Display screens that pop up out of fireplaces, TV screens discretely stowed away in items of furniture, loudspeakers hidden behind walls or in sofas – the list of unique media technology solutions featured at the new Park Hyatt Hotel in Vienna goes on and on. Commissioned by the building contractor, Signa Prima Selection, macom not only installed state-of-the-art media technology at the new premium five-star hotel, but also met plenty of other unorthodox demands. What makes this project so special? None of the installed technology is in plain sight anywhere throughout the landmark building, which is now home to the luxury hotel. A challenge that meant exploring entirely new avenues.

“Media technology at its finest”

Dietmar Ploberger was sure of one thing from the start: Such a grand undertaking and such special technological requests could only be placed in the hands of undisputed specialists. And the sentiments of the project manager from Signa Development Immobilien Entwicklungs GmbH (a real estate development firm based in Vienna that works on projects throughout Europe) were echoed by Hyatt, the operator of the new luxury hotel at the heart of the city.

 

In fact it was Hyatt who actually recommended macom to their Vienna-based real estate partner in the first place, following a successful collaboration in the past. According to Dietmar Ploberger, Signa was impressed by the list of other clients the German audiovisual (AV) specialists had worked with: “We got a clear impression that this is a company with high professional standards.” So the building contractor and hotel operator decided to invite macom to plan the complete installation of all media technology in the Park Hyatt Vienna.

It’s a decision that Dietmar Ploberger hasn’t regretted to this day, two and a half years after the start of construction and only a few short weeks since the grand opening of this magnificent 21,000 sq m hotel. “The results didn’t merely meet our expectations, they exceeded them.” The Park Hyatt Vienna features “the finest media technology” available today, and, above all, it meets the central requirement laid down by the hotel operator: In a hotel that goes to great lengths to serve as a living reference to the turn of the 19th century, not a single cable, monitor, or speaker should be visible – anywhere. Projector screens have no business being lowered in rooms adorned with chandeliers, projectors should not hang around aimlessly from meticulously reconstructed stucco ceilings. The requirements outlined by the commissioned interior design agency, Studio FG stijl from Amsterdam, couldn’t have been tighter, Ploberger emphasizes. The bottom line from his perspective: “macom met these technical requirements to perfection.”

A pinnacle project
The Vienna project is like no other: The building, which is now more than 100 years old, was originally used by a bank. Signa bought the property at the address “Am Hof 2” in 2008 with the intention of redeveloping it into Austria’s first Park Hyatt hotel. Both the building contractor and Hyatt quickly agreed: The landmark building would serve as an unadulterated reflection of the times in which it was built 100 years ago – just as if the original architects were alive today and started building the hotel from the ground up themselves. Signa spared no expense in this endeavor: 20 conservation experts came in to document the building’s historic inventory and supervise the construction activities. Ceilings, walls, and the wall cladding were dismantled and reconstructed at a different location. The entire building was put on hoists to build a pool in the basement area. 200 hand-picked artisans from across Europe were brought in to work on the stone, glass, and woodwork. Certified raw materials were used to weave all-new textiles. Dietmar Ploberger: “Our aim was to leave no room for compromises.”

And macom applied the same yardstick. The Stuttgart-based audiovisual technology specialist delivered a broad scope of services: everything needed for a complete hotel entertainment system and AV technology throughout the entire building – in all 108 rooms and 35 suites, and all public areas (from the fitness center to the ballroom). This covered the concept, the design, implementation planning, the sourcing of subcontractors and building maintenance.

IPTV: The feel-good factor has top priority
macom started by putting the IPTV system out to tender. With one goal in mind: there should be no more discussion with the winner of the tender during the implementation phase. According to Thomas Hülsmann, project manager at macom, this was a complete success. In its role as system integrator, macom certified that the IPTV bid was watertight and that there would be no need for additional work. Signa and Hyatt were also satisfied with the IPTV tender. The solutions offered by Locatel were prized for their flexibility – the service provider can add missing programs in minutes without having to send a technician to the hotel. When it came to the features selected for the IPTV system, the Vienna luxury hotel concentrated on basic functionality like on-screen check outs. Dietmar Ploberger knows that sophisticated extras like connecting personal devices to the TV system via WiFi are not the sort of thing the hotel guests would need. A minimalist approach makes guests feel more comfortable.

Signa was also delighted with the selected TV manufacturer, Loewe. The Loewe screens – connected in the entire hotel to 322 set top boxes – not only offered the best image quality, but also sound quality thanks to their front-mounted speakers. One of many choices, says Ploberger, for which macom provide professional and expert support. This was particularly important considering ownership of Loewe changed hands during the construction phase. Opting for an IP-based TV system still proves to have been the right decision for the Vienna hotel. IPTV offers enormous flexibility, states Dietmar Ploberger. As long as you have a network socket, you can set up a monitor anywhere, which is especially useful for events. This allowed guests to follow the hotel’s grand opening live, as it was broadcast from cameras to all screens in the hotel. Guests can even stream any movie from the central video-on-demand system to the integrated displays on workout equipment in the fitness center. This is then automatically billed to the guests’ room by the hotel system.

The sound of luxury

The 35 suites were even more challenging when it come to the media technology used, comments Ploberger. The contractor wanted to offer guests a surround sound system, but there shouldn’t be a single speaker in sight. macom explored new territory here, experimenting with high-end exciters  hidden in walls and mirrors. And the results were fantastic. Speakers are now hidden behind mirrors, walls, and in furniture in the suites of the Park Hyatt hotel. TV screens automatically rise up out of furniture at the push of a button (pop-up consoles), mirrors unfold to reveal TVs in each hotel room. In the bathrooms, mirrors double as TV screens. All guests in the Park Hyatt can connect their devices to the existing infrastructure through a media hub. And all guests are also offered an additional Bluetooth speaker system (Soundlink Mini by Bose) to listen to music from their own smartphones whenever they want to. macom took on all of the necessary arrangements to implement these special solutions, speaking to the furniture manufacturers and interior designers. “Since every suite and every room is unique, we treated each space as one of 143 individual projects,” Thomas Hülsmann reports.

The “sound bench”: Innovation made by macom
Even the acoustics in the public areas of the new five-star Viennese venue paved the way for new and innovative solutions. After all, the “no visible media” rule applied to every inch of the house including the spa facilities, fitness center, lobby, bar, open-view kitchen, function rooms, and, above all else, the five conference rooms, three break rooms and the 202 sq m ballroom. There was only one solution for the function rooms: Monitors in lieu of canvas screens – and these could only be hidden in the mantlepieces. The result? In the conference rooms, special mechanical systems inside the fireplace push up 70- and 80-inch monitors out of the mantle and a marble slate opens up to reveal the screen. Here too, loudspeakers are hidden in the walls. In the waiting area in the lobby, six high-power speakers were even integrated into a sofa, now nicknamed the “sound bench.” Still not enough innovation? The sofa loudspeakers have different speaker zones, meeting yet another of the client’s requirements: There should be no acoustic overlaps anywhere in the hotel; silent buffer zones permeate the building. And thanks to a total of 100 digital signal processors (DSPs) the acoustics can be individually modified for each area.

Modern technology for the amazement of guests and staff

In the function rooms, the AV technology is operated through user-friendly panels made by AMX. All hotel personnel have access to iPads which are used to control the media technology throughout the building. Yet another instance where the Park Hyatt Vienna boasts state-of-the-art functionality: The system integrator’s iPad software is also used to control the lighting. That means light, audio, and video can be controlled through a single interface – for every public room in the building. So the iPad can be used to steer cameras installed in the ballroom, with the capability to zoom in and out, and even transfer images to a specified location such as one of the conference rooms. As Signa project manager Dietmar Ploberger reports, the hotel staff is “thrilled” with the user-friendly technology. They have never seen anything like it.

Definitely the right choice
Just a few weeks after the grand opening, the Signa team in Vienna drew a thoroughly positive conclusion about their collaboration with the media technology partner from Stuttgart. “We are extremely satisfied, the partnership was a huge success,” says Dietmar Ploberger. macom repeatedly showed its eagerness to immerse itself in this complex project: “macom truly identified with the project.” On top of everything else, the AV specialists were always easy to talk to, even when faced with challenges such as during the implementation phase. Even then, as Ploberger puts it, both sides were always “in agreement” when it came to costs. At the end of the day, 98 percent of project targets were achieved, says Ploberger  – that speaks volumes about the original concept. As Signa would testify, their choice of a specialist for the complex area of media technology was the right selection.

„macom truly identified with the project. We are exztremely satisfied, the partnership was a huge success.“
Dietmar Ploberger, Project Manager Hotels, SIGNA Development Immobilien Entwicklungs GmbH

 

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