Full Service Hotels


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

These may be stand-alone buildings or be located on the upper or middle floors of a multi-use complex that also includes offices, stores, and other facilities.

Emergency generators are sometimes 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.

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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 a minimum of 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 bed room. Each bathroom must be supplied with outdoor air (current ASHRAE Standard 62 requires at least 35 cfm). In some climates, baths have supplementary heat. Systems must be low-maintenance and readily repairable, since shut-down causes 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 in kitchens and laundries, water-loop heat pumps with storage should be considered.

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

Recommendations/Energy Services Opportunities

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

Individual guest room energy management may be economical where units in unoccupied rooms can be shutoff, temperature reset, or all functions controlled from the front desk with guest override. Care must, however, be taken to provide ample dehumidification to prevent mildew and to meet all owner requirements. Power Line Carriers may be a least cost, but effective way of handling this option.

Water Heating

Domestic hot water requirements are for guest room baths (tubs and showers, lavatories), and general cleaning purposes. Hot water consumption varies widely in full service hotels located in urban, suburban, rural, highway, and resort areas. Peak demand, usually from shower use, may last 1 or 2 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 as it is desirable to have hot water available continuously at the fixtures.

Recommendations/Energy Services Opportunities

If existing water heating systems are inefficient or inadequate, replace with modern efficient equipment. Also add better insulation on storage tanks, or timer controls. The ASHRAE Applications Handbook Chapter on Service Water Heating publishes typical hot water use data as well as estimating procedures.

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


Typical System

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


Lighting serves as a marketing tool in 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 integrate with the architectural design of the building. It should also take advantage of daylighting whenever 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 compared to the esthetics desired by the owner. However, esthetics and energy conservation can be compatible and an acceptable solution should be sought with the owner.

Links to Related Topics

Multi-Use Complexes
Motels (sleeping only)
Convention Centers
Sports Arenas
Performing Theaters
Concert Halls
Movie Theaters