Unable to core-drill to relocate below-floor plumbing lines, commercial tile and stone specialist Haven Tile needs only 15 weeks to convert 235 old bathtubs into luxurious showers in the 14-floor resort hotel, using QuickDrain USA’s ShowerLine system.
PETE BEACH, FLORIDA — As part of a complete revitalization of the iconic Pink Palace®, the Don Cesar remodeled 241 guest rooms and 36 suites to offer luxurious amenities and sweeping views of the coastal surroundings. Since 1928, the Gulf Coast’s Beachfront hotel has welcomed sun-seekers, luxury travelers and some of America’s most famous — and notorious — figures.
For a project that started in September 2020, the hotel hired Haven Tile Company to implement the bathroom renovations. Specializing in hospitality projects, Haven Tile offers project-design services, material choices for specific applications and installation services
With more than twenty years of experience in bathroom and kitchen finishing and remodeling, CEO Nick Haven and his brother established a second company, Haven Distributing. This business was started to help contractors, architects, and designers find a dependable and reliable provider for top-of-the-line brands. According to Haven, the family wanted to create a business that could quickly and efficiently get supplies into the hands of the people that need them.
Completed in December 2020, the Don Cesar’s guest room and suite renovations included converting 235 old bathtubs to showers on 14 floors. Haven Tile offered turn-key services to the hotel ownership group, handling the warehousing, providing all the material as well as the installation for the Don Cesar project. “We see the project through all the way, from the supply chain to the final punch,” says Haven.
The main challenge on the Don Cesar project? The construction crew had to avoid x-raying or core-drilling after removing the old bathtubs, because post-tension cables were used in the hotel’s multi-level construction. Core-drilling to reroute plumbing would compromise the building’s integrity. Haven Tile needed a solution that would allow them to adapt to existing plumbing rough-in configurations and shower-enclosure sizes.
“Things are always changing in the hospitality industry, especially when you get into historic renovations like this one,” says Haven. “You never know what you’re going to run into.”
Fortunately, Haven Tile, working with Haven Distributing, already had the answer to this unique challenge.
QuickDrain’s ShowerLine linear drain, used for the Don Cesar project, is ideal for tub-to-shower conversions in hospitality, multi-family and single-family spaces. The linear drain body system features a fully sloped trough where water exits through either a vertical or a side waste outlet, making it easy to accommodate existing plumbing. The integrated drain, combined with pre-sloped PET (polyethylene terephthalate) rigid-foam shower panels and waterproofing accessories, represents a total shower solution for effective and efficient drainage.
According to Haven, they chose QuickDrain’s customizable ShowerLine linear drain “because of the various room types they contended with during the project.”
“ShowerLine helped us avoid core-drilling through the floor and the one-size-fits-all, large base pans used to accommodate the high elevation between the side wood pallet,” he explains.
QuickDrain linear drains offer a side waste outlet that accommodated the exact situation at Don Cesar and enabled the construction team to connect the existing, two-inch solid waste pipes to the linear drains in each shower.
In addition, ShowerLine offered on-site customization. Stackable spacers allow installers to adjust the height of the drain cover to ensure it’s flush with the floor. Likewise, trough extensions and covers may be trimmed after the body is installed, providing wall-to-wall coverage. Haven adds that a uniform one-slope pitch in every shower helped maintain consistency, which was particularly efficient for a project of this magnitude.
Haven explains that an added benefit of QuickDrain is that the linear drain and single slope open up new opportunities for design.
“Contractors and designers aren’t limited to the traditional, smaller hand tile used to form the curvature for your traditional point drain,” says Haven. “With QuickDrain, you have the option to stick with the traditional look with the smaller hand tile, or to use a large-format tile to give it a more modern, sleek look.”
For the Don Cesar’s showers, Haven Tile installed 2×2 sheet ceramic tile using a ceramic technique. The wall tile was a 30×30 large format and had a 1×1 black and white striped mosaic, as well as custom absolute black granite curbs and thresholds, manufactured by Haven Distributing, to accommodate the overall design scheme.
Installers can select from QuickDrain’s seven decorative drain-cover designs to accent the overall design scheme of any bathroom. In this case, the drain cover “Lines” was deemed the best fit.
According to Haven, his company has more experience than most when it comes to installing linear drains: “We began installing them with the inventor in this country, Josef Erlebach, so we’ve been working with QuickDrain for years.”
One might even call Haven Tile Co. and Haven Distributing product experts, as the team has helped with technical support on other projects, doing complementary model-room training, during which a full installation is conducted to support the contractors on the job.
According to Haven, the completed installations at the Don Cesar went very smoothly, even while the hotel was occupied by guests during the 15-week project. A significant benefit of the QuickDrain system is that it eliminates the need to relocate or access plumbing from the bathroom below, which not only inconveniences customers, but also negatively impacts hotel revenue.
Haven adds that the ShowerLine system helped them maintain the project schedule, because it can be installed with rapid setting materials.
“We can install these drains and be ready for a water test within 24-hours,” he explains. “Compare that to a traditional mortar bed or other pans — a multiphase process, requiring a minimum of two to three days before a water test.”
The upshot? “We received excellent feedback,” says Haven, “from not only the building contractor, but also the hotel ownership groups and guests.”