You step into your hotel room and the lights turn on automatically, the radio plays your favorite song, and your phone starts to chime with a helpful text message greeting. Sound like science fiction? At these amazingly high-tech hotels, you can live in the lap of luxury – laptop optional.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The Aria is one of the most high-tech hotels in the world. Each room is fitted with a fiber optic connection for 100Mbps Internet access. The RFID card senses when you are near your hotel room and can unlock the door. (Helpfully, the card cannot be demagnetized by your cell phone.) Each room has a media hub for charging your iPod Touch or iPhone, and playing tunes. When you enter the room, the lights turn on and the curtains part automatically. There’s a “good night” button by the bed that turns off the lights, closes the shades, and enables the do-not-disturb sign.
Catalina Island, California
This hotel is within about a dozen steps of the beach, located on Catalina Island near Los Angeles (which requires a short but inexpensive ferry ride). One of the first hotels to offer a free Apple iPad to use during your visit, the hotel has loaded each slim tablet with newspapers, magazines, and apps. Each room provides an iHome radio streaming device that supports the Apple iPod Touch or iPhone for music playback and wake-up alarms.
Palo Alto, California
As you might expect from a hotel located in Silicon Valley, this Four Seasons provides 100Mbps wired access in each room over a steady fiber-optic line. At that speed, you can download a high-def movie in minutes, not hours. There are kiosks in the lobby for printing your boarding pass, and a way to print from your hotel room and get the print-outs delivered to your room. Another unique feature: the hotel uses a 5.6-inch LCD view finder in each room so you can see who is at the door.
This Hilton hotel in Houston has a brand new video surveillance camera network from 3VR that actually assists you during a stay as well as monitoring security. The system helps the hotel determine why you are waiting for long for valet service, for example. Or, you can search for a lost item using a specific color or shape, or even locate a business partner based on a facial recognition scan.