Smart hotel rooms are poised to change travel
Room-service robots? Phone-charging furniture? Welcome to the smart rooms of tomorrow
Humanoid robots have long been an emblem of our Blade Runner-esque future, and the age of machines seems poised to happen in hotels. The Yotel New York’s newest employee – the hyperenergetic bellboy Yobot – follows on the electronic heels of the tireless workers at Japan’s (almost) entirely robot-staffed Henn-na Hotel. But perhaps most exciting is Botlr, who joined the staff at Aloft Hotels in 2014. This robotic butler can – if summoned via an app – appear at your door with more towels, an iron, etc. Better still, he’ll also do a dance each time.
AUTOMATIC COFFEE MACHINE
One does hate to make one’s own coffee, doesn’t one? In keeping with a general trend of hotel rooms trying to predict your every move, Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ coffee machines will start brewing your
morning cup automatically, so it’s ready when you are.
AUTOMATIC BATHROOM LIGHTS
If you’re the sort who needs to visit the bathroom in the small hours, Aloft Hotels will recognise that requirement and illuminate a nightlight the moment you set down a foot. This enables a safe course to the bathroom should nature call – rather than having to endure a frustrating fumble for those bedside lights. It’s all done using teeny RFID (radio frequency ID) technology stickers that are lodged under the carpet.
TOUCHSCREEN MIRRORS Rather than make you look beautiful all the time (that really would be good), smart mirrors are glass screens that, as well as reflecting your image, provide all sorts of data at the same time. Weather forecasts? Simple. Email check? Here you are. SMARTPHONE-CHARGING FURNITURE Another whizzy innovation is inductive charging. That’s tech-speak for furniture – desks, bedside tables, cupboards – with built-in charging pads that automatically power smartphones as soon as you place said device on top. Why? Because wires are messy and phone chargers rank among hotel guests’ most left-behind items.
MELATONIN LIGHTS The ‘Stay Well’ hotel rooms at some Marriott hotels utilise circadian lighting systems that mimic natural light, thereby regulating melatonin production, a benefit in combating jetlag. Also fighting this good fight are lighttherapy mirrors, containing buttons that can increase or suppress guests’ energy and melatonin levels, resulting in more energy and better sleep. The rooms also offer a chlorine-reducing shower filter.
Left: You rang? Botlr delivers items to guests. Above: Smart mirrors feature data touchscreens