By Aimee Markwardt
Once upon a time, the concept of room service was enough to awe guests. “You mean, I can pick up this phone, press zero and someone will come to my room and bring me dinner? Amazing!”
A phone book, staticy clock radio and basic TV is not enough for hotels in 2013.
Today, increasingly more hotels are turning tech savvy. Guests can check a smartphone app for nearby hotels, check rates and availabilities and reserve a room right there. Check ins (and check outs) are done via iPad. And rooms seem to know the guests. They unlock when you get near, turn on the lights, crack open the blinds and turn on mood music to welcome you.
High-tech hotels are a taste of luxury. Touch-screen walls. Automatic espresso machines. You can reserve a spot at the spa with the touch of a button. Hit the “good night” button and the lights dim and the door locks into “do-not-disturb” mode.
You basically never need to get out of bed.
Of course, you’ll eventually have to. You know, to see the world, the scenery, the sights or make it to that important meeting that brought you to London to begin with.
But until you have to pry off the 3D glasses and pry your attention away from the 48-inch screen of your room’s personal TV, here are a few of our favorite high-tech hotels in the United States and internationally.
New York: The Andaz Wall Street has iPad check-ins. Complimentary Wi-Fi is a given. So is Satellite TV, an iPod docking station and 42-inch LG LCD TV.
Vegas: The Aria at CityCenter is known for being one of the most high-tech hotels in the world. Here, rooms are wired with a fiber optic connection for quick Internet access. The key card senses when you’re near your room and automatically unlocks the door, turns on the lights and opens the curtains. Press the “good night” button to turn off the lights and shuts the curtains.
Each room has a bedside touchscreen remove with one-touch control of room features, including temperature, lighting and room service. In addition, rooms include 42-inch or larger HD LCD TVs, game consoles — you can even check out via text message.
London: Rooms at the Eccleston Square hotel include 3D TVs, iPads to coordinate room service, an iPod2 (where you can even book a session with a personal trainer), a Nespresso machine, movies, charging stations for your devices — did we mention the rooms boast 46-inch 3D NeoPlasma screens? You’ll never want to leave.
Amsterdam: The Citizen M. Amsterdam offers rooms with a “Moodpad,” a tablet where you can control the curtains, lights and music. In addition, it has free movies on demand, electronic blinds, electronic climate control and an LCD TV.
The concept of the hotel, according to its website? “To create affordable luxury for the people” — a new “smart breed of international traveler.”
Tokyo: Options at the Peninsula Tokyo Hotel include Internet radio, automated espresso machines, bedside curtain controls, nail polish dryers, flat screen plasma TVs and a complimentary iPod with a walking tour of the area.
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