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.
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]
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?
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.
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