Wondering what the next generation of hoteliers has in store? Olivia Byrne, the 26-year-old owner and operator of techy-luxe boutique property the Eccleston Square Hotel, is all about the futuristic touches. Here’s her take on techy travel trends.
What is the most important feature of the hotel?
Olivia Byrne: In terms of technology, the most important thing is the beds: we did a lot of research to find the best bed possible, and we came across Hästens, which is the Rolls-Royce of beds. It is made with horse hair, and comes with a built-in vibrating Swedish massage function. It’s also electronically adjustable so you can raise your head or your feet while watching TV.
What are some features that seemed futuristic when you opened in 2011?
OB: We were among the first hotels to introduce an in-room app. Using the complimentary iPads in the rooms, guests can make requests online. Every request goes to the butler’s phone, and then we can monitor how quickly they are responding. That’s great for keeping track and maintaining our standards.
What feature do guests like the most?
OB: There’s also the smart glass wall which fogs up when you touch it so you can have more privacy in the bathroom. It’s really funny—sometimes our clients post videos on YouTube of them interacting with the wall.
How do you come up with new ideas for the rooms?
OB: We go to a lot of technology shows. I also attend panels and brainstorm sessions about what’s on for the future. At the moment, it’s a huge turning point in hospitality. When we opened four years ago, people didn’t really get why we took a tech angle. But now it’s all everyone is talking about.
From $2,981. 37 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1PB, England, (+44) 02-3503-0750, www.ecclestonsquarehotel.com.
Eccleston Square Hotel: This bed is made of dreams.