Hotels are doing more than just upgrading decor to woo their guests—they’re pulling out all the stops, from fostering the latest cutting-edge technology to revolutionizing room service. Herewith a roundup of the latest and greatest hotel amenities, touting some of our favorite bells and whistles.
Check-In Shake Up
Hyatt’s Andaz Hotels forgo a lobby reception desk in favor of Tablet PCs manned by a free-roaming staff. The idea is to remove the barrier between hotel guest and employee and make the check-in/checkout process friendlier and faster.
Room Service Remake
The value-priced, style-conscious PUBLIC Chicago is changing the way we order in. Forget over-priced entrees, 30-minute waits, bellhop delivery, and even tipping. The new room service concept, PUBLIC Express, delivers affordable gourmet treats, courtesy of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, by way of brown to-go bags (and in under 10 minutes). All lunch items come with chili-lime chips, bittersweet chocolate pudding with crystallized violets, and bottled Fiji water, and cost between $10 and $15.
iPads for All
Forget media rooms and loaner laptops. Now you can have an iPad all to yourself for the duration of your stay. New York’s Mondrian SoHo, Royalton and Plaza Hotel, and London’s Eccleston Square have all jumped on the in-room iPad bandwagon.
Phones For Key Cards
Overnight and a Show
More and more hotels are moonlighting as intimate concert venues. The Royalton New York is rocking a free live music series at bar Forty Four (Tuesdays through Thursdays, from 6.30–9.30pm); the W Austin has its own theater; the Ace New York hosts indie talent every Sunday evening in its lobby; and the Loews Atlanta showcases a roster of up-and-coming musicians through its LIVE at Loews program.
Free Zipcar Rentals
Book a stay at any AKA Hotel, swish extended-stay properties in New York, DC, and Philly (LA and London hotels coming in spring 2012), and pick up a complimentary one-year membership to car-sharing company Zipcar. Guests may apply at www.stayaka.com beforehand and pick up their Zipcar key card at check-in.
Photo Credit: courtesy PUBLIC Chicago