Hotels have not always been known as beacons of the latest and greatest technological amenities. Business travelers everywhere have groaned in despair as they encounter superslow in-room Wi-Fi, antiquated desktop computers sitting in lonely business centers, and indecipherable TV controls that never seem to have that channel you’re looking for. But hotel guests are getting pickier about where they will stay based on the technology a location offers. In fact, according to the 2012 Hotels.com Amenities Survey, free Wi-Fi is the No. 1 factor in choosing a hotel for 34 percent of travelers, even those on vacation. For business travelers, that number goes up to 56 percent.
However, when it comes to tech amenities, wireless access is just the tip of the high-tech iceberg. Travel budgets are shrinking, causing some hotels to stretch themselves further by offering fancy extras such as room automation through RFID, free smartphone loans and Apple devices everywhere from rooms to front desk check-ins. Here are LAPTOP’s top picks for the most high-tech hotels in North America.
Perk: iPad connected to Savant Systems room automation
Sometimes, smaller is best for business travel hotspots and rock stars alike. This boutique property has only 16 rooms, but also offers two fully functional recording studios complete with a MacBook Pro. Each room offers a 60-inch HDTV concealed behind a mirror when not in use and powered by an Apple TV. Guests use an iPad that controls the lighting, shades, TV, audio and the temperature. In fact, you're handed an iPad to use during the stay as soon as you check in, and that iPad is customized prior to your arrival with your favorite movies, music and games. The hotel promises 10 MBps wireless Internet access, and each round is outfitted with a Tannoy Surround system and subwoofer.