With over 1,000 rooms, the largest hotel at Disneyland® Paris and one of the largest in Europe, Disney’s Newport Bay Club® has been undergoing a complete refurbishment, in line with the global renovation plan being rolled out for all the hotels at the destination. Begun in 2013, the renovations recently passed a symbolic hurdle when half of the hotel’s rooms were completed. Major infrastructures such as the pool and the restaurants have also been refurbished. While the planned second phase is being carried out, let us take a look at this rather unusual work site.
In October 2013 refurbishment began on this majestic hotel, which is inspired by the seaside resorts of New England. Led by Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) Creative Paris and Artistic Director Sylvie Massara, this involved a complete redesign of its facilities: new decoration for rooms and corridors, a new look for the lobby, a new shop, and a redesign of the restaurants and the pool area. The FAM team, aka Facilities Assets Management, has also been working on this major project for months, scheduling the work, launching calls for tenders and coordinating the project on a daily basis, with the external companies and the Disney teams. Gilles Nicoulaud, Director FAM Construction and Engineering, told us, “We decided to carry out the work in two phases so the hotel could continue to welcome guests. First we focused on the 524 rooms of the East Wing, the pool and fitness areas, and the kitchens and dining areas of the two restaurants, the Cape Cod and the Yacht Club. With 250 workers on the construction site, our greatest challenge was to carry out the work while having as little impact as possible on our guests.”
In order to meet this challenge, the whole hotel team had to be involved. For example, to prevent guests from accessing the construction site, temporary walls were built to cleverly mask it. For a five-month period, all the hotel dining was relocated to Disney’s Newport Bay Club Convention Centre and the teams went out of their way to ensure that guests had exactly the same quality experience. Magalie Murillo, in charge of Service Quality, declares, “The Cast Members did a wonderful job and tended to each and every need of our guests.” When the restaurants re-opened, guests discovered not just a refurbished decore, but indeed a totally different one. Walt Disney Imagineering Artistic Director Sylvie Massara completely transformed these dining locations, and, as she confides, “The Yacht Club now is reminiscent of the warm interiors of a luxury ocean liner, and complements the hotel’s nautical theme and the new decor of the rooms. We also incorporated new materials into the design and addressed accessibility issues, making the hotel a more welcoming space for both Guests and Cast Members.”
Both inside and outside, the hotel is slowly but surely being renovated. The roofs, balconies and façades are being replaced by new and more durable materials, in warmer shades than before. The dock is sparkling new, and soon the lighthouse, the hotel’s symbol overlooking Lake Disney, will be too. Carpets and wallpaper in the East Wing were all replaced, giving the area a more luxurious aspect. The rooms were given special treatment: new furniture, lighting, flat-screen TVs, bed covers and headboards, windows, curtains, pictures and bathroom appliances. Sylvie Massara has completely redesigned the rooms, as she has done for the other hotels, discretely adding Disney characters in the decor, which is a popular added detail with our guests. The rooms are equipped with new air conditioning and energy saving systems, and the doors have new magnetic RFID locks.
But that’s not all! The pool area has also been brought up to current standards of accessibility, as well as of comfort, design and safety. The acoustics have been improved (-7 Db), the floors and external steps have been given a non-slip cover, and, when the warmer weather comes around, guests will be able to go from the interior pool to the outdoor one. The pools have been repaired and repainted, and the sauna, hammam and fitness rooms have been completely rebuilt and equipped with the latest appliances. These improvements have enthralled our guests and our Cast Members as Fabien Pelletier, Recreation Team Leader, told us: “The members of our pool team, who all have the BNSSA certificate [the French national safety and life-saving certificate], are all very happy and proud today to welcome our guests to this magnificent, brand-new leisure area, which extends the magic after a day in the Disney Parks”.
The second phase is well underway
The 524 new rooms and pool were handed over in December 2014, and the WDI and FAM teams are already busy with phase 2 of the hotel’s renovation, which focuses on the central building (reception and public areas) and the West Wing guest rooms. The work will be similar, but there will be additional guest amenities.
For example, those staying in our executive rooms will be welcomed with a concierge service at the new Compass Club executive check-in and the adjacent Compass Club Lounge, to be located in the area formerly occupied by the boutique. An elegant new design for the reception area will carry through the same tones and nautical motifs as the rooms and corridors. The charming Captain’s Quarters bar will be refurbished and a fresh new boutique will open adjacent to the reception. Toward the end of 2015, the final stage of this ambitious renovation will focus on the Convention Center and everything will be in place by Spring 2016.
With all these initiatives in progress and an ever-improved experience for our guests, Disney’s Newport Bay Club will be the talk of the town over the months to come, and Disneyland Paris News will of course cover the major phases of this vast worksite. No one could express this better than Marco Bernini, Director of the hotel: “This is a huge project, befitting the the scale of Disney’s Newport Bay Club. It is one of the most emblematic establishments of our Resort, with its imposing and majestic façade, its grand proportions and its seaside-themed decoration. Nothing will be left to chance to further please our guests and meet their expectations. We are now halfway into this long journey. Between now and the final touches, I know I can count on the whole Newport Bay Club team to continue to welcome our guests and to do everything possible to make their stay with us truly unforgettable.”