Hotels of the future: a dozen high-tech offerings we love



It seems that every week a new tablet device has launched or a new robot is being introduced to do the work of a person — and hotels that know what’s up have made sure to stock up on new technologies. While some spots have simply added Kindle rentals to their amenity checklist (not that we’re complaining, Four Seasons Maui), others have gone above and beyond in terms of incorporating modern technologies into every day hospitality. And although vacation is traditionally a time to “get away,” more and more travelers are looking to be connected — virtually speaking, of course — no matter how far off the grid they’ve gone. Get inspired by these top-notch tech spots and incorporate them into your own space ASAP.

The Technology: Yobot

Found At: Yotel — New York City

The Yobot at NYC's Yotel helps handle your luggage -- literally.

If this futuristic hotel wasn’t cool enough, the folks beyond Yotel in New York City took their technology to new heights by introducing Yobot, a robotic luggage handler. Essentially, it appears to select and move luggage from a very large luggage rack in order to organize all of the pieces received each day during check in. And since the hotel is just so hip, what better way to introduce Yobot than through a hilarious Funny or Die video?

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The Technology: Touch-Screen In-Room Console

Found At: The Halkin — London

The touch screen console found in rooms at the Halkin offer a variety of services.

This 41-room boutique hotel exudes luxury — and spares no expense when it comes to catering to their guests. Sumptuous and spacious rooms literally offer convenience at the touch of a button, as all have wall consoles for calling the butler and other services including light switches and the classic “do not disturb” option.

The Technology: Flat-Screen TVs (in the bathroom mirrors!)

Found At: The Setai Fifth Avenue — New York City

Brush your teeth and watch your favorite morning show at the Setai.

Opulence is discreet at the Setai in New York; the Asian-inspired designs are luxurious without being gaudy. The same applies for its technology: While each guest room does have a 52-inch flat screen television, each bathroom has its own set embedded into the mirror. Now you can wash up with Matt, Savannah, and the whole Today show gang. 

The Technology: Retinal-Scan Entry

Found At: Nine Zero Hotel — Boston

The Cloud Suite eyeballs every entry. (Pun intended.)

While the Cloud Suite at Nine Zero could set you back a whopping $20,000 for a two-night stay, the hotel makes sure your every wish is taken care of and that no stone during your stay is left unturned. Private jet transportation is offered, champagne and caviar are always at beckon call, as is the on-site chauffeur. But you never need to worry about losing your room key — the retinal scan ensures you (and only you, besides the staff, duh) have access to your pricey space.

The Technology: Infrared Body Scanners

Found At: Hotel 1000 – Seattle

Some like it hot, some like it cold: Hotel 1000 makes room temperature a non-factor in your stay.

Upon entry into a room at Seattle’s Hotel 1000, the electronic doorbell silently scans the space with infrared sensors to detect body heat so that the staff knows when you’re in and out of your room — and thus never disrupts you during your stay.

The Technology: BlueLounge Sanctuary Chargers

Found At: W Boston

These charges pack some serious juice for all of your devices.

Tech-savvy travelers usually bring a multitude of toys with them on their travels (think portable DVD player, work laptop, iPad, etc.). Keeping the chargers straight can be a hassle, but the W Boston has the answer: Its nifty BlueLounge Sanctuary Chargers, offerred in most room types, are compatible with over 1,500 devices — enough to accommodate any gadget-heavy guest.

The Technology: Smart Room Service Carts

Found At: The Jefferson, Washington D.C.

"Smart carts" ensure the perfect meal delivery every time.

Hello, room service carts of the future! When, after you’re done eating, you place your cart outside your door, a microchip inside the cart alerts housekeeping to come collect it.

The Technology: Tech Bulters

Found At: The Ritz-Carlton New York Battery Park

Part of the concierge services offered include Geek Squad-esque assistance.

When your technology goes awry on vacation, normally you’d be forced to seek out the nearest electronics store. But at the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, you can just pick up the telephone. The hotel offers a “tech butler” for any hardware or software problems you might have while at the hotel. Bonus: If you’re astronomically inclined, most rooms come with a top-notch telescope for catching views of Lady Liberty and beyond.

The Technology: Touch-Screen Digital Concierge

Found At: The Eliot Hotel

Checking out? Do it from your desk at the Eliot Hotel.

The Eliot Hotel’s rooms come equipped with a touch-screen for guests to use to order room service, extra amenities, or basically anything else they might require. You can even use ICE, the touch-screen system, to schedule your nightly turn down for a precise time. More ice, ICE? Please?

The Technology: iPad Digital Concierge Service

Found At: Hotel Beaux Arts Miami

Forget picking up the phone -- the concierge here is available with the swipe of a hand.

Like The Eliot Hotel, rooms at Hotel Beaux Arts Miami come equipped with iPads with digital concierge services. Rooms also boast rotating flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, bathrooms with TVs in the mirror, and illy Espresso machines.

The Technology: Apple TV

Found At: The Geejam — Jamaica

Although this boutique lets you tune out of life, you can still stay in tune with technology.

Aside from the 42″ flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, dimmer switches, and DVD players, all rooms in this uber-luxe Jamaican resort feature Apple TVs. Sure, it’s Apple’s least successful gadgets so far — but at the Geejam it comes pre-programmed with an impressive mix of reggae and soul music, as well as three dozen movies. Bonus: You receive a pre-programmed cell phone on arrival with all of the hotel’s customer service numbers already stored inside.

The Technology: All-in-One Entertainment Unit

Found At: The Mira Hong Kong

Everything at the Mira Hong Kong is high tech, but especially so are the rooms.

From the pool to the rooms and the spa, everything here has an almost futuristic touch: Think colorful lighting, straight lines, and a sleek design. Most rooms are decent-sized by Hong Kong standards, and all feature Bose iPod docks, LCD TVs, wireless keyboards, and entertainment units that incorporate a computer and Blu-Ray DVD player.