Life In The Talty Lane: Guest Rooms Of The Future

Anticipating The Guest Rooms Of The Future: The good news is that we’re in the meetings business and we get to travel. The bad news is that we’re in the meetings business and we have to travel.

Some of us travel a little, some a lot. Regardless, we all end up staying in hotels that were designed when bluetooth was something that sent us to the dentist.

Actually, I love to travel and I travel a lot. When the topic of “new and renovated” comes up, I get excited as the talk shifts to concepts for futuristic guest rooms. Maybe that’s because I’ve been focusing too much on the little things that currently get me riled up in an otherwise very nice guest room. Whatever the reason, there are some exciting changes in the hotel guest room’s future. I can’t wait.

Just last week I was in my hotel room plotting ways to torture the iron. I don’t care how carefully or creatively I try to pack, there is no way to keep a freshly starched dress shirt from looking like I’d just worn it wrestling some guy with a name like Rampage. Ironing for me is a zero sum game. Get one side looking good and the other side has new creases in places that you don’t want creases. Start over. Then the water gushes out. It’s the iron’s fault and it should suffer.

Rule number one: never iron a dress shirt five minutes before a cocktail reception.

Humiliated by the iron (it’s not my ironing!), my mood gets worse. Sitting on the big fat dresser with drawers I never use is my dead cell phone. I’d unplugged the charger to plug in the iron. My other choice is to unplug the lamp but my ironing is bad enough with the lights on. My laptop is connected to the Internet via my Verizon Jetpack. Getting the hotel’s free Wi-f to work is going to require a call to the front desk. No time for such.

The bathroom is small. There’s barely enough room to throw my dirty towel on the floor. The curved shower rod makes a nice attempt to disguise the narrow bathtub/shower combo. I won’t even bring up water pressure. And my ditty bag dangles off the minimal counter space. Lord help me when my wife pulls out her gear bag (she calls it makeup, but to me it’s a female gear bag).

I’m sure you get the picture. It’s not all bad. The bed is heavenly, and I’m not even in a Westin Hotel. But now that occupancy levels and room rates are shooting skyward, the good news is many types of hotels are being designed, under construction or are already coming into the pipeline. And many fine hotels are planning renovations that will position them futuristically for “tomorrow.”

Here are some of the design predictions that I’ve heard which I can’t wait to experience.

The Building: Clean, open, natural, energy efficient, low carbon footprint.

Check-In/Check-Out: No lines, no waiting. Just your smart phone.

Smart Doors: A fingerprint or retina scan will get you entry into your room. Or at least your smart phone will do the deed. No more key cards being destroyed by tricky little cell phone magnets. Heck, even I can’t lose my fingers and eyeballs (I hope).

Spa-like Bathrooms: Comfortable tubs and separate, powerful showers with massaging shower heads. Enclosed toilets. Lots and lots of counter space. Smart mirrors that let you control lighting, room temperature and even play music (via Internet of course). Can they make me look younger or thinner?

Guest Rooms Will Be Bedrooms: Outrageously comfortable beds and bedding will be the focus. And, you won’t have to rearrange the furniture to discover a plug. Three words will define electrical outlets: easy, convenient, plentiful. And your smart phone will control most everything, including the A/C, TV, lighting and even the blinds. Also, give it up for that unused hotel phone and uncomfortable chair. In its place may be your own private piece of exercise equipment. Imagine that! A private elliptical workout to start the day.

Room Service: Can you say farm-to-table? I’m thinking fresh and healthy delivered right to your guest room. And fast… with a local fair and favor. Need some honey? It’s fresh from the rooftop bee farm.

Lobbies to High-Tech Living Rooms: These open, multi-function spaces are where you’ll go to work as well as socialize. Feel the energy? Get out of that lonely guest room, that’s where you sleep! You’ll connect with living things as well as the outdoors in a place formally known as the lobby. Nature, outdoors, sunlight — and all with powerful Internet connectivity. It will be a blend of spaces where you can comfortably sit, work, socialize and even conduct a small group meeting.

This hotel of the future is, after all, where you’ll post pictures and comments on social media about this awesome place to stay. Hoteliers are a pretty smart lot!

Now if they can just do something about that iron…

Until next time, stay pressed my friends.

Opinions, quotes and other pointless commentary from the publisher, Talty O’Connor

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