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No digital detox here: Hotels are embracing technology

HotelsCombined reveals top 5 high-tech hotels

Gone are the days when all guests wanted from their hotel was tea and coffee making facilities. With 60% of guests stating preferences for emerging technologies during their stay, the hotel industry is finding innovative ways to impress. With downloads of their global accommodation finder app on the increase, HotelsCombined takes a look at the ways in which the hotel industry is embracing technology.

Dmitrijus Konovalovas, Country Manager, UK and Ireland HotelsCombined said: “Hotels use technology to enhance the guest experience. Like their airline counterparts, some hotels are streamlining with online check in and check out, primarily to appeal to the frequent or business traveller. Capabilities such as keyless entry - accessing your hotel room and hotel amenities using your smartphone - and Apple Pay, where guests scan their phones to make a payment and gain rewards while doing so, are designed to appeal to the younger generation.”

This week Starwood announced a trial of a Siri-based system which allows guests to control aspects of their in-room experience, such as temperature and lighting, using voice commands. The new system is being tested in two of the global hotel group’s Aloft properties, which also saw the introduction of the ‘Botler’ in 2014, an autonomous robot which delivers items to guest rooms.

Hotels are responding to the consumer expectation of access to information 24/7 by offering mobile concierge apps - both offered by Marriott and Four Seasons - while Hyatt is using Facebook Messenger and WeChat to offer guests alternatives ways to get in touch.  

But Konovalovas doesn’t envisage a world where hotels will be totally human free anytime soon: “Particularly within the luxury market, guests want that special service that only a human can provide, for the time being. In many instances, personalised service is a key element of the accommodation product.”

It’s not only the large hotel chains who are using technology in interesting ways, some individual and boutique properties are carving out a unique tech-focused experience for guests. HotelsCombined has chosen their top seven hotels for travellers who have no intention of digital detoxing.

Yotel, New York

Arriving in a Starship Enterprise-like lobby just three blocks from Times Square, guests use the touch screen check-in machines and are swiftly greeted by ‘Yobot’ - the hyper-energetic bellman who manages luggage delivery. Innovative Yobot can even store your luggage before leaving for your flight or even send it off to the airport after you check out. Guests rooms come equipped with techno walls that have built in LCD HD TV screens and the ability to stream audio, action-sensing air-conditioning, sound-proofed rooms and super strength Wi-Fi.
Prices start from £229 per night based on two adults sharing via

Blow Up Hall 5050, Poznan

Technology and art combine at the Blow Up Hall 5050, where an enormous digital art installation captures guests entering this hotel and then projects the image back in a series of stylised surveillance shots. Instead of room keys guests are handed iPhones upon check-in that use digital recognition to navigate users to the correct room and unlock the door.
Prices start from £104 per night based on two adults sharing via

W Taipei, Taipei

W Taipei is located in the hub of cosmopolitan life in the vibrant Xinyi district. It boasts state-of-the-art technology throughout and, like Blow Up Hall 5050, an alluring marriage of technology and art. While some of the suites offer video projectors for the use of guests, a wall installation containing an interactive grid of OLED lights will change based on guests movements.
Prices start from £232 per night based on two adults sharing via

Eccleston Square, London

While the exterior of Eccleston Square emanates history, technology is at the heart of this hotel and is reflected in the extensive list of techno-amenities. Rooms are equipped with touch sensitive keypads to control music and lighting, an in-room iPad which doubles as your personal concierge, shower walls that turn from clear to frosted at the touch of a button and flat screen televisions concealed within bathroom mirrors.
Prices start from £205 per night based on two adults sharing via

Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine, Spain
This 12th century abbey hotel is the first hotel in Europe to offer Google Glass – free – to guests. The spectacles frame forms a virtual screen on which you can access the internet, or in this case, check in, open your hotel room or even order room service with a flick of the eye.
Prices start from £367 per night based on two adults sharing via

Hotel 1000, Seattle

Ever been ‘caught out’ by harried housekeepers? That won’t happen at Hotel 1000. Built-in infrared detectors alert staff as to when a room is occupied. Hotel 1000 also has a fully converged IP infrastructure that allows guests to choose their own room temperature, artwork and music.
Prices start from £240 per night based on two adults sharing.

The Peninsula Hotel, Tokyo
Perhaps unsurprisingly, gadgets abound in the Japanese entry. At The Peninsula, guests can enjoy a nail polish dryer, unlimited internet radio with over 3,000 stations, a mood lighting pad and wireless phones with Skype capability.

< Children may take part in a digitally-interactive Pokemon treasure hunt, brought to life by augmented reality.
Prices start from £537 per night based on two adults sharing via

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