Welcome to the holidays of the future

Sarah Connolly discovers that hotels all over the world are tuning in to the needs of tech-savvy travellers with up-to-date gadgets.

Welcome to the holidays of the future

HOTELS all over the world are redefining luxury by embracing technology and incorporating it into the guest experience. And expect this trend to become even more apparent in 2014.

Travellers are increasingly expecting more from their hotel rooms than just a comfy bed and a dressing gown, and many hotels are going way beyond the call of duty to provide tech-savvy travellers with up-to-date gadgets and luxurious convenience.

Eccleston Square Hotel, London

Bordering London’s Belgravia, this hi-tech hotel matches its five star surroundings. Relax in the media lounge with a cocktail in front of the 103” 3D TV before taking the lift, fitted with 6 televisions, to your room. Each of the bedrooms is equipped with an iPad which can be used to browse the internet, order room service, book a session with a personal trainer or request items from housekeeping. Along with the 46” HD 3D NeoPlasma TV with surround sound in all rooms, 3D glasses and a selection of on demand films are available. Don’t worry about your feet getting cold on the way to the shower or missing the headlines; there is under floor heating in the bathroom and a TV in the steam proof mirror above the sink. Rates start from €188 per night, including taxes.


The Upper House, Hong Kong

The Upper House’s game plan is to make everything as environmentally friendly as possible by cutting down on all unnecessary use of paper and providing guests with technology to replace it. On arrival at The Upper House in Hong Kong’s Pacific Place, guests are greeted by a member of the Guest Experience team and an iPad for a paperless in-room check in. The guest directory has been replaced in all 117 rooms by an iPod touch, enabling guests to discover the hotel facilities and their surroundings. The technology begins even before reaching the hotel as The Upper House’s energy saving Lexus RX450H Hybrid equipped with free WiFi is on hand to shuttle guests to and from the airport. Rates start from €475 per night, including taxes.


Blow Up Hall 5050 — Poznan

Named after the 1966 British-Italian cult film ‘Blow-up’, this boutique hotel is a mix of art, luxury and technology. There are no room numbers on any of the 22 bedroom doors and instead of keys guests are given an iPhone to find and unlock their room using recognition technology. The iPhone is also loaded with apps including Blow Up’s facilities and local cultural events, and serves as a virtual concierge. Guests become one with the art and participate in the creation of it through the 3 large LCD screens in the lobby which display pixelated images of guests as they walk past. Rates start from €126 per night, including taxes.


The Peninsula Tokyo — Tokyo

Rather than installing already existing gadgets The Peninsula hotel group employ a team to design, build and customise technology to serve its guests. Each bedroom is equipped with a wireless device enabling guests to control the in-room lighting, television, telephone, alarm clock and curtains. The rooms also feature nail polish dryers while the internet radio is automatically tuned to a station from the guest’s country of residence upon check in. The hands-free equipment in the bathroom mutes the TV or radio when on a call, and digitally filters out bathroom echoes and the sound of running water. Rates start from €563 per night, including taxes.


ARIA Resort and Casino — Las Vegas

Upon arrival at ARIA guests are not only greeted by the check in staff but also by in-room technology. When guests enter their room for the first time the curtains automatically open showcasing the famous Las Vegas views, and the television turns on to display a list of automated controls to personalise their stay. In each of the 4,004 bedrooms a one-touch remote is used to control the lighting, room temperature, wakeup calls, curtains, television, video and music system. If at any point the control is running out of batteries or a light bulb needs replacing the in-room devices automatically communicate the maintenance needs with the appropriate department. The need to traipse around switching everything off one by one before going to sleep is eliminated at ARIA with the ‘goodnight’ button which turns off the lights, TV, and music, closes the curtains, and turns on the privacy notification all at once. Rates start from €144 per night, including taxes.


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