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Using the In-Room iPad at The Four Seasons

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  Site Where: 300 South Doheny Drive [map], Los Angeles, CA, United States, 90048
August 15, 2012 at 2:50 PM | by | Comment (1)

The other week we packed our bags and headed out to the Four Seasons Los Angeles for something we never thought we'd do--a staycation.

We know, that word immediately conjures up images of post-economic collapse 2008 and the hospitality world's desperation to keep folks traveling but we were dying to get away, even if it was just 20 minutes from our house.*

Now we've covered the Four Seasons extensively here on HotelChatter--from the Culina restaurant to the renovated rooms, the pool scene, the free WiFi and even the owner's penchent for succulents so there wasn't much that surprised us during the stay.

However, we did spend a lot of time using the hotel's in-room iPad 2. And since iPads in every room is fast becoming a Four Seasons brand standard (many of their new and soon-to-open hotels have them), we thought we'd give you a run down on how to use it.

The iPad can be found on the desk in the room and when you arrive, it has been charging in anticipation of your use. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the WiFi is free so long as you are doing basic internet activities like browsing the web and checking your email.

But what's not free is the iPad itself. If you just "happen" to "absent-mindedly" place the iPad in your suitcase and "mistakenly" take it home with you, the hotel will bill you $800. So be sure to return it to the desk when you are done.

Now, we brought our own iPad with us so we used that for our internet recreation but when it came to ordering room service, we eschewed the phone and instead placed our order through the tablet.

Flipping through the menu options was easy enough (sorry, we didn't get a screengrab of these) and you simply place your orders in the cart, much like you would do on Amazon or Zappos. You can also put in special instructions next to your order.

When you're done, review your cart options and then hit submit. Voila! A message instantly arrives telling you the time of your order and the time of when you can expect your order to arrive at your room. Within minutes, a call comes in through your room confirming your order for accuracy. This seemed a little redundant but we appreciated the effort.

And each time we ordered room service, our order arrived without any mistakes. However, the morning that we checked out (a Sunday) room service took forever for a simple bagel and coffee order. We understood the hotel was busy filling other breakfast requests before check-out especially since there's no casual cafe to grab small items like this but we can't help but wonder if the order would have arrived faster if we had placed it through the phone.

Aside from room service, we used the iPad in place of the in-room information book and looked up all the things to do at the hotel and nearby the hotel on the iPad. Again, navigation was easy and we were guided by big, colorful photos. There wasn't anything mind-blowingly creative or cool that was being offered through the iPad--a lot of the same services can be found on the TV as well, such as reviewing your bill--but simply being able to pick up the iPad and call up whatever we wanted at the swipe of a fingertip was just rather cool.

So will staying at a hotel that puts iPads in the room be a better experience than a hotel that kicks it old-school with an information book? Probably not as we still needed to use the phone and talk to staffers plenty during our stay but the iPad is a great perk. Bonus: You can use the in-room iPad charger to charge your own iPad or iPhone in case you've forgotten your charger.

*Disclosure: It's a long story but in short, Juliana has been working on a special project for the past, oh, nine months, and jetting off to another city just wasn't quite possible. So she paid a media rate of $265 a night at the Four Seasons along with room tax, overnight valet parking, lunch and drinks at the pool and all room service charges. Oh and she shelled out $17 for an in-room movie as well. "Friends with Kids" if you must know.

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It should do more!

They've gotta do better. The iPads at the J House in CT control the lights, the window shades and even the room temperature!

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