Marriott renovation pivotal for Royal Design

The entrance to the Marriott Toronto Airport includes a striking piece of artwork.
The entrance to the Marriott Toronto Airport includes a striking piece of artwork.

By Colleen Isherwood; Photos by Elaine Kilburne

TORONTO — Morguard-owned Marriott Toronto Airport is enjoying a pause between renovations, with the public areas and the pool completed and guest room renovations coming soon. For Royal Design’s Jolanta Lukus, the initial design work at the hotel was pivotal.

The $4 million lobby renovation, which included the Great Room and M-Club spaces, was completed over a year ago. It was the first one that embraced a new style of design, and it prompted Lukus to move her office from Newmarket, Ont., to Richmond Hill, Ont., into a building that embraced that new style.

The lighting in the Marriott Toronto Aiport bar is subdued, designed to provide a cosy feeling at the end of the day.
The lighting in the Marriott Toronto Aiport bar is subdued, designed to provide a cosy feeling at the end of the day.

“For us, designing this hotel was a life-changing experience. It is a blend of a very industrial look. It’s very moody — typically, people want bright spaces, but this one brings you a cosy feeling at the end of the day. The lighting is subdued and dimmer. 

“There’s a huge emphasis on a unique industrial look, with exposed ducts, beams and ceilings. We kept things simple and minimalistic, making the most of three-dimensional metal architectural details. There’s also something on the wall other than typical framed art.”

In the M Club, which can be accessed by Marriott Bonvoy Silver and Platinum rewards members, the unique art takes the shape of giant buttons wrapped in wire. When the hotel was renovated, the M Club was being redesigned as an exclusive space for top tier guests to retreat, recharge, and refocus. It’s located a few steps down behind a glass door that separates it from the rest of the lobby.

The breakfast buffet — note the wire containers for dispensing fruit.
The breakfast buffet — note the wire containers for dispensing fruit.

The dining area is divided into niches, so that guests feel comfortable in little niches, rather than being lost in a 200-seat restaurant that may not be full on the weekends, for example.

That new style of design got Lukus to look at their old office in Newmarket, which Lukus compared to “the perfect suit.” Royal Design’s new office in Richmond Hill has a very different look, with exposed architectural elements. Lukus compares it to the “suited” look of their previous office, saying the new office has a unique look that speaks of jeans and diamond necklaces.

While Royal Design uses innovative lighting and artwork in their designs, Lukus stresses that they buy these items from a collection of different suppliers. “Certain things have to come from the U.S.,” she told CLN. “But they are not custom — they’re specced from catalogues.”

The pool had not been renovated in a number of years. Royal Design stripped it down and redid it with simple, minimalistic, concrete finishes.

The pool area features a mosaic feature wall (right) done to resemble screens in the lobby (below).  Note the metal architectural detail visible in the windows above the pool.
The pool area features a mosaic feature wall (right) done to resemble screens in the lobby (below). Note the metal architectural detail visible in the windows above the pool.

The lobby has screens with dividers showing an abstract design that resembles tree branches.  “We wanted to recreate that same detail in the pool area so that the motif carries through,” said Lukus. “We created a feature wall done in mosaic — it’s an iridescent mosaic that sparkles at night.”

The Marriott Toronto Airport is pausing before it implements a new design for its guest rooms. “The guest rooms are next,” Lukus said. “We’ve completed a mock up and those renos are still to come.”

The motif from these dividers in the lobby area is also used in the pool area mosaic feature wall.
The motif from these dividers in the lobby area is also used in the pool area mosaic feature wall.