Renovation Report: Hilton St. Charles goes from old-world charm to modern classic

Posted on: March 11 2016

By: Valerie Huntley, Market Research/Reporter - New Orleans Business

Project description: Renovation of the Hilton St. Charles to incorporate the owner’s modern vision while retaining the building’s historical significance.
Architect: Manning Architects
Contractor: Humphrey Rich Construction Group; interior designer Parker-Torres Design, Inc.
Owner: Sunstone Canal, LLC
Renovation cost: $1 million
Space: 7,750 square-feet
Start date: February 2015
Completed: August 2015

Built in 1926, the Hilton New Orleans/St. Charles Avenue is known for its glamorous interiors and historic charm, and the architects’ primary focus was to maintain the unique qualities of the building.

Manning Architects, in collaboration with Parker-Torres Design, Inc., performed complete architectural design services for interior and exterior renovations to the hotel. Their goal was to ensure the new design reflected the historical significance of the hotel’s location, all while incorporating the owner’s modern and Southern-style vision.

Manning upgraded 19 hotel suites, renovated eight existing American with Disabilities-compliant rooms and converted two existing guest rooms to meet ADA requirements. Renovations also included full food service equipment, audio and lighting upgrades and accessibility improvements.

Exterior renovations included lighting upgrades and adding two mosaics to the building’s façade, requiring coordination with the city’s Historic District and Landmarks Commission.

Interior renovations included converting an underused meeting room into an updated, full- service executive lounge. The renovation involved construction of a millwork trellis structure inside the room which now houses the new food service, mechanical, electrical and communications systems. The trellis structure allows the executive lounge to have the amenities that are expected in a modern, executive lounge while maintaining the integrity of the historic structure.

“One of the challenges with this project was that the mosaic art pieces installed on the exterior of the building at the main entrance required coordination and approval from the Historic District and Landmarks Commission because the building is designated as a historical landmark,” said senior associate Peter Spera III. “Manning had to work through multiple iterations of detailing and sizing with the owner and HDLC to arrive at a design solution that added interest to existing loggia while respecting the exterior of the historic structure.”

Some of the unique features of the project were the integration of the new millwork and food service equipment into the existing ballroom space, as it allowed the space to meet the requirements of a present-day executive lounge while maintaining the integrity of the historic structure.