Suite Success

The Penthouse Suite at the Fairmont San Francisco. The Presidential Suite at the Plaza. Exceptional hotel suites have achieved legendary status by delivering extraordinary experiences. To create a space that exceeds expectations, considerations range from selecting distinctive furnishings to incorporating seamless technology. But paramount to designing a suite that will inspire guests to return is tailoring it to the property's target audience. When developing the concept for a hospitality destination, we first seek to understand guest lifestyle — their taste in fashion, décor and amenities — and design accordingly.

Following are case studies of luxury suites at two properties — one a gracious Southern resort, one a glamorous urban hotel — with luxury suites that have been exactingly customized to their market segment.


The Sea Island Golf Club, located on St. Simons Island in Georgia, has enjoyed a reputation as one of the game's premier courses since opening in 1929. In 2001, developer Sea Island Company further enhanced the resort with The Lodge at Sea Island, an intimate luxury hotel featuring 40 guestrooms and suites. With amenities like world-class golf, a private airstrip nearby and personal butler service, the Lodge attracts an exclusive clientele of very upscale travelers and small groups (including the 2004 G8 Summit). It also has a private membership component.

When designing The Lodge, our goal was to create interiors that were respectful of the club's legacy and tailored to the classic bespoke taste of its guests. The design was inspired by timeless English manor style and elegant northeastern estates, and the hotel features wonderful antiques, extensive custom millwork and meticulous craftsmanship. Each spacious suite was individually decorated to give the feeling of having been “collected” over time. They feature custom furnishings, exquisite tapestries, oriental rugs and Frette linens. The luxurious bathrooms feature deep-soak tubs, oversized shower heads, multiple sinks and imported English fixtures. Generous wood-fitted closets provide ample space for extended stays, and ambient lighting creates a romantic atmosphere. The finishing touches include such amenities as personalized stationery, crystal glassware and Bose sound systems.

Since opening six years ago, The Lodge has been an annual recipient of the AAA Five Diamond and Mobil 5-Star Awards, and was named the #1 Small Hotel by Zagat for 2004, 2005 and 2006.


On the opposite coast, the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel offers sophisticated accommodations to a very different audience. Located immediately adjacent to the Kodak Theatre, home of the Academy Awards, the Renaissance Hollywood caters to a high-visibility entertainment industry clientele.

We celebrated the legacy of two historic elements when creating the interiors: classic Hollywood glamor and the mid-century modern design of Southern California. Inspired by the architecture of Case Study houses, the work of Charles and Ray Eames and Julius Shulman's architectural photography, the primary design scheme features a backdrop of natural woods highlighted by vibrant fabrics and artwork. Featured throughout are furniture designs of the period by Noguchi, Eames and Platner.

Offering a truly elevated experience, atop the hotel is the circular, 3,000-square-foot Panorama Suite. Formerly a rotating restaurant, the suite features spectacular 270-degree wraparound views of the city, a suitably glamorous backdrop for the media headquarters for the Oscars. Designed as a hospitality suite, the Panorama's furnishings can be configured to accommodate meetings or industry events. The main space features a stylish custom table large enough for board meeting, as well as ample room for a projection screen, and state-of-the-art technology.

When it's time to celebrate that latest award, the Panorama Suite can play host to a smashing soirée, with grand piano, a brushed stainless-steel bar and impeccable service facilitated by a hallway pantry and catering prep area. Post-party, guests can retire to one of four bedrooms or relax in a marble-and-granite master bath with jetted tub.

The Panorama Suite was featured on The Travel Channel as one of the World's Top Ten Hotel Suites.

Contact Jill Cole at the company's Los Angeles headquarters at 310-827-7200. The firm's website is

Editor's note: Jill I. Cole, president of interior design firm Cole Martinez Curtis and Associates, has designed luxury hotels, resorts, clubs and spas around the world, and here looks at the creation of two distinctive suites.

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