The first time I stayed in a smart hotel room, I didn’t know it was high-tech. Swanky? Absolutely — with gorgeous herringbone oak floors, a warm but minimal aesthetic, and a dreamy marble soaking tub — but not space-aged. Not next-level. Then, the first morning of my stay, when I was reaching for my alarm so I could throw it across the room, I accidentally hit a mystery button next to the bed. Behold, the curtains started to gently and quietly open, filling the room with filtered sunlight, bit by bit. The gauzy inner curtain parted next, and suddenly I was soaked in daylight.
This was just the first of many discoveries I made in that room, a peek into the rapidly advancing world of hotel technology.
As technology makes traveling across the world easier, it’s also making hotels more comfortable. This isn’t about cold futurism and harsh lines — it’s about creating an experience. From the practical tech, like easy-to-learn ambiance settings, to experimental advances, like robot butlers, technology is becoming an intrinsic part of every successful hotel stay.
Here are the best high tech hotels you should stay at in 2019.
Aloft, Cupertino, California
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Of course you’re going to find a “very modern tech-oriented hotel” in Silicon Valley, the heart of the American tech industry. That should be a given. But what you may find surprising is that the Aloft Cupertino’s high-tech experience goes beyond their beloved concierge robots, which drop off pillows and toiletries right at your door.
Instead, imagine a hotel where you can download an app that allows you to skip the check-in and instead use your phone or Apple Watch to walk straight to your room and open the door. If you’re really not a talker, you can text the front desk using emojis to order room service, which they call Aloft TiGi (text it, get it). You can also use their chatbot, ChatBotlr, to ask for information via text, so if you feel like making someone (or something) else looking up the weather for you, Aloft is your hotel.
Henn Na, Sesubo, Japan
We couldn’t possibly talk about high-tech hotels without mentioning Henn Na Hotel, also known as the Weird Hotel. The first hotel staffed almost entirely by robots, Henn Na is situated inside the Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch-themed amusement park in the Nagasaki Prefecture of Japan. And despite the oddity of being served completely by robots, this isn’t just a gimmick whose novelty has worn off with time. In fact, according to the Nikkei Asian Review, it’s one of the most profitable hotels in Japan because of its robot staff.
Enter the hotel and you’ll be checked in by a multilingual humanoid robot or, if it tickles your fancy, a dinosaur. A robotic arm will store your luggage for you before a porter robot delivers it to your room, and each room comes with a concierge robot who can answer questions about the time and weather and help you with the lights and temperature.
Sadly, over half of the robot staff had to be let go earlier this year, in order to make the workload easier for the humans on staff. That said, you’ll still get a high-tech, straight-from-a-sci-fi-movie experience.
The Peninsula, Tokyo, Japan
The Peninsula is a five-star hotel right next to the upscale Ginza district in Tokyo. They claim to have the “largest and most technologically advanced” guest rooms in an already technologically advanced city, and they’re probably not wrong. Starting with wall-panel controls for everything from lighting and temperature to curtains and other privacy mechanisms, you can customize the ambiance of your suite by touching a few buttons in the main room. The bathroom has a similar control panel and a hyper-futuristic toilet that does everything except wipe for you (though it will do its best to at least dry you off). If you’re one of those jags who forgets to put the seat down after you’re done, this toilet has you covered.
In the dressing area, there are entertainment controls so you can listen to music while you get ready (and, bonus, a nail-drying station if you have to touch up a chip or two), and light switches will give off a dull glow at night if they sense you nearby, thereby decreasing your chances of slipping and eating it in the dark. And if you’re trying to conserve phone data, feel free to borrow one of the wireless, Skype-capable telephones the hotel provides and make calls from anywhere, to anywhere else.
Perhaps the best part of the Peninsula’s high tech experience? An interactive Pokémon hunt for kids over the age of five (no word on whether or not perfectly well-adjusted adults can participate), hunting down digital clues throughout the hotel.
The Edition, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Those magical curtains I wrote about? I found them at the EDITION Abu Dhabi.
Walking into the EDITION Abu Dhabi, you’d never know you were about to have a high-tech experience. From the moment you step inside the soft-lit, candle-and-palm filled lobby, there’s a sense of warmth and comfort. Don’t let the aesthetics and old-school five-star hospitality fool you. This places is pure future vibes.
Connect your phone or iPad or whatever gadget you fancy via Bluetooth, and dance around to surround-sound music. Use the state-of-the-art Bang & Olufsen phone to call down to the front desk. Press a button next to the front door to let staff know you’d like to be left to your own devices—rather than dreading the ignore-the-hanging-sign knock at the door wherein you have to scramble to stop them from entering.
On a broader scale, the EDITION is also using eco-tech to reduce their footprint: namely, aside from eliminating plastic straws and bottles, they also have a solar-powered water-heating system.
Blow Up Hall 5050, Poznań, Poland
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Poznański Blow up Hall 5050 to jeden z pierwszych butikowych hoteli w Polsce. Pamiętam jakie wrażenie kilka lat temu, robiło to, że w Blow up drzwi otwierało się iPhonem 🤩 No i połączenie hotelu z galerią sztuki, i piękne wnętrza i ogólnie cała ekskluzywność 😂 czy hotel robi jeszcze cały czas wrażenie po 10 latach? Za chwilę recenzja na blogu 😘⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ *⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #poznan #poland #blowuphall5050 #lazyweekendpl #hotelspotter #travel #travellife #travelwithlove #boutiquehotel #hotelbutikowy #design #interiors #interiordesign #travelblog #travelblogger #travel #coolplaces #lovetravel #holidaypics #holidaymood #love #peace #relax
No room numbers, no room keys. Instead, you receive an iPhone upon arrival.
How can one not be assigned a room number? Well, according to Tablet, “in Blow Up Hall 5050, hotel room chooses you.” Namely: there are “interactive screens outside each door, and you’ll use your hotel-issued iPhone to find your way and let yourself in.”
Located in a former Brewery Complex in a city halfway between Berlin and Warsaw, Blow Up Hall 5050’s rooms include Bang & Olufsen televisions, iPod docks for listening to music, and state-of-the-art overhead showers. Plus, it’s more art installation than traditional hotel, so while you’re there, expect to get involved in some of the goings-on. Per Unusual Hotels of the World, that art includes “Lozano-Hemmer’s interactive centerpiece, which takes video images, replaying them as pixilated images on a giant screen.”
And if you have any questions about what to do or where to go, that iPhone you get at check-in? That’s your personal concierge.
The Oberoi, New Delhi, India
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Luxuries spill out into the open at dusk. Look into the inviting world of The Oberoi, New Delhi as you take a walk around the premises. Make reservations at 011 24304370. #InsideOberio #MondayMotivation . . . . . #OberoiNewDelhi #DelhiIsBest #TheOberoiNewDelhi #BestPlacesDelhi #MustVisit #TheView #WhenInDelhi
The Oberoi in New Delhi is the stuff of legends. Long considered to be the first true luxury hotel in all of India, it shuttered a few years ago for a total renovation, which took nearly two years to complete. Now this iconic hotel is back, combining “a mix of new and old,” according to the New York Times. This means rich, dark woods and decadent silks right alongside their state-of-the-art system — called Oberoi E’nhance — which allows guests to do everything from control the temperature, lighting, and ambiance to order room service (and watch the progress of the order, like an upmarket Domino’s tracker) and even manage the entertainment center.
Beyond their all-in-one control center, the Oberoi offers mirror televisions in the bathroom, and, most importantly, the entire hotel has an indoor purification system that allows guests to breathe easily.
The Yotel, Singapore and New York
In a place like Singapore, it’s hard to stand out when it comes to innovation, which is why the Yotel is so impressive. Singapore Home & Decor writes that guests have the option of either doing traditional check-in—with a human, how boring—or going for a “fuss-free and intuitive experience via self-service kiosks.” If you need something delivered to you room, feel free to call up one of the guest service robots, which will roll themselves right up to your door and give you what you need.
Once you’re in the room, feel free to connect your phone or whatever device you fancy to the smart TV that acts as the central hub of the room. If the light is too bright or dim or you just feel like something different, you have control over mood lighting in your room.
Yotel’s Singapore location isn’t the only one in their chain that offers up a high-tech experience. Their New York hotel, located in Hell’s Kitchen, offers all that and a robot luggage storage service. Hand your suitcase over to the giant arm which looks like it belongs in an automobile factory, and then, when you come back, punch in the correct code, and it’ll give you back your things.
Whether you want to pretend like you’re on a spaceship sometime in the distant future or you just want a little consumer tech to make your experience a tad more luxurious, the world is your oyster. Your hyper-connected, comfortable, home-away-from-home oyster.