The hospitality industry is the latest to join in on the app party in a bid to extend their virtual presence beyond the usual websites and social networking sites. And with today’s jet setting travellers demanding quick and accurate information on their fingertips an increasing number of luxury hotel groups are launching their own apps. These nifty applications aim at providing not only information but also give their customers a complete virtual experience of their brand. From booking rooms, reading city-specific guidebooks, checking out the spa menu to having a video chat with the concierge—these apps are loaded with features which are fun and functional. Here are Conde Nast Traveller’s top five picks of the world’s best luxury hotel apps:
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
The Four Seasons group was one of the first premium properties to launch their own app back in 2009. The digital gurus over in the Seasons soon realised the importance of virtual presence and their app helps with room bookings besides a viewing a library of pictures and videos featuring their beautiful properties. You can escape virtually and take extensive tours of any of the Four Seasons properties across the globe, just with a tap of your finger. It’s easy to browse through spa menus from various Four Seasons hotels and book appointments merely by clicking the “Call” button.
The app is available on iPhone and iPod Touch (www.appsandwidgets.fourseasons.com)
Starwood Preferred Guest
Starwood Preferred Guest have more than 1,000 hotels and resorts to browse through in their repertoire, from various brands like Westin, W, Le Méridien, etc. Along with their massive stock of hotels to view, they also provide maps to any hotel in their database from your current location, which is a very helpful option in case if you are ever stranded in an unknown city. You can also keep yourself updated on the latest travel trends by browsing through their blogs. The app also allows those with a Starwood Preferred Guest account to login and check the points they have accumulated from their bookings besides view recent activity.
The app is available on BlackBerry, iPhone and iPod Touch (appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/12947, guest.starwoodhotels.com/spg/spgmobile/mobilehelp.html)
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
The app launched by the prestigious Mandarin Oriental chain of hotels is brimming with many useful features. You can browse through this incredible app even when there is no network coverage, thanks to the app caches, which makes their content available offline. Apart from booking rooms, you can view 3D interactive maps of their hotels in across the globe. There are many offers available on the app so that you plan accordingly and make the most out of your trip. The highlight of the app is “Cities by MO”, which is an extensive travel guide. Read up on many areas of interest such as Area Attractions or Restaurants or search by your specific interests. Maps are also available on how to get to any of the locations mentioned in the guide.
The app is available on iPhone and iPod Touch (www.mandarinoriental.com/mobilesite). It can also be accessed like a mobile website by any web-enabled smart phone such as iPhone, Motorola Droid or Blackberry
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts Concierge
The Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts have designed a very unique app for the iPad. Personal recommendations from concierge, video tours of their properties, interactive maps of recommended shops and restaurants, insider tips of specific destinations, access to VIP tickets for events are some of the features available on this handy app. The most interesting aspect of this app (also available on iPad 2) is that you can get in touch with concierge of select InterContinental hotels, face-to-face, vis-à-vis Facetime video chat. We love this personal touch—and frankly, this is exactly what the bespoke hospitality industry is all about.
The app is available on iPad (www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/exclusive-offers/ipad)
Hotels by Hilton
The Hilton app provides the convenient option of e-Check in which is apt for tired and weary travellers who do not want to stand at the reception desk, waiting to complete the formalities. You can book or change reservations with ease or access hotel specials and offers. The app also offers the special “Requests Upon Arrival” option. This feature is available to all making reservations at any of the Hilton hotels. This option allows you to specify your personal choices in order to make your stay more comfortable. You can order extra blankets, or stock the mini-refrigerator with certain treats and beverages of your choice, everything in the room will be personalised to your taste on your arrival.
The app is available for iPhone (www.hilton.com)
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