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Hill’s Steigenberger Hotel Renovation Opens in Cologne, Germany

Modernization of the iconic Steigenberger Hotel in Cologne, Germany, is now complete, officials announced. Operated previously as the Hotel Cologne Rudolfplatz, the Steigenberger Hotel is a protected landmark in downtown Cologne, a popular Rhine destination.

The completed, 21,340-square-meter hotel contains 305 modern rooms, as well as a new ballroom and meeting space, and a renovated bar and restaurant. Its post-war, mid-century modern design has been complemented by sleek, sustainable furnishings and décor and modern amenities.

“This iconic hotel has been an integral part of Cologne and its tourism-driven economy for decades,” said Hill International country manager Dean Sollors.

Property owner Cologne Value Added, a subsidiary of Spanish investor Azora, retained Hill International to manage the hotel’s modernization. The Steigenberger Hotel Group, an upscale hospitality chain with locations throughout Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, will operate the completely renovated hotel.

Hill didn’t waste any time developing an accelerated programme.  “Our plan to complete the removals, demolition, infrastructure upgrades and fit-out of all hotel areas, including 305 hotel rooms, and reopen the hotel in seven months, cut four months off the duration.  That is four months in revenue that we helped to generate for the client.”

Hill’s hands-on management approach was an important factor contributing to the project’s success.  “Our team carefully managed the remaining [construction] package procurement to ensure that all installations dove-tailed at exactly the right time,” Sollors added.  “In total, Hill managed 30 contract packages.”

Hill also worked hard to identify potential cost and time savings.  “We looked at everything.  For example, our in-house technical experts looked at the time- and cost-saving upgrades to existing equipment and facilities versus their complete replacement,” Sollors explained.  “Our cost optimisation efforts delivered a savings of over €2.5 million.”

Hill also facilitated between the contractor, owner and hotel operator, to find cost-saving alternatives to furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Hill helped to ensure that the modernized hotel and the work that went into it were both feasible and compliant with stringent fire and safety requirements.  Our team worked closely with the fire engineers, manufacturers and the project team to develop solutions that met both the owner’s vision and the fire protection requirements,” Sollors explained.

To help promote communication and accelerate progress, Hill involved both CVA, the property owner, and Steigenberger Hotels, in the design and construction processes, and devised an ongoing deficiency rectification program to resolve problems quickly.  As a result of the success of this program, Steigenberger Hotels agreed to open the hotel in parallel with a three-month commissioning phase. “Commissioning is a ‘testing’ phase that usually takes place after construction is completed.  Opening the hotel while concurrently performing the commissioning saved considerable time and was a testament to Steigenberger’s faith in the entire project team,” Sollors said.

The hotel is centrally located near Cologne’s many historic sites and cutting-edge museums, and now boasts a deft mix of sustainable, state-of-the-amenities and technological advances that today’s travellers demand. Lighting, temperature controls and bathroom fixtures use less precious resources and give guests more control over their environments, Sollors said.  Public areas and meeting rooms also have been enhanced with new technologies.

New touches had to seamlessly meld with the existing design, Sollors added.  “The complete fit-out of the public areas on the ground floor had to take place while protecting many features of the listed building.  For example, work had to proceed without damaging the lobby’s beautiful listed marble floors and columns.”

Sollors said he and the project team are incredibly pleased with the results.  “Together, we managed to compress the construction schedule while maintaining the client’s budget and quality expectations,” he said.

Sollors is confident that the renovated hotel will be a hit with business travellers, tourists and local residents alike.

“The renovation has returned the property to its place as a premier destination in Cologne, keeping the best of what made it iconic and adding new features that are as functional and sustainable as they are beautiful.”

By Tricia McCunney