By Michael Adams
For the past two years Hospitality Design magazine has co-sponsored (with Gettys, a Chicago-based design firm) a Hotel of Tomorrow project (aka H.O.T.) that allows industry folk to prognosticate on just what the guest room of the future might look like in 20, 30, 50 years. Naturally, a lot of the ideas that have come from these sessions are pure Samantha Stephens: (“You walk into your room and think of a location—like a Polynesian resort—and suddenly coconut trees and a sandy beach appear before your eyes!”)
But after wild speculation and a day of ideation, participants (many of them product manufacturers) repair to their labs for a few months and emerge with ideas that seem well within the realm of possibility. Among them:
• High-quality room service food via a delivery system in 30 seconds or less.
• Bed fabrics that can’t stain, are microbial, renewable, and automatically adjust to body temperature, allowing them to heat or cool. (and they promise they can make the fabrics vibrate, too!)
• Bathrooms will be totally experiential, with sheets of water delivering vitamin/mineral supplements and walls and floors broadcasting images of alternative locations.
• Carpets with fiber optic technology that, when stepped upon in a darkened room will guide a guest to bathroom, closet, or window.
• A living wall, covered in any ivy-like plant nourished by integral grow lights and a concealed watering system. The wall provides oxygen-rich air, sound insulation—and periodic blooms!
• A bed environment that will automatically cancel out noise and light, make automatic comfort adjustments, and assist with jet lag.
• A lamp that will turn during the day (as flowers do) to seek out sunlight that allows it to power itself at night. Electricity is replaced by “flower power.”
You’ll be happy to know that meetings appurtenances were not neglected. At the last H.O.T. session, one team devised a conference chair that made automatic ergonomic adjustments, had a built-in microphone, massage capability, and performed simultaneous translation in several languages.
Don’t look for these advances this year. But it’s comforting to know that our personal well-being—and the environment—are front and center in so many of these ideas.