The Luxury Travel Bible - LUXURY HOTELS: The iPad2 checks-in

LUXURY HOTELS: The iPad2 checks-in
The Luxury Society recently ran a piece pointing out that a survey by global consulting firm Bain & Company, had found that a staggering fifth of the world's population would use a digital reader or tablet device by 2015.
Apple is expected sell 34 million iPad's worldwide in 2011, up from more than 15 million in 2010. Luxury Daily reports that overall tablet sales are expected to reach an estimated 43.6 million units worldwide this year. No wonder luxury hotels are taking to the iPad in droves.

iPad 2

When the first 'pad came out The Luxury Travel Bible published a Top Ten of iPad early adopters in the hotel scene, a list that was taken up by websites around the world.
The first iPad sold 3 million tablets in the first 80 days. So now that iPad2 has been with us just over a month, what are the luxe hotels doing this time around?
First off we were most amused to see that the day before the iPad2 hit apple stores Hotels Combined uploaded a list of hotels situated near apple stores, so that punters could get up early and beat the rush for version 2.  This included  the luxury Plaza Hotel in New York  around the corner from the giant glass cube that is the Fifth Avenue Apple store; Ascott Raffles City Hotel in Beijing for an early dash to mainland China's first Apple store in the Chaoyang District and the Grace Hotel near the world's largest apple store in Sydney. Love it. Clearly the relationship between hotels and the iPad just keeps getting more involved.
The Berkeley hotel in London  was one of the first to offer an iPad in every room. Then the St. Regis New York (with its E Butler), and the InterContinental group integrated the iPad with concierge services, offering added extras such as city guides. The St Regis even got famous names to give shopping tips.
Next The Plaza New York went iPad crazy and not only put a 'pad in every room but gave guest the chance to control most aspects of their stay from room service to wake up calls and adjusting the room temperature via an iPad.
So what about the iPad 2?
Clearly the relationship between hotels and the iPad just keeps getting more involved.
A number of hotels have already issued the second-generation iPads to their concierges but the biggest coup with the 2 has come from InterContinental Hotels & Resorts which invested heavily in the iPad2 as soon as the device hit the streets. Now guests can connect face-to-face with Concierge teams at ten InterCon properties around the world using the new iPad.
The hotel chain is using the innovative FaceTime feature on the iPad 2 (and indeed on any other Apple products you care to take with you into the hotel whether it is a MacBook, iPhone4, or iPod touch). As a guest you can video chat with InterContinental's concierge teams and get cyber-service instantly. Of course you could also just walk down to the concierge desk but that would be too simple in this tech-crazy age.
To be fair the concierge team will also interface with you before you even leave home.
InterContinental was also the first major hotel brand to offer consumers an app designed specifically for the iPad. It has proved popular and so far InterContinental's free Concierge app, which allows current and future guests to tap into the collective knowledge of Concierge teams  worldwide is available in  nearly 150 destinations and has, say the group ,been downloaded by more than 7,000 guests.
So in a nutshell interCon guests can now FaceTime video chat with Concierge teams at the ten participating  InterContinental hotels; look at destination-specific concierge travel guide videos, packed with useful insider information and recommendations not normally found in travel guide books;  Interactive with Google Maps , tap into recommendations , insider tips and suggested itineraries.
iPad 2
iPad 2 FaceTime

Participating hotels include; InterContinental New York Barclay, InterContinental San Francisco, InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta, InterContinental Houston ,InterContinental London Park Lane, InterContinental Dubai Festival City, InterContinental Shanghai Expo, InterContinental Hong Kong, ANA InterContinental Tokyo  and InterContinental Bali Resort ( The Luxury Travel Bible team have checked that one out personally and can report there is no better way to find the best shopping spots in Seminyak)
Meanwhile the boutique Galleria Park Hotel in San Francisco, a Joie de Vivre  hotel has taken another tack, allowing guests to rent a new iPad2  at a cost of just under $15 a day  ($14.95 to be exact).  Providing one of the six new 'pads the hotel has on offer are available when you check in - don't all rush at once now... The iPads are locked and loaded with a selection of iBooks, and links to local restaurants, attractions and shopping. They also include a Bay Area street map and even cab fare calculations to major attractions (very cool) and a special Chinatown app that lists the top dim sum spots.
Going one better the Hotel Indigo San Diego has three iPad 2s that you can use for free. All up including the second-generation 'pads the hotel has eight iPads in operation.
So what next? Watch this space. We predict the hotel 'pad race can only get more frenzied.
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Luxury Links:,
Connect with InterContinental Concierge teams via FaceTime and download the Concierge iPad app by visiting
Those who have had the chance to use the iPad 2 at InterContinental please tweet us at, using the hashtag #ICiPad2.
Lawrence Todd 16/4/11
Photos: Courtesy of Apple
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