Answers from Our Experts (3)
It wasn’t all that long ago that the presence of wi-fi and a flat screen TV marked a hotel out as hi-tech. These days, however, such amenities come as standard and technophile guests are seeking out ever more innovative gadgets and services. The following hotels all have something a little different on offer.
Eccleston Square Hotel
This adults-only hotel located not far from Victoria Station was hailed as London’s most hi-tech hotel when it opened in 2011. Fully adjustable electronic beds with massage settings, a personal iPad 2 in each room, HD 3D NeoPlasma TVs with on-demand 3D movies delivered to your room for free and flatscreen bathroom TVs concealed behind steam-proof mirrors are just some of the treats available.
There’s no reception desk at this smart Bankside hotel, just a bank of touch-screen computers where guests check themselves in. All the amenities in each compact room are controlled via a personalized Samsung tablet – from switching the lights on and off to setting the ‘mood’ of the room with music and visuals on the flat screen TV to having the room wake you up in the morning. There's no robot butler, but a tablet that does your every bidding is surely the next best thing.
Four Seasons Park Lane
The Four Seasons Park Lane combines old school luxury with state-of-the-art technology. The focus is on entertainment here with a plasma TV, DVD player, PlayStation and iPod dock in each room. Laptops and printers are available on request and business travellers will appreciate the multi-line telephones with conference calling capability. Many of the suites also have bathrooms with integrated TVs in the mirrors.
When it comes to technology some hotels are leading the field with in-room entertainment systems, communications hubs and hi-tech beds, while others lag behind, barely deigning to offer free wifi. Here's my pick of London's most plugged-in hotels:
Nobody ever disagrees with this one. Lauded as London's most switched on hotel this luxury boutique hotel offers a veritable playground in every room - from beds with a built-in massage system to room service ordered by iPad. The bathroom features a SmartGlass wall which flicks from Reveal to Conceal in a second, and there are VoIP phones with free calls to all London numbers.
This hotel may be all old-school design and traditional service but that doesn't stop it from keeping up with the times where technology is concerned. Open the unassuming looking drawer beside the bed and you'll find your own personal control panel. Dim the lights, alter the air conditioning and even call your own personal butler. There are also two flatscreen TVs hidden away in that antique-looking furniture to be revealed at the touch of a button and a Sony Vaio laptop computer and printer are provided in every room.
From the moment you check in, this higholy modern hotel is all about technology. There is no front desk, with guests registering at the kiosks on arrival instead and creating their own room key. Rooms are simple and stocked with Vitra furniture, plus free wifi, free in-room movies and electronic window blinds. Calls from the phone are charged at VoIP rates and there's a global plug system – so no dramas if you forgot to bring your adaptor.
The best technology hotel in London, without doubt, is Eccleston Square Hotel.
Every single room in this ultra-modern inner-city pad boasts an impressive range of technological highlights. Including a state-of-the-art 46-inch 3D NeoPlasma television (with immersive surround sound and free 3D Blu-rays on request), a secondary mirror TV in the bathroom, an MP3-player docking station, a fully-stocked Nespresso coffee machine and smart control panels for the overhead lights, air conditioning and the opening and closing of curtains. But there are three technological highlights that especially impress. The first is the personal iPad 2 tucked away in the bedside cabinet, which you can use for everything from browsing the internet (the high-speed WiFi is complimentary) to ordering room service to requesting housekeeping. The second is the luxury Hästens bed, which can be electronically-adjusted to lift or lower your head, feet or both, and comes with a range of soothing massage settings. And the third is the smart glass surrounding the bathroom; with the press of a button you can turn the glass panels on all sides from transparent to opaque, so it's up to you whether to conceal or reveal.
Honorable mentions also go to The Wellesley (for its gigantic televisions and Samsung tablets in every room) and the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Mercer Street (for its all-in-one tech that brings MP3 players, tablets, smart phones and movies together on your TV screen).