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Checking In On What's Next
Hotels are finding intriguing new ways to thrill, pamper and tech you up
Gretchen Kelly

A recent survey by the Global Business Travel Association found 50 percent of travelers surveyed want to try a mobile app to control room settings; 38 percent are eager to try rooms with body sensors to control services; 34 percent want to experience rooms that are personalized by scent, linen choices and other amenities; and 25 percent want to use robotic services.

These days, business travelers expect higher tech in their hotel rooms and lobby work spaces. WiFi is table stakes for most hotels; beyond that, robotics, motion sensors and ambient lighting are all becoming standard.

Take the Sinclair, an Autograph Collection Hotel in Fort Worth, TX, for instance. The hotel, opening this winter, is right at the bleeding edge of technology. The back-up power for the entire art deco-era building is now provided by a battery rather than by a diesel generator, the first hotel in the world to be so equipped.

Light fixtures in the hotel are juiced by something called Digital Building Switches to replace regular high-voltage electricity and are shut on and off over the Internet. Mirrors in the bathrooms have speakers that connect to users’ Bluetooth. Showers can flash different colored lights and will set the temperature of the water using the control pad on the wall in the bathroom.

Finally, going to the gym and powering the building’s battery by using a cardio machine for over 20 minutes will not just get you fitter, it will get you Marriott Bonvoy points. And just for good tech measure, the Sinclair has a rentable podcast studio in its lobby.

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December 2019/January 2020