Tag: Hotel Tech

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There's More To This Picture (Frame) Than You Might Think

December 20, 2012 at 9:01 AM | by | ()

You know those lazy afternoons in hotels when you're sitting in your room wondering, 'What the heck am I gonna do for the next three hours until dinner?' Well, there's a nifty little device that's been popping up in places like The Hermitage in Monte Carlo and Kempinski Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.

Produced by a Dubai-based company called Sweetbeam, the bedside devices look like regular old picture frames. Except the images change. And upon closer inspection, you see that this isn't just background art—these are customized ads, subtly (or not) promoting different amenities that the hotel offers.

Forgot to bring your bathing suit? Turns out there's a boutique in the lobby—and bathing suits are on sale! Wondering what time happy hour starts? Five minutes ago! Didn't know there was a spa? Well, surprise—it's one floor above your room!

(Well, the ads don't use quite so many exclamation points as we do, but you get the idea...)

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Will Conrad's New Concierge App Replace The Real Thing?

December 18, 2012 at 9:16 AM | by | ()

While we're still swooning over Conrad's new Seoul property that opened last month, the luxury hotel chain recently premiered its free Conrad Concierge App for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. Needless to say, it's on fire!

In order to launch the perfect app for the luxury traveler, Conrad conducted a national survey and came to these results:
69% value a hotel that can customize their experience to reflect their personal preferences.
60% are more likely to obtain suggestions of local attractions or activities via their digital device over speaking with a hotel employee.
74% say they frequently use their smart phone, tablet or computer when booking elements of their business or leisure travel.

So, what does this app do?

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Stay Up All Night With Super Mario At London's New GAME Pad

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 10b, Chestnut Plaza Westfield Stratford City, Stratford City, London , United Kingdom, E20 1GL
December 17, 2012 at 9:01 AM | by | ()

For all you avid gamers out there, London's just unleashed a tricked-out hotel suite that we think will be to your liking. It's called the GAME Pad and it's located inside a Staybridge Suites in Stratford, overlooking Olympic Park.

The Pad is the result of a partnership between Staybridge Suites and GAME, a UK-based video games retailer, who's clearly going above and beyond their call of duty by turning every gamer's fantasy into a reality. Inside, the room contains not just a Nintendo Wii U, not just a Playstation 3, and not just an Xbox 360—but all three, each with their own separate 40" plasma TVs (plus another two screens just for watching regular TV). Add to that a full kitchen with microwavable snacks, bean bag chairs, lava lamps, and, of course, a bed, and you've basically eliminated any reason to ever have to go outside again.

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Who Booked More Rooms In 2012: Hilton Or Airbnb?

December 14, 2012 at 9:01 AM | by | ()

Have you ever booked a stay through Airbnb? If yes, then skip to the next paragraph. If not, here's a quickie backgrounder: started four years ago, the vacation rental site allows travelers all over the world to book stays in other people's apartments and homes—just like a hotel room, but often much, much cheaper and a quicker way to connect with locals.

Needless to say, the company is giving hotels a serious run for their money.

How much money, you ask? A recent statistic actually found that by December 31, Airbnb (which is now available in 192 countries) will have surpassed Hilton in number of rooms booked. For evidence, see the below tweet from tech leader Tim O'Reilly:

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Now You Can Find Element's iPhone Charging Bikes Everywhere

December 11, 2012 at 9:02 AM | by | ()

Technology has become a fundamental part of fitness these days. Often, at the gym, folks on treadmills or ellipticals seem more preoccupied with watching an episode of Real Housewives than their actual workout. And for many, a 20-minute exercise routine consists of hopping around the living room with a Nintendo Wii controller.

So we guess it's only fitting that Element has stuck to its promise of bringing iPhone-charging stationary bikes into all of its hotels. The nifty equipment was first unveiled in March at the launch of Element Miami. And now, nine months later, the "charge-as-you-go" bikes have been installed in the fitness centers of all 10 Element hotels.

Fitness centers, which, we should point out, remain open 24/7, leaving you no excuse for ever having an un-charged phone—or, for that matter, missing a workout.

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3 Chicago Hotels Bring Serious Tech to 'Silicon City'

November 6, 2012 at 9:49 AM | by | ()

Dubbed “Silicon City” for its booming tech scene (think Motorola, Groupon, Orbitz), Chicago is also blowing out its share of high-tech hotel interiors. These three Chicago hotels are going above and beyond to deliver the latest in-room tech toys.

In true rocker fashion, Hard Rock Hotel Chicago does show a little too much "morning after" with spots of chipped paint and ever-so-slightly worn interior, but the bright spots are pretty substantial—and we’re not just referring to the real-life rockers who show up here every time a music fest comes to town (recently Cee Lo Green and Pete Wentz ambled through). For starters, the floating Ghost Wall concierge screen in the lobby lets you check flight times, take photos, and browse Hard Rock’s selection of 20 available Fender guitars. But what we really love is the solo dining option at the hotel’s brand-new, totally playful Chuck’s Manufacturing restaurant (pictured above). It’s a techie's dream workstation complete with an outlet (and charger loans, should you forget yours), work light, bold Ikea-like acrylics, and funky bookshelves—all basically begging you to sip wine, work, and be cool.

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Check In Via Skype At The Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 9500 Wilshire Boulevard [map], Beverly Hills, CA, United States, 90212
October 9, 2012 at 9:00 AM | by | ()

What's your least favorite part about staying in a hotel? If you're anything like us, check-in is a particularly tedious process—that awful time when we're worn out and cranky, and don't feel like answering to anyone or making small talk: we just want to get straight to our room and close the door.

Luckily, some hotels are willing to speed guests right along and close the gap between first arrival and bed-flopping. Here's a new program being launched by the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire that ought to satisfy the digital nomad contingent who've got little time to spare, but plenty of devices at the ready: guests that are en route to the hotel, can now Skype the Front Desk and check in with them face to face.

(Sure, you still have to actually interact with a person, but hey, you're just sitting in a car, so what else have you got to do?

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Marriott And Wired: A Match Made In Digital Nomad Heaven?

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 296 State Street [map], Boston , MA, United States, 02109
September 18, 2012 at 9:17 AM | by | ()

Marriott must be feeling old. In an effort to reach those "younger travelers connected to their digital worlds," the hotel chain has launched a new partnership with Wired magazine.

As part of the initiative, the two brands will be curating various events at Marriott hotels around the country—titled the Wired + Marriott "Culturazzi" Series—including comedy nights, meet-ups, and other "provocative and stimulating" experiences basically designed to get people tweeting and Facebooking about Marriott.

The kick-off event, "Marriott Meetup: Five Startups To Watch," will take place in the lobby of the Boston Marriott Long Wharf tomorrow evening, allowing guests to drink wine, indulge in all the tech-speak they want, and simultaneously admire the results of the hotel's recent $30 million renovation, which it unveiled at the beginning of the year.

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The New iPhone 5's Gonna Annoy The Hell Out of Hotels

September 13, 2012 at 9:22 AM | by | ()

In case you didn't hear, Apple's new iPhone 5 was revealed yesterday at a media event in San Francisco (so in case you were trying to book a cheap room there this week, and couldn't find one, that's why). Sadly, it left a lot to be desired, with some tech reviewers going so far as to call it "ho hum."

So what does this have to do with hotels? Kind of a lot.

You see, one of the big changes (and from the sound of it, there weren't that many) Apple unveiled was an updated "Lightning connector" at the bottom of the phone. That's the part that attaches to cords, electrical outlets, computers, and, of course, the iPod dock. The problem is, new iPhones won't fit into the old docks without an adaptor, which, as WSJ points out, will cost between $29-$39 apiece.

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Peninsula Hotels' New PenCities Guides Give Up-To-Date Info

September 10, 2012 at 12:37 PM | by | ()

We’ve perused its stylish – and hefty – in-room magazine, but now Peninsula Hotels is taking things a step further online with the launch of PenCities.

Developed by LUXE City Guides, the weekly PenCities focuses on the latest dining, entertainment, shopping, design, nightlife, spa, and wellness options in each of the nine Peninsula locations (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Tokyo, Bangkok, Manila, and soon number ten, Paris).

One of the recommendations for Beijing has the apt title “Ancient and Modern, Ming meets Bling” (for Temple Restaurant); the hotel’s architecture is influenced by traditional Chinese design, but inside, you’ll find gigaspeed internet. We can tell you from visiting Beijing earlier this year that you encounter these contrasts between old and new everywhere.

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Hotel WiFi Is Generally More Fun When You're Not Being Watched By The FBI

July 20, 2012 at 9:16 AM | by | ()

Between exorbitant, unpredictable WiFi fees and the occasional circulating hotel internet virus, you'd think we have enough to worry about when it comes to signing onto the web from our hotel room. But you'd be wrong.

A friend of ours recently spent an evening at a Quaity Inn in California, and when he opened his laptop to join the network, found something that (understandably) made him a little nervous. There, listed above the Quality Inn's two available networks, was another one, which, in all caps, read: "FBI SURVEILLANCE VAN 28".

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The All-Powerful Hotel Room Remote Control: Helpful Or Just Confusing?

July 12, 2012 at 9:16 AM | by | ()

We like to test out all (and we do mean all) the features of our room when we check in. Buttons, panels, gadgets: we have a hard time keeping our hands off that stuff. But whether those features are actually useful? That's a separate question.

Like when you've got a master remote (pictured) that supposedly controls different parts of the room—lights, curtains, maid service. Sounds good in theory, except each time you press the buttons, something different happens. No, we didn't want the curtains to close! Wait—why are all the lights turning off?

We get that hotels want to be all technologically up-to-date, but this might be a case of 'don't fix what isn't broken.'

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