1. hub by Premier Inn, London, UK
Hate the faff of flicking on the “do not disturb” sign or adjusting the air conditioning to the perfect temperature? First world problems, admittedly, but at London’s hub by Premier Inn they’re not ones you need to worry about. The hotel’s very own app can be used to control all of the above, and the super-fast wi-fi means staying connected won’t be an issue. Multiple power points allow you to charge different devices in a matter of minutes, and if you’re not a people person, you’ll love the hi-tech kiosks which allow you to check in to your room with a simple swipe to the right.
2. J House Greenwich Hotel, Connecticut, US
It’s the bathrooms which earned this hotel its place in our list. We’ve all seen those tiny televisions built into mirrors in hotel bathrooms, but when things get steamy, watching the latest Game of Thrones episode from the comfort of the tub becomes nigh on impossible. Not so at one of Connecticut’s best hotels – the J House Greenwich, where you’ll find an enormous 55-inch television screen guaranteed to stay steam-free. Our other favourite bit? The toilet – but bear with us here. This is isn’t your average porcelain throne. The TOTO Neorest is regarded as the world’s most hi-tech loo, and comes with a built-in bidet, electrically heated seat and air purifier. Loo-vely.
3. Hotel Zetta, San Francisco, US
One of San Francisco’s coolest hotels is the Zetta, a gadget geek’s paradise: there’s a games console-filled Playroom, a tech-filled antique telephone booth from which you can Tweet, Snapchat or blog, and (for old time’s sake) a museum-like display of retro games cartridges, computer chips and old mobile phones. But it’s the VR Cube which has generated the most hype. This lobby-based virtual reality room (the first one inside a hotel) allows guests to experience alternate realities by slipping on a hi-tech headset. Do so and you’ll instantly be transported from downtown San Francisco to the mountainous wilds of Washington State or a ghostly shipwreck on the ocean floor. And you thought time travel was cool.
4. Yotel, New York, US
We all know that feeling – we’re stopping over in a city for a night or two and it becomes immediately obvious that our enormous suitcase takes up the majority of the floorspace in the budget hotel we’ve booked. Yotel, a capsule-style hotel in New York’s Time Square, has eliminated the problem with the introduction of a hi-tech storage space for items of luggage you don’t need immediate access to. The best bit? It’s all taken care of by a robot. Or Yobot, to be precise. After your room keys have been dispensed by the electronic check-in terminal, Yobot will whisk away your luggage and place it into a locker. The entire process takes place in a glass-walled storage area, allowing you to watch the entire process. The hi-tech theme continues in the bedrooms, which have space-saving motorised beds and motion-activated air conditioning.
5. M Social Singapore, Singapore
We all love a bit of room service from time to time. But things can become slightly awkward if the housekeeper calls when we’re not quite dressed, or the hangover from hell is making the thought of human interaction with the concierge seem as appealing as wisdom tooth extraction. Enter the M Social, a luxury Singapore hotel which has just hired its latest member of staff: a robot. Need some more bottled water? Simply give the front desk a call and Aura (Automated Room-service Associate) will deliver fresh supplies to your room. Craving a news fix? Aura will dispatch the morning’s newspaper in a matter of seconds. Who on earth said it’s good to talk?
5. City Hub, Amsterdam, Holland
CityHub was created as a hi-tech alternative to cramped youth hostels. The hotel’s 50 mininamlist pods all contain a double bed, along with wi-fi, hi-tech audio streaming services (who doesn’t love a pod party?) and mood lighting which can be controlled by an app. And if you’re prone to demagnetising your hotel key card (or simply losing it altogether), you’re in luck – instead of a traditional hotel key, you’ll be given an electronic wristband which can be used to unlock your door.
6. Hilton Mclean Tysons Corner, Virginia, US
Hilton has created an entire innovation lab to ensure its hotels are as hi-tech as possible, and this particular property is a great example. Favourite features include the hi-tech televisions – log on to watch Netflix, YouTube and HuluPlus – and the Tech Lounge, which has Amazon delivery lockers. The Hilton Honors app can be used as a hotel room key, and there are five electric car charging points outside. The property’s also given those long, boring meetings a makeover, with the help of Ava, described as a mobile tele-presence droid. It works like this: if a company’s holding a meeting or conference at the hotel, employees who can’t attend in person can connect remotely with the hotel’s robot, which will then display the employee’s face. Not quite creepy enough? The robot can even mingle at cocktail parties on behalf of the employee in question. On the plus side, that’s one way to avoid a hangover.
7. Eccleston Square Hotel, London, UK
You couldn’t cram more tech into this boutique London hotel if you tried. It was one of the first UK hotels with in-room iPads and cinema-sized television screens, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Weary of London’s famously polluted air? At Eccleston Square, a hi-tech ventilation system means that every room has its own air supply, so if the guests in room 101 are stuffing themselves with the world’s stinkiest curry, you’ll be none the wiser. Then there are the beds: £15k Hastens beds, to be precise. The sleeping equivalavent of a super car, each one has its own engine, allowing you to pre-programme a wide range of positions and massage functions. The piece de resistance is the phones. Each room comes with a smart phone which guests can use for the duration of their stay, and they can be used to call landlines and mobiles through Europe and North America – on a totally complimentary basis.
8. Marriott Hotel Ghent, Belgium
This seemingly nondescript Marriott hotel was the first hotel in Europe to have a robot on its payroll. Mario is 56 centimetres tall, weighs six kilograms and speaks 19 different languages – eliminating the risk of translation troubles resulting in the wrong room service order. But he doesn’t just deliver items to guests’ rooms – he can often be found on the front desk, where his robotic reception duties include handing out guests’ key cards and informing visitors about his favourite dishes at the hotel’s restaurant. Oh, and he sings and dances too.
9. Kameha Grand, Zurich, Switzerland
Who doesn’t love a themed hotel? Zurich’s Kameha Grand is filled with themed rooms and suites, but it’s the Space Suite we love the most. A must for budding space explorers, this fabulously hi-tech retreat contains a floating bed, miniature rockets and shelves designed to resemble astronauts’ gloves. But out favourite bit is the live link-up to NASA’s mission control, via a huge screen above the bed. Life finally discovered on the red planet? You’ll be the first to know. Meteorites on a collision course with planet Earth? You’ll have a ringside seat as the drama unfolds.
10. Henn na Hotel, Tokyo, Japan
Ever fancied being checked into your room by a dinosaur-shaped robot? Actually, don’t answer that, although we’re fairly sure you’ll agree this Tokyo hotel is about as hi-tech as it gets. The Henn na Hotel is the first to be staffed entirely by robots – and multi-lingual ones at that. They’ll greet you in reception, they’ll carry your luggage to your room and their face recognition capabilities will eliminate the need for room keys. Only in Japan.
Searching for a hot hotel in the world’s coolest cities? The following hotel guides are essential reading!:
The most beautiful hotels in our favourite Dutch city.
Proof that staying in Thailand’s capital needn’t cost the earth!
Our favourite French hotels for a romantic weekend in the City of Love.