As the world comes to a standstill as we try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we encourage all of you to hunker down right now, too. In the meantime, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to get back out there.
I could care less about luggage-sorting robots or Facebook kiosks. But high-tech bells and whistles that actually elevate my hotel stay? Yes, please. Be sure to book the following forward-looking lodgings whose amenities go well beyond the usual gimmickry.
Stanford Court San Francisco Hotel
The Gist: A sleek and pretty hotel in the posh Nob Hill neighborhood.
Game-Changing Amenity: Stanford’s just-launched Google Glass Explorer Package gives guests a tutorial on its headline-grabbing eyewear, then sends them out with a pair to see the world the way Steve Jobs wanted us to (i.e., as living, breathing search engines). The package starts at $199 and runs through December 31, 2014.
The Peninsula Hong Kong
The Gist: This ultraluxe Peninsula outpost might be the oldest hotel in Hong Kong, but it’s obsessed with the latest and greatest in tech—so much so that it installed an on-site R&D center for dreaming up new ways to surprise and delight its guests.
Game-Changing Amenities: It’s all about the screens: each room has a 3-D TV (outfitted with goggles) and a proprietary tablet loaded with tourist-friendly guides to Hong Kong. The tablet also let you control room temperature, lighting, and more.
The Marlin Hotel, Miami Beach
The Gist: Located in a late-1930s art deco building designed by architect Laurence Murray Dixon, this 15-room Miami Beach hideaway is mere steps away from the sand.
Game-Changing Amenities: The hotel’s state-of-the-art recording studio will appeal to pros in the biz (Prince, Jay-Z, and Weezer have laid down tracks here), while the rest of us can sit back and enjoy the music-centric rooms, outfitted with fancy Tannoy Surround stereo systems and iPods preloaded with our favorite tunes. Oh, and look behind the mirror: there’s a 60-inch LED TV hidden there.
theWit Hotel, Chicago
The Gist: A stylish downtown hotel with one of the best rooftop bars in Chicago.
Game-Changing Amenity: Guest suites are wired with sensors that note your location and automatically change the room temp based on your body heat. It’s a little creepy—and a lot of amazing.
Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel
The Gist: This party-starting hotel near the beach turned heads a few years ago by giving guests the option of paying for food and drink via biometric fingerprint scanners.
Game-Changing Amenity: For its latest trick, Ushuaïa ditched its room–key cards in favor of the more convenient VIB (very important bracelet), which doubles as a payment device for purchases at the hotel. Ushuaïa’s sister property, Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza, opening on May 18, offers the same wearable-key technology.