Hotels have tried to make the check-in experience as pleasant as possible...
...but after you get off a long-haul flight, tolerated a long taxi ride, the last thing you want to do is be fake-nice to the hotel receptionist (however great she might be). Thanks to Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ SPG Keyless system, you can head to your room right away, grouchy face and all.
After making a reservation at one of the keyless system-enabled hotels, you’ll be sent a notification via the Starwood Preferred Guest app asking if you’d like to go keyless. If you don’t, you can always opt for the conventional keycard. But why would you? Given that it’s more easily misplaced and it’s a lot more fun to open your door with your phone.
Upon receiving your checked-in notice, the app will update with your room number and you can jet-laggedly drag yourself into the elevator, tap your phone to gain access to your level (much to the amazement of other lift-sharing guests) and open your door with another tap of your phone once the lock gives you the green light. It all works via Bluetooth so make sure you enable it and turn Airplane mode off to receive the necessary notifications.
And when you check out, you don’t even have to drop by the reception to return the keycard, because there is none. Your bill will be emailed to you directly.
Yes, smartypants, there’s a ‘but’ here as it only works with one phone per room. So if you’re staying in the room with someone else, the other guy has to go keycard. Also, you’ll have to book your Starwood hotel through any of Starwood’s channels and not a third-party travel agent for security reasons. You will also have to be part of the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program to gain access to SPG Keyless.
You can get a taste of the future at Aloft Beijing, Aloft Cancun, Aloft Cupertino, Aloft Harlem, W Doha, W Hollywood, W Hong Kong, W New York-Downtown, W Singapore and Element Times Square during your year-end vacation.
The SPG Keyless system works with both iOS and Android smartphones, with wearables coming into play in due time. It'll also be rolled out across the other Aloft, W and Element hotels by early 2015. Who knows what else Starwood can do with this technology in the future, best get it on it fast.
It's true what they say, being an SPG will open doors for you.