Upgrades Turn Manor House Into a Smart Hotel

ADARE, IRELAND—A manor house in a bucolic setting might conjure up thoughts of lords and ladies, but one such property—Adare Manor—is a luxury resort offering tech-forward amenities.

Currently owned by businessman JP McManus, the property has a Robert Tent Jones-designed golf course, ballrooms, and now, fully integrated controls for its 100 guestrooms and suites.

With the touch of a remote or tablet, guests of this 17th-century home-turned-hotel can control many aspects of the guestroom such as the drapes, blinds, lights, room temperature, TV and music. In addition to adjusting the room to their desires, guests can summon hotel services like wake-up calls or valet through one system, which ensures the hotel staff are within easy reach and can provide the perfect stay.

“There was no technology to start with and the hotelier was very keen on having technology. They wanted control of the building management systems, and it had to be elegant,” said Bennie Fitzgibbon, managing director of Velocity, a provider of automation technology Control4. “We put in traditional latching switches. When you walk into a room, you have your traditional switches including on/off, make up room, do not disturb. Everything is digitized, giving the hotelier more control.”

Retrofitting a historic property has its own set of challenges. From start to finish, it took the Velocity team two-and-a-half years to complete the project. The newly outfitted Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort re-opened this past November.

“For the planning, design and opening, we had to keep the same team. It is an old building and there were conservation orders. It looks as it did when it was originally built. It was a lot of sweat and sleepless nights,” said Fitzgibbon. “We had challenges in the older building, getting the audio-video distribution resolved. We put new flooring in and service mounted it, keeping with the theme of the hotel. It still maintains the age, but all of the technology is in there.”

Older windows also received an upgrade with automated blinds and wireless blind control. The drapes and sheers are all controlled by the guest.

“We put in traditional switches and there’s full integration into the property management system. When a guest walks in, everything is ready for them. It’s like a home from home,” he said.

Since the resort’s reopening, the feedback on the technology changes has been positive. “The best feedback you can get is that guests walk in and enjoy their stay. They’re not asking how to shut the curtains or how to operate the TV,” said Fitzgibbon. “We’re delivering a one-stop shop. Control4 manages everything from start to finish versus working with third parties. Audio, video, lighting, networking—we deploy the whole WiFi distribution. It is all Control4.”