Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa Sees Benefits from Hotel Automation
When the Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa in the Grand Cayman opened this year, it was highly anticipated as a top hotel in the area. It stands out as a modern fixture against a seven-mile beach, and the hotel offers guests waterfront views, specialty villas, luxurious amenities, and traditional aquatic activities. These features are typical of most luxury beach getaways, but setting the Kimpton Seafire apart from its competitors is an incredible and unique in-room experience that puts guests into the ultimate relax mode with the tap of a button. And this same system helps the hotel run more smoothly, with added benefits for management.
When guests arrive, a bellhop directs guests to their room and gives them control of the room’s smart lights and thermostat with a complimentary tablet and simple control keypads throughout the room. These devices are also configured into pre-programmed scenes, which combine their functions for comfort and convenience: Welcome, Daylight, Relax or Good Night slowly dim or brighten multiple light fixtures to create the perfect ambiance for a relaxing afternoon, refreshing morning wake-up or to ease into sleep at the end of the day.
In a hotel environment with rotating guests staying for different lengths of time, in-room automation needs to be extremely easy-to-use so guests can begin enjoying their room amenities as soon as they arrive rather than spending time learning how it works. Room automation makes a guest’s stay more comfortable. When they need to get their mindset ready for sleep, they can push one button conveniently located at the bedside, instead of hunting around for the unfamiliar switches all over the room. Recent guest of the Kimpton Seafire, Katherine Kerr, was surprised by the feature when walking into the room, and said it helped set the mood during her stay.
“I love the way the lights come on slowly at night — it’s just much more soothing and calm than having them turn on all at once,” she said. “Having it come on gradually is perfect in a resort setting to give a gentle and relaxing feel.”
The in-room automation wasn’t originally part of the plan when the Kimpton Seafire was conceptualized years ago. After visiting another controls-equipped property, the owner decided to add it in the guestrooms for added comfort and convenience. Hospitality integration firm Mode:Green joined the construction teams to design the technology, to add guestroom automation features while working with the existing hotel design, including lighting, climate controls, automated draperies, an intuitive privacy/service system, and a room-control tablet.
Designing the system calls for considerations that are both guest-facing, and management-facing. While the guests enjoy the room technology, the hotel staff can see what systems are being used in the room to improve their own operations. Device status can show when a room is occupied, so cleaning teams can delegate to the guestrooms as they become unoccupied each morning. The automation system can also be beneficial for preparing rooms for incoming guests; the Welcome lighting scene can be configured to start automatically when a new guest checks into their room, and the reverse can be set upon checkout.
Cycling devices on and off based on guest activity can also contribute to energy savings for the hotel. By keeping devices off in rooms that don’t have guests, and only turning them on once a check-in is started, hotels can reduce energy consumption. Many operators may look to the building’s plant or larger-scale components to do so, but systematically keeping devices off can make great strides. Adjusting the temperature in all of the rooms when there’s irregular weather, or setting the lights to dim and brighten automatically based on the time of day are easy automation actions that contribute to sustainability efforts.
The Kimpton Seafire uses its building-wide automation to make its guest’s stay more comfortable, but these features made it more memorable and efficient as well. Automation also provides ways for hotels to differentiate themselves from competitors now and into the future. With a system that is flexible and expandable, hotels can add new features such as entertainment control, amenity integration, and new lighting scenes to meet the expectation of even the most discerning guests.