When looking for the most cutting-edge technology incorporated into a Chicago hotel, you won't find it at the just-opened Chicago Athletic Association, nor the Virgin Hotels Chicago—which has billed its rooms as a dream for the modern traveller. It’s the grand dame of Chicago hotels, a 14-year-old classic schooling fresher hotels on the right way to deliver an unforgettable stay—the Peninsula Chicago.
Last week, at a grand soiree done up as only the Peninsula can do, the hotel unveiled a floor of new rooms and the start of a massive renovation. Not your typical hotel room revamp, this change means both a refreshed interior design and a complete technology upgrade—one that will position the hotel as the most technologically advanced in Chicago and across the Peninsula brand.
The big news is the addition of a tablet-based technology system featuring Samsung tablets and software created by Peninsula Hotels. New rooms will include a minimum of three tablets (more for larger rooms and suites), which show up bedside and on a desk in one of 11 languages. Debuting at the Peninsula Hong Kong and Peninsula Paris last August, the latest version of the tablet system coming to Peninsula Chicago brings the addition of room service.
What exactly do the tablets let you do? Watch TV in HD, listen to the radio, check the weather, request privacy, and adjust everything from the room temperature to the lighting. (Some of these functions can also be controlled via LED touch-screen wall panels in the room).
In addition to the tablets, the new rooms feature a more cosmopolitan design that takes inspiration from both the beautiful Peninsula Shanghai and the city of Chicago. A white cream palette contrasts Macassar wood and an azure blue that nods to Lake Michigan, along with a wave pattern on the duvet that also hints at Chicago’s waterways. The chrysanthemum, the official flower of Chicago and one of the four “noble flowers” of Asia, also shows up as hand-crafted wall art in every room.
The Peninsula Chicago will renovate rooms floor by floor, eventually completing 331 of the hotel’s 339 rooms by April 2016 (eight rooms were recently renovated and will not be redone). Existing rooms start at $475. The first batch of new rooms on the 15th floor, slightly delayed and now expected to be available by mid July, will start at a higher price.