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In case you didn't hear, Apple's new iPhone 5 was revealed yesterday at a media event in San Francisco (so in case you were trying to book a cheap room there this week, and couldn't find one, that's why). Sadly, it left a lot to be desired, with some tech reviewers going so far as to call it "ho hum."
So what does this have to do with hotels? Kind of a lot.
You see, one of the big changes (and from the sound of it, there weren't that many) Apple unveiled was an updated "Lightning connector" at the bottom of the phone. That's the part that attaches to cords, electrical outlets, computers, and, of course, the iPod dock. The problem is, new iPhones won't fit into the old docks without an adaptor, which, as WSJ points out, will cost between $29-$39 apiece.
OpenThread / Hotel Alarm Clocks / Wake-Up Calls / Hotel Amenities / iPod Docks / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
Awhile back, we asked HotelChatter readers: Do You Even Use The Hotel's Alarm Clock Anymore? While some overly cautious people admitted to using it in addition to setting their own Blackberry alarms and ordering a wake-up call, it seems that for most of us the alarm clock is in our rooms to tell the time in the dark or charge our iPods.
But our experience this week tell us that someone is using the alarm clocks. That's because ours went off at 4 a.m. the other night, scaring the bejeezus out of us.
Hotel Amenities / iPod Docks / iPhone Chargers / Soho Hotels / James Hotels / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
Last night after a relaxing dinner with our mom (we know, "mom" and "relaxing" do not usually go together in the same sentence) we found ourselves returning to the The James New York in Soho with a little bit of dread. But it wasn't because of anything we encountered in the hotel. Rather, we had forgotten our iPhone charger and our phone had died on us.
So we hit up the concierge at the ground level to see if there was a spare iPhone charger hanging around the hotel. The concierge mused for a minute saying that she thought someone may have left one behind that we could borrow. Then suddenly, she perked up and said, "Oh wait! You can just plug your iPhone into the Dream Machine!"
That would be the Sony Dream Machine on the nightstand which the bellmen had explained to us mere hours before when we checked in.
Way back in 2007, we declared the iPod docking station to be the "Must Have Amenity" of that year. From then on, we've rarely ever seen a hotel that didn't have such a device. Sure, the brands were different and some worked better than others but there was always an output for our MP3 players so that we could always have personal soundtrack with us.
But a friend told us last night that during his stay last week at The Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, DC, there wasn't an iPod docking device, much to his disappointment.
The hotel does have a Bose CD player but let's be real, who carries CDs with them anymore? Still, before we get all indignant on the hotel for their lack of iPod hookups, we have to point out that the Hay-Adams does have free WiFi and you know how much we love that.
Have you stayed at a hotel recently that didn't have an iPod or MP3 docking station? Were you pissed about it or did you not even care? Tell us your strongest convictions on this very serious topic in comments below.
[Photo: Courtney May]
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Almost every hotel room, from a no-frills budget shoebox to a luxury suite, comes with one standard amenity, an alarm clock. But do you really use it? Do you even need it?
Times are a-changing and many hotel guests bring along their iPhones, cell phones and other travel-sized timepieces to wake them up. Why waste your time with a foreign contraption whose settings you don't understand when you can just use your tried and true cell phone alarm. For back up, you can just use the hotel's wake-up call service, which have gotten pretty creative in recent years.
It just seems like the room's provided gadget is now unnecessary.
Hotel Technology / Hotel Amenities / Chicago Hotels / BW Zeppelin / iHome Alarm Clocks / iPod Docks / → All Tags
Now that hotels are finally getting hip to providing iPod docking stations and speaker systems as standard room amenities, will there be a duel between the old standard iHome and the newer, sleeker Zeppelin? All signs point to 'yes' as the Zeppelin begins to rake in hotel clients from the top tier of luxury properties, elevating this newest of hotel tech gadgets to the big leagues.
Already you may find the curiously oblong, buttonless speaker system within The Carlyle, the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, and the Ritz Carlton Atlanta. Its deliberate takeover of luxe night stands will continue this summer with the July opening of the Elysian Hotel Chicago, a property which has marketed itself as a modern version of a grand dame hotel.
In the Elysian setting, the Bowers & Wilkens Zeppelin will hit a higher note than Mariah Carey on your iTunes; it will sync with other tech goodies in the room: "Zeppelin delivers arresting, 'audiophile-class' stereo playback from in-room sources such as cable and on-demand movies and television—as well as from guests’ and residents’ own iPod music and video libraries." They may seek to win over the "audiophiles," but what about us regular hotelphiles? We suppose we'll just to have to retrain ourselves, as adept as we've gotten as setting iHome alarms now.
[Photo: Bowers & Wilkins]
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We thought iPod docking stations were last year's must have amenity and have got a bit over them recently. But this one did catch our eye: it's the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin iPod docking station which has won a bunch of innovation and design awards this year.
The Zeppelin, as well as looking pretty cool, is smart because it fits all existing iPods without any adaptors. It's also got a volume-level governor so hotels can set a maximum loudness for the device--you'll be glad of that when the guest in the next room can't play his squealy hip-hop as loud as he wants.
Apparently these Zeppelins are already found in a few hotels including the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and the Ritz Carlton Atlanta and no doubt the Bowers & Wilkins gang are pushing hard to get them in a ton more.
We just hope setting the alarm on these bad boys won't be so difficult.
This year the iPod docking station became totally ubiquitous at hotels. What was once a perk of hip boutique or tech-forward hotels, the iPod docking stations can now be found at Sheratons, Westins, and Hyatts alike. They are practically as common as hairdryers and minibars.
However, we give props to the hotels that give guests pre-loaded iPods to listen to during their stay as the Tides Zihuatanejo does. Also Gramercy Park has 10 custom playlists they created on the in-room nanos for guests but should you want a 10-finger discount, the hotel will charge you $750. At the Angler's Boutique Resort, they have bumped up their iPod docking station with hardwired surround sound.
And on the subject of iPods, a totally bogus service we discovered this year at the Sheraton Delfina is the use of a Nano for two hours for free but then for $15 each hour after that.