Will this little box really transport me to a tropical beach? (Photo: Marriott Hotels)
The latest hospitality trend these days is taking extreme, and often unnecessary, measures to impress hotel guests. We’re not talking basic room upgrades and an artisanal chocolate on your pillow.
We’re talking teleportation chambers and robot butlers.
In some ways, we commend these hotels for making such an effort and introducing us to unique experiences. But we also wonder if it’s really worth all the money they are spending.
Last week, Marriott began offering guests teleportation. Sort of. Marriott’s latest publicity stunt is the teleporter, based in Oculus Rift technology. It transports guests to Maui and London in a fully immersive 4D virtual reality experience. All you have to do is step inside the booth.
To be fair, the teleporter is an interesting step in the right direction of revolutionizing in-room entertainment in hotels, but it still feels awfully gimmicky. Check out eight other ways hotels are trying to attract attention these days.
Great for robot selfies, but not much else. (Photo: Techcrunch)
Only a month before Marriott launched the teleporter, robots invaded a Starwood hotel. Starwood is testing new robot butlers at its Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, California, and plans to expand to the rest of Starwood’s hotels in 2015. Aptly named Botlrs, these machines can navigate the hotel and fulfill guest requests, allowing the actual humans working to spend their time doing other things.
Forget the robot butler, though. How about a robot that records your sleep? It’s not as creepy as it sounds; there is no actual robot in the room with you. For their Sleep Art campaign, a few Ibis hotels filled select beds with sensors that send signals as you sleep to a robot that turns those signals into art. It actually sounds pretty amazing, albeit extreme and a little uncomfortable.
Dog sled to Aurora Borealis! (Photo: Courtesy of Kirkenes/Facebook)
The world’s first dogsled taxi service was introduced in Kirkenes, Norway, this past February. The Snowhotel’s husky-driven service takes guests from the airport to the hotel. Well … you know what they say! When in Norway, do as the Norwegians do—except we don’t know any Norwegians who actually travel by sled.
Unless Avicii himself comes with every room, we don’t think it is worth it. (Photo: Iyad Tibi/Flcikr)
3. Reinvention! The SLS South Beach changed its name to the moniker of celebrity DJ Avicii. During Miami Music Week 2014, SLS South Beach partnered with Avicii to create the Avicii Hotel. Pictures of Avicii were plastered all over the hotel, rooms came with Avicii-themed swag, and of course his music was played everywhere — all the time.
A fancy Christmas tree in the desert? (Photo: Courtesy of Emirates Palace)
4. The most expensive Christmas tree in the world! If your neighbor can attract holiday season attention with an overdose of Christmas lights, won’t the same work for hotels? We imagine that is what the Emirates Palace hotel was thinking when it erected an $11 million Christmas tree. Vying for the title of most expensive Christmas tree, it carried 181 pieces of diamond, pearl, and emerald necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and watches as well as an abundance of very expensive ornaments. The luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi apologized for the gaudy display a few weeks later.
Fifty Shades Of Grey by EL James replaces the bible at this hotel. (Photo: Courtesy of Vintage Publishing)
5. Sacrilege! In 2012, the Damson Dene Hotel replaced the Bible in its hotel rooms with the popular novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” attracting lots of housewives — and husbands — who were too embarrassed to buy the book themselves, we imagine.
Related: The Best Hotels in the World
Sing your heart out until you get a room upgrade. (Photo: Thinkstock)
6. Karaoke! A few years ago, some Joie de Vivre hotels in California implemented a singing contest. The prize was a room upgrade and a chance to win a two-night stay at one of their hotels. We can’t decide if this is easier or more difficult than what it usually takes to get a room upgrade. It probably depends on whether you can hit the high notes in “Don’t Stop Believin.’”
Maggie Parker is a New York–based writer specializing in travel and entertainment.