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Hotel Technology / Mobile Check-In / Marriott Hotels / Marriott Mobile Check-In / Hotel News / → All Tags
Over the summer we told you about this high-tech service and how it works (through the Marriott Mobile App) but back then, only about 30 properties were using it. By the end of the summer, about 325 hotels in the U.S and Canada were using it. Now, it's gone worldwide from the U.K. to Mexico, the UAE and India.
But Marriott isn't stopping there. By 2014, all 500 hotels should have the mobile check-in function.
So in case you've got a Marriott hotel stay coming up soon, this is how it works:
1. Join Marriott Rewards
2. Check-in to your hotel at 4pm the day before your arrival, then the app will send you an automatic notification when the room is ready.
3. Arrive at the hotel and bypass the front desk by hitting up the "expedited mobile check-in desk" to pick up your room key.
4. Head up to your room and immediately start doing these things.
Have you tried Marriott's Mobile Check-in App yet? Tell us what you think in comments below!
Every time a cool new app comes out promising guests to check-in or check-out via their phone or table or use their handheld as a room key, we always wonder how much longer it will be before human hotel staff become obsolete. Well, at The Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel in Shenzhen, China, that time is here.
The Nanfang Insider reports that the hotel is nearly entirely staffed by ROBOTS. Robots greet you at reception and at the front desk and even serve you drinks and food in the lobby lounge. However, there are some humans on hand in case the service, um, short circuits.
As for the rooms, they cost just $11 a night because as the hotel name suggests, they are capsule rooms. These tiny little pods are tricked out with blue mood lighting, WiFi, flat-screen, ports galore and according to this pic, the privacy to view some adult movies on your iPad.
[Photo: Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel]
GAÏA Riverlodge, located in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve of Belize, has long been a top eco-conscious resort (it was formerly the Five Sisters Lodge) but thanks to a new hydropower energy system and a few other environmentally-friendly upgrades, the resort and its jungle cabanas have pretty much topped all other green resorts out there.
Using the nearby Five Sisters waterfalls as their energy source, the GAÏA Riverlodge is now run entirely by hyrdopower energy, eliminating the need for electricity. But don't worry, the hotel does have a back-up system, an eco-friendly one too that's battery-powered. The GAÏA Riverlodge is also cultivating an on-site vegetable garden which will bring fresh, or "hyper-local" as they call it, produce to the lodge's restaurants. Awesome.
Hotel Openings / JDV Hotels / Palo Alto Hotels / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel Technology / Concierges / Hotel News / → All Tags
When we compiled our Master Openings list this year, we had a spot reserved in Palo Alto, Calif. for The Epiphany Hotel from Joie de Vivre Hotels. The hotel was supposed to open over the summer but now it's set to open next year, on April 1st. But already, the hotel is positioning itself as the must-stay hotel in Silicon Valley. In their own words:
Get wired. In the heart of downtown Palo Alto, surrounded by the hottest VC firms, the fastest-growing companies, plus the creative dynamism of Stanford University—this is where you need to be staying.
Clearly, the hotel's WiFi is going to be free and fast and full of plenty of bandwidth. The hotel is also promising the services of its own technology concierge. Sweet! No doubt this concierge better know his or her tech specs before starting the job. Yet given the hotel's location near Stanford, we don't think this will be too hard.
But what else can we expect from The Epiphany in regards to more traditional hotel amenities? For starters, there's 24-hour room service, regular concierge services, pet-friendly rooms, Frette linens, Malin & Goetz toiletries, Illy espresso machines, honor bar and dry bar, a work desk with ergonomic chair, 47" Samsung TV (55" ones in the suites) and a G-link iPod docking stations which will wirelessly stream movies and video games to guest rooms TVs. Housekeeping will also do a turndown service and will use green cleaning products too.
We've long fantasized about keyless hotel rooms where we could use our smartphone instead of a key card to enter the room. But the Hotel Alma in Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter is going way beyond that with a fingerprint recognition system.
It works like this--you arrive to check-in and in addition to collecting your credit card for incidentals and telling you about the room amenities (free WiFi, breakfast and access to the spa are included), the hotel takes a scan of your fingerprint. Then you can use your finger to open the door to your room at any time. No key cards needed and no worries about the card getting demagnetized in your purse or wallet. So. Cool. And it's also available at the hotel's sister hotel in Pamplona.
Of course, you can opt for a regular key if you think is too fancy for your tastes but we think it's a no-brainer. Rooms at the trendy, high-tech boutique hotel start at about 200 Euros a night. The hotel's website also has a voyeuristic video showing a hunky grey-haired "guest" (an actor, we think) doing various things in his room--waking up, putting on his shirt (!!!) and sitting down at the desk to do work. Hopefully, the fingerprint access will keep out peeping Toms.
[Photo: Hotel Alma/Facebook]
New Hotels / Hotel News / Australia Hotels / Sydney Hotels / QT Hotels / Rydges Hotels / Hotel Technology / Keyless Hotel Cards / Free WiFi / → All Tags
The landscape of Aussie hotels will be changed for the better this month when the newest brand of hotels opens its doors. If you're planning a trip down under and don't want to smash your piggy bank doing so, then remember this name: Atura Hotels.
The newest option comes to us from a group called Amalgamated Holding Limited, but you might know them better by the work they've been doing with QT Hotels and Rydges Hotels. But instead of resting on their laurels with the cool edginess of QT and the family-resort of Rydges, they've gone a created a new concept that will be appealing to business travelers and those that don't want to miss out on cool hotel design to save a few bucks. (Which is like, everyone everywhere.)
Atura's first property is already checking in guests in Sydney's inner-suburb of Blacktown. Aside from cool design, guests will get free in-room movies, coffee machines and a business center completely outfitted with iMacs. But if you'd rather stay connected on the go, there is free WiFi throughout the hotel and in every guestroom. If you've ever been to Australia, you know this is a big deal since hotels charge a pretty penny for some connectivity.
Some uplifting news for Morgans Hotel Group today. The boutique hotel collection has recently launched a spiffy website that promises a "seamless booking process that takes the guest through the reservation process in less than four clicks".
In addition to the super-fast reservation system that will get you into the sleek Delano, Mondrian and other hot spots, guests can view hotels by brand or location and compare rates and availability at properties within the same city all on one screen.
The site, which comes behind the company's "Back of House" online lifestyle magazine, will also help guests navigate their way around their chosen destination. This comes by way of a Google Map feature which has interactive guides to attractions, museums, restaurants, nightlife destinations and shops and provide step-by-step directions to and from the hotel. The list will detail key local landmarks and hidden gems hand-selected by the hotels' expert concierges.
In addition, guests can instantly post travel plans on their social media platforms using the Morgans Hotel Group's Instagram feed or their own generated photos.
The site works across all platforms including desktops, tablets and mobile devices.
Hotels Curated / Boutique Hotels / Design Hotels / Hotel Technology / Hotel Conferences / Hotel News / → All Tags
There's a new hotel conference coming to NYC next month and it's right up our boutique-loving-lifestyle-hotel alley--Hotels Curated.
Presented by the N Group and IndieWalls, the event is billed as a half-day discussion about opportunities and challenges in the lodging sector, focusing on branding, design and our fave, technology.
The format for the conference will consist of two panels--one about the "It Factor" in hotels and the other about innovations in design, architecture and technology as well as a special "Innovators Showcase" featuring quick pitches from select companies in hospitality tech and service-delivery. Afterwards there will be a cocktail network session. Cheers!
Guest speakers include Michael Achenbaum of Gansevoort Hotels; Michael Adams, editor in chief of Hospitality Design Magazine; Jeffrey Beers of Jeffrey Beers International design firm; David Duncan, President of the Denihan Hospitality Group; and Julie Frank, Director of Design, Global Brand Design.
Here are the details:
WHEN: OCTOBER 4th, 2pm to 5pm
WHERE: 55 Gansevoort, New York City
Interested in attending? You can register here. And yes, of course, HotelChatter will be there too! Hope to see you there!
Last week, we wondered about the future of hotel phones, noting that the technology of old is all but obsolete in today’s world. While the whole changeover process will certainly take time to implement, we wanted to give you a look at one of the possible future alternatives. And it’s no surprise that the services of a hotel phone will most likely end up being in your purse or pocket in the form of an app.
Neon, for example, is a type of concierge software that gives guests the ability to submit requests and have conversations with the front desk. The app allows the front desk to aggregate and keep track of all the requests that have been logged by guests, and it can respond and message the individual guest. The guest can also view the status of the request, including whether or not it was received (opened) by the front desk.
Check out the short demo video above to get an idea how Neon or a similar software works. While there’s a sense of nostalgia that comes along with losing the old-school desktop phone, we really like the looks of the next phase, especially since you could theoretically use the app while you were out and about during the day.
Created with rehabstudio, the Ace digital overhaul visually bumped up the individual sites yet retained that distinctive
hipster Ace style. Previously, the home page for each Ace Hotel was a smallish sort of box with various links and a small booking calendar.
Now, the sites have been zoomed in, so to speak, with larger text, larger photos and a larger calendar. Also, the sites feature a continuous scroll so you can just keep scrolling down for more info whether it be about the rooms, the public spaces or the amenities. That's pretty optimal for viewing on mobile devices and tablets as well.
It seems we've reached a crossroads when it comes to the hotel phone, one that puts hotels in an awkward position when it comes to the next step. Undoubtedly, in-room phones are being used less and less as smart phones (and cell phones in general) continue to tighten their grip on the world. So why not get rid of the damn things?
One hotel executive told us that while there is little revenue from them, they really accept phones as a "need to have" at this point. Although most people have a cell phone, not everyone, especially older travelers, are comfortable using apps to contact the front desk or order room service, and would still prefer to simply pick up the phone and hit a button. There's also the issue of security. If a traveler doesn't have or forgets their cell phone, they need a way to reach the outside world in the case of an emergency. So we can't just straight up get rid of them.
We call it an "awkward" situation because we've reached a point where 9 of out 10 travelers find the in-room phone useless, yet hotels cannot get rid of them due to that one traveler who needs it. The result is a theoretical roadblock that is preventing this much-needed upgrade from taking place -- it seems some hotels simply don't want to deal with installing technically advanced phones until they absolutely have to.
At the end of last year during our awards' week, the 2012 "must-have hotel amenity" was an app. For something that's only been around a few years, apps have already come a long way. We've gone from apps that barely help you book to ones that enhance your stay, allowing you to order room service, check in, and read recommendations for the area. Naturally, it would be great if all hotels had a useful app for its guests, right?
Well, that's a little easier said than done, which is why to this day we really only see apps from the big chain hotels. An app seems inexpensive to the consumer (since it's usually free or only a few dollars), but did you know these apps can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 to develop? Consider an app like Marriott's, which includes almost 4,000 properties along with photos and city guides.
Additionally, the apps take a long time to develop. According to Intelity, a hospitality software solution company, a smartphone or tablet app can take up to 12 weeks to create. Now, imagine you are a bed and breakfast or small, independently-owned hotel. Is this worth your time and money?