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.