Designing for Distance

As LAX proceeds with a multibillion-dollar modernization complete with an Automated People Mover train system, Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles LAX/Century Blvd., which is walking distance to LAX, has just completed a dramatic and insightful multimillion-dollar renovation. The renovation of the public areas and guestrooms of the 190-room property includes two new Social Distancing Salons.

COVID-19 forced a State of Emergency in California on March 4th when the property was halfway through the scheduled six-month renovation. As one of the closest hotels to LAX, Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles LAX has long been a preferred destination for travelers. In April, the Sales Department reported requests for “private spaces” to conduct business, as well as to unwind in between flights. With guests congregating less in large public areas, hotel management embraced this demand with the addition of Social Distancing Salons. The salons are available in “lounge” and “conference” configurations and can be reserved in two-hour time blocks.

“Prior to the renovation, the space where the two Social Distancing Salons are currently located was open ‘unused’ lobby space. The initial plans for the Social Distancing Salons were meeting rooms, but when a State of Emergency was declared on March 4th in California, public areas like lobbies were stanchioned off to slow the spread of coronavirus.  It became pretty clear that the Sales Department would not be receiving many calls to book groups of 10,” said Michael D’Amodio, director of operations, Seaview Investors, who was heavily involved in the planning and execution of the entire renovation.

These new 235-sq.-ft. salons are fully enclosed and provide versatile layouts for both business and leisure travelers. Located at the entrance to the lobby, the salons are framed with glass doors which create a bright, intimate ambiance unlike traditional meeting rooms. Ideal for business meetings, a temporary office, or simply relaxing, the salons include 55-in. televisions and can be configured as a mini-lounge for watching TV, or conferencing with colleagues. They even come with a supply of masks and sanitizer so guests are prepared for their next flight or activity. And there’s thematic artwork—a masked emoji with sunglasses.

“For those business and leisure travelers unwinding, we needed to create something to accommodate them since the lobby was closed,” he said. “Transitioning the initial meeting rooms into Social Distancing Salons was seamless since they provided a protective bubble and the need was already there. Also, sales had inquiries as to where guests could congregate who weren’t booking an overnight stay. Also, as more businesses downsize their office space and permanently transition to working at home, these Social Distancing Salons are a great option for meetings and conferences. Most importantly, they’re located as you walk into the lobby so contact is minimized tremendously. No need to get on an elevator and reservations are made in advance over the phone.”

For guests who prefer a traditional social setting, social distancing signs in the open, modern lobby remind guests to remain six ft. apart. Two communal tables with integrated convenience power and multiple seating options provide appropriate distancing. Subdued color combinations of gray, blue and caramel were intentionally chosen to create a calming vibe for guests to exhale.

Subtle and bold aviation-inspired designs, complemented by sleek and sophisticated versatile furnishings, propel the LAX adjacent property to a new plane. Art imitates life as many guestrooms overlook the LAX runway and all rooms showcase custom artwork including a stunning airplane panorama and its contrail. A cozy, double-stacked cushion design redefines sofa sleepers as surprisingly sleek and snug, and is replicated with enticing double-stacked cognac-colored ottomans. New flexible desk work stations with ergonomic chairs, integrated convenience outlets and new power hubs create the perfect office workplace. All guestrooms feature soundproof windows with new blackout shades, as well as new draperies, carpet, wallpaper, plush bedding and modern light fixtures. In addition, three new guestrooms were added on the lobby level.

A Peloton bike is one the options at the expanded fitness center which features new equipment ranging from Integrity treadmills and cross-trainers, to adjustable benches and ADA-compliant equipment. The treadmills, cross-trainers and ADA-compliant recumbent bike are all equipped with televisions. Other additions include a two-tier dumbbell rack and optima dual adjustable pulley system.

Subtle influences of aviation design are visible in the corridors of the hotel as the carpet reveals a geometric pattern inspired by airplane wings. No detail was spared from the Courtyard’s oversized grenadine-colored lounge chairs nestled around firepits, to a new EV parking station. Even The Bistro underwent a menu redo which now offers a variety of “grab and go” options, ideal for social distancing, ranging from muffins to sandwiches. Design Force Corporation, based in Denver, oversaw the renovation.