The Eccleston Square Hotel, London
Billed as Europe's most high-tech hotel, The Eccleston Square is long on amenities and, despite its scenic location in London's leafy Belgravia district, short on nostalgia. The boutique bolt-hole has maintained its spot at the top of wired travelers' destination lists by running miles of wires through its Georgian walls and embracing a modern aesthetic. The hotel's 39 rooms are moody boudoirs with Italian wood finishes and slate-toned fabrics adding a deliberately steely, masculine edge.
"It's a listed building, so we've retained and restored many original features," explains 25-year-old Manager Olivia Byrne, whose age is indicative of the management's attitude twoard old school. "The design was actually influenced from super-yacht cabins. . . . Inspiration came from visiting the likes of the Milan Furniture Fair and the Cannes Boat Show."
As for the tech factor, gadget geeks rule their 007 roost with iPod-style touch sensors operating everything from electronic drapes to each room's mood-setting soundtrack. All the rooms are kitted out with a personal tablet specially programmed to allow guests to order from room service and run up serious bar tabs. While they wait, 46-inch 3-D TVs keep premiership fans entertained.
The hotel's hedonistic hallmark is its Hästens beds, the zenith of Scandinavian furniture design. Each unit (retailing at almost $20,000) is fitted with built-in pulsating sensors to soothe away the ache of jet-lag. Just think of it as massage on demand. Also en suite: white marble bathrooms where a three-shower wet room is kitted with high-powered raindrop, handheld, and massage heads. Heated mirrors conceal a "hidden TV" in the wall made of LCD "smart glass," which frosts from clear to opaque based on the bather's wishes.
After a night's shut-eye in what was certainly the most amazing bed we've ever encountered, a wizard breakfast awaits. The continental variant brings foodie gourmand fare to the table with silverside roast beef, English goat cheese, and gluten-free breads. Looking for something with a bit more punch? Try the wild boar sausages.
And the tech extends beyond the walls of the actual hotel. Eccleston Square Hotel has developed its own app for mobiles that allows guests to book a dinner reservation before they arrive and run an express checkout before they depart. It's just the latest example of this always-iterating hotel's futuristic thoughtfulness.
More information: The Eccleston Square Hotel sits a five-minute stroll from the buzzing transport hub of Victoria Station. Room rates run from $340 a night. Not all rooms feature a work space, however there's a swanky media lounge just downstairs, should a proposal deadline loom.