Opened in June 2011, NYC's Yotel—designed by hotel interiors guru David Rockwell—sets itself apart from the budget pack with a bold purple color scheme, affordable "cabin" rooms, and a robot that stores guests' luggage before or after their stay. That's right, the Yobot, a 15-foot articulating arm located in the lobby, lifts luggage into a wall of specially designed compartments and retrieves it again when a bar-coded ticket is scanned. No tip is necessary, but system does charge a flat fee of $2 per bag. The technology at Yotel doesn't stop there. Check-in and check-out are completed via touch-screen, WiFi is included in the room rate, and a "Techno Wall" in each room provides plenty of charging ports for today's hyper-connected traveller.
? Compared to many of its Las Vegas neighbors, the Aria Resort & Casino opts for less glitz and glam in the decor and more high-tech features to woo guests. A touchscreen tablet in each room controls everything from the lighting, to the automatic shades, to the do-not-disturb sign. Entry is controlled by an RFID-equipped key card that is simply waved over a reader, and the room's automated systems greet each guest by name. Even the flat-screen television is more high-tech than usual, with connections for a laptop, camera, or gaming system.
? At Chicago's trendy new Hilton offshoot, theWit, guests need not tinker with the climate controls, which monitor body heat using an array of in-room sensors and adjust accordingly. A whole-hotel network includes touch-screen phones for each guest, which can silently summon housekeeping or a bellman. The public areas of theWit haven't been neglected though, as guests have access to an HD screening room and ROOF, the rooftop lounge that boasts a "3D mapping installation" for use during concerts.
? Seattle's Hotel 1000 also utilized in-room thermal sensors, which adjust the climate-control system but also detect the presence of a guest and silently alert housekeeping, so guests are never rudely disturbed. The Hotel 1000 takes technology beyond gadgetry with its unique ceiling-mounted tub filler, which pours deaerated water down into the tub without splashing. Still not impressed? Some of the larger suites even include media rooms and the hotel has a virtual golf machine at the ready if Seattle's fickle weather won't allow for a real round.
? Travelers accustomed to rubbing their shoulders raw lugging a giant laptop around the country can take a breather at Miami's Epic, which provides personal computers in many of its guest rooms. For added efficiency, the computers are loaded with Microsoft Office and linked to a printer downstairs. Which is all more than convenient, because with a waterfront location, a bevy of bars and lounges, and a stunning swimming pool, business travelers may find it a bit hard to concentrate on work.
· Yotel - New York City [official site]
· David Rockwell on 'Storytelling,' Transforming Challenges into Assets, and Designing a Three-Story Chandelier [Curbed National]
· Aria Las Vegas [official site]
· theWit [official site]
· Hotel 1000 [official site]
· Epic Hotel [official site]