Need to dial down the thermostat in the middle of the night? Want to open the curtains at daybreak? How about turning out the hall light at bedtime? These are some of the tasks that no longer require you to get out of bed in the new generation of automated hotel rooms.
“It’s not a question of laziness, it’s a question of efficiency,” said Eric Marlo, the global brand manager and head of innovation at Aloft Hotels, which recently introduced hotel rooms that respond to voice commands.
Using Apple’s audio assistant Siri in 10 pilot rooms each at the Aloft Boston Seaport and the Aloft Santa Clara in California, guests can request a change in the temperature, adjust the lighting or ask for information on local attractions.
Aloft is not the only player in the digital dash. At the luxury level, the Peninsula Hotels have automated rooms from Hong Kong to Chicago using a tablet platform that allows guests to control lighting, temperature and drapes. The device also offers newspapers in several languages, stores restaurant menus, acts as a remote control for the TV and takes room service orders.
Newer hotels tend to have the electronic edge, but historic hotels, too, are embracing a tech-driven future. The Lotte New York Palace Hotel, built in 1882, has just wired its 167 rooms with touch-screen controls of door locks, lights, temperature, window shades and entertainment. It also has preset lighting schemes calibrated to relaxation and work.
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