Stone World

Hotel renovation relies on stone

January 10, 2004


Two blocks away from the White House in Washington, DC, the 19th century Shoreham Building houses a new Sofitel Hotel. As an addition to a chain of hotels, this Sofitel Hotel has located itself in the historical district of the nation's capital. Originally built in 1880, the limestone building stands at 12 stories and contains 270 rooms. The 180,000-square-foot structure was renovated to the standards of other Sofitel Hotels with a variety of granite and marble, as well as travertine and limestone.

In creating this new Sofitel, a classic design with elegance and timelessness were the elements for achieving the desired aesthetic, according to architect Marie-Taule Petitjan of Brennan Beer Gorman in New York, NY. This was achieved by restoring the existing stonework as well as bringing in new material. “In the lobby of the Sofitel, the existing travertine was restored and cleaned,” explained Petitjan. “For the new areas of the lobby - the library corner and the small shop - new travertine was installed.”

As for other areas in the hotel, the stonework included a variety of granite and marble in a polished finish. “In the guest bathrooms, 12- x 12-inch tiles of Verde Saltan granite were used for the floor and vanity tops,” said Petitjan. The same stone was used throughout the public spaces, including floor patterns, on the walls of the elevator lobbies and in cut-to-size pieces for the telephone stands.

In the male public restrooms, Verde Saltan was also used for the floor and vanity tops. As for the female public restrooms, Imperador marble was used for the floor and vanity tops. “The ballroom was walled with Botticino as opposed to the Beige Capri - just like the guest bathroom walls - and the pilasters were created with limestone in a honed finish,” said Petitjan.

“Interior demolition started in November 2000, and the hotel opened in June 2002,” said the architect.

All of the stone was supplied through Dal-Tile Corp. in Alexandria, VA, and the Verde Saltan marble was imported by Stone Suppliers, LLC of Westwood, MA.

The four-and-a-half month installation of the stone required 31 workers to complete. The stone that was used for vertical surfaces was set with wire ties and plaster spots, according to Telly Koutris from the David Allen Co. in Manassas, VA. “The most difficult installation was the main lobby stone flooring where we installed brass strips and medallions,” said Koutris. In terms of the architecture, the most difficult element of the project was the matching of the existing travertine with the new one in the lobby, according to Petitjan.