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Glowing Pillowcases, Bacteria-Repelling Floors: A Glance at the Hotel Rooms of the Future

Industry trendsetters like Starbucks, Starwood Hotels and Whirlpool had brainstorming sessions titled the Hotel of Tomorrow, geared toward planning the high-tech hotels of the future.

AEROSCRAFT hotel of the future

The AEROSCRAFT, expected to be completed by 2010, is a flying hotel that will ferry passengers from one end of the United States to the other in about 18 hours.

Within the next two decades, the Hotel of Tomorrow project expects intelligent robots that will clean rooms, change beds and act as personal valets. Also slated for the near future are downloadable amenities, such as a bathtub that could conform to your body shape and rooms with personalized sounds, aromas and colors.

But that is just the beginning. Ideas from some of the leading hotel innovators are coming in, and, by 2025, staying in a hotel may be an entirely different experience than what we know today.

Bacteria-Bombs and Living Walls

A key theme among the hotel of tomorrow is a departure from the cookie-cutter approach we see today into a more personal approach. The room should be "personalized to the experience that you want to have," says Kemper Hyers, senior director of design for Sheraton.

In the future, guests will control a room's furniture, configuration and décor. Take a hotel room's carpeting, for instance. "Could you push a button and change the texture?" Hyers asks.

The Hotel of Tomorrow may very well have rooms with screen-like walls that could simulate a night sky, an undersea setting and more. There is also talk of a "living wall," which would be made of a grass-like plant, complete with a built-in watering and lighting system, and would also help to filter the air.

Other futuristic ideas slated to personalize the hotel experience to a new level include:

  • Bacteria bombs that a guest could use to make sure the room is really clean.

  • A bathroom that's more like a spa, with a shower/soaking tub/steam room, electronic walls that could depict clouds, outer space, or sea scenes, and an automatic air-drying system to cut back on the use of towels.

  • Pillows that glow when you want them to, for nighttime reading

  • High-tech wake-up calls that would turn on music, open the curtains and start the coffeemaker.

  • "Google rooms" with an electronic center that links your laptop and personal digital assistant to plan entertainment, wake-up calls and more.

Hotel Rooms as "Retail Showrooms"

Hotel rooms are also slated to become key advertising centers of the future.

"Consumers will see a hotel bathroom and say, 'I want that in my house.' Hotels will ship everything from tub to tiles to towels," says Michelle Finn, vice president of the HD Group, which publishes Hospitality Design.

Meanwhile, guests may have an option of allowing marketers to advertise directly to them, via hotel room, changing the way room rates are traditionally set.

hotel of the future

A conceptual plan for an undersea hotel by international design firm Wimberly, Allison, Tong & Goo (WATG).

"What if it was more like magazine subscriptions, where some of the cost was covered by advertisers?" says Ron Swidler, chief planning strategist for Gettys International, a hotel and resort design firm. "So the room rate might be $500, but if you let them broadcast some (in-room) ads, your rate would be $400."

Hotels as "Foldable Pods on Stilts"

Delving even deeper into the future is an idea that predicts the hotel of tomorrow will actually be a "foldable pod on stilts." The self-sustainable pods will be set up in remote locations like jungles and even oceans, then folded up and moved out when the destination falls out of favor.

"The idea behind it is that the pods will have a minimal impact on the environment," says Rachel O'Reilly of Thomson Holidays, a UK tour operator. "They don't require infrastructure like roads to get there, as guests can helicopter in."

Though the pods have yet to be built, the designers, London-based m3 Architects, say the technology is there. All they need now is someone to fund the project (at an estimated cost of $72 million to $104 million per pod).

Space Resorts, Airships and Undersea Hotels

Pushing the limits even further is international design firm Wimberly, Allison, Tong & Goo (WATG). They have conceptual plans for a space resort, an undersea hotel and the America World City Ship, the world's biggest cruise ship.

Already in the works is the AEROSCRAFT, an airship propelled with 14 million cubic feet of helium and jet engines. The AEROSCRAFT will have a top speed of 174 mph, and will be able to travel the length of the continental United States in about 18 hours.

Somewhat like a cruise ship in the air, travelers could take in the view (it flys at about 8,000 feet), relax in a luxury stateroom, dine in a restaurant and even try their luck in a casino.

How soon can some of these innovations be expected? The AEROSCRAFT is slated for completion by 2010, and many of the high-tech hotel amenities mentioned above are set to debut by 2025. However, space and undersea travel remains an idea of the future, with plans still in the beginning stages.

Recommended Reading

How to Travel Abroad Safely: Six Important Tips You Need to Know in an Emergency

The Tunnels of Cu Chi in Vietnam: Unusual & Interesting Tourist Destinations


USA Today: Companies Envision Hotels of the Future

USA Today: Check Into the 'Hotel of Tomorrow' The Flying Luxury Hotel of Tomorrow Hotels of the Future

WATG: Hotel of Tomorrow

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