Starwood's high-tech hotel rooms have robot butlers and smart mirrors
If you find yourself at certain Starwood hotels in the next few months, you'll be able to enter your room with the tap of an iPhone or Apple Watch, touch the mirror for weather updates and even request a robot butler to bring you a toothbrush.
At its Stamford, Connecticut-based headquarters, Starwood is hard at work testing concept rooms filled with smart technology that's already reached three of its chains: Four Points by Sheraton, boutique concept Aloft and its sustainable Elements brand.
While the company runs higher-end hotel chains such as the St. Regis and the W, Starwood is leaning on these particular locations to test some of its latest tech innovations. The move is a part of an effort to make hotel stays for guests more personalized. This isn't too surprising, considering the company was one of Apple's early launch partners to offer room entry through the Apple Watch.
At its Four Points by Sheraton concept — which traditionally targets business travelers — Starwood is looking closer at how its guests already use certain products in the room. As a result, it is currently testing a new TV set up, with two side by side. This will allow travelers to watch something on one set and practice a presentation (or stream a show via Netflix) on the other.
Although this may seem superfluous, it goes a step further with an effort that will surely save marriages, one couple at a time: If you're traveling with someone else, bedside headphones are paired to a corresponding TV, so each person could watch whatever they'd like on their own set.
Starwood is getting ready to roll out a smart-mirror concept to hotels later this summer, too. By touching the mirror's surface, travelers can get immediate access to the weather, news and sports scores. You can also pair it via Bluetooth to connect your phone and see your Twitter feed and other alerts directly on the mirror, which is powered by Panasonic technology.
While it's unquestionably a novel concept, it's uncertain how practical this will be in use (beyond just tapping for the weather and news). Plus, just think of all the finger prints.