Download Now: New and Updated Hotel Apps

Posted by Cathleen McCarthy on October 31, 2012 at 12:51:22 PM EDT | Post a Comment
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While hotel apps are still generally in the embryonic stage, most offer a mobile way of finding the property, checking in (using reward points if you have them), and having more fun once you get there. Some, like these branded hotel chain apps, are well worth downloading if not just because they're free and fun to play with. Here are the best (and most useful) hotel apps out right now.

Ritz-Carlton launched their app in May and updated it this month. It makes it easy to use Ritz-Carlton Rewards, while GPS technology notes your arrival and alerts you to special offers, events, and fun things to do in the area. This app has a QR code scanner that offers all kinds of fun, depending where you are. (You can only access it within a property.) Use it to find the recipe for the signature cocktail at the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park or tour the art collection at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua.

Available on: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

SPG: Starwood Hotels & Resorts mobile app, redesigned in March and updated last month, and is offering SPG members 500 bonus points on stays booked via the app through December 20. (You can also register here.) Reserve rooms on the fly at any Starwood hotels (including W, Le Meridien, aLoft, Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, and Element) or access customer service through Facetime.

Available on: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

W Hotels app, updated last month, is one of the more popular hotel apps, probably due to the hip skew of W guests and the focus on fun hotel experience. You can order room service or drinks at the touch of a button or access a music player that offers hundreds of hours of custom mixes.

Aavailable on: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

The Marriott International app, updated last week, isn't as pretty as some of the other hotel apps but it's well-established and works smoothly, allowing you to make or cancel reservations at more than 3,600 hotels in 70 countries, use reward points, GPS mapping, and city guides.

Available on: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

The IHG Priority Club app makes it easy to map every IHG property (including Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Candlewood Suites) in a 50-mile radius, find the closest and best value, then reserve a room via credit card or reward points. You can also find nearby restaurants that take IHG points.

Available on: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

Concierge iPad app, a separate offering from InterContinental, offers insider tips and recommendations for various properties. If you're staying at The Willard in Washington, DC, for example, chef concierge Robert Watson suggests dining at Old Ebbitt Grill, Ceiba, or DC Coast, touring the Spy Museum or taking a trolley tour—depending on whether you choose half-day or full-day itineraries.

Available on: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

The Hilton Hotels & Resorts app is among the most widely-used hotel apps, allowing you to reserve rooms, and use HHonors points, at more than 3,000 properties. But apps designed for individual Hilton chains like Garden Inn, Hampton, and Embassy Suites get higher customer ratings, probably because they're customized to suit guests' needs.

Available on: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

Hyatt Hotels lets you check in and out on the fly (an April upgrade made this easier), view and cancel reservations from your mobile device, get directions to your hotel, and track your Hyatt Gold Passport points.

Available on: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

The Club Carlson app lets you reserve rooms and use your reward points at more than 1,000 properties worldwide (Radisson, Park Inn, Park Plaza, and Country Inns and Suites), sign up for express booking, and use interactive maps for more than 4 million restaurants and attractions.

Available on: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

Fodors.com contributor Cathleen McCarthy is rewards expert for CreditCards.com, covers entertainment and travel deals on Save on Cities, and has written for The Washington Post, WSJ, Amtrak ARRIVE, Town & Country, and inflight magazines. Follow her @clmccarthy.

Photo credit: App screen grab courtesy of W Hotels Worldwide; Park Hyatt Istanbul courtesy of Hyatt Hotels

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Posted in Hotels, Travel Tech Tagged: Hotels, Apps

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