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Best Geek Hotels in the World

March 14, 2007 at 12:30 PM | by | Comments (25)

We've been to plenty of hotels where the TV hardly worked and the Internet connection was spotty. But some properties are on the other end of the spectrum: true Geek Hotels. What does it take to be a Geeky Hotel? Way more than just free WiFi, that's for sure. Being geek is a cultural endeavour, so after searching every henhouse, outhouse, and boathouse around the world we have put together our list of the world's top geek hotels. From artificial intelligence, to high end gadgetry, to geek service, and geek movie worship, the hotels on this list have a certain je ne sais quoi de geek.

HOTELCHATTER'S BEST GEEK HOTELS IN THE WORLD LIST

1. THE TRIBECA GRAND, NEW YORK

True, the Tribeca Grand tries its hardest to emit uber-hip downtown cool. But the hotel's geeky side comes out in the iStudio. It's a room stuffed to the hilt with Apple gizmos and gadgets, the likes of which you can't stuff in your laptop bag. We're talking photo, video and sound editing software, cameras and wireless peripherals. An enterprising guest could even make their own in-room hotel sex tape.

A Bose SoundDock stands at the ready for your iPod, or if you somehow forgot yours, the hotel has an iPod ready and waiting with preloaded tracks from Ratatat to Cat Power. But of course, you can set up your own playlist, too.

Ask for a room number ending in 06 or 16. The hotel will set up other rooms with older computers, but the G5's reside in the 06 and 16 rooms. If you run into any tech problems, which you shouldn't, front desk manager Rob Stone is the resident Mac guru. Or you could ping him at Tribeca Concierge on AIM--no joke.

Click here for a bonus Tribeca Grand iStudio Suite Photoshoot.

2. HOTEL @ MIT, BOSTON

The Hotel @ MIT. C'mon that one was obvious, right? (Major geek points ring up when a hotel uses an "@" in its official name.) Still, it was a no-brainer when we found out the hotel promotes itself with info like this:

With historically significant robots from the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab displayed in our lobby, to high-tech detailed décor, to complimentary wireless and high-speed Internet access in each of our Guest Rooms and public areas - be assured your visit will be comfortable and productive.

Inside the hotel's rooms, you'll find a digital safe big enough for your top-secret-info-carrying laptop. All 210 rooms also have access to a networked laser printer, so no reason to tote your portable ink jet along. Free WiFi is present, but the in room, superfast, T1 line is where the hard core engineers hunker down. And it's not just the in-room technology that sets the Hotel @ MIT apart: it's the decor.

Patents behind the concierge desk, vintage photos from "Intro to Mechanical Engineering Classes", equations on the blankets, chemistry cartoons in the bathrooms, this place tricked out geek from top to bottom.

3. WOODLYN PARK, NEW ZEALAND

The whole New Zealand/Lord of the Rings tourism thing gets plenty of play, but that's usually all about driving through the geeky--but lovely--countryside. Where do you change into your hobbit costume before touring the filming locations? Might we suggest Woodlyn Park?

The hotel's two units burrow underground and have round windows straight out of the film. The furniture is a little modern for Middle Earth, but it seems to get the job done:

Very tastefully furnished with big beds so you feel like a small hobbit! There's one double bed in the main lounge/dining/kitchen area and two bunks in a separate bedroom

This hotel is less than five minutes from Waitomo Caves where you can go blackwater rafting in the glow worm caves.

Matamata is the closest LOTR site, home to--no real surprise here--Hobbiton.

[Photo: Maruba]

4. FAENA HOTEL + UNIVERSE, BUENOS AIRES

Faena Hotel + Universe is a Buenos Aires design hotel that reeks of chic geek. Each room boasts an appropriately placed flat screen (read: glare was taken into consideration) and the entire property comes complete with a strong internet connection, 802.11 is present throughout, and there is decent throughput--our spy ran a bandwidth test well into the megs. The connection can easily be used for VOIP sessions, poolside, which allows you to live quite decadently while you are on a conference call with someone in the Valley.

Furthermore, while you are poolside not only can you use all your devices as you kick back in a chaise and breathe in the hip, but also expect staffers to offer you charging coils for your devices--nice touch. The coup de grâce? The water is positioned to create the illusion that things on the other side of the pool are floating, nice illusion.

5. SIDI DRISS, TUNISIA

Nothing reeks of geek more than traveling to Tunisia just to spend the night in the real Tatouine, yes it is a real town near Hotel Sidi Driss. Located in Matmata, Tunisia, (weird, how closely the spelling matches the LOTR town) Sidi Driss is essentially a five-pit dwelling of "underground labyrinths and vaulted rooms." As we wrote back in 2005:

Parts of the Star Wars set still exist in the hotel, but mostly it's just a giant Berber cave, indistinguishable from the hundreds around town - half sunken into the desert.

Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's on screen home has been left virtually untouched since 1977, and thirty years later plenty of Star Wars aficionados make it a point to stop by Sidi Driss. If you go, just try to stay the night without saying "But I was going into Tashi Station to pick up some power converters" in full screamy, vintage Mark Hamill whine.

Best of all, you don't have to have to cash in your Google stock to pay for a room as it only costs 16 Tunisian dollars a night.

[Photo: Declan McCullagh]

6. WYNN LAS VEGAS

On the surface, Wynn may not look like a top geek hotel. C'mon, you've got toilet king Herb Kohler at the craps table, a fake mountain in the backyard and gigantic floor lamps lighting the hotel's entryway.

But you know the uber-wealthy love their toys and Steve Wynn is no exception. For starters, there's high-definition TVs in every room (plus in poolside cabanas) with On Demand HD movies (including HD porn selections, much to the chagrin of some viewers, and bashful porn stars everywhere). Second, every room sports motorized drapes and lighting that you control with your own remote because pulley systems to raise curtains are so last century. Third, the entire hotel's phone system operates off VOIP from Avaya and your name and room number pops up into other hotel phone's caller ID. And vice versa.

Lastly, the hotel's Red Card serves as your all-access pass to the resort. It's your key card, your player's club card, your reservations card and your shopping card, so long as you are on the Wynn resort. And unlike other hotel key cards, this Red Card's RFID is definitely storing all your personal data. Hell, those casino bosses probably know about that pack of gum you swiped from a five and dime when you were 8-years-old.

The only downside as one reviewer noted when the hotel first opened is that the red card operates on Windows XP and all systems are connected. So if the slot machine crashes (which it did) then your red card won't open your hotel room. The upside, if you are worth your geek cred you should be able to hack into this system, which should mean hacking into the slot machines...you get the picture. Anyone else sensing another MIT club forming around this concept? Bringing Down the House II, perhaps?

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

1. The Hotel Royal in Munich who would be on the list if they were still had Xboxes running on Linux as set-top boxes.

2. The Gansevoort Hotel in New York for its awesome Wii setup. Although they have it available for all rooms, it's probably better played in the spacious penthouse suite.

3. The Hotel Commonwealth in Boston which has VOIP telecommunications that provide sort of a virtual private concierge service, which can give you all the news including the latest stock prices. Plus you get to walk around the property using a cordless phone that works anywhere.

4. The Rome Cavalieri Hilton in Italy isn't quite a tech-savvy spot but they do offer personal MP3 tour guides in your own language at the concierge desk. The MP3 also serves as a digital camera and when you return back to the hotel after a day of sightseeing, the concierge will burn your pictures onto a CD.

LET US KNOW YOUR FAVORITE GEEK HOTEL
Skip IRC and just hit up our tip line, which is always open. We want to hear about your favorite geek hotel haunts around the world.

Speak up in the comments section below.

Story Credits: Paul Brady, Juliana Shallcross, Mark Johnson.

Comments (25)

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Re: Best Geek Hotels in the World

The hell? There's a hotel at MIT? Amazing. The place in Buenos Aires looks sexy...

The Robot picture...

did me in. But look at the geek in the background checking in. trench coat? check. sneakers? check. backpack? check. welcome to hotel@mit.

Re: Best Geek Hotels in the World

the hotel@MIT should have won- real geeks don't do Mac

Re: Best Geek Hotels in the World

Seaport Hotel in Boston tops my list. They were one of the first hotels in Boston to have wireless internet (and it's FREE!)  I stay there frequently because my company has a satellite office in the area.  They also have a new in-room technology that was deployed in the beginning of the year.  It is a flatscreen monitor that is a virtual concierge with internet access. (It even had voiceover IP for long distance phonecalls! If only I had friends in China!!) It was fascinating with this little monitor could do.  
The person at the main desk told me that it was the only hotel in the country that has this kind of technology.  

It is definitely worth checking out.


Re: Best Geek Hotels in the World

It's called the Seaportal- How clever!!!!

Re: Best Geek Hotels in the World

Oh my god its so perfect, i'd love to visit it one day!! Mark - Directory Network Services Provider

Re: Best Geek Hotels in the World

If I had to strike a balance between geeky-ness and luxury, I'd choose the Charles Hotel in Havard Square, right next to Harvard. It's amenities, including flat screens and ubiquitous wi-fi are tops. Ricky Valero inspired online web entrepreneur

Re: Best Geek Hotels in the World

The person at the main desk told me that it was the only hotel in the country that has this kind of technology.
It's called the Directory clever!

Re: Best Geek Hotels in the World

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Wynn, Vegas

The Wynn is amazing. We stayed there one night while on a cruise. To be honest most of the hotels in the area were quite gorgeous.

Wynn at Rockypoint

Actually I heard they might be putting up a Wynn in Rocky Point, which would be a great thing, since that area is very close to those in AZ and the Southwest states

Expensive

The Faena hotel looks impressive but expensive. I know of a local Vancouver real estate company that has done some sales in that area that told us that the cost of hotels are directly related to the cost of the surrounding real estate and amenities. What are your thoughts on this?

Reference

Sorry for the mistype, the Vancouver real estate company is known as Real Estate Valley!

Hotels

Great story, I never thought of this angle before. Some great hotels there!

My favorite hotels are actually Rocky Point Hotels in the beautiful city of Puerto Penasco.


Finally geeky is in fashion...

I am kind of geeky myself but I've never thought about making this a criteria when choosing my accommodation. Some of the hotels you have mentioned are even more high tech than my home and I have invested quite a bit into making it geeky. Some of the Niagara Falls hotels where I've stayed were close to the ones you presented but none of them was intentionally geeky.

STAR WARS FTW!

The Lord of the Ring hotel is EXCELLENT!  I wish they would do a Star Wars hotel.  They could have very little lighting at night and leave a colored LED flashlight in every room.  Could you imagine walking down a hall and randomly starting a light saber competition?

Tatouine

I'm going to Tunisia. Firstly I have to find self catering accommodation. I look forward to Tatouine :-)

Pool

The Faena Hotel pool in Buenos Aires looks out of this world. Beautifully designed. My favorite hotels Glasgow is the Blythswood Square hotel. Really amazing interior and luxurious pool.

Park City?

How has nobody mentioned Park City hotels yet? Park City has a reputation to be awesome so check it out ASAP.

Best Geek Hotels..

I like visiting new places and hotels. I am planning to visit Rocky Point Mexico Hotes in the next month.  

Greece

In collage I went very often outside of the country with a program called Work&Travel. I've been in many countries and stood in many hotels. But nowhere was like in Greece. And don't refer only at the luxury, but how I was welcomed, the staff, the services and so on.

true

Ovidiu has a good point. I also had the pleasure to experience some fine hotels in Kasandria, Greece. The people are very hospitable and the European air is different. But I would have a recommendation. Recently I've stood at a group of hotels on the beach in Hawaii and I had similar experience as in Greece.

Crete Hotels

I had a great experience in Crete. Beautiful Island and the hotel was great. <a href="http://calgaryrealestate.ca">Calgary Real Estate</a>

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check out <a href="http://www.holidayblu.com">http://www.holidayblu.com</a> to find top deals on hotels in Greece. The prices are very competitive

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