Staying on the Edge

By Jeanne Cooper

Hotels don’t require space-age decor to be futuristic — 50 years after the moon landing, NASA style can seem retro. Nor do they absolutely need robots (although guests at the Hotel Trio in Healdsburg adore Rosie, the room-service ’bot.) Evolving technology is key, though, whether to increase comfort, decrease costs or save the planet. Among the most forward-looking hotels:

Yotel and YotelPad, U.S., Europe and Asia

The innovative Yotel brand, which debuted at London’s Gatwick airport in 2007, continues to expand its concept of compact comfort and efficiency, including self-check-in kiosks, minimalist “cabins” (rooms) and occasionally robots. Yotel San Francisco, which opened in Mid-Market in February, doesn’t have the latter, but the first to offer Sky Cabins with loftlike beds. YotelPad Mammoth, set to open in the Sierra Nevada in late 2020, will be an “affordable luxury” ski resort with 156 guest rooms and 21 townhomes featuring smart-living technology. Built in modular form off-site, units will also be available for ownership.,

The Link Hotel & Hub, Tel Aviv

The future may blur lines between work and play (and hotel and home) even further, if the year-old Link in Tel Aviv is any indication. Advertising itself as “wireless, cashless and meatless,” it features a 7,000-square-foot co-working space, works by 12 of the city’s top street artists, and an app for everything from checking in to turning on the TV. While most services are do-it-yourself — there’s no reception desk, bell desk or concierge — there are thankfully a few humans on-site. Like the young business travelers they serve, they’re adept at multitasking around the clock.

The View, Lugano, Switzerland

Named for its dramatic vista of Lugano’s eponymous lake and designed like a luxury yacht, the 16-suite View also boasts a spacious fitness room with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment, a serene indoor pool with integrated massage recliners, jet benches and swim current, and a spa with a salt room and chromo-therapy showers, among other amenities. But its most significant use of technology lies outside the hotel: All guests receive free use of electric cars and electric bicycles to explore — and help preserve — their beautiful surroundings in Italian-speaking Switzerland.

The Millennials, Japan

What better name to sign a lease with technology and compressed living quarters than “Millennials”? At the brand’s three hotels — in Kyoto, Tokyo’s Shibuya district and now Fukuoka — 47-inch-wide adjustable beds with Serta mattresses nearly fill the 7½ -foot-high capsule-inspired sleeping pod, which has just enough room for guests to change into the provided jammies. An iPod received at check-in controls lights and other functions. Common facilities are roomier, with gleaming showers and washrooms, an airy working space, kitchen (except in Fukuoka), “play zone,” dining area and bar. Free coffee is available 24/7 while happy hour brings complimentary beer — all the better to take the edge off future shock.

Casa Madrona, Sausalito

Although this elegant 64-unit compound overlooking Richardson Bay originates from a mansion built in 1885, its recent multi-million-dollar renovation took a thoroughly modern approach, especially with the addition of nine wellness-themed rooms with unique technology. Thanks to Eight Sleep smart beds that integrate with Wi-Fi devices, guests receive sleep coaching, biometric tracking and dynamic temperature regulation. Active types can improve their workouts with Vi Sense earphones that use a heart sensor for biometric feed-back and coaching, then return to a state of calm with Muse 2 brain-sensing headbands that monitor brain activity while providing guided meditation.

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