Five Best: Hi-tech hotels
Saturday 05 November 2005
This 38-room urban bolthole in Nice, created by French designer Matali Crasset from the skeleton of a 1930s building, is an "active hotel where everything is modulable". This translates into sofas that serve as loudspeakers and "digital" guestrooms where the furniture is formed from computer screens and all the facilities are operated via remote control. It sounds scary, but is really quite groovy.
Hi Hotel, 3 Avenue des Fleurs, Nice, France (00 33 49 707 2626; www.hi-hotel. net). Doubles start at €185 (£126), including organic breakfast.
Cotswold House, England
This is the ultimate weekend retreat for those who think the accessory for head-to-toe tweed is an iPod. Rooms feature complimentary broadband access, the chance to experiment with a bit of mood lighting in the bathroom and a Loewe entertainment system that not only plays music but lets you download digital photos. But the USP must be one of the recently launched Montrose rooms, which offers guests the chance to snooze on a special £14,000 bed. There's no comfy mattress, though - it's made from 10,000 capsules that contour to the shape of your body.
The Cotswold House Hotel, The Square, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire (01386 840330; www.cotswoldhouse.com). Double rooms start at £130, including breakfast.
Le Meridien Cyberport, Hong Kong
The five-star Le Meridien is part of Hong Kong's futuristic £1.15 billion Cyberport project at Telegraph Bay in the south of Hong Kong island. The hotel sits alongside equally hi-tech office buildings, a shopping and entertainment centre and a deluxe residential development. The aim is to create an interactive environment purpose-designed for local and visiting IT professionals. Unsurprisingly, the hotel features pretty much everything the geek-about-town requires. As well as the usual plasma-screen TVs and Wi-Fi, guests are provided with cordless phones that can be used throughout the complex - from the swimming pool to the jogging track.
Le Meridien Cyberport, 100 Cyberport Road, Hong Kong (00 852 2980 7788; www.hongkong.lemeridien.com). Doubles start at HK$1,243 (£90), room only.
Nine Zero Hotel, Boston, US
Even J Lo will have to ditch her shades if she wants to check into this swanky boutique hotel. As well as dual-line cordless speaker phones, free hi-speed internet access and top-of-the-range sound systems and TVs, guests who book in to the Cloud 9 penthouse get to use iris identification security. A photograph of guests' eyes is taken on arrival, encrypted into a code and, within a blink, they only have to gaze in the direction of the door to gain access to their suite. Standard rooms and suites don't have biometric ID security yet, but guests can still make the most of the other in-room gizmos, as well as several specially-designed pieces of furniture that are also available to buy.
Nine Zero Hotel, 90 Tremont Street, Boston, US (00 1 617 772 5800; www.ninezero.com). Doubles start at $258 (£143), room only.
Semiramis Hotel Athens, Greece
The designer Karim Rashid's funky, candy-coloured Semiramis feels like one big techno-toy. A member of the Design Hotel group, its very playful rooms feature artwork that doubles as bedside lighting, plasma screen TVs, remote-control utilities, Alessi telephones, wireless internet access and scrolling LED message signs sunk into the floor outside each door. Word is that voice-activated gadgets and wands for accessing rooms, operating lifts and paying for drinks by the pool are also in the pipeline.
Semiramis Hotel, 48 Charilaou Trikoupi Street, Kifissia, Athens, Greece (00 30 210 628 4400; www.semiramisathens.com). Doubles start at €180 (£122), including breakfast.
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