Nine great hotels for the traveling techie

Hotels are increasingly becoming high-tech. And with good reason: People want their 24/7 connectivity and other techie requirements even when they’re away from home. So hotels that want to become (or stay) successful are making sure they offer amenities like wireless or even the latest video games.

That’s where our nine Geek Hotels come in. These hotels have found a way to go above and beyond standard hotel niceties. Some offer both luxurious surroundings and futuristic tech conveniences, some have found a way to offer tech amenities at a reasonable rate, and some are using technology to bring people together.

Don’t forget to check out our article on Great escapes for geeks .

Modular High-Tech

High-tech in both construction and amenities, the CitizenM hotel’s founding philosophy is “Affordable Luxury for the People.” (Rooms start at $100.) Located in Amsterdam at the Schiphol Airport, the hotel is constructed of pre-fabricated rooms that were built and assembled offsite.

HotelM offers amenities like self check-in, the ability to store personal room preferences on an RFID keycard and free wireless. Rooms also feature a “MoodPad,” which guests can use to control shades, temperature, and the flat-screen entertainment center. It also controls the ambient lighting to create atmospheres from “romance” to “relax.”

Luxury in the Meatpacking District

Located in the ultra-hip Meatpacking District in New York City, rooms at the Hotel Gansevoort (which start around $500) offer free wi-fi, 42 inch LCD TVs, CD players and alarm clocks with iPod docking stations. They also offer in-room safes for your laptops or purchases at the area’s many designer boutiques. Of course, the Meatpacking District is also home to trendy restaurants galore, and guests can choose to work off those meals the high-tech way: By requesting a Wii console delivered to their room and working up a sweat playing one of the sports games. Tennis anyone?

Motion Detection at Your Service

Seattle’s Hotel 1000 offers high-tech amenities like video phones that allow guests to see when the valet delivers their car to the hotel entrance. Rooms, which start at about $300 a night, boast digital thermometers that use infrared signals to scan the room for motion and activate the desired temperature if a guest is detected. Infrared signals in the room are also used to let staff know when the room is occupied. All key systems in the hotel rooms are connected to the IP converged network, allowing information exchange via HTNG-based XML interfaces.

A Room That’ll Talk to You

The ARIA Resort and Casino will open in late 2009 on the Las Vegas Strip. The high-tech hotel will feature rooms that “greet” guests as they enter (noting if it’s their first time), turn on the lights automatically, and part the curtains to showcase the room’s city or mountain view. Guests have access to integrated one-touch control of guestroom features, including lighting, room temperature, television/video systems, music, wake-up calls, draperies and requests for services through a single, easy-to-use remote control (controls will also be available from a nightstand touch screen). And all settings will be remembered and incorporated every time a guest returns to the room.

On-the-Road Rock Star Workouts

The $200 a night (average) boutique Seattle Hotel Monaco offers an array of unusual low-tech amenities–a pet-friendly policy includes walking and sitting services and gourmet dog cookies. And those who’ve left their furry friends at home can have a goldfish delivered to their room. But it’s one of the Monaco’s geekier offerings that has been attracting a spotlight: A Guitar Hero social hour. From 5:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday nights, guests can unleash their inner rock god outside of their own living room–and in the company of strangers.

Tech Pampering in Japan

Rooms at the Peninsula Tokyo offer a host of amenities: wall panels that show outdoor weather conditions; in-room fax machines, nail dryers and espresso machines; and Internet radio automatically programmed to the guest’s country of residence. A wired phone in the room can be synchronized with guests’ personal mobile phones and a portable phone in the room will function anywhere within the hotel as an in-room phone and, upon leaving the property, converts to a mobile phone for outgoing calls within the Tokyo metropolitan area. And on a more personal front, bathrooms have heated, self-lifting seats. All this and more for about $575 and up.

A “Facebook” Hotel in the Physical World

Roomy it’s not. But the Pod Hotel gives travelers the chance to secure high-tech lodgings in the Big Apple starting at just $89 a night. The Pod’s rooms–from townhouse-style studio suites and bunk-bedded rooms with shared bathrooms–are equipped with iPod docking stations, LCD-screen televisions with cable (and in the bunk-bedded rooms, there is one television per bed), free wireless, telephones with voice mail and small safes built into the wall. The hotel also promotes its Pod Community Blog, which functions as an online concierge, a forum to connect with other guests and a way to discover a myriad of city and hotel information.

The Microsoft Experience

Besides its luxury and room tech offerings, Hotel Sax in Chicago offers guests a lounge to play Xbox games, connect with other gamers around the world via the Xbox Live service, download and listen to music from the hotel’s music library via Microsoft’s Zune music player or relax and watch HDTV content and movies in the home theater environment managed by Windows Media Center technology. The lounge features games such as Madden ’08, Halo 3, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Scene It and Dance Dance Revolution. And for those who feel a bit more private, some rooms offer the ability to tuck in with Xbox game stations all alone.

J-Pop D

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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