Once upon a time, a hi-tech hotel meant a room with a miniature kettle, a Corby trouser press and perhaps a TV if you were lucky. But this is 2013 and a humble drinks dispenser will no longer cut the mustard. Being as cool and cutting-edge as we undoubtedly are, we’re constantly plugged into one device or another, and wireless Internet access is fast becoming as crucial a hotel amenity as a bed (well, almost). So it’s with open arms that we welcome hotels offering the latest in trailblazing technology.
From in-room iPads that can order room service, plan your day sightseeing and do just about everything bar dressing you, to robotic porters and rooms that heat and cool themselves to complement your body temperature, our minds have been well and truly blown by the clever gadgets available in hotels around the world nowadays. Here are our top 10 hi-tech hotels.
Yotel, New York City
When you’re trying to squeeze the most out of every minute on a hectic city break, a handy place in your hotel to store your luggage before check-in or after check-out at is always welcome. Enter the Yobot at the Yotel in New York City, an ingenious luggage robot that will store your bag in its own secure receptacle. At this Times Square branch, the first Yotel to open outside an airport, further technological touches include free super-strength wireless Internet, monsoon-style showers and techno walls for streaming video and audio. The on-site Japanese restaurant even has tables that lower and rise for your comfort.
The Torch Doha
Not only is the Torch Doha the tallest building in Qatar, it’s also a luxury hotel with plenty of hi-tech elements mingled with the plush interiors. Whatever mood you find yourself in during your stay (we’re sure it won’t range far from blissful, but still), you’ll find your room has mood lighting to match, with no fewer than 12 colours to choose from. Lights can be controlled from your in-room iPad, as can the curtains, room temperature, TV and much more. You can also use it to order room service, though we’d encourage you to visit the Three Sixty revolving restaurant on the 47th floor at least once to enjoy spectacular panoramic views.
theWit Hotel, Chicago
theWit Hotel in the heart of buzzing Chicago claims to be more of a new experience than merely a hotel, and judging by its amazingly avant-garde amenities, we’d have to agree. Instead of ringing the front desk with your requests, all you have to do is tap your in-room device and your message will be whisked to the nearest member of staff’s iPhone. In each room, sensors activate the heating and air conditioning to match the ambient temperature to that of your body. And it’s not just inside that the hotel strives to create a pleasant ambiance; birdsong and cricket chirps are played in public areas according to the time of day.
Blow Up Hall 5050, Poznan, Poland
From the moment you step inside the Blow Up Hall 5050 and have your picture projected onto the lobby walls, you know you’re in for a technological treat of a hotel stay. This Poznan hotel has done away with fuddy-duddy room keys and even room numbers, providing guests instead with iPhones that act as room keys, activating a screen in the corridor to let you know where your room is. These phones can also be used to communicate with hotel staff and view preloaded tourist information. Combined with the luxurious, contemporary interiors and digital art installations throughout, this epitome of hi-tech style may just blow you away.
The Peninsula Tokyo
With more technological wizardry and nifty inventions emerging from Japan than you could shake a stick at, it goes without saying that a Japanese hotel should feature on this list. Rooms at the Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo are bursting with ingenious features you never knew you needed. Alerting the housekeeping staff that you wish not to be disturbed is as simple as pressing a conveniently placed button by the bed that illuminates a light outside your door. Gadgets to play with include mood lighting and nail polish dryers, and Superior Rooms even boast bathroom TVs that mute when the phone rings.
OPUS Hotel, Vancouver
As we’ve mentioned, free wi-fi access has become a major selling point when it comes to choosing a hotel; a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the OPUS Hotel in Vancouver‘s trendy Yaletown district. All rooms come with an iPad for guests to play with, complete with free wi-fi both in the hotel and out and about. Deluxe rooms also provide a complimentary Samsung Galaxy phone with free wi-fi and local calls – a nice touch, we think, just like the free drink dished out on check-in. Other perks include iPad docking stations, heated tile floors, and less tech-y but no less desirable, free use of mountain bikes for exploring the area.
The Marlin Hotel, Miami Beach, Florida
The striking Marlin Hotel in Miami Beach, recently extensively renovated, is a both a music and tech lover’s dream. Inside this pastel-coloured Art Deco building you’ll find the latest music technology and equipment in two state-of-the-art recording studios. The 16 rooms are no less cutting-edge, with 60-inch HDTVs artfully concealed behind mirrors when not in use and personal device docking stations. On check-in you’ll be given an iPad to control everything in your room from Apple TV to the temperature and LED mood lighting, as well as play Candy Crush Saga to your heart’s content, of course.
The Eccleston Square Hotel, London
It’s places like this that make us wish trying and testing London‘s hotels first hand was part of our job. The Eccleston Square Hotel in swanky Belgravia declares itself one of the most hi-tech hotels in the capital, and with good reason. No end of entertainment options are at your fingertips thanks to the 46-inch 3D TV with free movies on-demand, free high-speed wi-fi and a personal iPad from which you can order room service. SmartGlass walls let you reveal or conceal the bathroom at your leisure, and you can even indulge in a massage without setting foot in a spa; the electronically adjustable beds will do all the work.
Ushuaia Beach Resort, Ibiza
Can’t resist checking Facebook but worried about massive data charges? The Ushuaia Beach Resort in Ibiza is the place for you. On arrival you’ll be given a wristband that links to your Facebook account. Swipe it across sensors around the resort to take photos and update your status. You can also pay for drinks, room service and more with one press on a biometric scanner, your fingerprint having been registered at check-in. We’re sure you’ll spend most of your time partying around the pool (especially the one with underwater speakers) but don’t forget about the techno treats available in suites too, like iPads and LED mood lighting.
Hotel 1000, Seattle
Seattle is the home of technology giants Amazon and Microsoft, so you’d expect to find the latest gadgets dotted around the city. And the Hotel 1000 doesn’t disappoint. You can set an electronic Do Not Disturb notice from inside the room, but if you forget, don’t worry as housekeeping staff will be alerted to your presence by a sensor activated by body heat. The minibar knows when it’s empty and lets staff know to come bearing refreshments. Wi-fi and worldwide telephone calls are free of charge and the cherry on the cake is the pedestal bathtub which is filled with water cascading from the ceiling.
Top image © Blow Up Hall 5050