La Romana in the Dominican Republic is a picturesque coastal town in the southeast part of the country on the Caribbean Ocean. In July 2023, the Hilton Garden Inn La Romana opened to provide a unique property for the region as it caters more to budget and business travelers rather than all-inclusive or high-end leisure like the large resorts that populate the island.
The Hilton Garden Inn hotel chain has 800 locations in 40 countries, and 90 percent of the hotels are franchised, including its La Romana location. Former Major League Baseball player and La Romana native Edwin Encarnacion is the majority owner of the La Romana franchise, and he wanted to create an experience to make guests feel at home. With the help of a local commercial distributor and AV Integration firm, Musitempo, the hotel installed AtlasIED audio technology to achieve his goal and for the enjoyment and safety of the guests.
Hotels have a range of audio needs to support staff and cater to guests. First, the venues must adhere to local building safety codes that require operators to alert guests and deliver emergency announcements throughout a property. These announcements enable hotels to provide critical information or direct guests where to go or what to do in case of an emergency. Hotels also install audio to support the guest experience. Background music enhances the mood of people shopping, dining, playing, or relaxing, and music played at the La Romana is intended to create a comfortable ambiance for guests.
The hotel ownership’s primary contractor for the project, electrical, infrastructure and security company Symantel, turned to Fernando Hernandez Voigt, Chief Technology Officer of Musitempo, a local Dominican Republic audiovisual distributor and integrator, for the AV and acoustic installation. With extensive experience using AtlasIED in commercial projects, Hernandez felt confident the company’s loudspeakers and the Atmosphere AtlasIED platform ideally suited the hotel’s audio needs.
The heart of the La Romana hotel’s audio system is the Atmosphere AZM8, an eight-zone digital signal processor, which helps control the audio through a web app. Using the AZM8, Hernandez can create up to eight zones across the hotel, including the lobby, three conference rooms, the hotel elevators, the pool, and the gym. Using Atmosphere, he then took the hotel’s music playlists and customized volume across each area. For instance, the lobby plays music but it needs to be played at a lower level to allow guests and staff to communicate at check-in. On the other hand, the restaurant wanted to add energy with a different music playlist played at a higher level. With Atmosphere, Hernandez could customize each zone based on guest traffic patterns and adjust them for certain times of day, such as in the mid-afternoon check-in rush at the reception desk or the evening dinner time in the restaurant.
The ability to remotely manage the system was another primary benefit for Hernandez in choosing Atmosphere for the Hilton Garden Inn project. “With AtlasIED Atmosphere, it is very easy for me and my team to access the system from our offices in Santo Domingo, which is about a two-hour drive to La Romana,” said Hernandez. “Having the ability to access the system, troubleshoot it or solve the issue remotely saves us time and the hotel money on service costs as we can avoid the drive and the need to be physically onsite to resolve it. It’s a major benefit for everyone.”
In addition to remote management, the hotel wanted to give staff the ability to control volume manually onsite when needed. Musitempo chose the Atmosphere C-ZSV touchscreen wall controller for easy access in the lobby and restaurant. They also installed multiple A-BT Bluetooth wall audio input that allows personnel with access to the system to connect their phone via the A-BT to stream music.
Musitempo chose AtlasIED’s FAP loudspeakers in a range of sizes to provide sound across the various zones. Hernandez specified the 6.5-inch in-ceiling, shallow-mount loudspeakers in common areas throughout the hotel, including the lobby, restaurant, and gym. He chose the 4-inch FAP40T model on each floor near the elevators to deliver all-facility information to guests when needed. Additionally, Hernadez added several AtlasIED GST-G outdoor garden loudspeakers to create a separate audio zone in the patio and pool area. The green-colored GST-G speakers are designed to blend into any environment and include a deep base for in-landscape burial.
As part of the project, Symantel and Musitempo connected the audio system, including Atmosphere, with a fire alarm system to create a more integrated system. “We integrated the fire alarm system with the audio system to comply with local NFPA N72 codes, which are the same fire codes used in the United States,” said Hernandez. “Using the [high priority input on the] Atmosphere AZM8, when a fire alarm activates, the music is muted, and we set up a pre-recorded announcement to play along with the alarm itself.”
With a microphone installed in the office, the hotel staff now can make routine announcements throughout the entire property or to specific zones when needed. Additionally, given Atmosphere’s ability to scale the wide range of accessories, they can add new components to the systems as the hotel’s needs evolve and expand over time.
“We continue to recommend AtlasIED products because we trust them,” added Hernandez Voigt. “We trust them because we’ve installed them repeatedly and they are reliable. Plus, the company’s customer service is excellent, which makes a difference for us.”