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Hilton Launches New “Hilton Technology Room”: Room of the Future?

Hilton Launches New “Hilton Technology Room”: Room of the Future?

Old Nov 9, 02, 9:43 am
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Hilton Launches New “Hilton Technology Room”: Room of the Future?

From the Chicago Tribune:

Hilton tests room of the future
By Jane Engle
Tribune Newspapers

November 3, 2002

There's something different about Room 267 at the Hilton Garden Inn, a modest hotel near Los Angeles International Airport that caters mainly to business travelers.

A lot different.

Lights turn on automatically when you enter the room. A 42-inch, flat-screen TV looms over the desk, where there's a videophone that lets you see who's outside your door. A leather massage lounge purrs nearby. The generous bathroom has a separate shower and a TV-equipped Jacuzzi, plus European-style fixtures like a towel warmer and a bidet. Settle into the king-size bed, which looks normal enough, and you sink in--way in.

Hilton Hotels Corp. dubs this the "Room of the Future." It's the most technologically advanced of 14 rooms at the inn where the Beverly Hills-based conglomerate tests new features for its many hotel-chain brands, including Embassy Suites, Doubletree and Hampton Inn. Each room has different door hooks, soap dishes, shower heads and other fixtures. One is even a resort-style suite complete with garden patio.

The rest of the 162-room hotel operates as a regular Hilton Garden Inn.

Guests are the guinea pigs here. Members of Hilton HHonors, the company's rewards club for frequent travelers, are randomly assigned to the 14 rooms as upgrades, says Barbara Bejan, the hotel's general manager. Most mornings between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. you can find her polling the breakfast crowd in the dining area, asking guests what they thought of the rooms. Their answers help determine how Hilton designs new hotels.

"We're always trying to figure out what's the next thing," says Dennis Koci, Hilton's senior vice president of operations support.

So am I. Which is why I recently toured the test rooms.

Chains typically introduce new features in one or two hotels at a time, but Hilton is unusual in using a single place as a laboratory for the whole company, Koci says. The 14-room wing of the Hilton Garden Inn LAX/El Segundo has served that purpose since the hotel opened in 2000. The test rooms are constantly undergoing change and have been redesigned about three times in two years.

The company hit on the idea after a costly misadventure a few years ago, when it equipped the 2,000-plus-room Hilton New York with pioneering "smart cards." The cards have computer chips that combine the functions of a room key and, potentially, credit cards and phone cards. But the combination technology never caught on, and the cards were expensive to replace when lost, costing the hotel tens of thousands of dollars. Small-scale experiments suddenly looked good.

The "Room of the Future" tries to satisfy some contradictory goals. Travelers want their home away from home to be homey cozy but equipped with the latest TV and Internet gizmos; welcoming to visitors but safe from strangers; luxurious but not costly. It's a big order for a 390-square-foot space.

For security, there are the motion-sensor lights, the videophone, a safe with digital keypad and an electronic "Do not disturb" sign activated from inside the room. Besides high-speed Internet service, cordless phone and the big-screen TV, there's a remote control that taps into a digital entertainment world with hundreds of TV shows, movies and music CDs. For luxury, there's the shower with several shower heads, and the bidet-toilet with seat warmer.

And then there's the bed. It's positioned at a 45-degree angle to the wall for what Hilton hopes will induce a "warmer, more open feeling."

Using air baffles supported by wood slats instead of springs, it molds to your body shape and weight, purportedly to eliminate tossing and turning. Each half of the bed, which is also used in some hospitals, can be adjusted separately, lowering or raising the foot or head at different angles for two sleepers.

General Manager Bejan slept on it for three months. Every morning, "I woke up exactly where I had been," she reports. "It was like I was mummified." She loved it, but it's not for everyone, especially at $2,500 to $3,000 per bed.

"The first night, we don't get a positive reaction," says Koci, the operations executive. But some guests later grow to like it.

In fact, what keeps hotel rooms from being more cutting-edge is that they can't depart too much from what we're used to, he says. We have only a brief time to adapt.

To that end, Koci and his crew have puzzled over how to make the remote unit more user-friendly. "Otherwise," he worries, "you're handing manuals to guests."

Some customers complain to Bejan that the "Room of the Future" lacks a microwave, a standard fixture of Hilton Garden Inns. "Two hundred thousand dollars' worth of features, and they want a microwave," Koci says with mock horror.

On the other hand, Bejan says, guests rave about a low-tech accouterment in some test rooms: a double hook on the bathroom door, so that they can hang more stuff. "Long Beach is changing all of theirs," she says.

Whether we're ready or not, Hilton is looking seriously at even more room technology for the future. Goodbye, bland pictures on the wall; hello, video screens that you can program to show your favorite art, be it Rembrandt or Picasso. How about a climate control system that emits the soothing sounds and smells of rainfall while projecting TV images of a jungle?

Here's my favorite: a self-cleaning bathroom. The housekeeper closes the door and pushes a button, and jets in the ceiling, floor and walls spray steam and sanitizing chemicals throughout the room.

I don't know if this would speed me to a Hilton on my next trip. But I'd order one for my home in a New York minute.


[This message has been edited by kevdog77 (edited 11-09-2002).]
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Old Nov 17, 02, 3:07 pm
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Room of the Future on Savvy Traveler

This weekend's Savvy Traveler on NPR has a segment on the "Room of the Future" at the Hilton Garden Inn in El Segundo, CA. Includes a mention that "favored Hilon guests" can request an upgrade to the room.

http://www.savvytraveler.com/show/ru...5.shtml#hilton

There's a short synopsis at the linked page, but you can listen to the whole segment in Real Audio.

PDH
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Old Apr 3, 04, 1:09 am
  #3  
007
 
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Hi-tech hotel?

Can anyone recommend me some of the world's most "hi-tech" hotel?
(not just hilton)
I found this "room of the future" at one of the Hilton Garden Inn. Looks like it's for invitation only. Anyone stay there?

http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/...11042%2C00.asp
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Old Apr 6, 04, 7:53 pm
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Heck yes I have... loved that room... Stayed there back in October before flying out to New Zealand. When I entered the room, there was a Hilton employee in there looking at the room. Plasma TV on the wall. Everything was operated by a remote control. The room is just as described. I went back a few months later and didn't get it... was severely disappointed....
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Old Apr 30, 05, 12:47 am
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Hilton launches new "Hilton Technology Room"

Hilton Hotels Corporation Launches New ''Hilton Technology Room'' to Explore Next-Generation Guestroom Technology

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 29, 2005--Hilton Hotels Corporation announced today the launch of the newly-designed Hilton Technology Room, a fully-functioning guestroom "laboratory" for gathering customer feedback on new and emerging technologies. The room is a testament to Hilton Hotels Corporation's commitment to satisfying customers with industry-leading innovations in comfort, convenience and control.


"The Technology Room is designed to continually evolve by integrating the latest advancements in entertainment, communications and rest into a seamless guest experience," said Patrick Terwilliger, senior vice president of design, construction and purchasing for Hilton Hotels Corporation. "In its current iteration, the Hilton Technology Room blends high-tech features into a luxurious guestroom setting, enabling us to gain insight into how guests interact with the technology and which pieces would be appropriate for full-scale deployment to our hotels."

At first glance, visitors to the Hilton Technology Room notice the striking layout, with the bed positioned at a 45-degree angle to the room; a large, sweeping expanse of granite for the desk element; clean, modern lines; a stylish upholstered headboard and dramatic lighting options throughout the room.

The entertainment and communications centerpiece of the room is a 16 x 9 format, 70-inch advanced front projection screen complemented by one of the latest Bose(R) home theater systems. The Lifestyle(R) 28 Series II home entertainment system offers 5-channel surround sound from any source, and includes an integrated progressive scan DVD/CD player and AM/FM tuner.

Inset, color-matched Direct/Reflecting(R) cube speaker arrays and a hideaway Acoustimass(R) module, which reproduces deep, resonant low notes, round out the audio system. The system also features the ADAPTiQ(R) audio calibration system (pronounced "adapt I Q"), a proprietary innovation that analyzes and automatically adjusts the sound for a particular room, speaker location, and even listener location.

The video system includes a front projector, nestled away in a ceiling-mounted enclosure, and electronics for video signal processing and switching. The wall-mounted screen is optimized for color, contrast, and viewing angles, to provide a stunning image even in a well-lighted room. Digital satellite and high-definition channels, digital music channels, and on-demand movies are all fed into the room and viewable on the large screen. For those who aren't content to enjoy just one form of digital media at a time, the Philips MiraVision mirror LCD display panel adjacent to the projection screen serves double duty as a television monitor or - when switched off - as a mirror. And those who want to catch the early news or last night's sports highlights while getting ready in the morning can watch digital satellite and high definition programming on the LCD flat-panel monitor conveniently located above the bathroom's whirlpool tub.

An AMX Touch Panel wireless remote control unit serves as the "brains" of the room. The system centrally controls most of the room's devices, including the stereo, televisions, automated climate control, window coverings, lighting, security camera, and housekeeping status. With the simple touch of a menu screen, guests can control the various forms of digital media, change the climate control settings, adjust the lighting to suit any mood, and view visitors at the door via an on-screen display. The Hilton Technology Room takes the concept of "Do Not Disturb" to a whole new level with the ability to adjust the electronic housekeeping alert via the AMX Touch Panel without even having to get out of bed. A second touch panel, wall-mounted between the sink and tub, controls the bathroom TV.

Several traditional features enhance guest comfort, including a mini refrigerator featuring electronic compressor-less technology and a space-age, single cup, gourmet coffee brew station. An illuminated glass curtain lined with a custom veneer separates the wet bar and entryway from the guestroom, creating the illusion of more space and enabling guests to customize sections of the room to meet their personal needs. The flexible workstation features an ergonomic desk chair and a rolling work desk that tucks neatly away when not in use, providing a comfortable, convenient setting for catching up on email via the hotel's wireless network and the guest's own laptop computer. Guests can store valuables in the biometric safe using just their fingerprint to easily lock and unlock the safe.

When it comes to perhaps the most important component of any hotel room - the bed - the Hilton Technology Room replaces the conventional mattress with the king-size VSS Sleep System. The unique system of air baffles continually adjusts the bed to the unique contours of the body, offering an enhanced sleep experience. The articulated slat foundation allows guests to find exactly the right comfortable position by raising and lowering the left and right side head and foot positions. A Bose Wave(R) radio on the nightstand provides a new standard of audio performance, simplicity and elegant design. LED reading lamps are incorporated into the bedside lights and the floor torchiere.

The bathroom combines contemporary design features with modern hygiene and comfort, including ornate glass tiles, a modern porcelain bowl at the vanity, and a whirlpool tub. The mirror contains a de-fogging membrane, and the shower has four automated jets for full-body pleasure and a digital display that lets guests easily adjust the shower pressure and temperature. Updated features of the lighting, floors and countertops add to the bathroom's modern style. The advanced hair dryer is made from 100% crushed tourmaline mineral, and combines ionic and infrared technology to decrease drying time by up to 60% and eliminate static electricity and frizz.

"Through customer feedback and continual evolution, the Hilton Technology Room will help us determine which technological innovations truly elevate the guest experience," said Terwilliger. "We realize that technology offers just one way of meeting guests' needs, and we've carefully balanced technological innovation with Hilton's world-renowned customer service."

The Hilton Technology Room, which is located in the University Wing of the Hilton Garden Inn LAX/El Segundo, will be open to guests on an invitation basis.

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/...71&newsLang=en
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Old Apr 30, 05, 2:08 am
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I reckon they'll be inundated with requests to stay in that room. Have stayed at this HGI in LAX on several occasions and usually get upgraded to the "University Wing" which is like walking into a different world when you go through the entrance doors to that wing. Asked if the old Technology Room was available, but never managed to get it yet. Still one of my favourite hotels in the LAX area and also I find it's a good base to get around the whole area.

Chris.
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Old Apr 30, 05, 7:52 am
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Any experiences with the new bed?

I don't know about the 45 deg angle. Wouldn't it make it a little awkward to watch tv?
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Old May 2, 05, 5:47 pm
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I've gotten the Techonology Room and it was fantastic. If you're a gadget nut, it's your dream room. Everything was comfortable and worked well, including the small plasma at the foot at the bathtub.
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Old May 2, 05, 5:54 pm
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So much technology, and yet they can't provide free wireless internet access at most locations
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Old May 4, 05, 9:29 am
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Hilton touts its new tech room for customer input

http://www.hotel-online.com/News/PR2...iltonTech.html

What do people think? Is this a real effort by Hilton to learn more about its customers or just a fluffy shameless press release?
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Old May 4, 05, 10:09 am
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How long can it be 'til Hilton begins to make some of the mentioned changes, and charge for the enhancements? After all, they persist in making outrageous telephone charges to those few guests who are not using a cell phone, callback service or toll-free access, and charging - sometimes exhorbitantly - for broadband Internet access. (Same access I get for free in their lower-band hotels, yet.)

Profit centers? Sure. Price-gouging? Tactically OK, strategically stupid.
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Old May 24, 06, 2:15 pm
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T+L Article on Hilton's hotel room of the future - HGI Lax #267

Interesting little article I just found on the T+L site:

http://www.travelandleisure.com/arti...-of-the-future

Anyone ever stay in that room?
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Old May 24, 06, 4:13 pm
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Interesting article. I wonder why Hilton chose a HGI for this? Seems rather odd... I'd like to check it out sometime.
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Old May 24, 06, 4:21 pm
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The Technology Room has been at the HGI LAX for several years, IIRC. A search on FT yielded one specific review of this room, among other articles on the room:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=490950


Mike
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