November 06, 2012

Five tech-savvy hotel amenities


When it comes to technology, most hotels haven’t kept pace with travellers, who increasingly find electronic gadgets to be indispensible. Many hotels have been half-hearted in rolling out sufficient digital services, such as free, single sign on wi-fi, and power strips with widely spaced sockets to accommodate large chargers and adaptors.

Not all the news is bad on the technology front, though. In the past couple of years, some forward-thinking hotels have outpaced the industry with tech-savvy amenities and innovations that make life on the road a little easier.

Sometimes the thick, multiple walls of large buildings can weaken wireless Internet signals, resulting in slow or non-existent connections. Other times, a hotel is located in a skyscraper and its top floors are too high up to receive cellular data service. Both these problems afflicted the Mandarin Oriental New York until this year, when it installed a wi-fi access point in each of the 248 guest rooms, replacing the single access point per floor that it had previously relied on. The Mandarin Oriental chain says it is also adding this amenity to all of its other properties.

The Hyatt Plug Panel, which allows guests to connect (or re-charge) popular electronic devices like laptops and portable game players with each room’s 42in, flat-screen, high-definition TV, first debuted in 2007. But it only recently became a standard amenity in all 165 Hyatt Place hotels and about half of the 54 Hyatt House extended-stay properties in North America, the Middle East and southwest Asia. It’s up to guests, however, to bring appropriate direct-to-TV cables.

Get the full story at BBC