Tag: Test Hotels

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Marriott Has Taken Their New Designs 'Underground'

Where: Bethesd, a
January 10, 2014 at 12:15 PM | by | ()

It's common knowledge that most major hotel brands have a super secret lair where they test out their new room designs, amenities, and services before letting them see the hotel hallway fluorescent lighting of the day.

Peninsula Hotels keep their proprietary guest room technology under wraps in a laboratory in Aberdeen, Scotland. Hilton once kept their secret lab inside an unassuming Hilton Garden Inn near LAX while Starwood Hotels does their research in a warehouse somewhere in upstate New York. Even the upcoming Virgin Hotels is testing their super secretive room design somewhere (our guess is the desert in California where Virgin Intergalatic lives.)

But now we know exactly where Marriott Hotels is trying out all their new stuff from guest room designs to food and beverage concepts and lobby layouts. It's called Innovation Lab and it's located two floors below the company's headquarters building in Bethesda, Maryland. Nickname? The Underground.

Here's how Marriott described the lab in a press release from las May:

“The Underground” -- is dedicated to promoting innovation and collaboration. Like a blank canvas, the floor-to-ceiling white space offers a clean slate for anyone – whether architect, designer, employee or customer – to manipulate and make his mark. This space showcases the brand’s commitment to the next generation of travelers, who seamlessly blend work and play, with a focus on changing style, technology and service.

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Design Your Own Hotel Room

December 19, 2008 at 8:56 AM | by | ()

We're big fans of test rooms where hotels try out new technologies before they decided which ones to pass on to us regular guests.

In the UK Business Travel World has taken the test room idea online and at their Our Hotel Room website you can vote for the hi-tech features you most want in a room--and write-in votes are fine too, if you have your own idea--and then they're going to build the "winning" room in real life.

There are a few bits on their list that we're thinking are future must-haves, like biometric security entry so the hotel room door will open literally at the touch of our (and only our) fingertips. The free mini-bar sounds nice but doesn't exactly fit our idea of technology, and presumably "free" would really mean they just make room rates higher.

And finally, we like the idea of being able to use our iPhone to operating the air-con and the lights. The Our Hotel Room peeps then suggest we could also get carbon footprint feedback, which we know is A Good Thing. But it would probably make us feel awfully guilty about turning the heater on in winter, so we're not sure we can vote for it.

We're curious about what tech features people might add to the write-in vote section. Personally we're after stuff like 100% perfect WiFi and perhaps an alarm clock that wakes us with fresh coffee.

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HOWTO :: Become a Hotel Test Sleeper

July 31, 2008 at 11:01 AM | by | ()

When we checked out some of the first guest reviews of the new CitizenM hotel in Amsterdam, we noticed a couple of the contributions came from guests who had seen the property a bit early -- they had gotten the chance to stay overnight as "test-sleepers" before the June grand opening.

So, in other words, the hotel hired people to act as bed testers and stay overnight for free.

Seriously? The greatest job ever, maybe? Our calling? Your calling?

After the jump: how those lucky few scored gigs as hotel "test-sleepers" -- and how you can, too.

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Where Hotels Be Testing Their Shizz

April 29, 2008 at 9:15 AM | by | ()

Was this ToteVision tested in a storage facility in New York before you turned it on? Probably.

The NY Times has a look inside some of the test rooms that hotels set up before they actually open a hotel or before they begin to offer a new technology or service.

There's the Room X inside the Marriott Courtyard at the University of Delaware which is testing every high-tech guestroom gadget imaginable. There's also the Westin Chicago River North which we learned was a test center for the jet lag therapy program.

But other hotels are testing their shizz out too. Hyatt Place built an entire test hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz. The James Hotel Chicago has a test site in Queens while Kimpton Hotels use the wine hours in the lobby (usually 5 to 6pm every night) to "supplement research on what guests want." Aha! We knew there was a catch to free wine.

We also know that Aloft and Element Hotels, the newest brands from Starwood, have a test site/warehouse in God-knows-where upstate New York.

But these test sites aren't really necessary. You can always go the route of Thompson Hotels which open the rooms as soon as humanly possibly, even if exterior and interior construction needs to be finished, thus undergoing trial and error while giving guests a cheap rate for being the guinea pig.