Vicki Arkoff plugs in and turns on to cutting edge technology in a century-old Nob Hill hotel.
Northern California is at the center of the planet’s technology boom, so it’s no shock that San Francisco is at the forefront of American hotel innovations. What is surprising, is that it’s not happening in Silicon Valley, but rather at the top of traditional Nob Hill (AKA Snob Hill), which was established by the Big Four railway barons at the turn of the century, and has more recently been ruled by the city’s wealthiest widows and socialites.
Now shaking things up is the 100-year-oldStanford Courtwhich has reinvented itself to attract a young demographic of business and leisure travelers to The City by the Bay thanks to its contemporary redesign and forward-thinking tech capabilities. The first clue that things are different here? Arriving guests can recharge their Tesla at the plug-in “Juice Bar” in the auto court’s prime parking spots, then enter the tech-friendly lobby to be greeted at check-in by iPads silently introducing the smiling staffers behind the desk.
A huge screen at the concierge desk shows live-cam images of the street scene outside, including cable cars clanging up and down California Street. The open lobby features free Autobahn internet service and technology everywhere, such as the complimentary bank of MacBooks, iPads and iPad minis available 24/7, and the (likely to soon be 86-ed) Google Glass Explorer program. Over at Aurea Café, the restaurant features convenient touch screen menus and discrete electrical outlets in the base of the dining tables at every seat for guest laptops and smartphones.
No boring musak here. A bank of three elevators are each programmed with different soundtracks featuring San Francisco bands Green Day, Metallica, and Train. Guest rooms have the usual tech-friendly amenities plus a unique touch: a notecard from the manager inviting you to text him directly at any hour, for anything, during the course of your stay. I couldn’t resist testing it out at 10 p.m.when I couldn’t find the TV remote control. Almost immediately he replied with “Good evening! Housekeeping usually places it on the TV swivel base after cleaning it each day.” He was right. In terms of what’s to come at Stanford Court, the property hinted that along with 2015 room renovations it will be introducing even more tech amenities such as a tablet or smartphone check-in process via a keyless entry app.
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Vicki Arkoff’s magazine work includes MAD, Daily Variety and Entertainment Weekly. She is the author of authorised biographies on Paul McCartney and Frank Sinatra.