In the future, we'll all stay at Japanese Love Hotels


We've seen the hotel of tomorrow and it looks kind of familiar...

Back in August a bunch of hotel architect types got together with a few design companies and put their own George Jetson spin on the hotel of the future. Forward-thinking it may be in some cases, though we can't help noticing that much of it seems to come straight from a Philip K. Dick story or what's already standard in a Japanese love hotel.

The results were unveiled at the Global Exposition and Conference for Hospitality Design in Miami this past September. There's an article on it, complete with renderings, in the current Business 2.0 print issue, but there's a text story online at Crain's Chicago Business. Here are the buzzwords:

Nanotechnology -- lots of materials that are anti-bacterial and lightweight

Robotics -- a creepy "botler" (robot butler)that never needs a tip, but never leaves either

Recycling -- better use of water and sheets that don't need as much washing (oh great...)

Multi-tasking -- Your bed is also a table. Your armchair gives you the control of Captain Kirk.

We can't help noticing that most of this benefits the hotel companies rather than being something guests are clamoring for. We don't hear many guests complain, "I wish I could have less personal service." But full automation seems to be the holy grail here, which is where it all will seem eerily familiar to the Japanese.

Picking out a room from a screen on the wall and swiping a credit card to get the key, then lights and arrows in the hall leading us along to our room? Not needing to talk to another human during the whole stay? Been there, done that, over a decade ago.

Maybe next year the design heads should cross the Pacific to Tokyo for the conference, then half the work will already be done.

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