Full Service Hotels


Hotel DoorwayAccommodations in full service hotels tend towards the luxury category and consist mainly of single rooms with a toilet and bath adjacent to the corridor, and additional guest rooms on both sides. Some rooms (or all in a "suites-hotel") are multi-room suites with kitchenettes and outside sliding doors that lead to patios or balconies. Today, rooms are also designated as smoking and non-smoking. In addition to the guest rooms, full service hotels may include lobbies, dining rooms, kitchens, lounges, conference and meeting rooms, exhibit halls, business centers, and ballrooms. Indoor and/or outdoor pools may also be included in addition to workout rooms and/or spas.

Hotels are most commonly found as stand-alone buildings, but they may also be located in a multi-use complex that includes offices, stores, and other facilities.

Emergency generators are usually provided for power outage protection. Utilities are often asked to provide dual feeders and automatic transfer switches to protect against power outages. Small UPS systems may be required for billing and check-in computers and facility control systems (EMS, fire alarms, etc.).

Additional Information:

Food Service
Fitness Clubs
Indoor Pools
Full Service Restaurant
Fast Food Restaurant


The HVAC system serving the guest rooms should be quiet, individually controlled, draft-free, and provide adequate fresh air. Designs that require minimal room space are also important. Full service hotel owners are generally more interested in guest comfort than operating cost. However, owning and operating cost and reliability are usually more important than first cost.

Typical System

Guest room systems for these facilities range from individual room units (PTACs, PTHPs, water-loop heat pump units) to central chilled and hot water plants serving individual room fan-coil units. Units can be located in the outer wall, over the bathroom or vestibule, or vertically in the wall between the bath and bedroom. Each bathroom must also be supplied with outdoor air (current ASHRAE Standard 62 requires at least 35 cfm). In some climates, baths also have supplementary heat. Systems must be low-maintenance and readily repairable, since shut-down results in loss of revenue.

Non-guest room spaces, particularly ballrooms, can be served by individual systems or from the central plant. Thermal storage should be considered, because of the no-load to high-load characteristics.

With the substantial public areas requiring cooling during the heating season and with large heat sources required in kitchens and laundries, water-loop heat pumps with plenty of storage should be considered.

Ballrooms are typically show-pieces and used for multiple types of functions; they should be served by their own entire system, but, at the very least, by their own air distribution, with ample provision for outdoor air, because of the high generation of smoke and odors. Multiple zones should also be established, since most ballrooms can be partitioned into smaller rooms.

Energy Saving Recommendations

Operating cost savings are possible by exhausting air from the dining and other such facilities to the kitchens, laundry, storage rooms, and workshops. Heat recovery (desiccant, heat pipes, or glycol runaround systems) from exhaust air should be considered. Large buildings should have good instrumentation for all major energy systems in order to ensure economical operation.

Individual guest room energy management may be economical, so that units in unoccupied rooms can be shut off, have the temperature reset, or all functions controlled from the front desk with guest override. Care must, however, be taken to provide ample dehumidification in order to prevent mildew and to meet all owner requirements. Power Line Carriers may be a cheap and effective way of handling this.

Water Heating

Domestic hot water applications are for guest room baths (tubs and showers, bathrooms), and general cleaning purposes. Hot water consumption varies widely depending on the location of the full service hotel. Peak demand, usually from shower use, may last one or two hours and then drop off sharply. Food service, laundry, and swimming pool requirements are additive.

Typical System

Service water heating is done separately from building space heating. Many hotels and motels heat water with conventional gas water heaters or electric resistance water heaters; and, in some cases, point-of-use heaters. Steam converters are used in many cases to supply individual water needs. Hot water is typically stored in one or more insulated tanks until used. In some cases, larger tanks are used with the electric heaters programmed for off-peak operation. Most quality hostelries use central distribution systems with storage and constant recirculation, because it is desirable to have hot water available continuously at all fixtures.

Energy Saving Recommendations

If existing water heating systems are inefficient or inadequate, they should be promptly replaced with efficient, modern equipment. You may also wish to add timer controls and/or better insulation on storage tanks. The ASHRAE Applications Handbook chapter on Service Water Heating analyzes typical hot water use data as well as estimating procedures.

If a source of waste heat (i.e. tower water) is available for most of the year, consider a water-to-water heat pump heater, or a water-to-air heat pump water heater in order to economically produce hot water, while still providing inexpensive cooling to the kitchen/corridors/etc.. Heat pump water heaters may also be applicable in the pool area in order to supply humidity and temperature control to the indoor pool and workout area, and to heat the spa water for the pool, hot tub and/or shower.


Typical System

Almost all hotel facilities contain restaurants or fast food operations. Their cooking needs should be handled accordingly.


Lighting serves as a marketing tool in many hotels and restaurants. The lighting should create an attractive, comfortable, and inviting atmosphere, while also, of course, helping workers do their jobs.

Design of the lighting system should be integrated with the architectural design of the building. It should also take advantage of daylight wherever possible. Lighting may even be an element of the interior design.

The owner will have very specific lighting requirements in most cases. The electrical and maintenance operating cost of the lighting is usually insignificant when the aesthetics desired by the owner are taken into consideration. However, aesthetics and energy conservation can be compatible and an acceptable compromise should be sought with the owner.

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