1. THE HOTEL SAX, CHICAGO
The Hotel Sax is the only hotel in the world any self-respecting video gamer would check into. The reason why? The hotel's sixth floor Studio is powered by Microsoft and thus is complete with XBox 360s and its most popular games like Madden '08, Halo 3, Guitar Hero, Scene It, Dance, Dance Revolution and our personal favorite RockBand. Plus there's more:
Guests can play XBox games, connect with other gamers around the world via XBox Live service, work in a social setting, download and listen to music from the hotel's music library via Microsotft's Zune music player or kick back and watch HDTV content and select movies in the home theater environment managed by Windows Media Center Technology.
There's even a technology butler on hand in case anything goes wrong, like the XBox freezes up.
The studio is open from 4pm to midnight only for hotel guests which means you won't have to fight with outsiders to wail on the guitar but it will mean ponying up $200+ for a hotel room and dealing with a security staffer at the door.
[Video: John M.L. Prewitt]
2. HOTEL AVANTE, MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, USA
The Hotel Google. What? You didn't know Google had its own hotel? Well they don't, officially, but they might as well just name this JDV Hospitality property the official Hotel Google.
Like the famous search engine, Hotel Avante is egalitarian but presents a wide array of options to the user. Large, comfy beds, flat screen televisions, cordless phones, and free, four bar wireless. There is also a heated pool and a music listening lounge.
Back up in the rooms this hotel keeps your mind occupied with Photoshop forerunner, Etch-a-Sketch, a Rubik's cube, a deck of cards, a slinky, tape, and scissors. Furthermore, if you need a lift to the Googleplex, Hotel Avante offers regular shuttle service between the hotel and Google, just ask at the front desk.
If you are looking for sweeping vistas of Silicon Valley (who would?), you have the wrong place, but if you want a comfortable cutting edge business hotel at a decent price within a stones throw of Google headquarters -- query filled.
3. THE WESTIN, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
A deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something. Right? Well, both Matrix efficianados and confusionados can retrace Neo's steps at the Westin Sydney Hotel. The Deja Vu scene was filmed here, in one of the hotels staircases. If you want to compare and contrast the movie scene and the reality, just pop in the original Matrix DVD and leap to 01:20:01, or 01:20:34. You will notice in the Westin Sydney hotel:
The tiles were rotated 45 degrees relative to the axes of the stairs, where as in the Matrix, they're aligned with the direction of the stairs.
The real world deja vu hotel is a 31 story, 416 room hotel in the midst of downtown Sydney.
Some folks use this hotel as their jumping off point to retrace all of Neo's steps in Sydney, while others take a stab a creating their own Matrix inspired deja vu scene in the stairwell. No joke. Oh, and also the Westin Sydney is actually a illuminated, thriving hotel and not an old dilapidated building as 1 Martin place appears to be in the world of Wachowski.
4. THE POD HOTEL, NEW YORK
The Pod Hotel, aka the Facebook Hotel, is the hotel du jour for the social media generation, offering small and affordable rooms tricked out with the latest gadgets to keep the youngins happy like flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations and free WiFi. Of course, the over 30 set is welcome but will probably want the rooms sans bunk beds and shared baths.
But the Pod Hotel is one of the first hotels to have its own social networking site, The Pod Community Blog. How it works: Once guests make their own online reservation they can opt to become a member of the Pod Community. They can choose their login and password and then start to participate in a bunch of forums: Drink with Me, Eat with Me, Shop with Me, Go Out with Me. And since the networking is for people looking to hang out with others during their hotel stay, each forum is grouped by month.
A sample conversation from the Drink With Me forum goes like this:
Scott, 27, from Australia, first time to NYC. Catch up for a drink or sightseeing? 18th - 20th March.
Right now, it looks more like a message board than a tricked out Facebook page but we wouldn't be surprised if soon members can start uploading their beer pong tourney pics and Scrabulous results.
5. EMIRATES PALACE, ABU DHABI
In Dubai, they can pretty much build whatever they want and a high-tech luxury hotel is no exception.
Sure most of the place is probably in bad taste--there is such a thing as too opulent believe it or not--but The Emirates Palace is totally tricked out from the guestrooms which feature hand-held computers to control every light, switch and power outlet to the employees who ride around on Segways and to the "unbreakable bubble" of WiFi that extends beyond the guestrooms to the pool and to the private beach.
Even more impressive: USA Today discovered that upon a special high-level request (think royal family, presidents, Dr. Evil)
The computer and broadcast network — and its 3.5 terabyte storage network — can be cut off completely from the outside world, like the U.S. government's secure intranet
Meanwhile, regular billionaire guests can rest assured that their internet connection is protected by the hotel's full-time network security officer who monitors its 16 firewalls and intrusion detection systems.
6. LANGHAM PLACE HOTEL, MONGKOK, HONG KONG
At the Langham Place Hotel, we can't decide what is more geek-worthy--the fact that every hotel room uses the Cisco 7970 color Internet Protocol (IP) phone or the animated Smart Angel Tracy who instructs you on how to work the in-room technology -- she plays the Kelly LeBrock role here.
The Cisco phone in itself is pretty impressive. It's a touch-screen phone that can be configured by the guests at any time and from any computer to pull up weather temps, news, stock quotes and even family photos. Guests can even upload their information online before their trip and once they arrive, all of that will be displayed on the phones' color touch screen. Plus the hotel will save your information for the next time you return.
As for the angel, Tracy is an animated version of the hotel's real life "Pink Ladies", the hotel's guest services agents. She's the one who first greets you when you walk into your room, on your TV screen that is. For those who may not be so tech-inclined will give you an instruction on how to use everything in the room from the Cisco phone to the video-on-demand system to the iPod docking station and the oh-so-important air-conditioning controls.
And if you have any issues, the hotel has a S.M.A.R.T. Centre staffed with humans to help you out. Other tech benefits to this hotel: "omnipresent" WiFi that works everywhere, in-room mobile phones and an in-room electronic safe with built-in charging facility for all those gadgets that you travel with.Oh and you can Skype the hotel.
2. The Seaport Hotel, Boston: The hotel's iConcierge called Seaportal found in every guest rooms which gives you free WiFi, free VOIP calls and allows you to call up ring up any human staffers you might need.
3. UK's City Inn Hotels: For putting iMacs into every guestroom.
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