Alila Marea Resort

Intelligent Lighting Systems Meet Luxury Hotel Design with Igor Tech

October 26, 2021


Executive Summary

Industries are increasingly embracing low voltage, Power- over-Ethernet(PoE) solutions. This includes those powering luxury PoE lighting treatments in the hospitality industry. Luxury hotels are expected to provide exceptional experiences. Guests expect high-quality amenities, personalized service, and gourmet food. Bespoke lighting, although not as obvious, is just as important. The challenge for designers is to marry their vision for guest spaces without being challenged or limited by system compatibility. The management team at the Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas was faced with giving designers the room they needed to put together a brilliant array of fixtures without losing the convenience of cross-property visibility and control access. Thankfully, the Igor PoE lighting solution gives designers all of the options they need to have for both aesthetics and control. This allowed Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas to choose stunning fixtures and still have an intelligent IoT platform that was easy to install—powered by and receiving data over a single Cat 5E, Cat6, or Cat6A Ethernet cable.

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Luxury hotel executives and designers have challenges when designing the amenities for their venues. Customers have many choices and high expectations. Lighting may not be the first thing a guest thinks of when considering luxury hotel design; however, the right lighting fixtures and the lighting itself are vital to the overall ambiance of a space. Luxury hotels must boast of the finest furnishings and cutting-edge technologies to hold their own in this competitive industry. PoE lighting systems are poised to be a cost effective and visually stunning aesthetic solution


The Problem

A luxury hotel lighting system must be flexible, aesthetically pleasing, easily installed, controlled, and managed, adaptable to the fixture style chosen, and still be cost-effective. In the past, this was a nearly impossible feat. Today, Igor’s Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) based platform is the answer.

How It Started

If you start from San Diego International Airport and drive north on the historic and scenic Pacific Coast Highway 101 for 32 miles, you will reach the hip little beach town of Encinitas. There, perched atop a coastal bluff overlooking South Ponto Beach and the Batiquitos Lagoon, you will find Southern California’s newest beach resort—Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas.

Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas (Marea means “tide”) is not just another luxury hotel. After attempts to develop this world-class beachfront setting since 1992, finally, a coalition of partners (which included JMI Realty, Fenway Capital Advisors, Suffolk Construction, Joseph Wong Design Associates, Paladin Technologies, and Igor) was able to build a one-of-a-kind boutique luxury hotel—and they deployed a PoE lighting system.

Alila Marea opened in March 2021 and is part of Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s Alila brand; and joins two other Alila
resorts—Alila Napa Valley and Ventana Big Sur—and is its first new-built resort in the Americas.

Alila Marea 2In a recent press release from Hyatt, they described the Alila Marea hotel in detail, “The Alila brand is an award-winning collection of luxury hotels and resorts in unique locations, distinguished by innovative eco-design, a passionate commitment to sustainable tourism, as well as specially curated activities designed to immerse guests in nature, culture, and community.” (1)

Benjamin Thiele, General Manager of Alila Marea, said, “Marrying the striking design and artisanal luxury experience that the Alila brand is globally known for, with the authentic warmth and vitality of San Diego, Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas is truly a destination not to be missed. Our team is honored to open our doors to the local community and travelers to experience our new luxury resort in this breathtaking location.” (1)

One of the most distinctive aspects of Alila Marea is its lighting. It is one of a handful of U.S. hotels that fully leverages Power-over-Ethernet(PoE) technology. Jim Chatfield, senior vice president of construction at JMI Realty, said, “We’ve basically designed and have developed a PoE hotel that I believe there is only a handful of them in the country. And we will be one of the most technically astute hotels in addition to having one of the best locations you could possibly ask for at this site and with this project.” (2)

PoE Lighting Technology Devices

Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) lighting systems are intelligent. Not only do they markedly improve light quality, but they also save energy costs and even lengthen the life of the bulbs. Today’s ultra-scaled-down LEDs, sensors, and communication protocols allow internet connectivity to be inserted into every light fixture and most low-wattage sensors—all at a low cost. The entire lighting system is powered and controlled over a standard Ethernet cable and PoE ports, allowing users instant access and control of the system.

While PoE lighting systems are intelligent and cost-efficient, they also make construction more manageable and more flexible. Jim Chatfield describes an experience he had during the construction of Alila Marea: “We actually made a decision to change a switch around late in the game. They were out there framing right now, wiring up, and we decided that we wanted a master switch moved from a wall to the headboard of the bed. Well, with PoE, it’s just changing a port, rewiring from the node to the headboard, and we abandoned the other one. If that would have happened to me in a conventional line voltage type design, that would have been a big change order." (2)

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PoE Platform Technology

A handful of innovative companies in the PoE industry offer cutting-edge solutions that have completely transformed smart building technology. Igor’s Nexos platform does just that, providing a reliable and scalable PoE technology solution for the Alila Marea Beach Resort.

In this 114-room beach resort, Igor’s technology connects and controls nearly 3,000 different devices. Of this, nearly 200 are line voltage lighting fixtures because occasionally designers require the use of fixtures that are not available as PoE-compatible. Igor’s solution can still control them as if they are PoE fixtures, including dimming controls, without requiring special production or work arounds. This allows all lighting types to be managed and controlled on Igor’s platform with a central repository for data collection. This technology enables the hotel to set different light levels for different times of the day in public areas such as their reception and bar areas to elevate guest experiences and maximize efficiencies. Guests also have the ability to control several different lighting levels in their rooms to add to create a more comfortable, personalized experience.

Igor’s PoE-powered, IoT platform Nexos, goes beyond lighting to create a whole building approach that enhances the guest experience. Property managers can go beyond lighting control even more devices and systems in one platform using Nexos. These devices can include a robust array of technology from sensors, window shading, access controls, HVAC integrations, and more. The goal of an IoT hotel room is to provide guests with greater control over the environment. When visitors stay in a smart room, they have convenient options for controlling and automating various settings for lights, thermostats, door locks, and more. Connected hotels with smart hotel rooms are popping up across the world, and innovators are continuously developing and improving IoT technology in the hospitality industry.

Nexos Diagram

One of the most distinctive features of Nexos is its agnostic approach to design elements. Building owners, operators and design teams can use the devices, technology and brands they want to create an aesthetically beautiful and intelligent space for the ultimate superior experience for guests. 

The Benefits of Igor's Nexos IoT Platform

Centralized IoT Device Control

Nexos is both intelligent and scalable. It enables users to power and control each IoT device in their hotel from a single, central IoT software system. In addition, Nexos has an open application programming interface (API) with a structured PoE cable “backbone,” enabling a centralized, configurable, yet simple solution.  

Vigorous Compatibility and Integration

Igor does not just work on new-built hotels like Alila Marea, of course. Nexos is a leading PoE lighting platform provider for retrofits of existing buildings. For example, Nexos helped transform the 92-year-old Sinclair Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas, which became the world’s first digital hotel. The hotel’s use of PoE technology enabled it to save 40 percent on its utility bills due to decreased energy consumption. Nexos will also serve as the connectivity backbone for the first net-zero hotel in the United States, Hotel Marcel located in New Haven, Connecticut.

For this type of project, adaptability is crucial to realize the benefits of a connected system fully. Igor’s PoE-based IoT technology is wholly integrated yet modular, which means users can connect to any “off-the-shelf” IoT fixtures and devices with Igor’s PoE sensors.

Lower Installation and Operational Costs

Igor’s PoE technology is open, non-proprietary, and “plug-and-play,” which allows for lower upfront costs, installation and retrofitting costs, as well as ongoing savings because of low maintenance requirements and energy usage.

Control Over Device Commands

With Nexos, users have a nearly unlimited mixture of parameters for individual spaces, groups of spaces, or the
entire building. Examples of parameters include things like:

  • Occupancy or vacancy
  • Minimum and maximum light levels
  • Emergency lighting standards
  • Sensor-driven lighting actions

Performance Monitoring and Data Insights

The Nexos IoT platform is designed for continuous system performance monitoring allows users to see all the connected devices, execute actions on each of them, and view detailed insights about device performance. Real-time data dashboards make it easier than ever to monitor facility costs and keep tabs on the overall efficiency of a building.


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Powered by Versa Tech

Versa Technology is proud to partner with a company like Igor that offers a state-of-the-art PoE lighting platform. Joe Williams, Director of Sales for Versa Technology, commented: “With the Alila Marea Beach Resort, the Hyatt Hotels & Resorts brand is poised to achieve a new level of personalized guest experience. It is a privilege for Versa Technology to help the hotel realize this next-level advancement.”

Versa Technology is a US-based provider of last-mile IT networking technology and one of the largest suppliers of Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switch technology with an expansive product portfolio of PoE switches, PoE extenders, PoE injectors, and media converters.


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(1) Hyatt Newsroom: Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas Opens
(2) YouTube Video: Alila Marea Beach Resort Project (Encinitas, CA)


Download the Alila Marea Resort Whitepaper Document Here