Where Style Meets Function and Opportunities for Growth: Retractable Roofs in the Hotel Industry

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hyatt house 26The benefits of retractable roofs are beginning to become more and more apparent throughout the hospitality industry. Owners of both restaurants and hotels have started to report how their decision to build these roofs in their establishments has paid off in the form of improved functionality as well as a larger and expanded customer base, resulting in the always required increase in ROI. A retractable roof may appear to be a purely aesthetic addition. But, as this article will show it is, in fact, a functional improvement that expands a hotel’s capacity to service its clients. A retractable roof is, thus, a capital investment that pays off in increased revenues.

This discussion will begin by detailing the kinds of aesthetic improvements that retractable roofs can offer, highlighting some success stories from among OpenAire’s clients, who are now happily reaping the rewards of their roof installations. It will then shift the focus to the kinds of functional enhancements that a hotel’s public spaces can undergo with the addition of these roofs. This will then demonstrate how the addition of a retractable roof is a worthwhile capital expenditure that will increase opportunities for revenue and profit.

Innovative Architecture

OpenAire Hotel BestWesternLamplighter 01In this day and age of increased social media imagery, a great way to stand out from the crowd is creating a beautiful space people want to see and be seen in. But how do you make an impression in such a crowded market? There are many hotels, restaurants, and even pubs and bars across North America that have made the decision to add retractable roofs to their location so they can offer something no one else has. Here we will look at four of them to explain how the roofs upgraded the appearance and appeal of each establishment.

1. Hyatt House, Jersey City, NJ: 

Located in the heart of the Jersey City waterfront, the Hyatt House is a 13-story building that features a stunning rooftop lounge and bar. The 33 x 110 foot motorized, telescoping roof slides open and stacks in 3 sections at one end and closes to shelter guests from the elements while they enjoy breath-taking, unobstructed views of New York City and Jersey City. The entire lounge is surrounded by bi-folding doors that open wide to an adjacent patio, ensuring a seamless flow between spaces. The roof is the crowning touch on this stunning, upmarket hotel. This space is now booked all year round for events and weddings. There really is no better view of Manhattan! 

2. MOXY Hotel, Washington, DC: 

This Marriott Group hotel is located in a historic building and combines traditional stateliness with bold, modern design. It includes a rooftop event space that now boasts a 42x20-foot enclosure with a modern, single-slope glass roof. The roof is divided into four sections and the two middle ones slide left and right to open the space to the sky. There are also three sets of bi-folding doors that open to an adjacent terrace, which provides excellent views of the U.S. capital’s skyline. The space is used for everything from zen yoga under the sun to incredible parties! 

3. Refinery Hotel, NY: Refinery 05

The owners of this upmarket hotel in Manhattan wanted to build a year-round venue with a unique, ‘inside-out’ design. Their view looks out towards the world-famous Empire State Building, so they wanted to make sure this was visible at all times. They also wanted a touch of luxury that would enhance the industrial look of the building. OpenAire designed a retractable glass roof that would allow year-round wining and dining with beautiful views of the New York City sunset and skyline. To give life to this concept, OpenAire built a lean-to enclosure, with a sloped roof that opens with the middle two panels sliding left and right. The bar/lounge space measures 25’ x 40’ and has a front wall that is 12’ high. The rooftop lounge has won multiple awards for best patio in New York City. 

4. Marriott Hotel, Erie: 

The owners of this hotel in Erie, PA wanted to expand their reception space and ensure they are the city’s rental venue of choice for private and corporate events. They saw the potential for an operable-roofed, glazed enclosure to provide exactly the solution they needed. The result is an elegant and unique space that ensures events of all kinds benefit from the best of both worlds, throughout the year; an indoor and outdoor space with no weather delays. The end result is a sunny, outdoor feeling throughout the year, enabled by an enclosure that measures 43’ by 59’. 

Improved Functionality

From the brief descriptions above, it should be apparent how the installation of retractable roofs improves the functionality of the spaces in question. It really comes down to the concept of “inside-out” – a space that doubles up on all the benefits of exterior and interior entertainment areas. All of these areas are traditionally interior spaces and when closed, guests are guarded against the elements and provided with full shelter. The enclosed spaces can be heated or cooled in any climate or geography. When the weather permits, they provide guests with the feeling of being outside, allowing in the fresh air and creating an alfresco experience.

Overall, even though the space is enclosed, it experiences a paradoxical expansion. It is an indoor space that is open to the outside, yet it is an outdoor space with full protection against the weather when necessary. 

This expanded functionality makes the space one that offers indoor and outdoor benefits all year round. A rooftop restaurant might usually only be enjoyed in the summer, but now guests have it has a dining option at any time of the year. Other hotel projects (rooftop or otherwise) include spaces that are gyms, health clubs, lounges, bars, restaurants, spas and more. Regardless of the use of the space, it is obvious how this expanded functionality can result in increased sales, an expanded clientele and, thus, better revenue streams.

There are more functional benefits to retractable roof enclosures too, including:


Aside from allowing natural light through to the space, enclosure structures can also be used for the hanging of electric lighting. The frames and beams can easily support both your main and smaller lights. Suitable lighting for the creation of ambiance can also be arranged around the structure.


Retractable roofs offer great ventilation, especially if you open or partially open them on hot summer days to allow fresh air to flow through. Fans installed within these spaces increase the airflow and improve guest comfort. After all, when the roof is open, these spaces are outdoor patios, so guests require shade with umbrellas and all other traditional outdoor amenities


Your guests can enjoy the views on offer around your venue at any time of the year. The aesthetic of a glass enclosure is such that whether you are on a rooftop or surrounded by gardens, the inside and outside blend. The design and architecture will NEVER be outdated.

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Retractable Roofs – A Worthwhile Capital Expenditure

While a retractable roof can be a big investment for a new building or renovation it is a significant opportunity when considered in light of your building as a whole. Whether you are letting in light and air through an atrium over multiple stories, creating an event space, enclosing a pool/spa or health club or simply turning a former outdoor space into an indoor one, you are creating something unique, marketable and therefore profitable. 

Unlike other modifications, which can become obsolete as trends change, a transparent enclosure will stand the test of time. Whether it is a full wall and roof enclosure or simply a massive skylight, a retractable roof changes the nature of your offering, setting you apart from the crowd. More space, more time, more flexibility, greater aesthetic appeal – all of these benefits amount to an increase in capacity. 

So, it follows that the installation of a retractable roof has the potential to generate increased business completely out of proportion to the initial expenditure. If you have an outdoor dining area, reception area or other entertainment space in your hotel, the addition of a retractable roof is indeed a worthwhile investment. What’s more, no two enclosures are exactly alike. Each one that OpenAire builds is custom designed to accommodate both the needs of the client and the demands of the design and building teams.

OpenAire has been designing and manufacturing beautiful, high-quality, environmentally-conscious retractable roof structures and skylights for over 30 years. We bring unique visions to life, right from the initial design to installation, transforming buildings into sunlit spaces customers love. 

Headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, OpenAire is approaching 1,000 projects throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East. In addition to event spaces and restaurants bars, some of our hotel work includes health centers, spas and waterparks. A short list of some of our hotel projects includes the following:

  • Refinery Hotel in New York, NY; 
  • Hyatt House in Jersey City, NJ;
  • MOXY Hotel in Washington, DC;
  • Marriott Hotel in Erie, PN;
  • Best Western and Lamplighter Inn, London, ON;
  • Whiskey Row Bar, Moxy Louisville, Louisville, KY;
  • Saarland Therme Resort, Fitness, Spa, Rilchingen, Germany;
  • Grand Cascades Lodge - Crystal Springs Resort, Hamburg NJ;
  • Warner Cricket St. Thomas Leisure Hotel, Somerset, UK;
  • Norre Lyngvig Camping, Hvide Sande, Denmark;
  • Agua Caliente Casino Resort, Rancho Mirage, California;
  • Mardi Gras Hotel; Batumi Plaza, Adjara, Republic of Georgia;
  • The Palms Casino & Resort in Las Vegas, NV; and 
  • Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel in Toronto, ON. 

To learn more about OpenAire Inc.’s projects and capabilities, visit and follow us on Twitter. For more details on this project, please e-mail

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