The rate that high-end hotels are digitizing customers’ experiences is exploding. Some properties are loading rooms with iPads that can be used to regulate thermostats and curtains. Other hotels are equipping guests’ smartphones with virtual keys to their suites. We’ve curated five hotel apps worth downloading for the savvy traveler who has to be plugged in to the latest technology — because no one should ever be more than a few phone swipes away from an e-butler.
MO Hotels – Mandarin Oriental
Even when your destination is on the other side of the world, your smartphone can hold every bit of detail you need to book a top-tier stay. Mandarin Oriental’s MO Hotels app gives users access to a wealth of information on the hotel line’s global selection of properties. Fancy a trip to the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental‚ Macau? Simply open the app and tap on the “Our Hotels” tab to navigate your way around a 3D-rendered globe with each Mandarin Oriental hotel pinpointed for ease. From there‚ call‚ book or get details on the dining options (such as Mandarin Oriental, Macau’s Vida Rica Restaurant and Bar), check out photos of the rooms and suites, and more. But the app isn’t just about getting your foot in the door of a Mandarin Oriental. Tap on “Cities By MO” to find a curated selection of area attractions‚ restaurants‚ nightlife and shopping (all with a description and contact information) in each of Mandarin Oriental’s home cities. Also‚ don’t worry about being bumped out of the attractively designed app and into a cramped browser screen—every section of MO Hotels is in-app. iOS; free.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts
Simplicity can often be the most attractive means to convey information, something The Ritz-Carlton’s app seems to truly understand. While you won’t find many flashy graphical elements (outside of a visually appealing rotating header image), the app holds detailed information on the full lineup of The Ritz-Carlton hotels presented in a series of easy-to-navigate icons and lists. Headed to Ohio for a stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland? Just two taps in the app and you’ve got access to a library of photos, contact information, reservation opportunities (complete with current packages available), area activities with the local weather forecast, dining options and even information on meetings and weddings. Another nifty feature is the built-in QR scanner that’s handy for getting tidbits such as wine pairings (at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong) or digital scavenger hunts (like at The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin with the QR codes revealing clues at each stop) from the codes at The Ritz-Carltons. iOS, Android; free.
The St. Regis New York E-Butler
While most hotel apps serve as great prep for an upcoming journey (scouting out activities, brushing up on hotel specifics and more), The St. Regis New York E-Butler app is a standout pick for its much more direct approach. Sent as a link after booking, the app allows guests to chat directly with their butler and the hotel’s concierge staff in real time with just a simple tap, checking on babysitting services and kids activities for the family traveler to ordering gifts such as floral arrangements. The St. Regis has also gathered a star-studded list of renowned personalities, each providing a personal list of favorite spots in the city from chef Alain Ducasse’s favorite park (The Conservatory Garden in Central Park) to one of fashion designer Jason Wu’s chosen restaurants, Momofuku Ssäm Bar. Each entry is accompanied by a description from the star and access to any and all information a prospective visitor might need. E-Butler users can also find a wealth of general New York City tidbits in categories such as fashion, dining, and arts and culture. iOS; free.
Caesars Palace Las Vegas
A visit to Sin City can be hectic enough without having to search high and low for the bits of city and stay information you might need, so it’s relieving that the Caesars Palace app has done the legwork before you even set foot on the Strip. When you check in to your room at Caesars Palace—we suggest Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Laurel Collection by Caesars Palace for an even more luxurious stay—this handy app is your one-stop guide and assistant to both your Caesars and Las Vegas experience. From in-room options such as ordering room service, requesting a repair and even scheduling a wakeup call to browsing and booking a treatment (try the refreshing Morning Dew) at Qua Baths & Spa, the app is a comprehensive tool for your stay. When it’s time to leave the comfort of your room and hit the town, it has you covered as well. Tap through a list of the city’s top restaurants, such as Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Restaurant Guy Savoy, plan your evening by scoping out the best clubs the famed nightlife has to offer, purchase tickets to Vegas shows and more. iOS, Android; free.
InterContinental Kitchen Cookbook
Even when you’re not out traveling the globe, it’s easy to work up an appetite for the type of fine cuisine available on the road. The InterContinental Kitchen Cookbook app for iPad presents a collection of many travels’ worth of recipes from executive chefs in InterContinental hotels around the globe such as Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star InterContinental Hong Kong. Browse through the recipes by name, course or location or, if you’re feeling spontaneous, let the app pull a random recipe for you. You’re then presented with beautiful images of the dishes (hopefully mirroring your final product) and easy-to-follow steps on how to create them. And, if in your rush to chow down you discover you’re lacking all the ingredients for sea scallops with strawberry gazpacho or eastern star garoupa (grouper) with Yunnan ham, create a shopping list or share the recipe over your social networks to see if you can borrow from a helpful neighbor. iOS; free.
Photos Courtesy of InterContinental Hotel Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Caesars License Company LLC