Pair, Set and Match: Replacement of Undamaged Hotel Furnishings Ensuring a Uniform Look


...bedding. See, for example, “Marri- ott Unveils Hot New Room Design @ the mSpot,” an article describing Marriott’s launch of its new room décor by building a sample room in New York’s Times Square.

In all instances, the brand approves a hotel’s furnishings, whether or not it requires identical furniture in all of its hotels. And no quality brand will approve mis- matched furniture. So it should come as no surprise that when a hotel is damaged by a hurricane or other major disaster, the hotel seeks to ensure the furnishings in the repaired hotel match through-out the hotel. Nor should it be any surprise that hotel owners purchase insurance that covers the cost of doing so.

Insurance companies, however, suggest that hotel owners seek a “windfall” when they claim the replacement cost of matching hotel furnishings. This article explains why the insurers are wrong and proposes policy language designed to minimize disputes regarding this issue.

Hotel Furniture: Unique and Not Reasonably Replaced

In considering the matching furni- ture issue, it is important to under- stand how hotel furniture is pur- chased. Hotel owners do not go to their local Ikea to purchase furni- ture. Nor do they go to a store that aims to supply hotels; rather, hotel furniture is made to order. That is not to say that all such furniture is custom designed; in some instances, furniture is or-dered from “stock,” but even that furniture is not manufactured until it is ordered.

Thus, even “brand standard” furniture such as that comprising the new Marriott room mentioned above cannot simply be purchased from stock.

As a result, once a manufac- turer or a brand moves on to new furniture lines, it often becomes impossible to match a hotel’s cur- rent furniture. It is for this reason that hotels usually keep “attic stock,” that is, some spare furni- ture that matches a hotel’s décor.