Grotta Palazzese Beach Hotel is a luxurious hotel located in Polignano a Mare in Apulia Region. It was recently renovated: Mapei products were used for quick installation, including pre-mixed mortars for screeds, anti-fracture membranes and rapid adhesives and grouts.

Luxurious renovation: Grotta Palazzese Beach Hotel

The Grotta Palazzese Beach Hotel is a luxurious resort that stands atop cliffs and offers direct sea access, just a few kilometres from Polignano a Mare, a renowned seaside town in the Apulia region of Southern Italy. The hotel  offers suites and guesthouses with every creature comfort just a few metres from the sea.
Three years ago, the company that owns the structure decided to carry out a complete refurbishment and expansion of the various environments. New flooring was created in the guest rooms with large format ceramic tiles while Afion White marble slabs were installed in the shower cubicles and on the walls of the bathrooms for over a total of 1,200 m2 of surfaces. The client and designers asked the main contractor to use high performance, long-lasting and, above all, rapid products for the work.
Ceramic tiles were installed on the floors of the bedrooms with ULTRALITE S1 FLEX. Joints were grouted with ULTRACOLOR PLUS quick-setting and drying mortar.

Quick and effective: installation of ceramic tiles in the guest rooms

In the guest rooms, the first step in the renovation intervention was to create new screeds using TOPCEM PRONTO, a ready-to-use, normal setting, mortar that dries more quickly than normal sand-cement screeds. The product was mixed with MAPEFIBRE ST30 structural polymer fibres, which may be used to increase the tensile strength of the screed mixes.
For these areas the designers specified the use of ceramic tiles which were not only large format (300 x 100 x 0.6 cm), but also particularly thin. This is why it was recommended to apply MAPEGUARD UM 35 waterproofing, uncoupling and anti-fracture membrane that enabled ceramic and stone floor tiles to be installed, both internally and externally, without having to copy the layout of existing distribution joints, or to be installed on substrates with cracks or on substrates that are not fully cured.
The membrane was installed with KERAQUICK MAXI S1 rapid-setting and hydrating adhesive. This is a white or grey powder composed of a blend of special cements, selectively-graded aggregates, synthetic resins and setting accelerators that develop high bonding strength only 2-3 hours after installing. The membrane was applied over the adhesive while still fresh, with the blue side facing upwards in order for the white felt backing to be completely impregnated with adhesive. 
Ceramic tiles were installed after 24 hours using ULTRALITE S1, a one-component, deformable, lightweight, cementitious adhesive with extended open time and no vertical slip. This product, which is now available as ULTRALITE S1 FLEX ZERO, is ideal for installing large-size ceramic tiles and stone. Mapei Technical Services recommended installing the ceramic tiles using the double-buttering technique, that is, applying adhesive on both the substrate and on the back of the tiles to make sure they were fully wetted with adhesive.
The joints, which were at least 2-3 mm wide were then grouted with ULTRACOLOR PLUS anti-efflorescence, quick-setting and drying polymer-modified grout. The expansion joints were sealed with MAPESIL AC pure acetic silicone sealant for movements of up to 25%, available in all the colours of the Mapei grouts range.
To waterproof the walls in the shower cubicles it was recommended to use MAPELASTIC AQUADEFENSE ready to use, rapid-drying elastic membrane before installing the tiles.
ULTRALITE S1 (now available as ULTRALITE S1 FLEX) was used to bond ceramic tiles on the floors of the bedroomss.

Stone required particular attention during installation

For the reception, the corridors leading to the rooms, the communal areas and the shower trays in the bathrooms, the designers chose to cover the surfaces with Bianco Sivec marble (a type of stone with an even, naturally transparent, white hue); for the wall coverings in the shower cubicles, on the other hand, the preference was to cover the surfaces with Afyon White marble. In the restaurant Giallo Siena marble was used for the floors.
White ELASTORAPID was recommended for installing all these types of marble, which are particularly elegant and sensitive to water. This product, classified C2FTE S2 according to EN 12004 standard, is a two-component, highly-deformable, quick-setting and drying cementitious adhesive with extended open time and no vertical slip, especially suitable for ceramic tiles and stone slightly sensitive to humidity.
To install natural stone in the exterior areas, such as on the terraces of the suites and on the verandas in front of the restaurants, the designers preferred using KERAFLEX MAXI S1 adhesive. Joints were grouted with ULTRACOLOR PLUS while expansion joints were sealed with MAPESIL LM, a mould-resistant silicone sealant specifically formulated for sealing all sensitive materials such as marble, granite, sandstone and quartz to avoid any stain on the surfaces.
Marble mosaic tiles were bonded with ELASTORAPID cementitious adhesive.

Project information

Grotta Palazzese Beach Hotel, Polignano a Mare (Province of Bari, Italy)
Year of construction: 1970
Period of the intervention: 2020-2021
Intervention by Mapei: supplying products for building screeds, waterproofing substrates, and installing ceramic tiles and mosaics 
Owner: Grotta Palazzese Srl
Design and works direction: Nicola  Giuliani and Nicola Stefanelli 
Main contractor: Lo Franco Group di Vito Lo Franco
Installation companies: Lo Franco Group, Loconsole G. Pavimentazioni e Rivestimenti 
Mapei distributor: Lentini Paolo Srl
Photos: Michele Roppo
Mapei coordinators: Alessandro Coscia, Vito De Benedettis and Achille Carcagnì, Mapei SpA (Italy)
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