Meet your future room
Airplane seats are smaller than they used to be, and most flights don't offer meals anymore. Luggage fees. TSA lines. Ugh.
Still, not all of the changes to the travel industry have been negative. From Airbnb to Travelocity, technology has overhauled our road trips and revamped our vacations. Until recently, though, our lodgings lagged in sophistication, offering little more than free Wi-Fi and TV checkouts. And understandably so—it's costly to integrate new tech into older hotels.
Thankfully, a handful of new spots are taking advantage of Twitter, gadgets, and even full-fledged robots (yesss!) to make your hotel experience cutting-edge.
The new SolWaveHouse in Majorca, Spain, was built with Twitter in mind. The posh spot offers traditional room service, but wouldn’t you rather just tweet #fillmyfridge to get the minibar restocked?
The poolside cabanas have their own Twitter handles, so you can quickly interact (okay, flirt) with the cool person you met in booth 12—all done on the Wi-Fi built into public areas and rooms, naturally.
Yotel New York
Smack dab in Times Square, Yotel New York decided to skip bellhops and go straight for a Jetsons-like experience with the Yobot.
A gigantic robotic arm, the Yobot will grab your luggage and store it in one of 150 locked vaults while you explore the five boroughs. When you're ready to check into your room or leave the hotel, you use a secure PIN to get your baggage back from the hungry Yobot.
Aria Las Vegas
The Strip isn’t exactly known for its technological advances—many of the hotels have been there for years—but the relatively new Aria gets to know you like a room-and-board Pandora service.
Using RFID, Aria automatically knows when you are entering your room based on your key swipe. The room will then adjust everything based on your predetermined preferences, such as automatically turning the TV on when it knows you usually watch the boob tube. You can also check out with a quick text message, because the hotel would rather see you parked at a casino table than standing in line at the front desk.
Technology can solve the thorniest problems, but it is most elegant when it works seamlessly in the background.
Rooms at The Peninsula Tokyo are impressive, even for tech-forward Japan, with guest-sensitive customizations including a radio that broadcasts channels from the visitor’s hometown. A more curious amenity is the automatic nail dryer built into the wall, but we suppose there's no reason to pay for a manicurist if you can just get dolled up in your room.
Four Seasons Silicon Valley
It’s only right that a major chain in Silicon Valley offers the latest tech, including 100-megabits-per-second fiber-optic Internet access in the rooms, wireless everywhere (even by the rooftop pool), and iPads preloaded with magazines and newspapers.
The palatial digs are impressive too, with epic views of the valley that Hewlett Packard, Intel, and Google built. However, the Four Seasons Silicon Valley outdoes itself with the door monitor: The 6-inch screen shows you a video of whoever is at your door, making it easy to answer it for room service—and not for anyone else.
Hotel 1000 Seattle
Another new spot, Hotel 1000 Seattle, is appropriately techie for the home of Microsoft and Nintendo.
The coolest technology is the one you don’t see: Infrared sensors tell housekeeping whether or not you’re in the room so they’ll know not to disturb you. The unsuspecting will just think the hotel is run by an amazing, almost psychic staff. Also available: complimentary Wi-Fi for all of your devices—no small task—and an automated privacy shade that lets multiple guests use the bathroom at once.
Another Silicon Valley-style experience, Hotel Zetta in San Francisco’s Union Square offers a smattering of tech toys. Both standard and high-speed Internet are available, as are video game systems and computers for use in your room.
But the 46-inch smart TV is the standout here. Offering both Bluetooth and wireless connectivity, the big screen can stream your favorite media from a tablet, a mobile phone, or a laptop. Seemingly unconcerned about cutting into their pay-per-view income, Zetta must be counting on your inability to resist the snacks in the minibar. Personally, I can never resist a $12 can of Pringles.
Seven Hotel Paris
The Seven Hotel is ultramodern, particularly compared with the classic Parisian spots it resides among. The unique, boutique vibe is decidedly French, though, with each room having a distinct theme.
The appropriately titled On/Off room was made for techies. Using special screens and clever design, the room’s entire feel can be changed with the flip of a switch, going from daytime hip to a subtle evening mood. All rooms come with Wi-Fi, loanable laptops, and other perks.
Scarp Ridge Lodge
A former brothel in Colorado isn’t the first place you’d think of when it comes to tech innovations, but the mile-high Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested Butte uses gadgetry to make its guests more comfortable.
Namely, the resort has an awesome oxygen-control setup so visitors can adjust the air levels to what they’re used to at home. So thoughtful! The hotel also offers solar-powered thermal heating, a Finnish sauna, and a roof deck with a 12-person hot tub—and while those may not be the high-tech part, we still want to go to there.
Today's Best Tech Deals
Picked by PCWorld's Editors
Target Promo Code
Up to 25% off sitewide - Target coupon
$10 eBay coupon for invited users
Save $50 on your order of $600 with Overstock promo code
Additional 15% off all orders with JCPenney promo code
Sam's Club Coupon
Sam's Club promo - 40% off 1-year membership
Get free shipping on all orders at iRobot