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CES 2021: Best hotel design tech trends

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CES 2021: Best hotel design tech trends

Technology’s role in hotel design has arguably never been so relied upon. If you happened to miss CES 2021, fear not as editor Hamish Kilburn and wellbeing expert Ari Peralta – together, an editorial dream team – are here to share the best hotel design tech trends that emerged from the show…

Each year, Las Vegas becomes the centre of the tech universe as CES opens its doors to the latest breakthrough technology products that are taking over and in the process changing modern consumer behaviour. From flying ubers to rollable smartphones, wearable screens to a wearable phone mask – to say that these inventions are far-fetched is an understatement. But if you cut through the noise, you will also discover high-tech solutions for tomorrow’s hospitality landscape.

As millions of people around the world spend more time at home, they yearn for balance and seek an escape from the stresses and anxieties of everyday life. The potential for technology to create more moments of wellbeing, and making it easier to unwind, destress, and find peace, is the driving force behind our article. This year’s event, which took place virtually due to the Covid-19 outbreak, unsurprisingly had a big focus on touchless and clean technologies. To make sense of the best hotel design tech that emerged throughout the show, here are our top five editorial picks.

Pandemic-inspired “CleanTech” is everywhere

A clean, comfortable lifestyle is vital today as consumers navigate the New Normal Way of Life resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic. Straight in to address the elephant in the room, the show made a nod to the seismic shift in attitudes towards hygiene, especially in public spaces, by presenting some interesting solutions for the hospitality industry. Many brands showcased new hygiene products using UV lighting – an area that we explored recently in a roundtable – while there was also an emphasis on personal air filtration spaces.

So far we’ve seen dozens of cleaning gadgets, from antimicrobial backpacks to truly insane UV-light-spewing, air-purifying robots. There are portable UV light cleaners for your car, for your glasses, or for anything else. Components designed to zap germs have been folded into a slew of air purifiers, wireless chargers, and refrigerators, launching a new breed of multi-use Swiss Army gadgets.

Image caption: Air-purifying robots by Samsung

Image caption: Air-purifying robots by Samsung

Even the gadgets that don’t directly do any cleaning are being designed to be cleaned more quickly. Phone cases, screen protectors, laptops, and touchscreens made from antimicrobial material that encourages swift and thorough sanitising. “Antimicrobial,” “antibacterial,” and “antiviral” are all vying to become the “gluten-free” of consumer gadgets.With the need for cleanliness and hygienic surfaces at the forefront of consumers’ minds, TOTO NEOREST and WASHLET+ showcased cleaning technologies that work synergistically and are especially important in this new normal way of life that consumers are experiencing.

Image caption: The TOTO NEOREST features state-of-the-art hygiene technology

Image caption: The TOTO NEOREST features state-of-the-art hygiene technology

Another technology being heavily used is eWater or electrolysed water. eWater is a well-known cleaning agent, which reduces the need for harsh cleaning chemicals. Electrolysed water is produced by electrolysis of the chloride ions in ordinary tap water. It is completely free of added chemicals and harsh cleaning agents. 

Touchless products are here to stay

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we should probably be touching things less often, at least until everyone has been vaccinated. Today, consumers are intensely concerned about infectious disease transmission when they visit hotels, airports, shopping centres, schools, offices, and other facilities. Guests want the security of knowing they can safely use products without the worry of coming into contact with Covid-19.

At this year’s CES, we saw a number of products, from toilets to video doorbells, that no longer require you to touch them in order to use them. While touchless products aren’t new, the pandemic certainly has accelerated its development over the past year. LG’s Instaview refrigerator — the one with a large door you can knock on to see inside — now has a window that’s 23 per cent larger, allowing you to see more of what’s inside. Kohler introduced the Sensate touchless kitchen faucet two years ago, but now the company is bringing the same technology to the bathroom. Arlo’s newest doorbell is touchless, and when it detects a visitor, it will emit a noise and turn on a light to let the person know that they don’t have to press the button on the doorbell itself. 

Advanced image processing – going from 4K to Beyond 8K and new transparent TVs

Each year, TVs become narrower and more defined, but in 2021 the demand for a tech-flooded TV system has gone one step further with a concept for Samsung for a transparent TV. For us, we believe this is just the start as we predict – just like Jason Bradbury did when he checked in to a hotel 30 years into the future – that surfaces will soon become personalised for the user.

CES 2021 saw Samsung present its new transparent TVs

Image caption: Samsung presented its new transparent TVs

There are so many use cases for this ‘transparent’ TV technology in hospitality, retail and other environments where business owners are looking to create a truly one-of-a-kind experience. This new wave TV technology combines the uniqueness of a see-through display with the unrivalled form factor and picture quality of micro LED technology. Micro LED technology uses self-lighting pixels that can be turned on and off individually for exact control of image brightness and quality, delivering infinite contrast ratios optimised for high-dynamic-range content.

 AI-powered health and wellness

If you were not checked in on your wellness and wellbeing before 2020, chances are you will be now. The latest tech trends suggest more and more products will start to emerge that will enhance sleep, exercise and healthy lifestyles in general as demand for these solutions grows.

This year’s show saw everything from rechargeable smart bottles to ‘stress cancellers’ as well as new sophisticated sleep performance devices. A few years ago we spoke about the Internet of Things (IoT), the interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. Well, it’s happening now. The IoT is not simply about devices being connected, but it is about the benefits it delivers to end-users, be it consumer or enterprise.

The BioButton from BioIntelliSense is a small piece of technology that works like a sticker to track things like body temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate – some of the key indicators that can show the early signs of Covid-19. 

The Moflin AI pet robot uses sophisticated artificial intelligence to learn motions and make cute sounds. It’s really aimed at kids and adults as a companion robot, which may sound a bit weird until you think about the pandemic and how many people are facing isolation in this day and age.

Another featured product that uses AI is the Timekettle . What’s special about them is that they are capable of translating more than 93 foreign languages. So someone with an earbud in their ear could listen to another person speaking in a foreign language and get an instantaneous translation.

Biometric and multi-sensory bathrooms

Last year, we caught wind of the Alexa-activated shower from Kohler. In 2021, the bathroom brand returned with a shower of the future. Within this, the Stillness Bath was introduced – a square tub  that combines light, fog and aromatherapy to create a spa-like experience. In addition, and circling back to ‘clean design’, there was a flurry of touchless products, including shower toilets and faucets. 

Image caption: Bathroom brand Kohler impressed the audience with its tech-forward Stillness Bath

Image caption: Bathroom brand Kohler impressed the audience with its tech-forward Stillness Bath

Themis is the new CareOS small, connected mirror that acts as a personal wellness assistant. It offers patented, playful touchless user interaction combines with a unique connected mirror that addresses personal care, beauty, practical life, and the whole spectrum of wellness including ‘mindwellness’, hygiene and preventive healthcare. You can even monitor your biometrics anywhere on your smartphone with the companion application.

TOTO’s Flow Sky toilet can measure excrement. Their new biometric toilet scans your body and key outputs, providing wellness recommendations as a result of the simple routine act of sitting down on the toilet.

Right, that’s enough toilet talk for one article…

Since you’re here…

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Main image credit: Samsung/TOTO/Kholer/Care OS

Tomorrow’s hotel technology unveiled at CES 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Tomorrow’s hotel technology unveiled at CES 2020

With CES 2020 currently taking place in Las Vegas, Hotel Designs launches technology as its January Spotlight On by futuregazing at tomorrow’s products that are expected to further evolve the international hospitality scene (edited by Hamish Kilburn)…

Question: how far are you willing to stretch your imagination in search of finding the latest technology that will go on to further evolve – possibly even lead – the inner workings of the global hospitality industry?

Although great attempts have been made by hotel giants such as Hilton and tech experts such as Jason Bradbury to identify emerging technology trends, the reality is that predicting the hotel room of the future is like asking a toddler to complete a 1,000-piece puzzle, while blindfolded.

The industry, as a whole, has largely learned its lessons from the mistakes it made at the beginning of last decade, when too many hotels fell into the trap door (probably operated by a tablet) of adopting the smart home into the hotel market. Using ‘tech for the sake of tech’ to create gimmicky spaces proved to be a meaningless method to attract modern travellers. Thankfully, in 2020, we are operating in an era where less is certainly more when it comes to integrating technology into the hotel experience.

Tech genius’, forecasters and consumers are currently in Las Vegas to attend the annual CES 2020, which is regarded as the global stage for tech launches in all industries; it is where tomorrow’s products are being unveiled for the very first time. Inside the venues that are scattered all over the city are all the various pieces of the industry’s most complex jigsaw, which, when put together, will form the high-definition image – or at least a strong rendered representation – of what the future hotel will look like.

In order to make sense of the chaos from the show’s many previews and launches, here are Hotel Designs’ edited top five finds…

Alexa in the shower 

Render of grey shower with speaker on it

Image credit: Kohler

Claiming to be the latest in digital shower design, Kohler has launched a render of a showerhead that, if launched commercially, could mean the end of showering alone forever. Kohler Moxie showerhead pairs cleanliness with voice activation, with a removable smart speaker that clips into place.

Plants with personality

Image of yellow plant pot with a happy face and plant inside

Image credit: Lua

With awareness rising day-by-day around sustainability, the wonderful idea that a fully sustainable design-led guestroom is no longer an alien concept that won’t make it past the drawing board. Bringing the outdoors inside was a dominant interior design trend last year than, which is expected to progress in creative ways. One company making its mark is Lua, which wants to turn plants into pets. The product is a sensor-packed pot that shows animated faces to let consumers know when the foliage is thirsty, or in need of sunlight.

Robotic toilet assistants

pink background, robot carrying toilet roll

Image credit: Charmin

I know what you’re thinking. And yes, we have trialled hotel robots in the past and, currently, robots cannot replace human beings when it comes to meeting and greeting guests. However, considering the average person is expected to spend a year and half on the toilet, a question has been raised as to whether artificial intelligence could benefit us in the bathroom. Consumer goods specialist Procter & Gamble aims to modernise our bathroom behaviour with the company’s toilet paper brand, Charmin. Rollbot is a a self-balancing robot that connects to your phone and will deliver a fresh toilet roll directly to the user if they happen to find themselves in need at a crucial moment.

Boundless possibilities for TVs

Render of flat tv

Image credit: Samsung

Considering the year-on-year evolution in the technology – not to mention the demand among consumers – it is no surprise that TVs continue to be one of the most common talking points during CES 2020. This year’s show directed the spotlight on Samsung’s no-bezel edge-to-edge screen as well as LG’s product that rolls down from the ceiling after unveiling the world’s first rollable OLED TV last year in Milan.

Questionable fitness software

Image credit: EnvisonBody

Controversial for many, but interesting nonetheless as the demand for wellness travel continues to rise, EnvisionBody has launched a concept that will allow the consumer or guest to see what they would look like if they added more exercise into their lifestyle. The technology plans to work with gym equipment-makers to show idealised versions of users’ physiques as they work out.

Back on UK soil, Forum Events, the parent company of Hotel Designs, is beginning the new year with the opportunity to start conversations like no other by hosting the Hospitality Tech & Innovation Forum. If you are a supplier and would like to attend, please email Lisa Rose or call 07930 402303. If you are a delegate and would like to attend the event, please email either Emily Gallagher or Lucia Guilisano or call 01992 37485/94.

Alternatively, if you have a technology product that you would like to put on the editorial team’s radar, please email h.kilburn@forumevents.co.uk with images. 

Main image credit: Pixabay

Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas Hotel & Residences opens on iconic Las Vegas Strip

917 552 Hamish Kilburn

The Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas Hotel & Residences re-brands ahead of an extensive redesign slated to take place in 2019…

Following its debut in South East Asia, Waldorf Astoria has opened a 389-guestroom hotel in Las Vegas. Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas Hotel & Residences brings a new spirit to The Strip, where graceful service meets modern luxury. Formerly Mandarin Oriental, the hotel is now operated by Hilton Management Services and in 2019 it will be redesigned with newly-styled rooms and public spaces.

“Las Vegas continues to be one of the most celebrated and exciting cities in the world, and a destination where visitors seek both extraordinary and remarkable moments,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton. “The Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas – delivering on an unrelenting commitment to True Waldorf Service – will be the perfect environment for guests visiting Las Vegas who want to Live Unforgettable and create ever-lasting memories that will extend beyond their stay at the hotel.”

Located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas is steps from world-class shopping and entertainment and neighbours the 20,000 seat T-Mobile Arena.

“Two remarkable personalities are being united as Waldorf Astoria arrives in the legendary city of Las Vegas,” says Donald Bowman, General Manager.


Boasting 389 guestrooms and 225 residences, including 55 suites and three expansive Presidential Suites, Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas is set in a luxurious, non-gaming, non-smoking environment. As new design plans and vision emerge, the hotel has embarked on an 18-month journey to reimagine the property’s guestrooms. The current accommodations boast a sleek, contemporary design with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame spectacular views of The Strip and the surrounding desert landscape. Surprise and delight design features include a discreet valet closet, allowing for deliveries without disruption.


With exhilarating views, inspired dishes and mesmerizing suspended wine loft, Chef Gagnaire’s award-winning restaurant, Twist, is the first-ever U.S. eatery to serve his legendary interpretation of classic French cuisine. The SkyBar on the 23rd floor brings a distinctive mix of treasured décor and sophisticated ambiance, the perfect accompaniments to the spirited cocktail collection handcrafted by master mixologists. The highly-coveted Tea Lounge offers three afternoon tea times serving the finest blends with sweet accompaniments and paired with unrivalled views overlooking The Strip.


Complementing its signature hospitality, the hotel features various spaces for guests looking to escape to a personal sanctuary. The 27,000-square-foot spa spans two entire guest floors, offering a deeply serene environment to pamper the body and re-engage the senses. At the Waldorf Astoria Spa, a new suite of services features a completely customised experience tailored to personal skin qualities, aesthetic expectations and a holistic analysis.

The 8th floor pool deck, a desert retreat tucked away from high-rise towers, offers a chic respite with stunning views, two exquisite pools, two whirlpools and a plunge pool. Redefining relaxation with unobtrusive service, guests can enjoy serenity in poolside cabanas.

Meetings and Events

The property offers 12,000-square feet of stylish, distraction-free function space, delivering perfection on a grand scale and features natural lighting within each meeting room. The glamorous Waldorf Ballroom, for instance, is situated three floors above Las Vegas Blvd and features a unique walk-out balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows featuring views of the Strip.

The opening of the hotel

Main image credit: Waldorf Astoria


Homewood Suites Las Vegas City Center now open

Homewood Suites Las Vegas City Center now open

505 305 Daniel Fountain

Homewood Suites by Hilton has annoubnced its newest property, Homewood Suites by Hilton Las Vegas City Center.

Designed for guests who want to travel on their own terms, Homewood Suites by Hilton Las Vegas City Center offers guests all the comforts of home, whether they are travelling for work or enjoying a well-earned getaway. With 158 new suites, the hotel will cater to the estimated 43 million people visiting Las Vegas annually.

Developed and owned by Heritage Inn and Suites of Las Vegas and managed by Tharaldson Hospitality Management Company, Homewood Suites by Hilton Las Vegas City Center offers a combination of studio, one and two-bedroom accommodations, featuring fully equipped kitchens and separate living and sleeping areas.

Homewood Suites Las Vegas City Center now openGuests are provided all the essentials needed for a smart, reliable and convenient stay including complimentary daily full-hot breakfast, evening social Monday-Thursday, Wi-Fi, covered control access parking garage and a grocery shopping service.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Las Vegas City Center makes it easy for travelers to unwind with a fitness centre and outdoor pool with waterfall feature and whirlpool tub. The property also offers 660 square feet of flexible space that is ideal for meetings and social events.


Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas unveils guestroom remodel

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The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has unveiled a refresh to its guest rooms across both the Boulevard and The Chelsea Towers.

The project, which kicks off this summer, will be fully complete in 2018 with 2,895 of the resort’s 3,027 rooms remodeled with influence from innovative and inspired designers, including New York-based Virserius Studio.

The newly designed rooms emphasise modern design and luxurious comfort and come as the result of a meticulous selection process that lasted over 18 months.

An initial list of 20 designers was engaged to bid on the project, from which eight were selected to present in Las Vegas. From there, four design firms, in addition to The Cosmopolitan”s internal design team, were chosen to construct model rooms on property.

The Cosmopolitan solicited feedback from more than 400 employees who toured the accommodations as well as frequent-staying guests, ranging from business to leisure travelers. The collected response played an integral role in determining which designs were selected, leading to interiors inspired by both The Cosmopolitan’s in-house design team alongside Virserius Studios.


Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton to open hotels in Dubai, New York and Las Vegas

852 716 Daniel Fountain

Paris Hilton, the heiress and reality TV star, plans to launch her own brand of luxury hotels, opening properties in Dubai, New York and Las Vegas, according to Forbes.

Hilton is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. The new brand is expected to be eponymous.

Speaking to the LA Times, Hilton said: “I’m getting into real estate, following [in] my family’s footsteps, but my own thing, without the Hilton name.”

The properties are not her first hospitality project. The celebrity heiress has already collaborated with Century Properties in the Philippines on the launch of the Paris Beach Club at Azure Urban Resort Residence. The second Paris Beach Club is currently under construction in Parañaque, north of Manila.

Mandalay Bay Resort remodelling of guest rooms and suites

Mandalay Bay Resort completes guest room, suite remodelling

1000 686 Daniel Fountain

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino has completed the final phase of its resort-wide remodel of more than 3,000 guest rooms and suites.

Created by the MGM Resorts International Design Group, the redesigned rooms and suites feature refreshing colour palettes and modern designs in three distinct collections. The Resort Collection welcomes guests with three colour combinations.

Mandalay Bay Resort remodelling of guest rooms and suites
The Resort King features a cobalt and white colour scheme, while the Resort Queen offers a ruby and latte room or rich lavender and mocha. Bold furnishings throughout the collection include a mural onyx-inspired wall that surrounds the bed in each room. Other details include a spacious glass desk, modern seating, task lighting and easy bedside and tableside recharging.

The Suite Collection offers one and two-bedroom suites accented by rich jewel tone fabrics, natural wood and stone. Featuring multiple seating and dining areas, as well as a large table in the media and living area, these suites are ideal spaces whether hosting for business or pleasure.

Mandalay Bay Resort remodelling of guest rooms and suites
For guests seeking an elevated experience, the Luxury Collection offers spectacular one- to four- bedroom suites. New, vibrant décor accompanies floor-to-ceiling windows and elegant dining and bar areas to provide the ultimate accommodations.

This marks the conclusion of a near $100 million remodel that began in 2015.

Wynn Resorts Las Vegas expansion

Wynn Resorts announces plans for Las Vegas expansion

1000 571 Daniel Fountain

Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts have discussed plans at a recent investor conference for a new entertainment destination built around a first-ever recreational lake concept. The development is subject to approval by the company’s Board of Directors and will include a 38 acre lagoon, surrounded by a meetings and convention space, a 1,000-room hotel tower, a small casino and extensive dining and nightlife. The elaborate water attraction will include both daytime and night-time entertainment elements.

Tentatively called Wynn Paradise Park, the expansion will be constructed on approximately 130 acres of real estate which currently houses the Wynn Golf Club. The proposed lagoon will be lined by a pristine white sand beach and boardwalk and feature an array of daytime activities including water skiing, paddle boarding and parasailing. At night, the space will transform with an elaborate fireworks display that is launched from the 120-ft centre island and surrounding areas.

“We have a chance to reinvent Las Vegas and make the whole venue an entertainment attraction…an idyllic beach paradise surrounded by white sand beaches,” said Steve Wynn chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts. “People come to Las Vegas from all over the world to live large and have a good time and we can dish up an irresistible entertainment attraction.”

Wynn Paradise Park will add 260,000 square feet of premium meetings space with unobstructed views of the waterfront, spacious guest rooms with a separate bedroom, living room and balcony, and a variety of restaurants, including an expansion of the current Country Club restaurant.

Caesars Palace

Caesars plans thousands of room enhancements in Vegas, regional locations

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Caesars Entertainment Corporation has announced plans to upgrade more than 4,800 of its hotel rooms this year at four of its Las Vegas resorts, and more than 900 rooms at three regional casinos – at Atlantic City, Biloxi and Tunica – totalling more than 5,700 owned or managed rooms across the enterprise.

This renovation effort represents approximately 20% of rooms in Las Vegas and 15% of total rooms throughout the company. At the end of 2016, following the completion of this series of room renovations, Caesars Entertainment will have updated more than 10,000 hotel rooms in the last three years.

These resort upgrades include the transformation of the original tower at Caesars Palace to create the 586-room Julius Tower as well as the refurbishment of the resort’s 948-room Augustus Tower. Additional room upgrades will include Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Paris Las Vegas and Harrah’s Las Vegas. In the regional markets Harrah’s Gulf Coast, Caesars Atlantic City and Horseshoe Tunica will complete room upgrades.

Caesars Palace
This year of room renovations and upgrades began with the already underway transformation of the roughly 586-room original tower at Caesars Palace, newly branded as the Julius Tower, and the planned full refresh of the approximately 948-room Augustus Tower. Planet Hollywood will reimagine more than 1,294 rooms and suites; Harrah’s Las Vegas plans to overhaul approximately 672 rooms of the hotel’s south tower and Paris Las Vegas plans to transform approximately 1,320 rooms and suites. Caesars Atlantic City is expected to renovate nearly 274 rooms; Harrah’s Gulf Coast plans to renovate 499 rooms and Horseshoe Tunica will refresh 193 rooms.

The room and suite upgrades at all four Las Vegas hotels will include modern room designs, enhanced in-room electronics, new furnishings, and soft goods. All rooms will feature large, 50″ TVs or more complete with fully refurbished bathrooms along with elevated in-room amenities and services. For example, the suites at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino will offer a fresh design complete with retro round sleeping beds and hanging daybeds.

At Harrah’s Gulf Coast and Horseshoe Tunica these room renovations will feature a fresh and new room design complete with modern wall coverings, lighting and wood finishes.