Funky design, fold-away furniture, gesture-recognition technology and plenty of screens. That's how Microsoft and Novotel see the hotel room of the future.
The hotel chain and software giant say they're "reinventing room design" with the Room 3120 concept at the Novotel Vaugirard Montparnasse in Paris, which they're targetting at both business travellers and families.
Here's a look inside Room 3120.
In terms of layout, the room itself is more like a mini-suite.
In the bedroom area, decked out in browns and whites, the bed folds up into the wall.
That's an interesting concept, but we're not sure how it works in real life without stripping the bed first or getting the manchester caught in the mechanism.
In the photo above you can see how one side of the room sports a large flatscreen TV, an Xbox 360 gaming console and -- in case you'd forgotten this room is 'technologically advanced' -- cushions that look like the Shift and Escape keys on a keyboard.
On the far side of the room is another even larger flatscreen video panel (because can never have too many of these in one room) plus a bright green 'gaming nook' with another Xbox 360 and a third screen.
The desk -- something that our readers overwhelmingly reckon is necessary if the room is to meet their needs -- is actually a 30 inch "multimedia table", a hotel spokesperson tells Australian Business Traveller, built around Microsoft's touchscreen Surface technology and responds to users' hand gestures. Apps on the table range from web browsing to interactive city guides.
Another piece of showcase or perhaps show-off tech is the Sensorit interactive mirror. Like the Surface table, this incorporates gesture recognition technology from Xbox Kinect and with the wave of a hand morphs from being a mirror to a high-def video screen capable of showing the latest news, weather or multimedia content. Check out this demonstration video of some of the Sensorit mirror's capabilities (albeit in French).
Much of the Novotel-Microsoft concept involves novel furniture and design choices: the fold-up bed, green gaming nook, big blue beanbags, floor cushions, tatami mats, and so on. We've seen no sign of a sofa, however, and we're not entirely certain that beanbags (even designer fatboy ones) are an adequate replacement.
If you'd like to experience it for yourself, Room 3120 at the Novotel Vaugirard Montparnasse is actually available until February 14, 2012 at €199 a night – click to www.novotel.com/room3120 to make a booking.
So what do you reckon: would you stay there on business? Or is it all just a bit too gamer-centric for you? And if the games were stripped out, is this sort of design and tech something you'd like to be surrounded by on your next business trip?
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.