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Case Study: Hotel du Pont

CONCEPT: The 214 guestrooms at the Hotel du Pont, which is located near the DuPont corporate headquarters in Wilmington, DE, were in need of some updating, according to Patricia Miller, corporate director of hospitality for Leo A Daly, which handled the renovation. “The guestrooms were last redone in 1986. They had great millwork, but the décor was very heavy,” she explained. “We wanted to bring the DuPont culture back into the hotel.” That meant combining the company’s founders’ French heritage with the innovation that characterizes DuPont today. Instead of combining these two ideas into one uniform design for all of the guestrooms, the firm decided to create two separate design schemes— one that was distinctly classic European and another that was contemporary.

EXECUTION: For both styles of guestrooms, Leo A Daly selected a color palette based on monochromatic tones. “We used color, but not bright color,” said Miller. “We wanted the rooms to be very fresh and bright so we used a lot of sunny shades of yellow and cream. It was palette inspired by agriculture, since DuPont has done a great deal of work in that field, so we combined wheat shades with crisp greens, red and periwinkle.”
Miller noted that the coloration of the furniture was kept constant for both types of guestrooms. However, while the furniture in the European rooms was more traditional with fluid lines and features a sofa upholstered in crushed velvet, the furniture in the contemporary rooms boasts cleaner lines and a soft, nubby fabric on the sofa. Both wall coverings are a tone-on-tone cream— a fleur de lis design for the European rooms and a snakeskin like pattern for the modern rooms. “The European rooms are more ornate while the visuals in the contemporary rooms are sleeker.”

RESULT: The historic building did present a few challenges for the design firm. “The building is quite old and there were many different types and sizes of rooms, so that presented an interesting challenge in terms of laying out the furniture in each guestroom…There was also the issue of trying to get the project done with tight budget constraints,” Miller said. Additionally, because the company only has the one hotel, she explained DuPont relied on Leo A Daly to educate the company about the important aspects of hospitality design.
Now completed, general manager Patrick Hall commented the response from guests has been very positive. “The hotel gets a great deal of repeat business because of its proximity to DuPont headquarters and guests love that we have kept the historic feel of the property,” he said.