Novotel & Microsoft reveal funky 'hotel room of the future'

By John Walton, November 22 2011
Novotel & Microsoft reveal funky 'hotel room of the future'

Funky design, fold-away furniture, gesture-recognition technology and plenty of screens. That's how Microsoft and Novotel see the hotel room of the future.

The hotel chain and software giant say they're "reinventing room design" with the Room 3120 concept at the Novotel Vaugirard Montparnasse in Paris, which they're targetting at both business travellers and families.

Here's a look inside Room 3120.

In terms of layout, the room itself is more like a mini-suite.

In the bedroom area, decked out in browns and whites, the bed folds up into the wall.

That's an interesting concept, but we're not sure how it works in real life without stripping the bed first or getting the manchester caught in the mechanism.

In the photo above you can see how one side of the room sports a large flatscreen TV, an Xbox 360 gaming console and -- in case you'd forgotten this room is 'technologically advanced' -- cushions that look like the Shift and Escape keys on a keyboard.

On the far side of the room is another even larger flatscreen video panel (because can never have too many of these in one room) plus a bright green 'gaming nook' with another Xbox 360 and a third screen.

The desk -- something that our readers overwhelmingly reckon is necessary if the room is to meet their needs -- is actually a 30 inch "multimedia table", a hotel spokesperson tells Australian Business Traveller, built around Microsoft's touchscreen Surface technology and responds to users' hand gestures. Apps on the table range from web browsing to interactive city guides.

Another piece of showcase or perhaps show-off tech is the Sensorit interactive mirror. Like the Surface table, this incorporates gesture recognition technology from Xbox Kinect and with the wave of a hand morphs from being a mirror to a high-def video screen capable of showing the latest news, weather or multimedia content. Check out this demonstration video of some of the Sensorit mirror's capabilities (albeit in French).

Much of the Novotel-Microsoft concept involves novel furniture and design choices: the fold-up bed, green gaming nook, big blue beanbags, floor cushions, tatami mats, and so on. We've seen no sign of a sofa, however, and we're not entirely certain that beanbags (even designer fatboy ones) are an adequate replacement.

If you'd like to experience it for yourself, Room 3120 at the Novotel Vaugirard Montparnasse is actually available until February 14, 2012 at  €199 a night – click to to make a booking.

So what do you reckon: would you stay there on business? Or is it all just a bit too gamer-centric for you? And if the games were stripped out, is this sort of design and tech something you'd like to be surrounded by on your next business trip?

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 670

Are they kidding? Novotel really thinks this is for business travellers? Well okay, maybe hip young twentysomethings but count me out.

24 Nov 2011

Total posts 8

What were they thinking? It's cool to me, because I'm a college student. But for a business traveller? Eh, I don't see it being the same appeal unless you're some hip businessperson in his/her 20s.

But it's seems like way too many screens for one person. 2 Xbox's, 3 TVs, a Surface table, and a Sensorit mirror. How about we make the nook a comfy reading spot, do away with the smaller flatscreen that isn't from bed view, and just leave it to 1 Xbox, 1 TV, a Surface table and a Sensorit mirror?

I'd rather be out and about or do my work stuff somewhere else. I just want my future hotel to comfy, sanitary, strong WiFi, a flatscreen TV with voice recognition for certain room controls and to avoid the nasty remote, along with DLNA support, and maybe that Sensorit mirror and Surface. Affordability would be great too.

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