For just $11 a night, guests can stay in miniscule blue-lit rooms at Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel in Shenzhen, China. // © 2014 Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel
Feature image (above): Yobot, the resident robot, handles luggage concierge services at Yotel in New York. // © 2014 Yotel
As travelers’ devotion to — and dependence on — smartphones, tablets and other emerging forms of technology continue to rapidly increase, hotels must scramble to keep up. Complimentary Wi-Fi access alone is no longer sufficient for the technophiles among hotel guests.
Following are nine tech-savvy hotels around the world that have far surpassed the bare minimum of digital standards.
Eccleston Square Hotel in London, England
Although the exterior of Eccleston Square Hotel possesses the same historic London charm as its neighbors, a step through the front door begets a more modern perspective. Located in Central London, the 40-room luxury boutique hotel is outfitted with the latest in technology.
Did that red-eye flight from the States make your back ache? Enjoy a massage from the bed’s built-in system. Want increased privacy when you shower? Transform the glass walls from transparent to opaque with just the flip of a switch, and step onto heated bathroom and hallway floors afterward. And when you’ve polished off the room service you ordered via the personal in-room iPad 2, don’t forget to brush your teeth — while catching a sitcom with the anti-mist mirror’s integrated LED television.
Hotel 1000 in Seattle
Disney’s “Smart House” has met its contemporary match: Hotel 1000, a Seattle hotel reinforced by an Internet protocol platform. Data regarding room temperature, artwork and music can be preselected by guests and stored in a fully converged IP infrastructure. Privacy is revered by staff; when a silent staff button below the guestroom doorbell is pushed, an infrared signal scans the room for signs of body heat. If body heat is detected, staff won’t interrupt.
Hotel 1000 continues to go above and beyond with niceties such as free local, long-distance and international phone calls; an accessible in-room media hub; an electronic privacy shade in the bathroom and a de-aerated water filler (i.e., technology that allows a ceiling mounted water filler to transfer a stream of water to the tub below); 70-inch electronic whiteboards in meeting rooms; virtual golf courses; and much more.
QT Sydney in Sydney, Australia
A stay at QT Sydney, a boutique hotel located in the central business district of Australia’s most populated city, comes with a side of sass —if you happen to use a particular elevator. Unsuspecting guests may be surprised to hear a soulful ballad such as Eric Carmen’s “All by Myself” when taking a solo ride, while a more upbeat track, such as “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor is likely to greet pairs. It’s a party when the attendee count reaches four, so prepare to get your groove on with friends and strangers alike to Prince’s “1999” or other classic dance jams.
Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel in Shenzhen, China
For an experience that is high in tech know-how but low in price, Pengheng Space Capsules in Shenzhen’s Bao’an District may be the hotel for you. Guests can book tiny, blue-lit capsule rooms in lieu of conventional hotel rooms at the rate of $11. Though these spaceship-like rooms are essentially sleeping pods, they also offer Wi-Fi access, a flat-screen television and plenty of ports to plug in electronic devices.
At the lounge area, guests can order drinks and food off tablet computers. Items are then served by the hotel’s core staff of friendly robots. (The hotel only has a few humans on staff to oversee operations.)
Peninsula Hong Kong in Hong Kong, China
Bespoke hospitality soars to new heights at Peninsula Hong Kong. A recent $450 million facelift to the luxury hotel treats guests to multilingual in-room tablets that control service and room functions, such as dimming the lights or cooling the climate. International calls are complimentary via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. You can even put on a pair of 3D goggles to experience a larger-than-life movie while relaxing in bed.
Peninsula Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan
Like its sister hotel in Hong Kong, Peninsula Tokyo has careful technological features to ensure guests have everything they need — including an in-room spa day. By simply pressing the “spa button” adjacent to the bathtub, a guest can dim the lights; trigger the privacy setting for the phone and doorbell; and play relaxing music. If a manicure is a part of the spa day agenda, you’ll appreciate the nail-dryer included in each room.
Stanford Court in San Francisco
It’s no surprise that Stanford Court Hotel is a key player in the hospitality tech game, as it calls San Francisco — an ever-evolving mecca for tech giants and start-ups alike — home sweet home. The independent hotel, recently purchased from Marriott, launched its “Google Glass Explorer Package” in mid-May.
In addition to a deluxe room and complimentary breakfast and drinks, guests will receive a pair of Google Glass at check-in, along with a tutorial and a “Guide to Glass” handout that breaks down how to not be a “glasshole.” The hotel also encourages wearers to participate in a social media contest by capturing and posting photos of San Francisco landmarks with the hashtag #stanfordcourtsf — all while donning the wearable technology.
Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel in Ibiza
Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel draws in visitors with not only its contemporary decor but also its state-of-the-art technology. Facebook use is encouraged with pillars placed throughout the property that enable hotel guests to check in, take photos and post statuses in real time by swiping their radio-frequency identification (RFID) bracelets given at check-in. To further streamline technology use, guests can pay for purchases with a touch of their finger, thanks to PayTouch, a fingerprint biometric system.
The popular Ibiza hotel is also known for extravagant parties and performances by popular DJs, so expect an innovative chromotherapy light-emitting diode (LED) system and plenty of pyrotechnics.
Yotel in New York
At New York’s Yotel, don’t be alarmed when a large, robotic-looking fellow takes your luggage to storage. Yobot, the hotel’s resident robot, is simply doing its job.
The robotic luggage concierge — adapted from factory assembly technology — is controlled by guests via a touch screen. Also at check-in, guests can use self-service kiosks that are open 24/7. Motorized beds and sofas can be self-arranged to save space in the minimalist rooms, while air conditioning is activated by motion sensor and towels can be easily reused due to heated drying racks.