"We had made up our mind from the beginning that we wanted to use stone," said project architect and owner Bipin Patel of Hotel Squared Corp. in Winchester, VA. Patel explained that he wanted to use a durable material such as natural stone for the Comfort Suites, because he had witnessed problems with other materials in high-traffic areas of previous hotels he designed. "We were noticing that every five years we had to replace the wallpaper because of wear and tear," he said. "We wanted something solid [for the Comfort Suites]. That's why we chose granite."
According to the architect, the types of stones were chosen from among the collection on display in the showroom of American Slate Group in Decatur, AL. In total, the hotel features 4,000 square feet of 12- x 12-inch Raw Silk granite tiles, which were employed for the bathroom floors and side walls; 3,000 square feet of Kashmere White granite for the lobby floors - accented by borders and designs of Absolute Black granite; and 84 vanity tops made of Raw Silk granite.
The selection process entailed finding colors that would complement the wallpaper, which was already chosen for the rooms, said Patel. "We told Sam [Anatula from American Slate Group] that we wanted a stone to match," he said. "The Raw Silk was a new stone from a quarry in India."
To add dimension to the design, a unique pattern was created in the stonework. "A similar style pattern is seen throughout the building," said Patel. One area in particular that is noticeable is the main vestibule, where a floor-to-ceiling wall design is prominent. The design features a large square of Raw Silk granite outlined by a border of Black Absolute granite and a red-colored granite. The two colors are interwoven to form a three-dimensional pattern.
In total, it took 11 months to complete the construction of the 54,000-square-foot building, but the stone installation was finished in four months, according to the architect. The stonework was installed by Vallarie Marble and Tile of Winchester, VA, which has worked on several other projects with Patel. "I had a good stonemason," he said. "He has done five or six hotels for me. He is a well-experienced person who knows what he is doing."
Because of a slight variation in the color of the granite, minimal weeding of stone pieces was done at the job site, according to Patel. "Since the stone is natural and comes from the ground, you don't have control [over the variation]," he said, adding that the pieces that did vary in color were taken out and used in small areas where they would be less conspicuous.