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After an in-depth look at the lobby and restaurant, we recently got to take a look around the new(-ish) guest rooms at Conrad New York. And though plenty about the rooms caught our eye (sleek frosted glass sliding doors, separate living rooms, Hudson River views), one detail in particular made us really stop and go, 'Aahhh.'
It was one of the features on the TV. Scrolling through the regular options like movies, room service, concierge features, and lighting control, we settled on a category titled "Moodz," which then offered us a series of different ambient scenes. They're not cartoons, they're not reality TV (well, at least not the way we usually think of reality TV), and they're not porn. They're just little movies of absolutely nothing happening.
There's no exact science to veging out in your hotel room, though there are certainly creative ways to enhance the experience. Ordering up extra pillows. Creating a mini steam room in your bathroom. Putting on the hotel's custom spa music CD.
And here's another: using the LodgeNet app to change channels, adjust the volume and turn the TV on or off—all from a quick tap of your iPhone, iPad or Android. As we reported before, the LodgeNet app is just one of many new tech tricks that are simplifying trivial hotel tasks like booking your room, checking in, and even opening the door upon arrival. And we love them.
We spent some time recently playing with the app in our hotel room. Read on to hear what we thought!
If you're reading this from a hotel right now, we sincerely hope you aren't one of the many travelers who have been recently assaulted by a new wave of hotel tech catastrophe: a computer virus disguised as a hotel WiFi login window.
The problem is exactly like it sounds. As per an FBI intelligence note released Wednesday: a newly-arrived guest logs onto the hotel's WiFi network when a pop-up window appears, asking to update a widely-used software product. When the guest clicks 'accept,' the computer then gets installed with malware.
Doggone it, as if we didn't already have enough troubles with these pesky WiFi connections!
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Guess the hotel revealed!
Alright, then. For anybody who guessed Tryp Times Square after seeing Friday's mystery QR-coded mirror, you are correct! The two-month-old hotel is keeping right on top of its tech amenities with free WiFi in all the rooms, a pioneering hotel meetup app known as LobbyFriend, and of course those smartphone-friendly mirrors...
Now, we're taking a look inside one of the brand's signature Family Rooms, of which there are 23 in the hotel. While other signature suites like the Fitness Room and the Media Room might appeal to gym freaks and video gamers, these oversized loft-style suites are perfect for families traveling together, or a group of friends who just all want to hang out and scan mirrors together at the same time.
Scroll down for our photo gallery!
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Of all the New Year's Eve parties that took place in hotels on Saturday night, this might be the most action-packed one we've heard about so far. Spread out across two neighboring hotels, the Hyatt Denver Tech Center's "White Rose Gala" and the Marriott Denver Tech Center's "Champagne Hotel" attracted thousands of midnight revelers. And for a while, it was smooth, champagne-fueled sailing.
Until midnight struck, and over 3,000 inebriated Marriott guests tried heading back to their rooms—only to discover they were all locked out! According to MSNBC, a computer error apparently crashed the hotel's entire key card database, and though pretty much everyone was drunk as a bicycle, and ready to collapse into their beds, they all had to wait until 3am to be let back into their rooms.
If you're into World of Warcraft and LAN parties, make note of what may be the world's most techie-tastic hotel room. Located miles away from the Valley (that's Silicon, not mall world), Paris' Novotel Vaugirard-Montparnasse has teamed with Microsoft to unveil a room kitted out with electronic perks such as a SENSORIT digital mirror, a multitasking piece of decor that allows guests to primp as they simultaneously check news.
Hey hotels who haven't yet provided guests with free WiFi: this hotel in Vietnam has cars that are better than you. It's the Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City and not only does it offer some really good (under $200) deals for stays including free breakfast buffets and airport rides, but it also boasts free WiFi throughout the property. And in case you need the bandwidth to be increased for some reason, they can take care of that as well.
Since the complimentary internet has been so successful over the last two years, the hotel has extended free WiFI to their fleet of six cars, with "interchangeable Wi-Fi routers creat[ing] hotspots using 3G and HSPDA technology that enables download speeds of up to 7.2MB per unit." Excellent.
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There's a new kind of pay-by-the-hour hotel room in town, and this is one where you won't have to worry about suspicious stains on the bedding because there's no bedding at all!
Newly installed at Starwood's W Chicago City Center and Sydney's Sheraton on the Park are "Telepresence Suites," virtual meeting rooms that connect business travelers stationed around the world as though they were doing business in person. Because you can only do so much using the front-facing camera on a new iPhone 4.
Did you know it was geek pride day? Yup. And to celebrate, we are listing this year's top geek hotels. When it comes to hotel technology it's no longer enough for hotels to offer flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, gaming consoles or TVs in the bathroom mirrors. Been there, seen that.
In 2010, to be a truly geek hotel you must go beyond check-in chic, "we got ipads", and run-of-the-mill gadgetry. Not that all those things are passe, they are all great, however, in a world where smart card check-ins are about to take over, you better step it up a notch to land on this list.
As always, we think being geek is a cultural endeavour, so after searching every henhouse, outhouse, and boathouse around the world, we have put together our list of the world's top geek hotels for 2010. From keyless entry, to futuristic gadgetry, to paying homage to Dutch mathematicians, and geek movie worship, the hotels on this list have a certain je ne sais quoi de geek.
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As we near the end of the first decade of this new millennium, we are tempted to reflect on just how far technology has come since the panic days of Y2K back in the late nineties. The Newton is dead; long live the iPhone. Geocities beget Friendster beget MySpace beget Facebook. And of course, everyone is adding a "tw" prefix to absolutely everything.
What hasn't changed in ten plus years is the fact that the hotel industry has done its best to keep up with the latest technological advances, upgrading rooms with flat-screen TVs, offering guests gaming systems like the Wii or the Playstation in-room or poolside and, in some very awesome cases, placing iMacs in the guest rooms.
Without further ado, here are our annual picks for Best Geek Hotels in 2009. This year, each list entry has its own video tour, hand-crafted by HotelChatter editors and contributors. Enjoy.
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As most people who suffer from technophilia know, a lot can change in a year. In the year that we released our first Best Geek Hotels List, the iPhone beat out every other cellphone on the market, the MacAir usurped the MacBook and saved shoulders worldwide, Guitar Hero and Rock Band raged, and Facebook surpassed MySpace, at least in our group of friends.
While most hotels are still rather slow to adopt technology -- hello, working free WiFi please?-- we did find a new crop of geek hotels that were worthy of superlatives. Some of these hotels have been geeking it out for a while and some are still in beta. But much of the source code remains the same:
Being geek is a cultural endeavour, so after searching every henhouse, outhouse, and boathouse around the world we have put together our list of the world's top geek hotels for 2008. From artificial intelligence, to high end gadgetry, to geek service, and geek movie worship, the hotels on this list have a certain je ne sais quoi de geek.
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We have another Geek Hotel tip in our inboxes today and finally, Europe is getting some representation, specifically Stockholm. Malc writes in:
The Hotel Rival has a 32" HD LCD TV and a Sony DVD player with line in. And whatever is playing, be it the TV, a CD or your laptop plugged in, feeds through to a speaker in the bathroom above the shower and there is a volume control on the wall. Its really cool.
Geeks will also love the free WiFi in the lobby. However, if you still have some anti-social behavior left over from middle school, you may not like the hotel's happening bar and lounge scene.