Hong Kong: The Upper House
The Upper House, designed by renowned Asian architect Andre Fu, is bang on technological trend, with guests checking in using a touchscreen tablet PC. Rooms begin on the 38th fl oor to ensure every room benefi ts from a breathtaking view of the Hong Kong skyline. Each room offers unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi and a 42-inch HD widescreen TV with video on demand. Bathrooms boast walk-in rain showers and freestanding limestone baths with their own TV and touchscreen controls.
Each guest is loaned an iPod Touch preloaded with a regularly updated library of popular music, games and movies, as well as additional information on the hotel, including an interactive room service menu and a handy local guide. The aim is to make the Upper House an almost paperless operation. If you feel the urge to travel around Hong Kong in luxurious fashion the Upper House has its own fl eet of Lexus RX450H hybrid electric-petrol cars at your disposal, each of which boasts mobile broadband and a heads-up satnav and local information display.
Suites from £457 per night, www.upperhouse.com
New York: Andaz 5th Avenue
This 5th Avenue and 41st street location is the second of two New York Andaz hotels, and is of note not only because each room is kitted out with a £300 Geneva Sounds S iPod dock and 42-inch LCD TV. Its check-in system is also wonderfully techy: you’ll be greeted on arrival by a tablet PC-carrying Andaz bell boy, who can check you in over a complimentary cocktail or en route to your room. Check-out is equally pain free; it can be done using the TV.
Rooms from £255 per night, www.andaz.com
Las Vegas: Aria Resort
The Aria’s top flight rooms, the Sky Villas, vary in size, swallowing up to 7,000 square feet of Las Vegas real estate each. The Sky Villas all offer a music hub and 100mbps fibre optic broadband. That’s eight times faster than the average US guest room. The room keys are RFID cards that unlock the door as you approach. You’ll then be “greeted” by the room, which automatically turns on the lights and draws the curtains.
You can personalise your room using the controls for lighting, heating, curtains and music that you’ll find on the TV – you could set the alarm clock to switch on the lights and play Viva Las Vegas to wake you, for instance. Your favoured settings are stored and the room will revert back to them whenever you enter. Staying at Sky Villa also qualifies you for a gratis “alternative-fuel” limo ride from McCarran Airport, a private check-in desk and a private lift away from the riffraff.
Sky Suites from £258 per night, www.arialasvegas.com
Dubai: Armani Hotel
Details on Armani’s fi rst hotel are still sparse because it’s not yet opened its doors, but given that it’s taking up a sizeable portion of the world’s tallest building – the Burj Dubai – you can expect luxury. Design is key, with suites made from “precious materials” such as leather, bamboo, marble and Japanese Tatami. The Armani Dubai Suite is the best room; it’s designed by Georgio Armani himself and eats up no less than 390 square metres of the world’s most expensive building.
Rooms from £421 per night, www.dubai.armanihotels.com
Paris: Mama Shelter
Designed by Philippe Starck on the bones of an old multi-storey car park and situated in the heart of Paris’ bohemian quarter, Mama Shelter has a clinical and angular look, a little like a very welcoming insane asylum. The luxe Mama Suites occupy 35 square metres and come with a brand new, wall-mounted, 24-inch iMac as standard. The iMac acts as your window to the internet, a vast music selection and movies on demand, all of which are free. There’s also a microwave in each suite for warming your morning croissants.
The hotel’s dining area features “digital tables” which show hotel information and local attractions and are hooked up to the iMac booths, allowing you to instantly upload your holiday snaps to the web. Check-in and check-out are completely automated procedures, and a fleet of Smart cars and electric scooters are parked in what remains of the garage; they’re yours to explore the Parisian streets with.
Rooms from £143 per night, www.mamashelter.com
London: The Berkeley
Stay in one of the luxurious Berkeley’s Conservatory or Chelsea suites and the hotel will lend you an Apple iPad for the duration of your stay. It’s preloaded with a myriad apps from comic books to fashion guides, plus a list of must-see local attractions and shows compiled by The Berkeley’s concierge team. Wherever you’re from, the Berkeley guarantees you’ll also be able to download your local paper each morning – “from Le Monde to the Wall Street Journal.
Suites from £1,300 per night, www.the-berkeley.co.uk
Tokyo: The Peninsula Hotel
The Peninsula, situated moments from Tokyo’s shopping capital Ginza and opposite the Imperial Palace’s huge gardens, tucks 267 rooms and 47 suites into its grandiose folds. There are five classes of suite, increasing in size and giving ever better quality of view depending on price. Wi-Fi comes as standard in all rooms and there are TVs in all bathrooms, but guests in rooms of Deluxe standard and above also get wireless phones with Skype for free calls.
Upgrade to the Grand Deluxe room for a Plasma TV with high-end surround sound system, a silent fax machine and a bedside control panel for the motorised curtains, thermostat and lights. This panel also controls the electronic “Do not disturb” sign, which takes the form of a discreet system of lights on your door. Elsewhere, features range from the simple – CD/DVD players and device-charging points – to the extravagant – whirlpool baths that transform into saunas at the press of a button. Ladies and goths will be pleased by the electric nail polish dryer.
Rooms from £453 per night, www.peninsula.com