Tag: hotel technology

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The Lanesborough Will Have Crave Tablets Surrounded by Lots of Regency Style

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  Site Where: Hyde Park Corner, London, United Kingdom
March 2, 2015 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Our scepticism about that (already delayed) March reopening for The Lanesborough London turned out not to be unfounded – the hotel now talks about an “end of Spring” return. That makes our estimate of June(ish) feel about right, and a recent walk by Hyde Park Corner does show some progress: the scaffolding that has obscured the hotel from view for so long is starting to come down.

Underneath is a freshly painted/cleaned exterior, and a few glimpses of the interiors are available courtesy of The Lanesborough butlers having taken to Twitter. Hashtags and the Albert Pinto-designed Regency interiors may seem a little incongruous, but among all that period design will be some advanced technology in the form of Crave tablets. From booking a spa treatment to getting a hold of your butler, all you need is the tablet.

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The Peninsula Chicago to Get a Makeover, Inspired By Sister Hotels in Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai

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  Site Where: 108 East Superior [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60611
February 19, 2015 at 3:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Peninsula Chicago, which opened in 2001, is undergoing a guest room overhaul this year, perhaps to freshen up before new luxury hotels like LondonHouse and Nobu hit the scene. Details are sparse, but here’s what we know. All 339 rooms and suites will be redesigned, with the new décor inspired by the best elements of other Peninsula properties such as:

Accent details from the Peninsula Paris:

Distinct wood and leather finishes from the Peninsula Hong Kong;

Elegant color palettes from the Peninsula Shanghai:

Can you picture a combination of these features? Well, we can’t either but look forward to seeing the most likely beautiful result.

The hotel will up its game in the technology space as well: in-room proprietary Peninsula touch tablets will feature 11 different languages and will control everything in the room from the curtains to the Nespresso machine, plus complimentary long-distance calling via VOIP technology.

Peninsula Chicago enthusiasts, what would you like to see in the newly designed rooms? Do tell.

Peninsula Chicago enthusiasts, what would you like to see in the newly designed rooms? Do tell.

[Photos courtesy of Peninsula Hotels/HotelChatter]

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Happy Hour at the Eccleston Square Hotel Comes with a 3D TV

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  Site Where: 37 Eccleston Square, London, United Kingdom, SW1V 1PB
February 19, 2015 at 8:29 AM | by | Comments (0)

The 3D TV

Anyone who loves hanging out in hotels* will know that the downside of gorgeous spaces, people-watching and nice bathrooms is usually the premium price. £15 for an entry level cocktail in a nice London hotel? Yeah, we’ll reluctantly swallow that, it’s par for the course.

Not so at the Eccleston Square Hotel, though. Until the end of March, it’s offering £4.95 cocktails from 5pm-8pm Monday to Saturday.

Yes, cocktails for under a fiver. In London. In a nice hotel. And not at an hour where drinking incurs funny looks.

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Conrad Hotels Wants You To Book Your Hotel Room Through Instagram

February 16, 2015 at 4:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

We love Instagram. It's a simple social space where we can enjoy family and friends' intimate photos while at the same time stalk celebrities, pick up fashion tips, laugh at animals doing adorable things, drool over dishes from exotic restaurants and best of all, admire crazy killer views from all over the world.

But is it a place where eyou want to book your hotel room? Conrad Hotels hopes so.

The Hilton Hotels brand has partnered ups with Like2Buy technology to allow followers to book a hotel through Instagram. Here's how it works:

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Robot Receptionists are Real and Really Real-Looking Too

February 5, 2015 at 10:39 AM | by | Comments (0)

We've always joked that with the advent of mobile apps in hotels, guests will no longer need human interaction to make their room service request, pull up their car from valet or ask for more towels from housekeeping. But maybe we should be more concerned about hotel robots eradicating the human experience?

A newly announced hotel in Japan's Netherlands-like Huis Ten Bosch theme park will be staffed with robots at the reception desk. And not the Botlr kind of robot but robots that have a human likeness to them and who can engage in "intelligent conversation" with guests. #CREEPY. There will be other "service and porter" robots similar to Botlr who will do the menial tasks like cleaning and presumably bringing up that toothbrush you forgot. But let's be real, they won't be able to make a bed now, will they?

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You Can Now Use Your Phone to Open The Door at The Cromwell in Las Vegas

January 29, 2015 at 4:22 PM | by | Comments (0)

There are many things that you can lose in Vegas--money, inhibition, dignity, and most certainly your room keys. Raise your hand if this happened to you not once but twice this weekend in Vegas. Oh? We're the only ones?

But if you're staying at The Cromwell Las Vegas, a part of Caesars Entertainment, there's no way to lose those pesky key cards at 2am as the hotel has just announced mobile keys, aka keyless entry, or as Caesars is calling it, eKey. The boutique casino hotel (formerly Bill's Gambling Hall) is now part of exclusive club of hotels that offer keyless entry.

Here's how it works:

Hotel guests using the eKey will receive a link to download The Cromwell app and an access code tied to their iOS device and reservation. When the app is downloaded, guests enter their ID number and will be able to enter their room by placing their iOS device next to the lock. The eKey will also activate the hotel elevator as a traditional key would.

And here is a helpful illustration:

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Hotel News Briefs: Ace Hotels, AC Hotels and Airbnb's Un-Hotels

January 20, 2015 at 4:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

Hallo! There's a bunch of news flying around and we're having trouble getting to it all, so we've packaged the tidbits up nice and neat for you to read about here. Enjoy!

· BEHIND-THE-SCENES STRUGGLE IS HAPPENING AT ACE HOTELS: Alex Calderwood, the man who founded Ace Hotels, passed away last November, shocking those close to him and those who like us, just loved his hotels. His presence can still be found throughout the Aces, including in illustrated format at the Ace Hotel DTLA. But now his estate is asking for a bigger presence. We received a media alert which said the following:

The estate of the late Alex Calderwood has filed suit against Ace Group International LLC (“Ace”), its member Ecoplace LLC, and board member Stefanos Economou. Calderwood’s estate is the majority stakeholder in Ace and is asking the court to declare that it, not Ecoplace or Economou, has the right to control and manage Ace under the Ace membership agreement and Delaware law. The case is pending in the Supreme Court of New York for New York County.

Calderwood, who passed away in November 2013, was the founder and creative force behind Ace and its collection of successful Ace Hotels. Aspen Ace LLC, with Gordon Sondland as President, was established to advise and represent the estate on behalf of the Calderwood family.

Ay, yi, yi. We hope this ends amicably.

UPDATE 1.20.15, 5:00PM PST: A rep from Ace Group International has sent over this statement on the lawsuit.

Upon Alex Calderwood’s death, his interest in AGI passed to his estate which is administered by his father Thomas Calderwood. AGI’s operating agreement states that the estate's interest is a profit/distribution only interest and that it has no management rights. Stefanos Economou and the rest of Ace’s management team have been operating the company since Alex’s death. A lawsuit was filed which requests a broader role for the estate. We believe that this lawsuit is without merit.

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Cheers! Marriott Won't Be Blocking Your Personal Hotspot After All (And The WiFi is Free)

January 15, 2015 at 10:13 AM | by | Comments (0)

It's the first WiFi victory of 2015! Marriott International has abandoned its quest to block your personal WiFi hotspot at their hotels.

The hotel giant told Inc. (in an article which we also quoted in) that guests at Marriott-managed hotels will be able to use their personal WiFi devices, citing customer response. However, Marriott said they would "continue to look to the FCC to clarify appropriate security measures network operators can take to protect customer data."

That sounds a bit ominous but whatevs, your personal WiFi hotspot is safe.

Meanwhile, TODAY IS THE DAY that Marriott begins to free their WiFI for all guests. So long as you made your reservation through Marriott.com (or the mobile app or the reservation hotline) and you are a member of Marriott Rewards. Got those two things? Then WiFi is free. Whee!

Staying at a Marriott and reading this story using free WiFi? Let us know how it's going!

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Would You Make a Hotel Reservation Through Your Car's GPS?

January 5, 2015 at 5:39 PM | by | Comments (0)

Booking a hotel room by using your smartphone was sooo 2014. Pretty soon you'll be able to book a room by using your car. Yes, your car.

The Washington Post reports that General Motors is getting ready to unveil a new component of their OnStar GPS program to be called, "AtYourService." (No spaces, apparently.) When you ask OnStar to search for a hotel nearby, AtYourService, which is a subscription service drivers will have to pay for, will bring up a few options and then allow you to connect to Priceline.com to actually book the room.

Ok, so the ability to book a hotel through your car's GPS is awesome from a technology standpoint. Just ten years ago, road-trippers were still pulling up to random roadside motels praying they would have rooms open and only a moderate roach problem. Now, we can just command our car to find a hotel--long before we get there--make a reservation for us and then direct us to the place. But do we really need all this?

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Viceroy Sugar Beach Lets You Buzz a Butler From Anywhere

December 12, 2014 at 1:06 PM | by | Comments (0)

Remember that bright red phone that went straight to Batman’s cave, summoning him whenever crime was afoot and a superhero was required? Well, Viceroy Sugar Beach Resort in St. Lucia has one of those. Except it’s not red, necessarily. And it doesn't summon Batman, but rather, your butler.

But this one works from the beach. And if you find yourself in a dire champagne emergency — well, let’s just say that not all heroes wear capes.

We recently spent some time at Sugar Beach, a resort replete with amenities throughout its luxury villas--from infinity plunge pools overlooking the sea below, to full wet bars stocked with local beers and rum. (Also awesome: private terrace views of a spectacular Caribbean sunset flanked on each side by the lush Piton mountains.)

One of our favorites, though, is the handy provision of Firefly mobile phones. The brand is typically treated as a “starter cell” for kids, since the phones are restricted to dialing among a handful of pre-programmed numbers. Sugar Beach, however, cleverly repurposes them as service bells, basically.

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This Hotel is Already Using a Smartphone to Open the Hotel Room Door

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  Site Where: 72 Queen Street, Brisbane, Australia
December 10, 2014 at 6:43 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last month, Starwood Hotels officially began letting guests use their smartphones to open up hotel room doors at 10 select hotels via the SPG app. Shortly after we learned that, Hilton Hotels came out with their own announcement that mobile room keys could be used in four of their hotel brands as soon as this spring.

But in Australia, one hotel has been using smartphone keys for like, two months already.

The Next Hotel in Brisbane opened on October 14, with guests using their smartphones not only as room keys but also to control the room lights, change the TV and order room service. The keyless entry and other functions all operate through the NEXT Hotels Smart App.

Here's how using your phone as a room key works at the NEXT Hotel:

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Fast, Free WiFi Is How UK Travelers Select Their Hotels, Says Amba

December 5, 2014 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

The main reason we go crazy for free WiFi in hotels? Checking social media, apparently. The second? Getting directions. How very dull.

The research has been done by Amba, the “contemporary” (ie millennial) arm of glh, formerly Guoman. Amba Charing Cross, which used to be a Guoman itself, opened this month with what it’s billing as “the world’s fastest, free unlimited WiFi” (how much would we love to test that out?). There will also be Smart TVs in every room, USB sockets by every bed, and iPads on every nightstand.

Handily for them (but also totally believably), Amba found that 67% of the 1000 UK travelers questioned said free WiFi would make them more likely to select a hotel – even higher than location,at 65%. Specifically fast WiFi with unlimited downloads came in at 34%.

WiFi also came out as the most important factor in rating a hotel post-stay, with 60% of those questioned saying that was the most crucial – even more than those who rated getting a good night’s sleep.

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