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The practice of using robots in hotels is rare but not new.
We came across a space-themed capsule hotel in China entirely staffed by robots. Way back in 2006, a Sheraton Hotel in Japan unleashed some robots to greet guests. The Hotel @ MIT has a robot on display and of course, we cannot forget about the Yotel luggage robot in Times Square. Yet while these were all innovative additions, with the exception of the Yobot, these hotel robots really didn't fulfill a service need for guests. Until now.
The NY Times reports that the Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, across from Apple's headquarters, will start using a Botlr Robot by Silicon Valley start-up Savioke on August 20. (Follow the adventure on social media with the hashtag #MeetBotlr.)
The Botlr's mission is simple. It "will shuttle items from the hotel lobby desk to guest rooms." So let's say you've just got settled into room and have changed into your pajamas when you realize that you've forgotten a toothbrush. Instead of going back downstairs or calling housekeeping and waiting forever to have a toothbrush delivered, the Botlr will bring it up to you. Here's how Botlr does what it does:
Google Glass Hotels / Google Glass / Hotel Technology / Spain Hotels / Wine Hotels / Duero Hotels / Country House Hotels / → All Tags
Google Glass in hotels is spreading. It started in San Francisco. Hotel marketers took it to Istanbul. Then it popped up in London. And now it’s been tracked to Spain, where a hotel and winery in an ancient abbey dating back to the 12th century has let it in.
Just one Glass for the concierge is not enough for the Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine in wine region Duero (hence the winery). Oh no – it’s bought eight pairs, and is touting them about to guests. As well as normal Glass activity, they’ve also loaded them with a video about the hotel and an art tour (shown above). There’s also a stargazing app so you can tell exactly what you’re staring at above the lovely vines (the grape kind, not the video kind).
Google Glass Hotels / Google Glass / Montcalm Hotels / London Hotels / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
But the Montcalm London Marble Arch is the first hotel we’ve heard of to have its staff using Google Glass as part of the concierge service.
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Lamps / Hotel Technology / Newport Hotels / Rhode Island Hotels / Lark Hotels / Hotels With iPads / → All Tags
We have a bit of a thing for lamps here at HotelChatter. Classic lamps. Kooky lamps. Lamps with electric sockets in them. Lamps that take up the only socket in the vicinity of the desk. Tall lamps, bedside lamps, chandeliers swinging from the rooftop – we love them all.
So we were totally in our (electrical) element during a recent stay at the Attwater in Newport, RI. Newport, of course, has plenty of exceptional lamps in all its Gilded Age mansions, but the Attwater could give The Breakers a run for its money with this lot.
Hotel Packages / New York Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / W Hotels / Hotel TVs / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
You know when you’re on the couch watching
the Kardashians your favorite TV show, and you want to get up to get drinks/food/an empty bladder, but you don’t want any of that quite enough to get up and move?
You do? Good. The W New York Union Square has just the package for you.
As the name suggests, the new Sunday Binge Watch package is especially designed for couch potatoes. You get your two welcome cocktails (or a basket of beer) in-room. You get a basket filled with movie theater-appropriate candy and snacks. And you get an Apple TV with access to up to three full seasons of the following TV shows: Orange is the New Black, Mad Men, Homeland, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Sex and the City.
Welcome to the brave new world of 2014. Where self-checkout stations at your local pharmacy are the norm, not the exception. Where you can text the restaurant with your dinner reservation. Where essentially every customer service innovation is designed to limit the annoyance that is actual human interaction. Because people, man —always yapping, amirite?
That said, even those of us who appreciate a little flesh-and-blood interfacing can’t deny that technology has its perks. The latest brand making use of it: The James Hotels, which just launched the James Pocket Assistant, a mobile app that basically puts a digital concierge in the palm of your hand.
Need a suggestion for dinner or shopping? The Assistant has a “curated insider’s guide” that maps out noteworthy restaurants, bars, and other attractions. Want to impress the wedding ring-less looker in Room 603 with your knowledge of the elevator art? The app offers a “self-guided art tour” throughout the art collections at James properties in Chicago, Miami and Soho. (Of course, it also covers the obvious basics like room reservations and spa appointments.)
Google Glass / Google Glass Hotels / Hotel Packages / Hotel Technology / San Francisco Hotels / → All Tags
As they promised the other month, the The Stanford Court Hotel has now begun offering a Google Glass overnight package for interested guests.
The hotel initially offered free drinks to Google Glass owners but they've now taken the Glass upstairs to the guest rooms. The "Google Glass Explorer Package" offers guests the complimentary use of a pair of Google Glass to use during their stay, along with overnight accommodations in a deluxe room, breakfast in the hotel's Aurea cafe, and a nightly beverage in the Aurea Lounge.
In case you've never tried on Google Glass before, the hotel will give guests a brief tutorial including a creative handout that teaches one how not to be a Glasshole. #sonecessary
The package starts at just $199 a night and is available through the end of the year. Meanwhile, a real pair of Google Glass can set you back a cool $1,500 dollars. Not in San Fran? You can also try on Google Glass during your stay at the ACME Hotel in Chicago.
Hotel Amenities / Peninsula Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Technology / Hong Kong Hotels / → All Tags
We knew Peninsula Hotels was spending some serious money to refresh its Hong Kong flagship, and that lovers of tech would be well looked after. Having just stopped by the hotel, we now know what those proprietary bedside tablets look like in their natural environment, and spotted a number of other cool room amenities – including the futuristic-looking thing above.
We honestly had no clue what it was, but in this case we’re not the target audience. Ladies, any guesses? Read on to find out.
We usually associate the Delano brand with design and not necessarily technology but when we peeked into a model room of the Delano Las Vegas, opening September 1 at the Mandalay Bay, we geeked out over the room phone. Yes, the room phone which we actually thought was nearly extinct.
While the phone may look like an ordinary cordless phone with the requisite hotel buttons on the front, on the side, it has a USB port so you can directly plug in your phone for charging.
No more schlepping over to the desk to the plug panel. No more bringing both the outlet charger and the USB cord. Just plug and charge while you sleep.
This is the first time we've seen this sort of phone in a hotel room, anywhere. But we sure hope it gets picked up by hotels, everywhere.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more photos inside The Delano Las Vegas!
Accor Hotels are getting all digi with it, rolling out a new check-in process that allows guest to check-in online before they arrive. Here's how the high-tech Welcome Experience will work (you can also watch the video below)
1. Two days before their hotel stay, guests are invited to complete their check-in online. Guests must have made the reservation directly through Accor or must be a loyalty card holder.
2. On the day of arrival, guests will receive a welcome message SMS, letting them know that their room and key are ready along with some practical information for their trip (options for getting to the hotel, car park access codes, etc.)
3. When guests arrive at the note, their key is ready to hand over without the "usual administrative formalities" i.e. paperwork.
4. On the day of check-out, guests simply turn in their hotel key to the front desk and then a hotel folio is sent to them by email.
The Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel is London is on the cusp of releasing a new smartphone app that strictly handles your room service orders.
With the Ordering App, you can select not just what you want to nosh on but also specific delivery times. Best of all, you can use this app when you're not in your hotel room but you want room service ordered upon your return. No, it's not ground-breaking app technology (we've seen the room service function on the Four Seasons LA app and the Upper House in Hong Kong's app) but it does make your hotel stay a lot easier.
The Ordering App will be released within the month to the iTunes store and we suspect the Android store too. Rates at the Andaz start at around $330 a night on weekends in May.
[Photo: Andaz Liverpool Street]
But now Marriott has gone one step further. Guests will now be able to "real-time chat" with the hotel with the Guest Service Requests function. The chat feature is available to Marriott Rewards' guests and allow for two-way text messaging, if you need an extra pillow or have issues with the WiFi. No word on if you can order up a club sandwich at 2 am, but room service is easy enough.
Right now, the text-like chat is only available at 15 properties around the country, and pending its success, will be rolled out to more cities by the end of the year. Right now you can chat with guest services at the New York Marriott Downtown, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile and Marriott San Diego Hotel and Marina to name a few.