NEW YORK (Reuters) - The days when high-tech rooms for hotels meant adding a kettle and alarm clock are long gone, with hotels realizing guests want far more wizardry in their rooms.
Men's website AskMen.com (www.aksmen.com) has come up with a list of the top 10 high-tech hotels. Reuters has not endorsed this list:
1. Helix Hotel, Abu Dhabi
The Helix Hotel is yet to be built but its hi-tech credentials come in the form of heat and energy conservation with state-of-the-art GROW panels, which harness energy from the sun and wind, to be affixed to the outside of the hotel. The temperature and humidity inside the 208-room hotel is set to be managed by a waterfall in the atrium. There will also be a giant glass wall that will periodically slide open, allowing a fresh sea breeze to blow in.
2. Hotel Sax, Chicago
There’s the free Wi-Fi, massive wide-screen TVs, and the 6th floor Studio Lounge, free for all guests, where you can relax on big sofas or play Rock Band, Wii games and Guitar Hero. Guests each receive a laptop and Zune MP3 player for use during their stay. The hotel also has tech studios and tech suites.
3. Hotel 1000, Seattle
Besides innovative plumbing like water pouring from the ceiling to fill the bath, Hotel 1000 also boasts a “silent electronic doorbell” system -- housekeeping staff push a button at your door which sets off an infrared scanner inside your room. If it detects any movement, an electronic “do not disturb” sign appears and the housekeeper knows to come back later.
4. The Peninsula Hotel, Tokyo
The Peninsula takes its tech so seriously that it even has an electronics service department. Rooms have Internet radio boasting 3,000 stations, mood lighting controls, and wireless phones with Skype capability that you can use throughout the hotel. Lastly, there’s a nail polish dryer.
5. Blow Up Hall, Poznan, Poland
Blow Up Hall is a snazzy establishment described as an electronic art hotel. Renowned artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has created an intriguing video installation around which the design of the hotel is based. The moment you step inside, you’re a performer in the video being played in the lobby comprising 2,400 tiny images gathered from as many cameras inside the hotel. No keys or door numbers here, just iPhones. Every guest is supplied with an Apple phone which, through recognition tech, you use to gain access to your room. You can also use it to call your concierge, surf the net and view preloaded local tourist info.
6. The Upper House, Hong Kong
All guests at this virtually paperless hotel are supplied with an iPod touch preloaded with games, music and everything you need to know about the hotel and its environs. There’s free and unlimited broadband access with even the hotel’s cars (Lexus RX450H hybrid models) equipped with Wi-Fi.
7. Mama Shelter, Paris
Once a parking garage and now a Philippe Starck-designed boutique hotel, Mama Shelter has a 24-inch iMac in each one of its 172 rooms. The iMac acts as your entertainment center, and there’s free Wi-Fi available too. Something else the rooms at Mama Shelter have that you won’t find in most other hotels is a microwave oven.
8. Montage, Beverly Hills
A real practical feature for the guys -- a fog-free shaving mirror in all bathrooms. The Montage this year became one of the first hotels in the world to receive gold-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for its use of, for example, energy efficient heating, lighting and air conditioning systems.
9. Element Hotels, across the United States
Rooms at Element Hotels feature ambient lighting made possible with energy efficient light bulbs, and specially designed, cutting-edge low flow rain showers that minimize water wastage. All rooms have state-of-the-art kitchens and soon guests will be supplied with a Nintendo DS console loaded with Personal Trainer: Cooking software.
10. Pod Hotel, New York City
Targeted at the younger traveler, New York’s Pod Hotel has an in-house Pod Community Blog, open to those with reservations, that allows guests and guests-to-be to interact, ask questions and exchange information. The hotel is sure to satisfy the tech-hungry budget traveler with its free Wi-Fi, LCD flat screen TVs and iPod docking stations.
Editing by Belinda Goldsmith