Smartcomm tops Inavation Awards Hospitality category with Fairmont Windsor Park

Cutting-edge technology discreetly contributes to the opulent environment at the Fairmont Windsor Park. Anna Mitchell finds out how that was achieved, and why the project topped the Inavation Awards Hospitality category, when she speaks with integrator SmartComm.

In November 2021 Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, part of the Accor Group of hotels, had a soft opening of its brand-new countryside retreat in Windsor, UK. The 251-room facility set in 120-acres of picturesque grounds just outside London also houses a gym and spa and a suite of meetings and events spaces. What it offers in luxury and comfort, it matches in sustainability and much of this is delivered through the AV and automation systems delivered by integrator SmartComm, winning them the 2023 Inavation Award for best Hospitality Project along the way.

The Fairmont Windsor Park sits on the site that used to be occupied by the Savill Court hotel. This was demolished providing the opportunity to build the new facility from scratch without being hampered by the considerations an older building retrofit can bring. Although the Fairmont Windsor has all the benefits of being in a new, purpose-built hotel, care was taken to emulate the Jacobean manor house that once occupied the site with a design that was sympathetic to the hotel’s surroundings. 

While the new build allowed technology to be considered and provisioned from the start of the project, the installation process wasn’t all plain sailing. “Most of the build and most of our works were done during Covid,” says Darren Orr, bid manager at SmartComm. “We started on site in February 2020 and then Covid hit. The site didn’t close but it was very restricted in how many people on the build, there was one way in and one way out and often we could only have one person in a room at a time. So that slowed the integration process down.”

First fix cabling was handled by electricians, but SmartComm was able to get on site and monitor the installation. In the next stage SmartComm did the second fix and connections. With solid infrastructure in place, SmartComm’s attentions turned to the delivery of in-room systems for the 251 rooms and suites.

HVAC and lighting and shading technology in each room is controlled by Lutron’s myRoom system. “This was one of the first Lutron myRoom projects we’d done at this size,” says Orr. “Because each Lutron myRoom keypad is engraved and bespoke to each room type we had to have the scope of operations signed off and the system programmed before we could order the keypads.”

Each room has a Lutron four-button keypad for curtains and two eight-button keypads for lighting control and privacy settings, with one installed by the headboard and the other in the entrance hall.  

Orr continues: “Originally we understood that there were about 12 room types but that expanded to 28; although many of the rooms look similar, when it came to lighting some had additional circuits or perhaps a small alcove that had to be lit. From a programming point of view, slight variations were required.”

Orr says that at this stage in a hotel build it’s a challenge to programme the rooms how the hotel operations team wants them as the integrator is usually only liaising with the build team. “We can do pretty much anything with the programming, but we don’t necessarily know what the hotel preferences will be at that point,” says Orr.  When it came to the Fairmont Windsor Park, the builder, Grove Developments, was owned by Arora Group, the hotel owner, which Orr says did help somewhat in providing early access to operations teams.

At the Fairmont Windsor Park, room scenes are set up to match usage with different lighting and heating scenarios dependent on if the room is rented or not, if it’s the first time a guest has entered the room, or if it was a guest access key card or housekeeping that opened the room. Energy usage was considered when programming the system to try and ensure the room environment control systems contributed to the sustainable credentials of the hotel as well as minimising operating costs.

“We did a base program and a mock-up room, which they approved,” explains Orr. “Although there are 28 room types some of them were just two rooms. The majority of the rooms were of a single type so we mocked that one up. It did change towards the end, but this approach allowed us to get a head start and write the core program. Then when we made a change, we edited the database and pumped it out to all rooms.”

The myRoom system also had to be integrated with the Amadeus Delphi hotel management system as well as the hotel’s property management systems (PMS) (the hotel uses Oracle’s Opera platform as well as the Accor LAN hotel PMS). This provides powerful functionality including the provision for the occupancy sensors and PIRs in each room and the room controls to notify staff when guests are in the rooms and if they require service or privacy. Guests can also connect to the room control system via mobile device apps.  

Navigating this process was a valuable learning curve for both SmartComm and the Arora Group that has several five-star hotels it has plans to upgrade. “We got a good feel for how you navigate a myRoom project of that size and the client learnt a lot about what they want that system to do in a hotel,” says Orr.

A Bose audio system runs throughout the entire hotel. Arora Group has a long relationship with Bose and dealt directly with the manufacturer with Bose providing the audio technology directly to the hotel and managing the installation.

The system comprises EdgeMax EM90 and EM180 and FreeSpace FS and DesignMax loudspeakers, driven by PowerMatch and PowerShare power amplifiers. More than 160 audio devices were installed across 26 zones, with a further 250 loudspeakers deployed in guest rooms.

SmartComm also delivered AV systems for a business centre, spa, gym, function rooms and ballroom, integrating the systems it installed with the Bose audio installation in the function space and gym and spa area.

The function area is a divisible space which can be used as one room for larger events. SmartComm opted for a Crestron control system and Crestron DigitalMedia for signal distribution within the space. Hotel staff have access to control via a Crestron 7-in TSW-760 wall-mounted touch panel.

A Panasonic WUXGA PT-MZ770EJ laser projector and 3.5m x 2m Screen International projection screen were integrated into the ceiling out of view and can lower down at the touch of a button from the Crestron panel.

Over in the business centre, SmartComm delivered technology for 11 meeting rooms. The integrator returned to Crestron for control, UC videoconference videobars and AirMedia wireless presentation systems that are programmed with Fairmont branded theme templates.  In the majority of the meeting rooms Samsung 75-in displays are wall mounted with Chief LSM1U brackets and concealed behind sliding doors. Two of the smaller rooms have 65-in Samsung displays installed. Most of the spaces also have Polycom SoundStation 2 speakerphones. Two less formal lounge areas are also equipped with similar meeting technology and 55-in Samsung displays.

Throughout the hotel SmartComm installed a Onelan signage and Reserva room booking system as well as four totem displays in the business centre and function rooms, and 27-in Reserva room booking info displays installed outside each meeting room and in the spa area. The Onelan system centrally manages the distribution of content with information about current events, offers, activities, classes and treatments conveyed to guests.

The 2,500 sq m gym and spa area includes several Samsung large format displays, wall mounted in both portrait and landscape orientations. These can be linked to the Onelan system or can display information individually.

After the soft launch, the hotel officially opened in January 2022 but SmartComm’s work at the Fairmont Windsor Park is not over. In addition to an ongoing service contract, SmartComm has returned to site for a rather unusual extension of the luxury hotel.

“We’ve been kitting out treehouses for them,” explains Orr. “Plans are underway for 14 luxury treehouse suites, and we’ve done five already. One was even transported to the Chelsea Flower Show [a prestigious garden show in London]. We’ve integrated the same automation systems, linked back to the guestroom management system, that we did for the guest suites and rooms within the main building.”


Bose EdgeMax EM90, EM180, FreeSpace FS and DesignMax loudspeakers, PowerMatch and PowerShare amplifiers
Polycom SoundStation 2 speakerphones

Crestron control systems, DigitalMedia distribution system, TSW-760 touchpanel, UC-SB1-CAM videobars, AirMedia wireless presentation systems
Lutron myRoom control system and touchpanels
Onelan digital signage and Reserva room booking system

Panasonic PT-MZ770EJ projector
Samsung 55-in, 65-in and 75-in displays
Screen International projection screen

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