The Stress Free Luxuries That Come With Lo-Tech Hotel Rooms
Technology pervades virtually every aspect of our lives. The way that we travel and the hotels we stay in are no exception. Between the travel-centered apps and hotel rooms filled with “smart” features to improve our stay and maximize convenience, it’s almost impossible to escape.
Stress Free Luxuries with Lo-Tech Hotel Rooms
While at home, anything to make life easier is welcome. But along with new experiences, travel brings with it unfamiliarity that makes a technology-filled hotel room more of a challenge rather than a convenience.
Some hotels and travel experiences are leaning toward low-tech features and amenities from physical books to no WI-FI at all, while others take a more subtle approach to tech. Here’s a look at how they approach their choices.
The Tech Conundrum
There is no question that technology’s evolution over the years is helpful too people. Where would we be today without smartphones or even Siri or Alexa? But as technology becomes more prevalent in places like hotels, how much is too much? Hotels in Los Angeles, California are experimenting with this concept right now.
Arrive offers guests the ability to text with hotel staff and to mirror content from an Apple iPhone to an in-room Apple TV. Another hotel called Mama Shelter replaced its in-room TVs with iMacs instead. This allows guests to take fun photos and video clips and the hotel has even considered mirroring the screens of your smartphone allowing you to keep track of things like weather and incoming text messages.
As technology becomes more ubiquitous in hotels, even the type that blends into our every day lives, some hotels are taking a different tactic by making lo-tech just as luxurious.
Experiencing a new place and all of sights and sounds that come with it is an exhilarating part of travel. The last thing anyone wants, however, is to struggle in turning on the shower or closing the curtains at the end of a jam-packed day.
Hence the appeal of a lo-tech hotel room. It’s not full of fancy features or a gorgeous view. A hotel in Shanghai, China is like this. The room size is not as large as some of the fancier competition hotels in the city/ But navigating the room is fairly simple and it has a touch of home because something as the toilet works just like the one in your bathroom.
Having a lo-tech hotel room doesn’t mean foregoing technology completely. The same hotel room is equipped with a smartphone equipped for making long-distance calls and set to navigate around the city is practical and adds a measure of comfort that travel sometimes lacks.
Unplug and Get Healthy
In addition to experiencing new places, it’s sometimes liberating to unplug. While high-speed internet is a common feature in most hotels throughout the world, some hotels attract guests with the opportunity to unplug for awhile. This is a selling feature of Villa Stephanie, a hotel in Baden-Baden Germany, a two-hour train ride from Frankfort.
The hotel has Wi-Fi but guests may opt to block out the outside world by flipping a switch. This activates copper grids built into the walls that block incoming signals. Villa Stephanie also partners with a neighboring spa. Its staff help hotel guests get spa treatments and good exercise.
A retreat in Southern California also specializes in a low-tech, high health approach to travel. The Ranch in Malibu puts guests through a boot camp scenario. Like Villa Stephanie, it offers Wi-Fi and places an emphasis on physical activities like hiking, yoga, and fitness classes along with good healthy foods and naps.
Going on a safari is an experience for anyone who has the opportunity to go on one. Companies that specialize in exactly this are attracting clients with the chance to disconnect from the world while getting to do something incredible.
Jacada Travel’s travel designers purposely lead their travelers to places where cell service is sparse so that they can focus of the beauty of nature rather than their smartphone screen. Some camps have very little power which makes the choice to unplug easier. Those who really want to get away from it all can take a mobile safari which involves following animal herds.
Another trend in low-tech hotel trend is to bring back vintage amenities in hotels. While iPads and Netflix are becoming mainstay fixtures in many hotels, some are looking to appeal to those who still love books, newspapers and other things that have gone digital over time. A hotel called Restoration in Charleston, West Virginia took a cue from the city’s long and rich history to guide its restoration of the hotel. Books and magazines are available for guests to take back to their rooms. For those in search of a good book to read, the concierge also acts as a librarian for just this purpose.
Just outside of New York City, the Boro Hotel in Long Island City hasn’t sacrificed physical periodicals in favor of the digital alternative. The hotel has a host of newspaper and magazines that guests are encouraged to enjoy throughout the hotel.
Bridging the Gap
In recent years, hotels have gotten competition by companies like AirB & B and Home Away giving travelers the chance to feel as at home as possible during their stay in another city or country. ROOST is a hotel that combines the best of a hotel and an AirB & B into one space. The first space of its kind opened in 2016 in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The accommodations are similar to an apartment and features vinyl albums instead of their digital counterparts.
Even large hotel chain Kimpton has gotten on the low-tech bandwagon. One of their properties in Vermont offers adult coloring books for the ultimate way to de-stress after a long day on the road or in the air.
The coloring books are exclusive to the hotel and are the result of a partnership with local organization Southern Vermont Arts Center. The hotel also provides color pencils. This simple gesture is a great way for adults to de-stress, unplug, and spend time with children if traveling as a family.
Marriott also embraces a low-tech hotel experience with its Moxie boutique hotel chain. The hotel has standard amenities like WI-FI and televisions. But it also encourages guests to enjoy time with friends, play games, and listen to vinyl records.
It used to be cities that never slept. Today, a lot of people find themselves constantly checking in due to technology. While many hotels are implementing more technology into their guest experiences, there’s something to be said for the opportunity to unplug and embrace life before technology became a mainstay in daily life. All of these experiences find a way to keep technology in line and allow life to be lived as it should be.