NFPA-13 standards. Chosen by Beck Interiors the main contractors, Ultra Surefire were asked to provide a compliant sprinkler system.
At the start of the renovation scheme in October 2014, Ultra Surefire provided a dedicated on-site project manager whose task was to ensure that the system was installed according to the fully programmed schedule and that the installation teams worked effectively with existing contractors on site. This daily liaison with the customer and other trades allowed for the smooth running of the installation and that the customer was kept informed throughout.
Ultra Surefire installed a dry riser at the beginning of the project to provide fire protection in line with the fire strategy moving forward. The existing sprinkler system within the basement area was the last system to be removed as this provided fire protection during the renovations, along with a temporary fire alarm system and Fire Watch.
A key challenge for the Ultra Surefire project team was working within a fully live and operational hotel – particularly with regards to extensive works on the building services which had to be kept running at all times. Refurbishing the hotel’s main kitchen in the sub-basement also required careful planning to ensure that catering services still ran smoothly, whilst ensuring the hotel guests experienced minimal disruptions. Pipework often had to be fed through live areas of the hotel such as the kitchens in the basement area at pre-agreed times with the chefs. After each shift, the Ultra Surefire engineering team carried out a total clean-up operation so that the kitchens were ready to begin their busy schedule on time.
The Ultra Surefire design and consultancy team worked with the customer to install a system utilising some of the existing sprinkler plant with design considerations for particular areas of the hotel to different OH standards. A 30 minute sprinkler supply was required for the hotel bedrooms whereas a 60 minute sprinkler supply was required for the kitchens, common areas and loading bays. The linen store also called for a 60 minute supply and came with its own set of challenges to pipe a 6” water supply into the building. This was achieved by pipe freezing an existing 6” valve from Piccadilly, and by working with Thames Water a new valve was fitted.
Concealed sprinkler heads were fitted throughout most of the hotel, including the 303 guest rooms which were completely stripped back and redesigned to create an elegant hotel experience, capturing the spirit of the Art Deco era. Feature ceiling coffers meant that in some guest rooms the depth of the coffer was such that 2 sprinkler heads were required.
The iconic Palm Court with its majestic stained glass ceiling providing a backdrop was a particular challenge for our design team. The shape and design of the architrave presented problems for routing of pipework and positioning of sprinkler heads. By working and liaising with the architect, Ultra Surfire’s design team came up with a solution where the pipework was hidden and boxed in.
Final handover to the customer was completed in September 2016, when the Ultra Surefire commissioning team trained on-site personnel as to the maintenance regime requirements and checks that need to make to ensure the smooth running of the system.