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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.
Hotel Technology / Google Glass / Starwood Preferred Guest / SPG / Starwood Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Apps / → All Tags
Google Glass hit the market for the general public yesterday for one day only (and for $1,500 a fully tricked out pair) and already, a hotel brand is catering to the
Glassholes new owners.
Starwood Preferred Guest announced this morning that they will soon be releasing its SPG app for Google Glass. Here's what you'll be able to do with Glass and SPG:
· Search and Book: Voice search Starwood's 1,150+ hotels worldwide and then book your room
· Explore: Get turn-by-turn directions to any hotel and explore photos of amenities, rooms or local areas
· Check Your Account: Access your Starpoints balance
· State Aware: The state aware technology already found on SPG's mobile app will be implemented here so guests can display upcoming stay details, recognize arrival, and customize experience.
In essence, it's not that much different from what you do on your phone, except you'll be showing off your Glass-ware.
The app has not yet been released to the Google Glass store but it is coming soon. SPG's Glass website also says that the app will be updated based on member feedback and of course, any new Glass features that come out.
[Photo: SPG for Glass]
Hotel Technology / Kimpton Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Tech Amenities / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
It's never fun to arrive at your hotel only to discover you forgot your phone charger, or worse, your laptop. We've long believed that hotels should at least carry spare chargers behind the front desk yet keeping back-up tech supplies is still a rarity in this biz. But now at The Eventi Hotel in NYC, they've launched an entire Business Bar for absent-minded gadget hoarders like us.
While the "bar" is not an actual physical bar, the offerings are very real from a selection of Apple products (iPads, iPad Minis, and MacBook Pros) to reading tablets (Kindle or Nook) and even digital cameras and a GoPro. Plus, there's a plethora of tech accessories available too, including the all-important chargers.
All guests need to do is stop by the front desk to reserve their item of choice. The amenities are available on loan for the length of your stay.
Rates at The Eventi, a Kimpton Hotel, start at $379 a night next Monday.
[Photo: Eventi Hotel]
Hotel Cars / Hotel House Cars / Luxury Hotels / Santa Monica Hotels / ETC Hotels / Hotel Technology / Hotel News / → All Tags
One of the perks of staying in a luxury hotel is riding in the complimentary house car, which is often a car you'd never be able to afford in real life. We're talking Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous cars like Mercedes, Rolls Royce and Bentley. But now in Santa Monica, Calif., Shutters on The Beach is offering a very 21st century type of house car, one that's quickly become the new "it" brand in luxury--a Tesla Model S.
General manager Gregory Day said the hotel changes out their house car every year but have slowly been moving towards a greener alternative.
"We've always been heavy-Mercedes house," he said, while showing off the Tesla in the hotel's porte-cochère. "We had a CLS 550 when I got here and I think our next one we got, to make it more environmentally-friendly, we got a V6 engine, and then the last car we had was a S400 hybrid Mercedes," Day said. "But the more we learned about it, hybrid isn't that green in a sense because the battery, once it's done, there's no way to recycle it."
The hotel considered electric vehicles but Day said it was hard to find one that would also appeal to their high-end guests. So when the Tesla came out, the hotel dug both its sleek look and its technology.
Snapshot / Hotel Technology / Keys / London Hotels / Maybourne Hotel Collection / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
While we're on the subject of hotel room keys today (or lack thereof), we noticed this super cool key system when we stayed at The Berkeley Hotel in the Knightsbridge neighborhood of London last week.
At check-in, (which is discretely done at individual desks off the lobby, with cushy chairs for the guest to sit in), we were handed two small plastic black keys. At first we thought, "Cool, old-school door keys." But when we arrived up to our room, the keys weren't used the way we expected.
Just off to the right of the door handle is a mirrored plate which has the room number. Below that is a little slot for the key, which is actually wired to the door. Once your key goes into the slot, a green light will appear at the top of the key, letting you know the door is ready to open. You can leave the key in the slot too so you don't have to simultaneously insert the key and push the door open.
We've always loved how IHG's Hotel Indigo brand embraces their surrounding neighborhood, often showcasing artwork from local artists, incorporating elements of the area's history into the hotel's design and using locally sourced ingredients in their restaurants and bars. Now, Hotel Indigo is taking all that they know about their neighborhoods and giving it to guests via these cool touch screens.
Called The Neighborhood Guide, the touch screens essentially serve as virtual guidebook for the area. It's fill with the background and history of the specific area, along with tips and recommendations from the staffers at Hotel Indigo, from bellman to bartender to room attendants, on what to do and where to go. The guide also has a photo sharing tool that's linked to Facebook so when you're bragging about where you are on vacation, you can snap a real-time photo of yourself in the Hotel Indigo. #selfietime
Hotels can't stop texting us! But we kind of like it, especially when a free drink is involved.
The newest hotel to try out testing their guests is the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek near Vail, Colorado. Fresh off an extensive renovations of its guest rooms, which brought a more contemporary look to the ski resort, the Park Hyatt is now looking for feedback on the new look from its guests…via text.
At check-in, guests will be alerted that the hotel is interested in their thoughts on the new rooms and will be given a mobile number to text with their opinions. In exchange for typing out their thoughts, guest will receive a complimentary cocktail.
The texting initiative is available through the end of March. We like it because we're in control of the texting, rather than receiving unsolicited or unwanted messages from the hotel. And so long as the texts are strictly about the renovation and won't lead to the hotel "spamming" us with deals or packages, we're cool with that.
Rates at the luxury ski resort in March start at luxury ski resort prices like $799 a night on weekends.
[Photo: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek]
Hotel Room Alerts / Hotel Booking Tips / Hotel Booking Sites / Hotel Technology / Hotel News / → All Tags
What do you do when the hotel you want to stay in is sold-out? You probably exhaust all the options you can--like hitting up every booking site known to man, constantly checking the hotel's own website and perhaps even begging the front desk to try and find you a room. But you can stop all of that busy work, thanks to Hotel Room Alerts.
This new service will send you both a text and an email alert as soon as availability opens up at the hotel you want. No refreshing, no plugging in dates over and over, and best of all, no begging.
The site is linked up to Hotels.com so if the hotel you're looking at is listed on Hotels.com then you'll be able to get the room alert. Once you get the notification, you'll have a direct link into the hotel's listing on Hotels.com to book away.
The notification system works not just for sold-out hotels but also for sold-out room categories. Say you want a room with double beds but those are sold-out. Sign up with Hotel Room Alerts to get notified when a double-bed opens up again.
Keep reading to see what the alerts look like
Speaking of hotel smartphone apps today, Sofitel Hotels' new app is giving its guests an easier way to reserve rooms, check loyalty programs balances and even get some inspiration for their next vacation.
Not to be mistaken for the Accor Hotels app, this one is strictly for those travelers that enjoy the lap of French luxury at Sofitels and want to top-up their Le Club account with stays at the prestigious properties.
After playing with the app for a little bit, we were blown away by the plethora of great photos each address offers up. Besides great snaps, the navigation is easy and simple to not only book a room, but check the destination's weather for the next week and even call or email the hotel with one touch of the screen.
With the Marriott Mobile app, checkout is simple. In the morning of their departure day, Marriott Rewards guests will receive a push notification on their Apple iPhones or Android devices alerting them mobile checkout is available. Upon completing mobile checkout, guests will then be prompted to provide an email address and their bill will be emailed to them, allowing guests to bypass the front desk on their way out.
No more "Irish goodbyes", no more waiting forever for the folio to pull-up on the TV and definitely no more queuing at the front desk with all the other guests at 11am. Of course, this new services has our full approval.
Marriott plans to all 500 properties worldwide in offering mobile check-in and check-out, available in English, Chinese, French, Spanish and German. You can go here to see where the mobile check-in and check-out services are offered.
Since July, Marriott has process 150,000 mobile check-ins while the Marriott mobile app has been downloaded nearly 3 million times. Since checking out is a bit easier than checking in, we expect to see some pretty high numbers for the service in a few months.
The best thing a hotel could do for its website is to make everything easy. Easy to book. Easy to look up hotel photos and information. Easy to view on a mobile device. The new website for South Beach’s Raleigh Hotelgets all these right.
The Miami hotel opened in 1942, and with the help of old Hollywood starlets like Esther Williams, it became one of the hotels that encapsulated the South Beach allure we know today. Fast foward 60 years later to 2012, when hip hotelier Sam Nazarian of sbe bought the historic hotel for $55 million (previously, Andre Balazs had managed The Raleigh.)
Since then, the Raleigh has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation. And, though the hotel and website have undergone some major changes, neither has lost any of its vintage glamour or charm.
Is that our Facebook page you keep looking at?
Last week, we let you know that hotels want to text us. If that seemed a little intrusive to you, then look away now.
We've heard a few times recently that hotels are Googling you and checking out your social media profiles before your stay. Hmmm....on the one hand, we don't think that's too bad. The hotel is just trying to get a good idea of who we are, what we like and what we look like. Not every hotel can have a dedicated personal assistant so this is a good way to fill in that hole.
On the other hand,
most of the time sometimes we like the anonymity of hotels that provide. Sure, the front desk will always know our name and our address after we check-in as well as our room number but at least they won't know where we work, went to school, who our friends are or that we spent an hour watching One Direction videos on YouTube yesterday. (Um, for "research.")
Then again, this is the world we live in today--where anyone can find out a reasonable amount about your life with a few quick clicks. So if you're wary of hotels
stalking looking you up, then be careful about what you put out there.
What do you think--should hotels be researching who you are before your stay or should they just aim to be "pleasantly surprised" by you? Sound off in comments below!