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Now at Aloft Hotels: Voice-Activated Rooms

SmarterTravel

“Hey Siri, I’m going to bed. Turn up the air conditioning, close the blinds, and turn off the lights.”

That’s the end-of-the-day routine for guests at two Aloft hotels, newly equipped with voice-activated iPads running a custom room-management app. According to the company, “The new Aloft Voice Activated Hotel Rooms are going to change the way that our guests interact, literally, with their room during their stay with us. It’s the latest way Aloft is changing the way we all travel.”

In addition to controlling temperature and lighting, the app features a virtual concierge, for recommendations on local attractions. The app can also link to a personal iTunes account, to play music through the user’s audio player.

Between potential hardware issues with iPads subjected to daily use and abuse, and Siri’s propensity to garble user input, it’s easy to imagine Project: Jetson, as the “top secret” initiative was dubbed, creating plenty of pandemonium. Hopefully there’s a manual override for the app’s functions.

Aloft is Starwood’s hipper, Millennial-focused brand, with over 100 locations in 16 countries.

Reader Reality Check

A problem-prone gimmick, or a welcome value-add to the hotel-stay experience?

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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