Healthy showers? Phone-charging furniture? Psychic baristas? Welcome to the double room of tomorrow.
Humanoid robots have long been a fearful 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 – hyper-energetic bellman Yobot – follows on the electronic heels of every single worker at Japan's new, entirely robot-staffed Henn-na Hotel. Most exciting is Botlr, to whom Aloft Hotels has been giving a trial internship. This digitized 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. And tips? In tweets, please.
One does hate to make one’s own coffee, doesn’t one. In keeping with a general trend of hotel rooms beginning to predict your every move, Starwood Hotels & Resorts' coffee machines will automatically brew your morning cup of java so it’s ready when you are.
Tinkle, tinkle, little star
If you're the sort that needs a visit to the bathroom in the small hours, Aloft hotels will recognise that need and illuminate the bathroom the moment you set down a foot. This enables a safe course to the bathroom should nature call – rather than having to endure a frustrated fumble for those blasted bedside lights. It’s all done using teeny RFID (radio frequency ID) technology stickers lodged under the carpet.
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. The latest Reader’s Digest articles? Now you’re talking!
Another whizzy innovation unveiled recently by NH Collection, is for inductive charging. That’s tech speak for furniture – desks, bedside tables, cupboards – with the ablity to 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. We’ve all done it.
When it comes to wellness in the hospitality industry, you'd be lucky if you got a running-trail map, or maybe a yoga mat. Not any more. InterContinental’s new EVEN hotels brand offer in-room ‘fitness zones’ complete with cork flooring, balance balls, resistance bands and video tutorials full of suggested moves. And don’t worry – there’s also the obligatory mirror in which to admire your toned bod.
Over at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, a series of Stay Well Rooms have been introduced, and all feature vitamin C-infused showers. These clever washers gush out H20 infused with the essential nutrient, which in turn neutralises chlorine and thus leads to healthier hair and skin.
Some melatonin, sir?
Along with better washing, the Stay Well rooms utilise circadian lighting systems; mimicking natural light and thereby regulating melatonin production, a benefit in combating jetlag. Also fighting this good fight are Light Therapy Mirrors, containing buttons which can increase or suppress guests’ energy and melatonin levels, resulting in more energy and better sleep.
On the 48-inch box...
Last but not least, in-room entertainment is set to markedly improve. Just recently, Marriott International announced it is to stream Netflix in eight of its hotels. Aloft's has been piloting Apple TV for years, while Starwood is rumoured to be hooked on Kindle's rival service. Wherever you stay, the hotel room of the future should offer you some high-quality small – or rather 48-inch, 4K (one up from high-definition) – screen fodder.