To an extent never seen in the past, today’s travelers are increasingly “plugged in,” and in order to accommodate the needs of these tech savvy guests, hotels are developing technology at an increasing pace. In the past, the most high-tech feature was probably “Magic Fingers,” but today it’s mobile check-in, in-room iPads, smart lighting and temperature controls, and even augmented reality. And guests are responding.
According to a recent Gallup poll, hotel guests are willing to pay for an improved in-room experience, which indicates a healthy return for those establishments that are willing to invest in the latest technology, from in-room entertainment to those working with clients that need a hotel panic button. What follows are five of the world’s most technologically refined hotels and what makes them special.
ARIA Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
Among the myriad of high-tech experiences available in each of the ARIA’s 4,004 rooms, the hotel tablet reigns supreme, providing immediate access to practically every service, from spa treatments to messaging. Tablets aren’t particularly new, but this one takes remote control to a whole new level, with clever features such as customized wake up calls to the ability to be roused from your slumber with pre-set curtain and light levels, and even a TV that will wake you with your favorite show.
Eccleston Square Hotel, London
The exterior of this hotel might be a 19th century building, but on the inside it’s strictly 21st century, with cutting edge luxury everywhere. All rooms feature not only a 46” 3D TV with a 3D DVD library but also an in-room concierge in the form of an iPad2. While they’re in London, each guest is given a smartphone with unlimited mobile internet and free calls to keep them connected.
The Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel
If you plan to visit the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, prepare to be wowed. After all, this boutique property bills itself as the “first digitally enhanced hotel.”
Regardless of where you enter this property, you will walk past a wall that is digitally enhanced with “a visual tapestry of subtle, organic graphics” that are brought to life by motion detectors that respond when guests walk by. But by far the most amazing feature of this hotel is the “Discovery Alcove,” which guests can operate by tapping their foot on a hologram to find local highlights in the neighborhood. Next, refine your choice by pointing your finger at a screen the find more details.
W Singapore—Sentosa Cove, Singapore
Any tech-savvy traveler who is looking for luxury should try out the W Singapore. From the moment you enter your keyless room you will know you are in for a unique experience. The 40” LED HDTV system with Bose surround sound system with iPod docking station is a treat in itself, but if you really want something special, try the HDTV in the bathroom.
If you can make your way past all the technology your room, make a special point to visit the lobby, where nearly every surface has a huge LED wall and interactive tables. Even the outdoor areas are high tech and feature a pool with an underwater sound system where you can swim and still enjoy the music.
The Upper House—Hong Kong
If there was a hotel that had technology in its heart, it’s the Upper House in Hong Kong, where from check in to check out, it’s high tech all the way. Each of the 117 rooms has high speed Wi-Fi and a 42” LCD TV with video with surround sound.
If you thought walking into the bathroom would free you from technology, you would be wrong, since there’s not only a rainforest shower but a touch screen TV. Don’t want to be disturbed? Don’t worry about putting out a Do Not Disturb sign. There’s an infrared button that a housekeeper can push to find out if a room is occupied.
High Tech in the Future
It might be easy to dismiss a lot of this as a gimmick, but by watching the world around us, it’s easy to see how hotels using high tech are simply working to stay competitive in today’s world.