Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. Architects - The Royal, much more than a hotel
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The Royal, much more than a hotel

Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. Architects

Hospitality  /  Completed
Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. Architects

The design team drew inspiration from the building’s former state of deterioration, embracing the imprint of time and reimagining it with the utmost refinement to evoke a state of sublime transformation. White oak millwork that resembles exposed wall studs, inlaid mosaic tile offset to mimic a rug that has slipped out of place, and rippled ceiling rosettes playfully reference the hotel’s once dilapidated and waterlogged state. Guestroom fireplaces are clad in fluted concrete panels as if awaiting their polished marble cladding, and gilded industrial-grade metal is used to reinstate two quintessential Victorian design elements: the hotel’s exterior balustrade and the elevator cages.

Most hospitality offerings in the County are modest in scale and leverage being in the countryside. The Royal introduces a grander scale of hospitality for both guests and locals, albeit one that still feels connected to the contemporary rhythms of the region. The Royal’s street-front café, parlour, and library must shift from bright and lively during the day to low-lit and atmospheric at night, providing communal spaces for local residents and hotel guests to gather, work and strike up conversations. In place of a grand lobby bar, a custom armoire in the parlour opens to reveal a “shake it yourself” cocktail bar, creating appropriate functionality for the informality of the locale.

At its best, design is a practice of care and an opportunity to create real, lasting, impactful change. The Royal repurposes a derelict, 19th C. Victorian mercantile building through a process of surgical restoration and state-of-the-art upgrades. The goal is durability - a lasting structure resuscitated to thrive into the next century. The building’s new envelope, including new windows custom designed to emulate the original windows but now with high-performance glazing and seals, exponentially improves the structure’s energy efficiency. Significantly, the Royal's sensitive restoration has prompted the local community to establish a historic preservation mandate, serving as a benchmark for future heritage conservation efforts in Prince Edward County.

Playing on the expectations of the hotel’s name, history, and context, the design team embraced the quintessential tropes of a Victorian railway hotel by isolating them, abstracting them, and then reinserting them to create a rich contrast between the ‘genteel’ formalities of British tradition and the ‘real’ informalities of rural Ontario. Reinterpreted Victorian elements creating a "royal contrast" between the past and the future legacy of the Royal distance the hotel from the building’s buttoned-up past. Scalloped bathroom vanities in the guest suites, “wrinkles” along the edges of the dining room’s harvest table, and the parlour’s undulating fireplace surround mimic starched linens being pressed into service in surprising new ways. This petrification of traditional Victorian textiles emerges as one of the hotel’s foundational design concepts, guiding key materials and motifs. Tartan is rendered in stone mosaic tiles in guest room bathrooms, herringbone white oak flooring inset like a rug guides guests down a hallway, and wood-framed cross-stitched vinyl mesh used for the guest room headboards recalls the decorative threads of unfinished embroidery still stretched and bound by a wooden hoop.

"The Royal isn’t just a hotel, it’s actually two restaurants, a bakery, a café, several bars, a dining room, a retail pop-up, a spa and a hotel. It’s several vertical businesses under the same roof that all need to work well together. The café at the Counter Bar is a place to linger. During the day it’s bright and relaxed. At night, the lights dim and the music goes up, sultry and cool. Having this flexibility in design was key for operating a hotel in a seasonal market” Sol Korngold, GM


 Picton, Prince Edward County
 247 Main Street Picton LP
 Hotel, Restaurant, Bar
 3000 mq
 Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. Architects
 Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. Architects
 Structure Corp, HADY Construction Associates (building shell)
 Heritage: ERA Architects Inc. - Landscape: Janet Rosenberg Studio - Kitchen: Trend Foodservice Design & Consulting - Acoustics: J.E. Coulter Associates Ltd. FF&E - Graphic Design/Signage/Branding: Blok Design - Artwork: Tatar Art Projects - AV: The Terminators 2008 Inc. - IT: TAS Consulting - Code: LRI
 Procurement: P360 Concepts Inc.
 Younes Bounhar (Doublespace Photography), Graydon Herriott


Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. Architects is a Toronto‑based design firm led since 1995 by principals Ralph Giannone and Pina Petricone. We are architects with work that extends from the scales of “the spoon to the city.” We are committed to contributing to a vibrant environment and see our projects as a careful choreography of architectural design, interior design, environmental design, and public realm experiences. Regardless of scale, our measure of quality is a project’s ability to positively transform and better everyday life.

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