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Online Exclusive: The Dining Room at Hilton Short Hills - Short Hills, New Jersey

Jul 2, 2013

Refreshing the Dining Room at Hilton Short Hills required more than an impersonal update. “The restaurant has an existing, enduring heritage,” says designer Bill Rooney of New York-based Bill Rooney Studio. “It’s rare in the sense that people use it on a daily basis⎯⎯whether getting married or having dinner there.”


Previously a fine dining restaurant, the redesign required expanded space and the flexibility of an all-day dining experience. Original mahogany millwork provided the backdrop for the update. “We wanted to create a space that was bright and that works with the existing lower half,” says Rooney. “We’re not trying to over-compete with what’s happening here.” Two sets of windows were opened to bring in natural light, while a private dining room and a buffet area expanded the original seating.


Leather chairs, silky wall finishings, deep taupe carpets, and silver leaf adorn the expanded restaurant. Deep red upholstery in one section of the Dining Room pairs with champagne-colored chairs and neutral taupe. “The red accents were used just to pop some color and give interest to the space,” says Rooney. 


Decorative easels showcase modern art for a residential feel. “It’s meant to be more of a curated experience,” says Rooney. “These art frames give you a sense of privacy and comfort.” Inspired by food and nature, the artwork complements the menu’s seasonal farm-to-table concept. “When you walk through the space, it doesn’t feel like a sea of tables,” adds Rooney.

A wine display unit transforms from a room divider into an art piece. “The actual wine holder is a sculptural element,” explains Rooney. “As the day evolves, it either illuminates brightly or contrasts to the background of the buffet.”


Uniting the rooms are blown-glass chandeliers made up of individual leaf formations reminiscent of sparkling champagne bubbles. “We used that idea of sparkle and bubbles to give a great accent and focal point to the rooms,” says Rooney.

In the Retreat bar, dark woods were enhanced with darker beams and silver leaf wallcoverings. Marble tables give a sense of brightness and definition, while the original mahogany bar remains. Dark, rich brown taupe and an off-white brown carpet complete a modern palette that connects with the entire environment.


“Today it has a much more cozy experience,” says Rooney. “It’s almost as if it’s in your own home dining room.”

hdtalks: the interviews

During HD Expo 2014, Hospitality Design’s Michael Adams sat down with HBA’s Michael Bedner to talk about his half-century in the hospitality design industry. View the video.



Produced by: Emerald Expositions
Nielsen      Contract Design | Hospitality Design | K+BB | DDI

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