From touch-button glass walls to tablet-ready rooms, cutting-edge tech is defining many of the world’s leading hotels – and perhaps none more so than in forward-thinking Asia. We’ve rounded up 10 of its most impressive hi-tech properties, though double-check your credit limit before booking as these rooms, all in prime locations, don’t come cheap.
The Peninsula Hong Kong
For now, The Peninsula Hong Kong’s rooftop helipad and iconic fleet of Rolls Royce Phantoms are shadowed by a recent S$76-million refurbishment that has augmented its grand old-colonial style with industry-leading tech. Revamped rooms now feature Samsung tablets that control everything from room service and digital radio to a 3D entertainment system; digital wall panels; Voice over IP (VoIP) calling; high-end Focal headphones; charging cords for most handheld devices sold in Asia – we could go on. And in case you’re wondering, it’s a cool S$2,780 for one-way transfer from the airport to hotel by helicopter.
Banyan Tree Macau
Splash out on one of the 236 not-so-standard suites at Banyan Tree Macau, where the in-room highlight is a personal plunge pool remotely controlled to an 80 degree heat and situated near floor-to-ceiling windows. High-tech toys include back-to-back LCD flatscreen televisions and Blu-rays that can be checked out for free.
Hotel Éclat, Taipei
You’re going to spend a lot of time in the bathroom at this swish 60-room boutique hotel – and it’ll have nothing to do with penance for the pig’s blood cakes from the street-food market. Here a flatscreen LCD television is perched next to an electronic, remote-controlled Toto “super toilet,” which, with its motion sensors, spray settings and speaking capability, is one microchip away from Robocop (in a good way). For more privacy, there's even chameleon-like glass walls that go from clear to opaque with the touch of a button.
Sofitel So Bangkok
Here’s one for the Apple fanboys and girls. Boasting style and soundtrack contributions from fashion designer Christian Lacroix and DJ Ravin (Buddha Bar), Sofitel So Bangkok is the city’s lone hotel where every room has a Mac mini you can use to surf the Web, stream videos and make Face Time calls. Upgrade to a suite and you can also play with an iPad.
(Image via Kalboz)
The Peninsula Shanghai
Sometimes you just want to be left alone, particularly when your room has Internet radio and an iPod dock hooked up to 5.1 surround sound, a 46-inch plasma television with DVD player, complimentary Voice over IP (VoIP) calling and a marble bathroom with a flatscreen in the wall. In a nod to old-school tech, once you’ve activated the room’s privacy feature at The Peninsula Shanghai, the only way you’ll be disturbed by staff is via fax to your printer/fax/copier.
More after the break...
W Singapore – Sentosa Cove
There’s nothing subtle about uber-trendy W Singapore – Sentosa Cove’s tech-conscious style. Think LED art and flatscreen televisions set within polished marble walls. Not to mention the 1,338-square-metre pool with electronica beats piped in underwater, ringed with private cabanas supplied with Apple's pods and pads. Rooms have neon pink-and-lavender mood lighting and huge mini-bars stocked with such essentials as oxygen canisters and condoms, though the aptly (and painfully) named “Extreme Wow Suite” is the hotel’s hi-tech pièce de résistance. This soundproof 195-square-metre palace is decked out with a 55-inch flatscreen television, DVD player, Bang & Olufsen surround sound and DJ booth with dual turntables and vinyl collection. Now, they've even permitted keyless room entry via your smartphone.
This award-winning 262-room design hotel literally goes ‘Above & Beyond’ with its upper-tier accommodations. On top of luxe common amenities — 40-inch television, Blu-ray player, Bose iPod dock, complimentary mini-bar and local calls via Wi-Fi — club rooms and suites include nightly access to a rooftop bar where you can sip gratis cocktails while soaking in postcard-perfect panoramas of Victoria Harbour.
The palatial crystal suite here doubles as a modern electronics showroom. If iPod docks and 50-inch plasma televisions with interactive entertainment in both bedrooms aren’t enough, the living room ups the ante with an additional 60-inch gogglebox, Blu-ray player and 22-inch HP TouchSmart desktop. Should you have tech-related questions or, say, need help finding a chef to cook dinner in the suite’s kitchen, a personal butler is at your beck and call 24 hours a day.
With its somewhat upmarket take on the traditional Japanese ryokan (inn), Andon Ryokan scores for its high-end conveniences catered to those on a budget (relatively speaking; Tokyo is Tokyo). Rooms are spartan, yet have a television, DVD player, and free Wi-Fi, and though bathrooms are communal you can book a private Jacuzzi room embellished with pop art for free. We also like that cheap rentals of Ultra 4G pocket Wi-Fi devices are available – invaluable for staying plugged in with a fast connection on your smartphone or laptop while exploring the city.
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
Bring an HDMI cable to arts-minded The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, where you can stream your downloads on a flush-mounted 46-inch flatscreen television via a work-desk port. iPod docks are also in the room, while iPod Shuffles pre-loaded with self-guided walking tours of the hotel’s impressive contemporary art collection are available from the concierge.