By T3 Magazine
Henn-na Hotel - Nagasaki
T3 has scoured the planet to find the most technologically advanced hotels. Whether it's in the UK or somewhere much further afield, just book in, log on and switch off in one of these lavish tech hotels...
You'll notice a difference as soon as you enter the Henn-na Hotel, suitcase trundling along behind you. Because the hotel has binned boring old human checkers in, in favour of a humanoid robot and a dinosaur. The saurus, for some reason, is the English speaker. The helpful synths will greet guests, check them in and even carry bags to rooms, conversing in English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean while engaging in (presumably slightly creepy) eye contact.
They blink, simulate breathing and even adjust the tone of their voice depending on yours. Tired and jetlagged, then, presumably. A facial recognition scan serves as your room entry key card, tablets are provided to all and in your room, a tulip-shaped, voice activated concierge robot, Tuly, adjusts the brightness of room lights, tells you the weather and generally replaces most traditional switches, while sensor panels in the room detect your body heat and adjust the ambient temperature accordingly. Henn-na Hotel unsurprisingly translates to “Strange Hotel”.
Rooms from £40, www.h-n-h.jp/en/
Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel - Ibiza
You must have both a great love for the Balearics and a wanton disregard for personal data protection to book a stay in the Ushuaïa, as the USP for this reasonably swish hotel is that both your credit card and your fingers are scanned at check in. Then you pay for everything – room service, bar booze, pool snacks – with a scan of your fingerprints on a portable biometric scanner.
Guests can also register their fingerprints on so-called Facebook Totems around the hotel, letting them log in to their social network profiles by touch. Presumably there's a huge queue at checkout as frowning guests stand over the manager, ensuring he presses a big, old delete button on their saved details before they leave. Oh, and as this is Ibiza, the “Pioneer Suite” comes resplendent with two Pioneer CDJ 2000 decks, a DJM 2000 mixer, an amp, eight speakers and a subwoofer. Don't panic, grandad, it's fully sound proofed.
Rooms from £98, www.ushuaiabeachhotel.com
Yotel - New York
It's been around for a few years, but the Yotel's robotic luggage handler – called the Yobot – is still the impressive focal point for the tech-loving guest. Basically a huge robot arm the likes of which usually bolt cars together, stores guests' bags into one of the storage compartments impressively presented behind a huge pane of glass.
It'll even automatically send it away to the airport after you've checked out via a delivery service, if your trust in not losing baggage is robust. Then, you can check in and out, human free, via automated check outs and the rooms boast adjustable smart beds from Serta, a “technowall” featuring flat screen TV with streaming audio, free wi-fi and monsoon showers. The brand is expanding to San Francisco and Miami, but there's been no confirmation if Yobot is going to spawn any siblings.
Rooms from £146, www.yotel.com
Eccleston Square - London
Situated a stone's throw from the Queen's gaff, this ostensibly austere, family run, boutique hotel is possibly London's most tech-rammed. Rooms are equipped with touch-sensitive keypads to control music, curtains, room temperature and lighting, while an iPad in every room doubles as a personal concierge for room service, restaurant bookings and whatnot.
Most rooms have a floor-to-ceiling window through to the shower with glass that can be turned opaque for the shy latherer, with flat screen TVs incorporated into the non-steam bathroom mirrors which, well, mirror what's on the room's main, 46inch 3D TV. Then, when you're ready to enter the land of nod, on one of the £12k Hastens massage beds, a “Do not disturb” sign can be lit up outside your door at the touch of a button.
Rooms from £205, www.ecclestonsquarehotel.com
W Hotel Sentosa Cove - Singapore
It's all about smart screens at Singapore's W Hotel. When guests enter the lobby a sensor snaps a shot of their face, then integrating it into a personalized, kaleidoscope-like digital artwork in the lobby.
Not a good place to plan a murder, then. But you can plan a cocktail in the Woobar, featuring touchscreen tables and mirror-cum-Facebook camera which uploads status updates and check-ins, presumably straight from the bar. And as it's owned by the Starwood Group, it's already keyless technology ready, so you can use your iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock your room.
Rooms from £178, www.wsingaporesentosacove.com
Nine-Zero Hotel - Boston
The Presidential Cloud Nine Suite at Boston's Nine Zero costs nearly a grand a night, but for that price, at least security shouldn't be a worry.
As next to the Suite's door is an LG iris identification camera. The hotel boasts the inside eye scans of Christina Aguilera, John Mellencamp, and Lady Gaga to name but a few who've eye-passported entry to the 19th-floor hideaway that also features a 42- inch plasma-screen TV, wet bar, Jacuzzi, steam shower, king-size bed with 1,000- thread-count linens and a telescope fixed before the floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for views of the river, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, and the State House.
Private jet transportation is also offered, alongside a 24/7 chauffeur and champagne and caviar available at the click of an expensively manicured finger.
Cloud Nine Suite from £961, www.ninezero.com
Hub by Premier Inn - London
A brand new direction for the popular budget destination, tech has become the focus for these admittedly compact and bijou – 11.4m2 – rooms in Covent Garden. So download the bespoke app to your phone or tablet before you arrive and you can book your stay and then, when ensconced in your room, change the TV channels, room temperature and lighting via the app.
You can even pre-order your full English breakfast for the morn. But the real wow factor comes from the map of London on all the rooms. Point your app at it and an augmented reality map springs to life, showcasing a local area guide curated by the staff.
Rooms from £69, www.premierinn.com/en/why/hub.html
Hotel Bel-Air - Los Angeles
The recent recipient of a $100m+ restoration, one of Hollywood's most iconic hotels has added tech to the luxury mix, which starts from the moment you pull up in your hire car – your valet radios the receptionist who greets you at the door my name, then walks you straight to your room. In there, you'll find three touchscreen phones which include controls for all lights and temperature settings, wake up call scheduler and do not disturb notices. Or you can tweak these settings via the 40inch Bang and Olufsen TV or master wall switches.
Each room has an iPad loaded with all the world's major newspapers on which you can also order room service directly from the hotel's menu, call housekeeping and check local activities. Then, when nature calls, the heated floored toilet features one of those “Japanese style” smart loos, including a dryer and heated seat while you spawn brown trouts. And if you fancy blowing some holiday money at nearby Rodeo Drive, a free Mercedes car service will whisk you there and back, and anywhere else within a three-mile area.
Rooms from £450, www.dorchestercollection.com/en/los-angeles/hotel-bel-air
Villa Stéphanie - Baden-Baden
This luxury, 12 room, three suite hotel in the Black Forest spa town has a kill switch for your connected tech. A prod of a button activates a copper grid inside the walls alongside a special wall coating to block the wireless signal of your phone or tablet, ensuring blissful silence while you read a book, get a good night's sleep or, god forbid, have a human conversation with the person you may be sharing your room with.
Around half the guests have used the switch, the hotel reports, but that doesn't mean the facilities aren't bang up-to-date. The spa includes an impossibly big 500m2 sauna, 50˚C Laconium, whirlpool, steam bath and Finnish sauna with light therapy.
Rooms from £175, www.villastephanie.com
The Upper House - Hong Kong
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
Andaz 5th Avenue - New York
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
Aria Resort - Las Vegas
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
Armani Hotel - Dubai
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
Mama Shelter - Paris
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
The Berkeley - London
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
The Peninsula Hotel - Tokyo
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