HotelChatter's Ten Best Geek Hotels for 2010
THE VEGAS OF THE FUTURE
City Center Las Vegas: When CityCenter opened last December it ushered in a new era of technology in Sin City. All three hotels at CityCenter--Aria, Vdara and Mandarin Oriental (about 4,300 rooms total)--use Control4 technology which allows guests to control everything in their room--drapes, light, temperature, music, the TV--from one control panel. (For video of this, go here.)
At night, guests can press the "Good Night" button on the panel which will turn off the TV, the lights, close the drapes and turn on the "Do Not Disturb" notification for the room. In the morning, selecting the "Wake Up" button will open the drapes while lights and music come on gradually.
But it's not just the guest rooms that got the high-tech treatment. In the casino at Aria, the interactive slot machines enable you to browse a place for dinner or read up on the entertainment offerings. And in the high limit slots lounge, you can even service your own winnings electronically, complete with a W2G form.
THE HULU HOTEL
Citizen Hotel: While it's no longer enough to outfit the hotel biz center with an iMac, it is another thing to put Mac Minis in the guest rooms which is what this Joie De Vivre Hotel in Sacramento has done. The "one-stop media portal," called Joie Connect, allows guests to connect to the internet so they can check their email, Twitter or Facebook, download music from iTunes and stream movies from Netflix and Hulu. Guests can even order room service and check-out from this system. All rooms at the hotel have Mac Minis and JDV has plans to put more Mac Minis in select hotels by the end of 2010. Room rates start around $150 a night.
THE AVATAR HOTEL
The Avatar Hotel: You won't find giant aliens with blue tails here but The Avatar Hotel in Silicon Valley hotel has prime location close to Google and Apple HQs as well as special amenities tailored to the geek business traveler. We like their free WiFi, the flat-screen TVs and even the bed trays which make it easy to work on your laptop in bed. Elsewhere in the hotel (also a JDV property), their interactive business lounge is outfitted with flat-screen TVs, video game systems and massage chairs. The hotel is even offering free shuttles to the San Jose Tech Museum this summer. Even better, you don't have to be Steve Jobs to stay here as room rates go for about $70 a night.
THE 3DTV HOTEL
Tropical Villa Vacations: 3DTVs are expected to hit the consumer market next month but with prices starting around $2,000, you may want to try it out first on your Hawaiian vacation. Tropical Villa Vacations is a villa complex in Wailea, Maui next to the Grand Wailea Resort and the Four Seasons Maui. Guests here can relax in private villas which feature gourmet kitchens, ocean view terraces and in some units, a small private pool.
But one particular villa, The Bella Luna, now has a 60-inch, LED, 3D television complete with 3D glasses for adults and children. The entertainment system also includes an iPod dock, a wireless keyboard for internet through the TV, surround speakers and a PlayStation 3 with 3D capability to be added soon. Six people can sleep at the Bella Luna and the nightly rate is $1,840 from July 12 to Sept. 7. (HotelChatter stayed in a Tropical Villa in Wailea last summer and it is perfection. Those photos don't lie.)
THE KEYLESS HOTEL ROOM
IHG's Smartphone Hotel Key: Intercontinental Hotel Group is taking that online check-in business one step further by allowing smartphones to actually open hotel room doors. The technology's software comes from Open Ways and users will have to download the software to their smartphone (it works with most smartphones, including the iPhone, Blackberry and the Android.)
But once you have that down, the next time you check into your hotel simply hold your smartphone up to a sensor on the door and voila! You're in the room. Currently, IHG is testing the smartphone key at the Holiday Inn Chicago O' Hare Rosemont and the Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown Convention Center. So if you're curious about how this works, hit up those two hotels to try it out.
THE MC ESCHERESQUE HOTEL
Inntel Hotel Zaandam: Gizmodo called this hotel "a giant Sylvanian Families house brought to life" but we just think it's totally trippy and something that fans of Dutch architecture will totally love. Essentially it looks like a bunch of traditional Dutch houses piled on top of each other. According to Dezeen design magazine, the 11-story hotel was designed by Wilfried van Winden (who seems to have some love MC Escher), chief architect of WAM and has 160 rooms, a restaurant and a wellness center. Not all of the hotel is complete (the business center will be finished later this fall) but rooms start now at 114 Euros for a craft deluxe room which is actually quite modern-looking. Oh, and that includes free WiFi too.
THE AMATEUR ASTRONOMER'S HOTEL
Shooting Star Inn: While the Astronomer's Inn hotel is no more (we'll miss this Star Wars room), you can get your astronomy fix in Arizona at the Shooting Star Inn in Flagstaff near the Lowell Observatory. There are only two rooms at the inn but included in the $195 room rate is a basic astronomical viewing with host and professional space photographer Tom Taylor as well as free breakfast. There is also a variety of telescopes and space binoculars available for nightly rental. And there's free internet too.
THE AIRPLANE GEEK HOTEL
Vliegtuigsuite: Grounded at the Teuge Airport in Amsteramd is the Vliegtuigsuite, an old East German government plane that has been converted into a full-on modern luxury suite with a sauna, a jacuzzi, three flat-screen TVs, a Blu Ray player, a 24/7 hostess, free wireless internet and perhaps the coolest amenity of all, full access to the untouched, authentic cockpit. If you ever wanted to join the mile high club but found the logistics um...challenging, this could be an easy shortcut for you. The suite, which was made possible by Dutch company Hotel Suites, costs starts at €350 for two people.
HOW TO TAME YOUR DRAGON HOTEL
The Dragon's Lair at Adventure Suites: Remember trying to navigate Dirk The Daring through the underwater caves of Dragon's Lair? Hey, in 1983 it was cutting edge. These days it seems Dirk resides in North Conway, New Hampshire, how apropos. If you want to magically transport yourself to the land of 80s cartoon video games, try the Dragon's Lair suite which features a floating king bed, a marble jacuzzi with bottom bubblers and underwater lights, a 36" flat screen TV with over 1,000 free movies for you to watch. The suite doesn't have any association to the Dreamworks movie but dragon sculptures and wooden carvings from China and Japan can be found in the suite. And don't worry about taming them, as the hotel's website says--"the gargoyles will protect you from any evil dangers." Room rates start at $269 a night and includes free wireless internet.
THE GEEK RECHARGE HOTEL
The Perivolas Hotel: Every gadget needs to recharge its batteries every now and then and geeks are no different. That's why we recommend the Perivolas Hotel in Oia, Santorini, a Conde Nast Gold List 2010 winner. The hotel has only 17 rooms and an infinity pool that overlooks the Aegean Sea. And there are definitely no 3DTVs or Mac Minis here. Straight from the hotel's website:
There are no TVs and DVDs – this is a place to switch off. A place to read, recharge, relax; to sleep, rest, and dream.
And with the Euro tanking, getting to the financially-troubled PIGS part of the European Union (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) is more affordable than ever. And in case you don't have your conversion calculator handy, currently 100.00 EUR = 123.381 USD.
Know a Geek Hotel we should consider checking in on? Spill it in comments below.