These days, technology in hotels is no longer an option. Travelers expect to be connected at every point of their journey — in fact according to Expedia, 60 percent of travelers would be unwilling to go on vacation without a mobile device, and 30 percent of hotel guests would rather use text to order an amenity from the front desk — and they want their hotel stay to reflect the comfort they would have at home. Many hotels are rising to the challenge. Some are even enticing travelers with the kind of tech they wouldn’t normally see in their day-to-day lives. Here are five high tech hotels that aren’t afraid to push the boundaries and bring their guests a unique technological experience.
1. Henn-na Hotel
Located in the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo, Japan, the Henn-na Hotel has eschewed a flesh-and-blood labour force in favour of robots. It’s a high tech hotel with no one to man the front desk. Upon arrival, guests are checked in by multi-lingual robots (including one that looks like a velociraptor) — and when they arrive at their rooms, guests can access them via a facial recognition system rather than a traditional keycard. A smaller in-room robot controls lighting, deliver weather forecasts, and give wake-up calls.
Although it still needs to keep a few humans on site to keep things running smoothly, the Henna-na Hotel has lofty ambitions of someday being 100 percent automated. By “pioneering the use of advanced technology,” the hotel’s website states, it “would be the world’s first to be staffed by robots.”
2. Yotel New York City
One of Yotel New York’s most innovative features is a robotic arm — called the Yobot — that stores guests’ luggage. Touchscreen kiosks in the lobby give guests the opportunity to check in without having to wait in line, and on top of that, they have a mobile concierge app that includes a city guide, real-time alerts about things going on at the hotel, and other local information.
3. Aloft Cupertino
The Aloft Cupertino was one of the first high tech hotels to introduce Savioke’s Relay robot — which it cleverly named Botlr — to its hallways. Botlr eliminates the need for hotel staff to carry out routine deliveries to guestrooms, whether it’s towels or a toothbrush. Once a guest makes a request, hotel staff need only place the desired item in a compartment on top of Botlr, and then Botlr delivers the item to the correct guest room. It can even operate the elevator by itself using Wi-Fi, and when it arrives outside the correct guest room, it dials the in-room phone to let the guest know it has arrived.
4. Aria Resort and Casino
When the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas was constructed in 2009, Popular Mechanics said it was possibly “the most technologically advanced hotel ever built.” It isn’t difficult to understand why; aside from the invisible innovations that have made it the largest LEED Gold-certified hotel in the world, it boasts a multitude of cutting-edge features that guests can use, too.
Motion sensors, for example, can detect when a guest has entered the room, and the curtains open and lights turn on accordingly.
Guests can also use their smartphones to check in, and an in-room tablet gives guests the ability to easily to order room service, request housekeeping services, schedule a spa day, adjust lighting, message other rooms, and more.
5. Peninsula Hong Kong
The Peninsula Hong Kong is one of the world’s most luxurious high tech hotels, and its guestroom technology is unobtrusive and user-friendly. Through a multi-language touchscreen panel, guests can control room temperature, lighting, and curtains.
On top of that, in-room tablets can be used to order room service, turn on the “Do Not Disturb” sign, and make housekeeping requests.